The Shortest War in History
On August 27, 1896, Great Britain began a war against Zanzibar. This war would be the shortest war in world history.
First, a little background. The main island of the country of Zanzibar was Unguja or Zanzibar Island. Portuguese settlers had claimed it in 1499. The Sultans of Oman expelled the Portuguese in 1698, after which the island was under nominal control of the Sultans. In 1858, Sultan Majid bin Said declared Zanzibar Island independent from Oman, and the sultanate was split from Oman and recognized by Great Britain. In 1873, a British ultimatum and threat of blockade forced Barghash bin Said, the second sultan, to end the slave trade. After this, the capital was established in Zanzibar Town and a palace complex was built near the sea, consisting of three main buildings connected by covered bridges: the palace, the attached harem, or Beit al-Hukm, and a ceremonial palace, called the Beit al-Ajaib or “House of Wonders.”