Shortest War in World History: Anglo Zanzibar War of 1896 lasted 38 Minutes

M G SinghStarred Page By M G Singh, 29th Mar 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1p0-mjv5/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

The Anglo Zanzibar of 1986 makes exciting reading as it lasted just 38 minutes. It was a clear manifestation of British power and established the British as the paramount power in East Africa

Introduction

Introduction
In the late 19th century Great Britain and Germany controlled most of East Africa and were rivals for control of trade rights and territory. Britain had greater influence and Zanzibar became a British protectorate in 1890. In the same year the on I July 1890 Anglo –German Heligoland–Zanzibar Treaty was signed. By this treaty Germany recognized Zanzibar as a British protectorate.
Earlier in 1886 Britain had concluded a treaty with the Sultan Khalifah the Sultan of Zanzibar, which had a clause that any new Sultan appointed in Zanzibar, would be approved by the British, this was a clear manifestation of Imperial British power.

Seeds of Conflict

In 1890 the Sultan died and was succeeded by his brother Sultan Hamad bin Thuwani. On 25 August 1896 Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini died suddenly and the British resident suspected that he had been poisoned by his nephew Khalid bin Barghash bin.
This man crowned himself as Sultan, but the British with their overriding veto wished to put on the throne the more amenable Hamud bin Muhammed.

Khalid bin Bargash ignored the British and on 25 August 1896 at 3pm crowned himself as Sultan. He also raised the red flag over the palace signifying that he had taken over as Sultan. The British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury considered this an act of defiance and he gave instructions to the local British agent Cave. to remove Khalid bin Bargash. \

The War Begins

On 27 August 1896 at 7 am acting on the directive of Lord Salisbury, the British naval commander Admiral Harry Rawson sent a message asking the sultan to leave the palace by 9 am. Sultan Burgash ignored the ultimatum as we learn now on the advice of soothsayers who convinced the sultan that when the British guns open up, they would squirt only water.
The Force of Sultan Khalid consisted of 2500 volunteer soldiers, who were poorly trained. In addition he had 4 artillery pieces and one shore battery. He also had a large number of muzzle loading cannons. The Zanzibar army was commanded by Brigadier General Lloyd Mathews. The British force consisted of 3 cruisers and 2 gunboats. They a strength of 330 seamen and 120 marines on shore. There over all strength was 1050 with about 500 native troops who were under general Raikes and supported the English. The British warships were docked in Zanzibar harbor.
As the ultimatum of 9 am approached the British warships trained their guns on the royal palace.

The Shortest War in World History

Britain declared war at 9:00 and at 9:02, the British warships Thrush, Sparrow and Racoon, opened fire on the royal palace Beit al-Hukum. The palace was completely destroyed. Another palace Beit al-Sahel was severely damaged by the shelling. A third palace the Beit Al-Ajai received minor damage; a light house was completely destroyed.
There was a small naval action in Zanzibar harbor when HSS Glasgow, a gift from Queen Victoria to Sultan Thuwaini, was sunk with a loss of 9 crewmen, after the ship refused to surrender
During the fighting Barghash fled with some of his senior officers to the German consulate. He entered the consulate at 0935 .The Germans refused to hand over Bargash to the British and granted him asylum When the shelling ended by 9:40 the Zsyutan force had suffered approximately 500 casualitiesThe British suffered one wounded. The British promptly crowned Barghash's cousin Hamud bin-Mohamed as sultan. He remained a puppet of the English

Last Word

Generally it is accepted that the war lasted 38 minutes. This is calculated from the time when the actual firing started at 9.02 am and ended at 0940 when the last shot was fired, making it the shortest war in world history.

Tags

Anglo Zanzibar War, Attacking Zanzibar, Britain And Zanzibar, German British Rivalry, Imperial Power

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author avatar M G Singh
A man who spent his early years in Air Force. An avid writer with over 6000 articles and 60 short stories published.Two novels on the anvil for publication.

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Comments

author avatar Shaila Touchton
29th Mar 2013 (#)

Good to know History!

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author avatar M G Singh
29th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you Shaila

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author avatar Buzz
29th Mar 2013 (#)

Fascinating bit of history, my friend.

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author avatar M G Singh
31st Mar 2013 (#)

Thanks Buzz. have you also tried iwantarticles.com?

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
29th Mar 2013 (#)

oh lordie...such hanky panky!!!!

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author avatar M G Singh
31st Mar 2013 (#)

Thanks CN

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
31st Mar 2013 (#)

History is made of these - it takes all! siva

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author avatar M G Singh
31st Mar 2013 (#)

Thanks Siva

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author avatar Delicia Powers
1st Apr 2013 (#)

amazing history...

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author avatar M G Singh
1st Apr 2013 (#)

Thank you Delicia

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author avatar Ptrikha
3rd Apr 2013 (#)

A great piece of historical war!

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author avatar M G Singh
14th Apr 2013 (#)

Thank you Ptrikha

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author avatar Kingwell
13th Apr 2013 (#)

Good history lesson.

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author avatar M G Singh
14th Apr 2013 (#)

Thank you Kingwell

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