Maritime Empire of Oman: A History of Blossom and Blessing

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The aim of this study is to focus on the history of present-day Oman, which extends over more than one littoral and region, with the object of analyzing different perspectives both chronologically and methodologically. Reshaping our understanding of Oman’s history and presence in Asia and Africa represents a considerable challenge. Between the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 19th century, the red flag of the Omanis created multiple and intersecting ties between the shores of South-Central Asia, the main coasts of Oman itself, and East Africa’s Swahili coast from Mogadishu to Kilwa. Omanis travelled widely and established a presence throughout these regions and coasts, often influencing local cultures and societies. Oman was part of a global unity that long preceded the economic unification of the world that began in the 16th century; along the shores of the Arabian Peninsula, numerous trade relationships had been established between the peoples of the Asian, Arabian and East African coasts, stretching back to time immemorial. These trade links and power relationships were manifested in the elements that constituted an equilibrium around the Arabian Sea, namely, the monsoons, the existence of commercial thalassocracies (the debated merchant-states), the mercantile laws, and the trade routes for spices and ivory. From the 16th century onwards, the European desire to establish a commercial monopoly, and a monopoly in all those factors essential to creating multiple ties, contributed to the consolidation of the red thread that would bind together three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. Oman’s international trade activities over four centuries - from 1500 to 1800 - saw numerous waves of political leaders, brave seafarers, daring merchants and explorers taking part in an escalating competition between political leaders and merchants from every part of Asia and Africa as well as Europe. During the period that saw the European powers’ presence in Oman grow, profound changes took place: new realities emerged throughout the Asian, Arabian and African regions. Against this backdrop, the polarization that followed the struggle against the Portuguese presence in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean also led to the gradual emergence of new Omani dynasties. These issues gave rise to gradual and sporadic acts of unification between the different Omani groups that emerged in the progressive and powerful affirmation of what we might define as the international power of Oman in South-Central Asia, the Gulf and throughout Eastern Africa.
Lingua originaleEnglish
EditoreMinistry of Heritage and Culture, Oman - The Archaeological Heritage of Oman
Numero di pagine150
ISBN (stampa)2842890639
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2020


  • Indian Ocean


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