Oman is located along the southeast Aabian Peninsula and occupies a narrow coastal plain along the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. Hills and a plateau are found inland. The country for many years was called Oman and Mucat. Muscat is the capital. Portugal controlled the coast in the 16-17th centuries (1508-1659). Ahmed ibn Said in Yemen founded the current royal line (1741). There was a lng-established treaty relationship with Britin. Oman was the most powerful Arab state on the Arabian Peninsula in the early-19th century and controlled the wealthy trading state of Zanzibar off East Africa as well as coastal areas of Persia (Iran) and Baluchistan (Pakistan). It was heavily involvd in thearan Indian Ocean slave trade. Besides trading, Oman was a largely agricultural country. Dates are an important crop in he far orth. Sugar cane and cattle are important crop in the southwest. Oman ceeded its last overseas possession, Gwadar, to Pakistan (1958). Traditional Arab style clothing are widely worn in Oman. We do not have a page on IOmani history, but we do have a page on the Omani role in East African slave trade. Ethnic groups include Arab, Baluchi, South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi), and Africans
Oman is located along the southeast Aabian Peninsula and occupies a narrow coastal plain along the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. Hills and a plateau are found inland. The country for many years was called Oman and Mucat. Muscat is the capital. Beyond Omn to the west is the notorious Arabian Empty Quarter.
Historians have few accounts pre-dating the Islamic era. Amr ibn al-As, a disciple of the Prophet Mohammed, introducedc Islam to Oman which readily embraced it. Omani traders, because of their geographic location, played a major role in the Indian Ocean trade and spreading Islam. Oman was ruled by the Bani Nabhan dynasty for nearly 5 centuries (1154–1624). The slave trade was an important part of Arab trading. Omani trading and dominance of the Indian Ocean trade was fundamentally altered by the Europeans. Vasco de Gama reacded the Cape of Good Hope (1488). This led to the Battle of Diu which ended Arab dominance of the Indian Ocean (1509). Ahmed ibn Said in Yemen founded the current royal line (1741). To reestablish their African trade, the Omanis launched a major offensive against the Portuguese, attacking their bases and trading posts in East Africa (late-17th century). Their most important base became the secure island stronghold of Zanzibar which became the major center for the Indian Ocean slave trade.
A newly established sultanate in Muscat signed the first in a series of friendship treaties with Britain (late-18th century). Britain provided political and military advisors, but never colonized Oman. Oman was the most powerful Arab state on the Arabian Peninsula in the early-19th century and controlled the wealthy trading state of Zanzibar off East Africa as well as coastal areas of Persia (Iran) and Baluchistan (Pakistan). Qaboos bin Said Al-Said overthrew his father (1970). Qaboos as since ruled as sultan, but has not designated a successor. He launched an extensive modernization program and opened the country to the outside world while maintaining the longstanding close ties with Britain. Sultan Qaboos has conducted a moderate, independent foreign policy as well as adopted tolerant domestic policies. The Sutan has sought to good relations with all Middle Eastern countries.
Oman was best known in the ancient world as the source as the source of frankincense. There is evidence of the frankincense trade in southern Oman (Dhofar) dating back milenia (5000 BC). This highly prized commodity was worth its weight in gold. It is produced from the aromatic sap of the frankincense tree which primarily grew in Dhofar and was watered by the annual monsoon rains. Sea faring traders from India brought spices. Caravan routes moved north to the wealthy lands of Mesoptamia and Egypt. No less than the Queen of Sheba delivered Dhofari frankincense to King Solomon.
Oman was also known as aource of copper, a key resource during the bronze age. Some ancient sources refer to Oman as ‘the Mountain of Copper’ and there is considerable evidence that Omani copper was widely traded throughout the Persian Gulf. The inhabitants of the area of Oman have long prospered on Indian Ocean trade.
Oman is a largely Arab Mulim country. It is, however, much more moderate than most Arab countries. The majority of the country is Ibadhi with relatively small numbers of Sunni and Shia. Over 85 percent of the country is Mudlim. Omani society thus has its roots firmly anchored in Islam. Oman developed its own particular form of Islam early in the Islamic era. Ibadhism is based on the teaching of Abdullah ibn Ibadh (7th century AD). Ibadis are found in other countries, but only in Oman are they the domnate sect of Islam. Paradoxially while the Ibadis' strict adherence to sharia in public and private matters is often described as puritanical, the Ibadis are seen to practice uncharacteristic moderation and tolerance among Arabs towards other views and religions. Ibadhis dominate Omani Islam, but are generally tolerant of other Islamic sects as well as other religions who are allowed to practice their religion in churches and temples. Christins and Hindus are slightly more than 5 percent. There are a small number of Jews and people unafiliated with any religion.
The Omani population inclues Arab, South Asian (Baluchi, Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, and Sri Lankan), and Africans. The great majoity of the population clasifify themselves as Arab. This includes about 75 percent of the population. South Asians constitute the onlysother subsntial group (20 percent). Society is still largely tribal and this has created divisions in the country. There are three major groups in Omani society which to an extent are ethnic based. They include tribe, religion (especually Ibadism, and economic. The Arab component is still tribal and very conservative.
They are the descendants of tribes northern and southern Arabiantribes. The most important are the Hinawis and Ghafiris. Many have for centuries jhad no contact with the outside world. The tribal group over laps with religion, especially the Ibadism. Both the Arabs and Ibadists dominate the interior. Economics also has an ethnic componnt resulting fom centuries of matitime trade in the indian Ocean. As a result, there is a sunstantil South Asian component. South Asians dominate businees and trade and are found in Muscat abd coastal areas. These are the portion of the population that are most and tolerant. The larger Arab population locted in the interior are more tradition and suspscious of foreigners ad foreign ideas. There are tensions between these groiupos, exacerbated by the fact that the south Asians are the most successful group. Omanis of largely African ethnicity are called called Zanzibaris. While ethnicity is obvious, they are through Arabised and Muslim. The only obvious African cultural element is Swahili/Bantu languges. There are no other obvious African cultural patterns. Because they are alargely urban population, they are generally better educated than tribal Arab Omanis. ohus they form the majority of the technocrats within the modernising Omani state. Many Zanzibaris have studied abrod (motly in Britain and Bitish influenced East Africa). Another groups are bedouin. In North Africa and Egypt, the bedouin and Arabs are two destinct ethnic groups which have now o a large extent merged. This is not the case in he Arabian Peninsula. The bedouin are for the not ethnically destinct, but both ethnic Arabs with different lifestyles. One of the important Bedouin tribes are the Bait Kathir. We are not sure abouttheir origins, but they stad out as a primitive group. They developed as a security threat, inpart because they were not sharing in Oman's rising affluence, which of course was largely becuse they refuse to adopt modern lifestyles.
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