We asked you five questions about Oman. Here come the answers!
- Who is the current ruler of the country?
Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. He deposed his father, Sultan Said bin Taimur of Muscat & Oman (as it was then known) through a palace coup in 1970 with the help of the British and renamed the country to emphasise its unity.
- For approximately two decades in the mid-nineteenth century the capital of the Sultanate wasn’t in Oman, or even in Arabia, but on an African island. Which?
Zanzibar. It fell under the Sultanate of Muscat & Oman in 1698 and became Sultan Said bin Sultan’s capital in 1834 (or 1840, according to some sources). In his will he split his lands into two principalities: his third son Thuwaini bin Said became Sultan of Muscat & Oman, his sixth son Majid became Sultan of Zanzibar, which was much richer at the time. Majid was supposed to pay an annual tribute to Thuwaini, but stopped after a few years, and Thuwaini was too poor to enforce payment.
- In which decade was slavery outlawed in Oman? For a bonus point, can you name the actual year?
Although the United Kingdom and Muscat & Oman signed a treaty abolishing the slave trade in 1848, slavery itself was abolished in Oman only in 1970 – as part of the economic and social reforms introduced by Qaboos bin Said following his successful coup.
- Given the severe restrictions on expressing political views, messages criticising the regime are sometimes “published” unconventionally by the use of which animal?
Donkeys. The dissidents write their message on the flank of a donkey and set it free to roam the streets. The police are then faced with the quandary of how to seize the donkey while somehow maintaining their dignity.
- Who or what is a khanjar?
It’s an ornamental J-shaped dagger, traditionally worn front and centre at the waist, which forms part of the male national dress and which appears on the national flag. It’s a symbol of manliness and courage.
How did you get on? Why not let us know?