Sunday, 2 March 2014

The Shortest War in History: The Anglo-Zanzibar War

The Shortest War in History

The Anglo-Zanzibar, fought on the 27 August 1896, is thought to be the shortest war in history lasting around only 40 minutes. The war was a result of the death of the pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini on the 25th of August. The sultans nephew Khalid bin Bargash seized power in a coup following his death. Bargash assembled 2,800 men to protect his position. The British however favoured Hamud bin Muhammad, who was more pro-British. On August 26th Bargash fortified the palace and. The HHS Glasgow, the Sultan's yacht, was anchored in the harbour nearby. The British quickly assembled five cruisers in the harbour. At 8.00 am on the 27th August an ultimatum was issued to the sultan, to leave the palace in one hour or hostilities would commence. With the situation unresolved, the British led by General Lloyd Matthews, began firing on the palace.

The British ships quickly sank the Glasgow. The sultan's artillery consisted of several Maxim machine guns, a Gatling gun, a 17th-century bronze cannons and 2 twelve-pounder field guns. However, the palace was pounded enough to force Bargash to flee. Bargash sought asylum in the German consulate. The British demanded that the Germans handed over Bargash. However, any international incident was avoided when Bargash escaped to sea on October 2nd 1896. With Bargash removed Hammud bin Muhammad was put into position as ruler, he was mainly a British puppet, who ruled until 1902 and ended slavery in Zanzibar. Bargash was finally captured by the British in 1916.

Image Credit:

No comments:

Post a Comment