Tuesday, August 7, 2012
ZANZIBAR - THE SULTAN HAD 90 WIVES
The Omanis introduced clove (1818) growing in Zanzibar, zenj (black - old Arabic/Persian), bar (coast - Arabic). The trade was lucrative and the Sultan of Oman moved his capital to Zanzibar in 1832, establishing a dynasty lasting until 1964.
One Sultan Bargash (1870-88) had 90 wives and every evening he would go to the palace's (Beit al-Ajaib) balcony to choose three of them for the night.
Zanzibar's population is about 1/4 million, 30% of them Muslims, 25% Christians and the rest native religions. Descendents of mixture of Omani Arabs and Shirazi Persians and Africans make up the Muslim population. Maulidi Rasul is celebrated well (R, below). Swaleh is their revered ulama.
Burton was the author of many books including The Kama Sutra of Vatsyana (1838, translator) and Personal Narrative of a Pilgimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah (1855).