The Anglo-Zanzibar War was fought between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar on
27 August 1896. The conflict lasted around 40 minutes and is the shortest
war in recorded history. The immediate cause of the war was the death of the
pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini on 25 August 1896 and the subsequent
succession of Sultan Khalid bin Barghash. In accordance with a treaty signed
in 1886, a condition for accession to the sultancy was that the candidate
obtain the permission of the British Consul, and Khalid had not fulfilled
this requirement. The British considered this a casus belli and sent an
ultimatum to Khalid demanding that he order his forces to stand down and
leave the palace. In response, Khalid called up his palace guard and
barricaded himself inside the palace. The ultimatum expired at 9:00 am East
Africa Time (EAT) on 27 August, by which time the British had gathered three
cruisers, two gunships, 150 marines and sailors and 900 Zanzibaris in the
harbour area. The Royal Navy contingent were under the command of
Rear-Admiral Harry Rawson whilst the Zanzibaris were commanded by
Brigadier-General Lloyd Mathews of the Zanzibar army. A bombardment was
opened at 9:02 am which set the palace on fire and disabled the defending
artillery. The flag at the palace was shot down and fire ceased at 9:40 am.
The Sultan's forces sustained roughly 500 casualties, while only one British
sailor was injured. The British quickly placed Sultan Hamud in power at the
head of a puppet government; he abolished slavery within a few months. The
war marked the end of Zanzibar as a sovereign state and the start of a
period of heavy British influence.
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Wiktionary's word of the day:
ineluctable (adj) Impossible to avoid or escape; inescapable,
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All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.
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