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Zanzibar over the last 100 years: Historical Events 1900s-2000s

  • 1901 January: The first packet of tea made in East Africa was packed in Dunga. The leaves were the first products of the garden that was laid out there in 1899. It was manufactured with such appliances as were to hand, rolled on the deal table, sun-dried, and fired with ordinary charcoal stove.
  • 1901 August: The first bulk oil installation started in Zanzibar following the completion of tank and pier at Mtakuja. The tank for reception of petroleum in bulk was erected by Messrs. Smith Mackenzie and Co. the Agent for Shell Transport and Trading Company Limited. The installation was most complete comprising also of a factory for the manufacture of kerosene oil tins.
  • Barghash

    H.H. Sultan Sayyid Sir Barghash bin Sa’id, second Sultan of Zanzibar and its dependencies, GCMG, GCTE, born at the Bait al-Sahel, Stone Town, Unguja, Zanzibar, c. 1837—died March 27, 1888.

  • 1901 September 18: The first Zanzibar street band was formed by the local bandsmen who were discharged by the Sultan. The band was available for social events.
  • 1903: The first newspaper in Zanzibar "Samachar" was printed. It was later reorganized as a daily paper with the first appearing on Monday August 21, 1905. Later on several newspapers were published in Zanzibar.
  • 1903 September 26: A powerful light house at Kigomasha in Pemba and that of Chumbe were opened. The light houses were constructed by the Public works Department. Great improvements took place to the Zanzibar light houses from the beginning of 1900 by converted to a flashing system of A.G.A. i.e. the sun valve control hereby the lights are extinguished shortly after dawn and relit before sunset automatically.


Khalifa bin Haroub

Sayyid Sir Khalifa bin Haroub Al Busaidy, GCB, GCMG, GBE (August 26, 1879 – October 9, 1960. He ruled Zanzibar from December 9, 1911 to October 9, 1960.

  • 1903: The first modern market in Zanzibar was opened at Darajani and named Estella Market of commonly known as Marikiti Kuu. Estella, Countess Cave was a sister of General Sir Lloyd Mathews then First Minister and Consul General of Zanzibar. Opened by Sultan Ali bin Hamoud, credit is due to Mr. Bomanjee Maneckjee, the Minister for Public Work who turned an old ruined site into a building of a considerable architectural beauty.
  • 1904 July 18: Sultan Hamoud bin Mohammed died and Seyyid Ali bin Homoud took over the throne. Ali was the youngest Sultan to take over the throne at the age of 18. He was the first Sultan to have Western education and was very much influenced by the Western culture by his dresses, food and language.
  • 1904 August: The French Post Office of Zanzibar was closed. French Consular post office issued stamps of various denominations of Peace and Commerce which were issued by the French Metropolitan Government between 1876 and 1900.
Sayyid Hamad

H.H. Sultan Sayyid Sir Hamad bin Thuwaini bin Sa’id, fifth Sultan of Zanzibar and its dependencies, GCSI, born at Muscat, Oman, c. 1857 – died August 25, 1896, Zanzibar; ruled March 5, 1893 – August 25, 1896

  • 1905: The first Government School started in Zanzibar through the initiative of Sultan Ali bin Hamoud accommodated mainly the Royal Family and Upper Class Arabs. This school was later on became Town Boys Primary School at Darajani.
    The famous Bububu Railway was built by an American firm. The 7 mile Railway connected Bububu and Forodhani consisted of a 3 ft gauge light track. It was sold to the Government in 1911. The Railway stopped its passenger service in July 1922 and used for the haulage of stone for the harbor works. The engines and the rolling stock of Bububu Railway completed their journey in August 31, 1929.
  • 1905 September: Electric light and power was supplied within a radius of 5 miles from the Sultan’s Palace. The plant was installed by Mr. J. A. Jones of New York, and thereafter the streets of Zanzibar town lit with electricity much earlier than other streets in London which were still to make do with gas lamp.
  • 1906 July 04: The Official switching on of the electric light in the Streets of Zanzibar town. This was the first time in the history of any town in East Africa. Indeed, Telephone services in public use and private with switchboard installed at the Old Fort. The facilities were installed by an American Company and hence opened in the Independence day of America.

Zanzibar Ladies

  • 1907: Zanzibar Army was disbanded and the defence of the country entrusted to two companies of King’s African Rifles [KAR]. The official opening of Shangani Post Office. The British Postal Services started in1873 in the Mackenzie Building and in 1895 December the service took a more formal charge when it joined into the Postal Union. Meanwhile the Zanzibar first postage stamps appeared on September 20, 1896 printed by the firm of the De la Rue.
  • 1907 December 10: Official opening of the wireless telegraphy services at Mnazi Mmoja. This first wireless telegraphy in East Africa was opened by Mrs. Cave, the wife of then British Consul General. The service connected Zanzibar and Pemba within a few minutes was another red letter in the annals of Zanzibar.
  • 1908 January: The silver Rupee of British India made the standard coin of the Protectorate and Zanzibar currency notes issued. Final abolition of the Consular court’s of Zanzibar of the various powers. All subjects, irrespective of nationality, thus became amenable to British jurisdiction.
  • 1908 May 13: The Zanzibar Court of Justice at Vuga was officially opened. The building is a fine piece of Saracenic architecture, the creation of Mr. J. H. Sinclair. And the dome surmounting the clock tower and the vista of arches are a distinct addition to the place.
  • 1908: The first currency Decree was promulgated and provided for and issue of the first Zanzibar currency Notes.
  • 1908: The first car came to Zanzibar. This Germany made car “Daimler” was used by Sultan Ali bin Hamoud. The motorcars for passengers started in 1927 when the trial was made for three cars: Morris Cowley, Citroen and Fiat each carrying for passengers to Mangapwani.

Natives of Zanzibar

  • 1911 December: Seyyid Ali bin Hamoud visited England to attend the Coronation of His Majesty King George V. Whilst in Europe he abdicated and decided to leave in Paris where he died in 1918. Seyyid Khalifa bin Haroub ascended the throne of Zanzibar and his coronation was held at the House of Wonder. He wa the longest Sultan to rule Zanzibar from 1911-1960.
  • 1913: Control of Zanzibar Sultanate passed from the Foreign Office to the Colonial Office.
  • 1914 January: Control of Zanzibar transferred formally from Foreign Office to Colonial Office. The new posts British Resident and Chief Secretary were created. Major F.B. Pearce was made the first British Resident and J. H. Sinclair became the first Chief Secretary.
  • 1914 August: The First World War was started. Zanzibar declared war on Germany and the Treaty of Zanzibar with Germany lapsed.
  • 1914 September: H.M.S. Pegasus, the British Ship, sunk in Zanzibar Harbor by the German Cruiser “Koningsberg”.
  • 1915 July: The Zanzibar Theater Cinema House at Darajani Bridge was opened in Saturday. The first installment of the serial Elmo the Mighty in which Elmo Lincoln and Lucile Love the beautiful and talented favorite, figure in exploits of sentential adventures was successful screened before a crowded house.
  • 1916 August: The first naval airplane to Zanzibar landed during the period of the First World War. The Eastern African campaign during the War saw the novel use of aircraft in naval operations. Majority of these aircraft’s had underpowered engines and wooden airframes which were prone to severe problems in the tropical climate. Sultan Khalifa bin Haroub was the first Sultan to view his kingdom from the air by flying the aircraft piloted by Lt. J. Cull of Royal Navy Air Service.

Zanzibar after Revolution

  • 1917 March: The Darajani Bridge was opened by J. H. Sinclair, then British Resident replacing the old wooden bridge. The bridge was designed by Mr. Crawleys the Director of public work The Bridge was a connecting link
    between the town peninsular and the main island. The bridge was of 2 spans with a total length of 70 feet by 20 feet wide.
  • 1918: The first motor lorry two-ton-Daimler to Zanzibar was bought by Public Works Department. It was used for the construction of various roads in the country side.
  • 1918 November: Armistice signed and the First World War ended.
  • 1920 July: Zanzibar experienced the closure of of the International Maritime bureau established in 1892 for the purpose of centralization of information relating to native vessels and slave trade in general.
  • 1923: The new standard measure of weight and capacity were made: A Pound being standard measure of weight in Islands: a gallon as standard measure of capacity, a yard as standard measure of length and square yard as a standard measure of surface.
  • 1923 June: Service of the two Companied of the K.A.R discontinued and the defence of the country entrusted to the Zanzibar Police Department.
  • 1925 December: The first tractor arrived in Zanzibar. The tractor named the Guy Roadless Tractor of 19 horse powers is what termed technically as a half-track vehicle. It was used for construction of roads and its first trials took place at Kidimni-Ndagaa road construction.
Lancaster

The British Secretary of State to the colonies Ducan SANDYS (standing) opening the conference on the independence of Zanzibar at Lancaster House in Great-Britain in September 1963.

  • 1926 March: Executive and Legislative councils constituted and the Zanzibar Protectorate Council, formed in 1914 abolished. The establishment of these bodies was in line with the British Policy to start with the system of rule of Law. The Legislative council was later on became the Parliament and Executive Council became Cabinet of Minister. The first session of the Zanzibar Legislative Council opened by His Highness Khalifa bin Haroud, the Sultan of Zanzibar.
  • 1927 January: The first British Official messages were received at the Zanzibar Station. The receiver installed was by the Marconi Company Ltd. designed for reception of good headphone signals in any part of the world of
    all high power continues wave stations.
  • 1928 March: Siti bt Saad realized her first record of Taarab music. Siti and her band signed a recording contract with AbdulKarim Hakim Khan His Masters’ Voice Agent in Zanzibar to go to Calcutta India to record their music. Siti became the first women in East Africa to record her music and the
    first person to ever record and release song in Kiswahili.
  • 1929 July: First step was taken to improve the quality of cloves for export by subjecting them to compulsory inspection in accordance with the provisions of the Agricultural Produce Decree.
  • 1929 October: Zanzibar census Report was published. The harbor works was formally handed over to His Highness on behalf of the Zanzibar Government by Mr. H. H. G. Mitchell, the consulting Engineer of Messrs Coode, at the ceremony held at the entrance of Harbor works in the presence of large gatherings.
  • 1929 November: Malindi Harbor opened. The harbor was designed by Col. G. T. Nicholson- Harbor advisory Engineer to the Union of South Africa. It had many facilities including a fresh water main with hydrants to supply to the ships and pipe to convey the oil to and from ships alongside.
  • 1929 December: Commencement of dimming electric lights at 8.00 p.m to give time signal.

Zanzibar Ladies in Prince visit

  • 1930: Zanzibar first aerodrome was constructed at Dunga. The strip was 800 yards by 150 yards was used only for light and medium size aircraft.
  • 1930 April: The first commercial plane landed on Zanzibar. The plane was piloted by Captain T. Campbell Black, Managing Director of the then Wilson’s Airways Ltd. By communicating with Police Station at Ziwani the pilot managed to land on Mnazi Mmoja Golf Course on Monday at 10.00.
  • 1931 March: The first overseas air mail arrived at Zanzibar by the then inaugurated African air mail services. It was posted in London on the 27th February, reached Kisumu on 10th March and arrived at Zanzibar after five days. Likewise the first air mail correspondence from Zanzibar to outside world was dispatched on Friday 5th June 1931at 7.00 a.m
  • 1932: February: First cinema talkie exhibited in Zanzibar at the Royal Cinema.
  • 1935 March: The official opening ceremony of the new high pressure water supply at Mwanyanya (Bububu) by Sultan Khalifa bin Haroub to supply water to the town of Zanzibar and Ng’ambo.
  • 1936 January: The substitution of East African currency for Rupee currency, i.e. the new Shilling currency came into force following the establishment of the common East African Currency Board. Postage stamps of new denominations were introduced.
  • 1936 February: Serious riot of Manga Arabs (commonly known as Vita Vya Wamanga or vita vya Mbata) broke out in the town of Zanzibar. The cause of it was in the application of Alliteration of Produce Decree. The Inspector of Police was killed four rioters were killed and several other people wounded. Great alarm prevailed in Zanzibar and all shop was closed.
  • 1937 December 21: Official Opening ceremony of Jubilee Gardens at Forodhani laid out by Government to celebrate silver Jubilee of His Late Majesty King George V and the memorial erected thereon by public inscriptions to
    celebrate the silver Jubilee of Sultan Khalifa bin Haroub.
  • 1946: The first Zanzibari from Shirazi, Sheikh Ameir Tajo was appointed to join the Legislative Council.
  • 1947 December: For the first time in Zanzibar’s history a Bull and Donkey show was held at Mnazi Mmoja under the auspices of the Zanzibar Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
  • 1948 August: The employees of the African Wharfage Company went on strike and Zanzibar was faced with complete paralysis of loading and unloading shipping cargoes.
  • 1948 September: Zanzibar witnessed an unprecedented strike in its history. All African employees including domestic employees and Ayahs went on strike in sympathy with the African Wharfage dock hands. The African Labor’s of P.W.D. and Sweepers joined in the Strike. All shops were closed and business was at standstill.
  • 1949 December: For the first time Gossage Cup Football match was played at Seyyid Khalifa Sports Grounds (Mnazi Mmoja?) between Uganda and Tanganyika which resulted in a draw. The following day Kenya beat Zanzibar by three goals to two in a good exciting match. Tanganyika beat Kenya two nil in a final match.
  • 1951 July: A serious riot broke out as a result of the opposition of the cattle owners of Kimbe Samaki for compulsory inoculation against Anthrax, commonly known as Vita vya Ngombe. Twenty cattle owners were prosecuted and 19 sentenced into terms imprisonment. A crowd of sympathizer’s after making ill-advised effort to realize the prisoner’s as they were leaving the court, hurried to the jail bent on the same purpose and serious riot took place outside the prison.
  • 1957: The first election to be held in Zanzibar. The elections were protested by both political parties and racial and religious organization but in the end, the election was really became a contest between ASP and ZNP. ASP won five out 6 seats.
  • 1963 December: Zanzibar got its Independence and Mohammed Shamte Hamad became the first Prime Minister. Zanzibar made a monarchical democracy with the Sultan as the Ceremonial Head of State and a parliamentary government system with the Prime Minister as the Executive Leader.
  • 1964 January: The Revolution took place to topple not only the ZNP/ZPPP Government but also the democratic monarchy. It is still a mystery whether Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume, the ASP leader, did really take a leading role of this Revolution or it was John Okello, a Ugandan who showed an authoritative power in the first days of the Revolution. However, it was Karume who emerged as powerful president with all powers after the Revolution. With the establishment of a republic and a new coalition of classes in power, radical changes took places. In fact with the exception of Guinea no country in tropical Africa changed radically in so short time.
  • 1964 March: Nationalization of Land and later distributed to the poor. This was a major reform program to change the society and the ownership of Land.
  • 1964 April: The Republic of Zanzibar united with the Republic of Tanganyika to form the United Republic of Tanzania. Under new setup the late Julius Nyerere became the first President and Karume became the first Vice President of Tanzania respectively.
  • 1964 September: Education was declared free for all. The declaration made a considerable change in which the children from low class had opportunity to attend the schools. Zanzibar today is almost self- sufficient in man power.
  • 1965 May: Decree to declare Zanzibar a one Party State. Afro Shirazi Party was the sole Political Party until 1977 when it joined TANU of Tanganyika and formed CCM, which continued to be a single political party state until 1992 following the introduction of Multi Party system in Tanzania.
  • 1966 October: The Bank of Tanzania Act: The establishment of Bank of Tanzania as Central Bank to provide for the Currency and other banking functions. In actuality this establishment marked the death of Zanzibar financial independence. The Tanzania Currency of and coins i.e. Tanzanian Shilling was issued for the former East African Shilling.
  • 1972 April: The Assassination of the First President of Zanzibar and Chairman of Revolutionary Council, Sheikh Abeid Karume at Kisiwandui, the Afro Shirazi Party Headquarters. Sheikh Aboud Jumbe was appointed as President of Zanzibar and Chairman of Revolutionary Council.
  • 1977 February: The inception of Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) At Amaan Stadium Zanzibar. Following the unity of Tanzanian Mainland, Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) and Zanzibari Afro Shirazi Party Tanzania remained a one party state until 1992.
  • 1980 January: The first 1979 Zanzibar Constitution came into force. Thereafter, member of first Commissioners of Election was appointed.
  • 1980 November: The appointment of Sheikh Aboud Jumbe a President of Zanzibar and Chairman of Revolutionary council as per stipulation of new Zanzibar Constitution.
  • 1984 January: The President of Zanzibar and Chairman of Revolutionary Council, Sheikh Aboud Jumbe, ‘forced’ by CCM Dodoma to resign from his post following the political crisis relating to Union issues and Sheikh Ali Hassan Mwinyi was appointed Interim President. Jumbe ‘forced resignation’ is still considered by many Zanzibaris as a political humiliation to Zanzibar autonomy and independence.
  • 1984 April: Zanzibar General Election for Presidential election and Sheikh Ali Hassan Mwinyi was elected overwhelmingly majority and became the third President of Zanzibar. Mwinyi appointed Seif Sharif Hamad as Chief Minister and together they initiated trade liberation policy in Zanzibar which opened doors for economic boost.
  • 1985: Nyerere resigns his Union presidency and Sheikh Mwinyi takes over. Sheikh Idrissa Abdul Wakil elected as Zanzibar President and again Seif Sharif Hamad becomes Chief Minister.
  • 1988: Seif Sharif and his 6 colleagues from Zanzibar sacked from CCM accused by Nyerere for opposing the party inside the party. Later Seif Sharif was to be arrested and charged with treason. He stayed in jail for nearly 3 years.
  • 1990: Zanzibar United Front (ZUF) and KAMAHURU, two leading political pressure groups, are established by Zanzibaris inside and outside Zanzibar. They both pressurized for open democracy, the release of prisoners of conscience and referendum to the Union.
  • 1990: Salmin Amour becomes the 5th president of Zanzibar. He declares Zanzibar a free port.
  • 1992: Re-introduction of multipartism and the birth of the Civic United Front (CUF), the main opposition party in Zanzibar.
  • 1992: Salmin Amour tries without success to join Zanzibar to the Organization of Islamic Countries. Again Zanzibar suffered severe political humiliation from the Union government when it was forced to withdraw its membership from the organization though international was not and is still not a Union matter.
  • 1993: Union Parliament makes 11th Amendment of the Union Constitution which removed the president of Zanzibar from the position of the Union Vice President. Another political loss in Zanzibar side.
  • October 1995: First multi party elections in Zanzibar in which CCM presidential candidate, Salmin Amour, declared a winner with a slight victory against CUF’s, Seif Sharif. CUF boycotted the House of Representatives and did not recognize the government of Salmin Amour
  • June 1999: A political accord, Muafaka I, signed between CCM and CUF to end a political deadlock in Zanzibar. This Muafaka was engineered by the Commonwealth.
  • October 2000: Second multiparty elections which was again marked with a lot of fraud, human right violations and military intervention. Both local and international observers named this election as a ‘shame to democracy.’ Ultimately the opposition, CUF, did recognize its results which declared Amani Karume the 6th president of Zanzibar, and it called for the re-run of the election under United Nations supervision, new electoral commission, constitution reforms and more democracy.
  • January 2001: Mass demonstration prepared by CUF faced severe military exercises from the government. More than 40 Zanzibaris were killed, hundreds wounded, 3000 fled to Kenya, dozens of women raped, properties were either looted or destroyed by government organs and many opposition leaders and their supporters arrested.
  • October 2001: Second Muafaka is signed in Zanzibar State House signed between CCM and CUF.
  • October 2005: Third multiparty election in Zanzibar. Again the opposition cried for fouls and human rights violation. At least 4 Zanzibaris were killed this time, 3 Zanzibari women raped, a dozen of houses destroyed, 28 people injured and 4 business properties burnt down. Amani Karume declared the winner and CUF did not recognize his victory.
  • March 2008: The Muafaka talks between CCM and CUF died at their climax after CCM side came with the new proposal of referendum on the need of national unity government in Zanzibar. Zanzibar is still under political impasse.

Prepared by Abdul, wmss@mango.zw, and Mohammed Khelef Ghassani

About Zanzibar Daima (1511 Articles)
Zanzibar Daima, Jana, Leo na Kesho

2 Comments on Zanzibar over the last 100 years: Historical Events 1900s-2000s

  1. What’s the way forward?

    Like

  2. Nasser badar al harthy // November 20, 2016 at 9:13 am // Reply

    Very very good

    Like

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