Oman, Muscat

After passing through the ports of Lingeh, Henjam Island and Muscat, the cargo ship reached Karachi during the second week of March 1924.

 


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Courtesy of Wikipedia

 

Oman (pronounced /oʊˈmɑːn/ oh-MAHN; Arabic: عمانʻUmān), officially the Sultanate of Oman (Arabic: سلطنة عمانSalṭanat ʻUmān), is an Arab country in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It borders the United Arab Emirates on the northwest, Saudi Arabia on the west and Yemen on the southwest.

The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the south and east and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast. The country also contains Madha, an exclave enclosed by the United Arab Emirates, and Musandam, an exclave also separated by Emirati territory.[

Stone Age

Wattayah, located in the governorate of Muscat, is the oldest known human settlement in the area and dates back to the Stone Age, making it around 5,000 years old.[citation needed] Archaeological remains have been discovered here from the Stone Age and the Bronze Age. Findings have consisted of stone implements, animal bones, shells and fire hearths. The latter date back to 7615 BCE and are the oldest signs of human settlement in the area. Other discoveries include hand-moulded pottery bearing distinguishing pre-Bronze Age marks, heavy flint implements, pointed tools and scrapers.

On a mountain rock-face in the same district, animal drawings have been discovered. Similar drawings have also been found in the Wadi Sahtan and Wadi Bani Kharus areas of Rustaq. These drawings consist of human figures carrying weapons and being confronted by wild animals. Siwan in Haima is another Stone Age location and some of the archaeological finds have included arrowheads, knives, chisels and circular stones which may have been used to throw at animals.

[edit] Oman before Islam

Wadi Shab, Oman, 2004

Sumerian tablets refer to a country called Majan, a name thought to refer to Oman’s ancient copper mines. Mazoon is derived from the word muzn, which means heavy clouds which carry abundant water. The present-day name of the country, Oman, is believed to originate from the Arab tribes who migrated to its territory from the Uman region of Yemen. Many tribes settled in Oman making a living by fishing, herding or stock breeding and many present day Omani families are able to trace their ancestral roots to other parts of Arabia.

From the 6th century BC to the arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD, Oman was controlled and/or influenced by three Persian dynasties, the Achaemenids, Parthians and Sassanids. Achaemenids in the 6th century BC controlled and influenced the Oman peninsula. This was most likely exerted from a coastal center such as Sohar. By about 250 BC the Parthian dynasty brought the Persian Gulf under their control and extended their influence as far as Oman. Because they needed to control the Persian Gulf trade route, the Parthians established garrisons in Oman. In the 3rd century AD the Sasanids succeeded the Parthians and held the area until the rise of Islam four centuries later.[5]

[edit] The arrival of Islam

The Omanis were among the first people to embrace Islam.[citation needed] The conversion of the Omanis is usually ascribed to Amr ibn al-As, who was sent by the prophet Muhammad around 630 AD to invite Jaifar and ‘Abd, the joint rulers of Oman at that time, to accept the faith, in which he eventually succeeded.

In accepting Islam, Oman became an Ibadhi state, ruled by an elected leader, the Imam. During the early years of the Islamic mission Oman played a major role in the Wars of Apostasy that occurred after the death of Muhammad and also took part in the great Islamic conquests by land and sea in Iraq, Persia and beyond. However, its most prominent role in this respect was through its extensive trading and seafaring activities in East Africa, particularly during the 19th century, when it propagated Islam in many of East Africa’s coastal regions, and certain areas of Central Africa.

Omanis also carried the message of Islam with them to China and the Asian ports. Oman was ruled by Umayyads between 661-750, Abbasids between 750-931, 932-933 and 934-967, Qarmatians between 931-932 and between 933-934, Buyids between 967-1053, Seljuks of Kirman between 1053-1154.

[edit] The Portuguese settlement

The Portuguese occupied Muscat for a 140-year period 1508–1648, arriving a decade after Vasco da Gama discovered the seaway to India. In need of an outpost to protect their sea lanes, the Europeans built up and fortified the city, where remnants of their colonial architectural style still remain.

Rebellious tribes drove out the Portuguese, but were pushed out themselves about a century later 1741 by the leader of a Yemeni tribe leading a massive army from various other tribes, who began the current line of ruling sultans. A brief Persian invasion a few years later was the final time Oman would be ruled by a foreign power. Oman has been self governing ever since.

[edit] Oman and Gwadar

In 1783, Oman’s Saiad Sultan took refuge in ZIK from where he went and sought asylum from Shah Nasir of Kalat in India, who doled him Gwadar out for sustenance until he usurped the Sultanate of Muscat in 1797 from his brother Saiad Said. From 1863 to 1879 Gwadar was the headquarters of a British Assistant Political Agent. Gwadar was a fortnightly port of call for the British India Steamship Navigation Company’s steamers and contained a combined Post & Telegraph Office. Sultan was the sovereign of Gwadar until 1955 when negotiations were held during the period of Ghulam Mohammad. A British adjudicator with Ch. Mohammad Ali representing Pakistani side (as Pakistan had now been created out of India), decided that Pakistan shall pay Rs. 55 crore, which were paid. Sultan Qaboos wanted that the same amount be returned to Pakistan for getting Gwadar back. The Agreement had two important clauses: (1) All Balochistan would form cachment for Omani forces. Resultantly, Balochees constituted a major part of Omani forces, and (2) Resources of Gwadar would be further developed.[citation needed]

In 1955, Makran acceded to Pakistan and was made a district - Gwadar then, was not included in Makran. In 1958, Gwadar and its surrounding areas were reverted by Maskat to Pakistan. It was given the status of a Tahsil of Makran district. On July 1, 1977, Makran District was upgraded into a division and was divided into three districts of Turbat (now Kech since 1994-95), Panjgur and Gwadar.[citation needed]

Gwadar became part of the sultanate of Muscat and Oman in 1797, and it was not until 1958 that the town and adjoining hinterland were given up by Oman to Pakistan.

[edit] Oman and East African Empire

The Sultan's Palace buildings in Zanzibar which was once Oman's capital and residence of its Sultans.

In the 1690s Saif bin Sultan, the imam of Oman, pressed down the East African coast. A major obstacle was Fort Jesus, housing the garrison of a Portuguese settlement at Mombasa. After a two-year siege, it fell to Saif in 1698. Thereafter the Omanis easily ejected the Portuguese from Zanzibar and from all other coastal regions north of Mozambique. Zanzibar was a valuable property as the main slave market of the east African coast, and became an increasingly important part of the Omani empire, a fact reflected by the decision of the greatest 19th century sultan of Oman, Sa'id ibn Sultan, to make it from 1837 his main place of residence. Sa'id built impressive palaces and gardens in Zanzibar. Rivalry between his two sons was resolved, with the help of forceful British diplomacy, when one of them, Majid, succeeded to Zanzibar and to the many regions claimed by the family on the East African coast. The other, Thuwaini, inherited Muscat and Oman.

[edit] Dhofar rebellion

The Dhofar Rebellion was launched in the province of Dhofar against the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman and Britain from 1962 to 1975. As the radical-leaning rebellion threatened to overthrow the Sultan's rule in Dhofar and produced disorder in other parts of Oman, Sultan Said bin Taimur was deposed by his son Qaboos bin Said, who introduced major social reforms to deprive the rebellion of popular support and modernised the state's administration. The rebellion ended with the intervention of Iranian Imperial ground forces and major offensives by the expanded Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces.

A vast gravel desert plain covers most of central Oman, with mountain ranges along the north (Al Hajar Mountains) and southeast coast, where the country's main cities are also located: the capital city Muscat, Sohar and Sur in the north, and Salalah in the south. Oman's climate is hot and dry in the interior and humid along the coast. During past epochs Oman was covered by ocean. Fossilized shells exist in great numbers in areas of the desert away from the modern coastline.

Desert landscape in Oman

The peninsula of Musandam (Musandem), which has a strategic location on the Strait of Hormuz, is separated from the rest of Oman by the United Arab Emirates and is thus an exclave. The series of small towns known collectively as Dibba are the gateway to the Musandam peninsula on land and the fishing villages of Musandam by sea. Boats may be hired at Khasab for trips into the Musandam peninsula by sea.

Oman has another exclave, inside UAE territory, known as Madha. It is located halfway between the Musandam Peninsula and the rest of Oman.[8] Belonging to Musandam governorate, it covers approximately 75 km2 (29 sq mi). The boundary was settled in 1969. The north-east corner of Madha is closest to the Fujairah road, barely 10 m (32.8 ft) away. Within the exclave is a UAE enclave called Nahwa, belonging to the Emirate of Sharjah. It is about 8 km (5 mi) on a dirt track west of the town of New Madha. It consists of about forty houses with its own clinic and telephone exchange.