|Fig.1: The greatest contribution |
Zanzibar has ever given the world,
suspenders and all.
Archaeologists believe that Zanzibar has been inhabited for at least 20,000 years; since it is an island about twenty miles off the coast of the mainland, it must have been pretty difficult to "Keep Yourself Alive" with food and a fresh-water supply if you were an Ancient Zanzibarian. But they succeeded, and Zanzibar Town on the west side of the island is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in Africa, which is one of the few accolades with "oldest" and "Africa" in it that the Egyptians haven't snagged up. A first century Greek text on ports in the Indian Ocean refers to an island named Menuthias in the location of Zanzibar, and praises its booming trade of tortoise shells, as well as even cryptically refers to "Fat Bottomed Girls" putting on a "Bicycle Race." Zanzibar was certainly one-of-a-kind even back then!
|Fig.2: Zanzibar's Stone Town, where all the buildings,|
monuments, and streets are constructed from stone.
As such, its town motto is the quite literal: "It's a
History would begin to change for Zanzibar upon Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama's visit in 1498, as it became under the influence of seafaring Europeans proclaiming, "I Want it All!" While technically a part of the Portuguese Empire from the early 16th century, Zanzibar continued to rule itself, and only had to deal with those annoying Europeans when they came by for trade, taxes, or drunken doorbell ditching. This ended in the 1630s when the Sultan, under the influence of his wife later nicknamed the "Killer Queen," ordered the slaughter of all European inhabitants on the island, as well as the destruction of all of the albums of band named Europe (especially since they're not nearly as good as Queen). From that point, Portugal took a more hands-on approach to treating Zanzibar as poorly as every other colony they possessed. With cries of "Save Me," Zanzibar invited Saif bin Sultan, ruler of an Arabian kingdom called Oman who was looking to expand into Africa, to come down and get rid of those pesky Portuguese. He succeeded in 1698 (with "We Are the Champions" in the background), and helped to solidify Islam as the dominant religion on the island.
|Fig.3: The Anglo-Zanzibar War took 39 minutes, which |
is "Bohemian Rhapsody" played six-and-a-half times.
Coincidence? I think not!
Zanzibar remained under British control until the 1960s. This was around the time that African nations were crying out, "I Want to Break Free" and declaring independence, with most European powers just shrugging their shoulders and saying, "Oh well, 'Another One Bites the Dust.'" Zanzibar achieved their independence in 1963, and celebrated their freedom in the wrong manner by overthrowing the Sultan and killing up to 20,000 people of Arab and Indian decent. A 17-year-old Farrokh Bulsara and his family decided to flee to England during this time (since he was Parsi Indian), and luckily fell in with the right crowd, eventually forming Queen with some school chums. Zanzibar eventually settled down as well, as they decided to say "You're My Best Friend" to their eastward neighbor of Tanganyika. In 1964, the two nations merged governments, names, and shelf-space in the fridge to become the present-day county of Tanzania.
|Fig.4: It's nice that Zanzibar had "Somebody to Love" in order to help create the nation of Tanzania.|