Sayyid Said ibn Sultan

Ruler (from 1804) of Muscat, Oman and Zanzibar. Born 1791, died 1856.

In 1804, Said ibn Sultan succeeeded his father, Sayyid Sultan, as Omani ruler (continuing the dominance of the Al bu Said dynasty which had ruled Oman since 1744). Around 1840, Said relocated his capital to Zanzibar, which during his reign became the most significant trading emporium in East Africa, and a focus of trade all over the Indian Ocean. He turned the island into a slave society, with plantations producing spices (cloves), which financed the import of slaves and ivory from the interior of Tanganyika.

Said sent emissaries to the major European powers, concluding trade agreements. A special envoy was also sent to the United States of America - making Oman the first Arab state to establish diplomatic relations with America.

Said had made Oman/Zanzibar a major regional power, but it was not to last. After his death in 1856, Zanzibar separated from the rest of the realm, becoming an independent sultanate.

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