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Old 19th August 2013, 08:38 AM   #52
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
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Salaams~So that members who have not been previously sent to sleep by my long missives at Kattara for Comment (Actually an excellent resource and well worth the effort to read up) I include from there my potted history of Oman so that all windows of possibility related to external influence on the Omani Battle Sword design can be explored. (I've done it but I may have missed something therefor please feel free to double check) Here it is...with some pointers added by me. Where these refer to important dates on swords etc I have underlined, bracketed and added red colour.



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Quote. "In 751AD Ibadi Muslims, a moderate branch of the Kharijites, established an imamate in Oman. Despite interruptions, the Ibadi imamate survived until the mid-20th century. (It is this point in time that my hypothesis places the origin for the design of the Old Omani Battle Sword.)But Oman was nonetheless conquered by several foreign powers, having been controlled by the Qarmatians between 931–932 and then again between 933–934.Between 967 and 1053, Oman was part of the domain of the Iranian Buyyids, and between 1053 and 1154, Oman was part of the Great Seljuk empire.

In 1154, the indigenous Nabhani dynasty took control of Oman, and the Nabhani kings ruled Oman until 1470, with an interruption of 37 years between 1406 and 1444.

Muscat was taken by the Portuguese on 1 April 1515, and was held until 26 January 1650, although the Ottomans controlled Muscat between 1550–1551 and 1581–1588. In about the year 1600, Nabhani rule was temporarily restored to Oman, although that lasted only to 1624, when fifth imamate, which is also known as the Yarubid Imamate ensued.. The latter recaptured Muscat from the Portuguese in 1650 after a colonial presence on the northeastern coast of Oman dating to 1508. The Yarubid dynasty expanded, acquiring former Portuguese colonies in East Africa and engaging in the slave trade. By 1719 dynastic succession led to the nomination of Saif ibn Sultan II. His candidacy prompted a rivalry among the ulama and a civil war between the two major tribes, the Hinawi and the Ghafiri, with the Ghafiri supporting Saif ibn Sultan II. He assumed power in 1748 after the leaders of both factions had been killed in battle, but the rivalry continued, with the factionalization working in favor of the Iranians, who occupied Muscat and Sohar in 1743.

The Iranians had occupied the coast before—indeed the coast was often the possession of various empires. These empires brought order to the religious and ethnic diversity of the population of this cosmopolitan region. Yet the intervention on behalf of an unpopular dynasty brought about a revolt. The leader of the revolt, Ahmad ibn Said al Said, was elected sultan of Muscat upon the expulsion of the Persians. The position of Sultan of Muscat would remain in the possession of the Al Said clan even when the imamate of Oman remained out of reach.

The Al Said clan became a royal dynasty when Ahmad ibn Said Al Said was elected imam following the expulsion of the Iranians from Muscat in 1744. (At this point the flexible Omani Dancing Sword appeared designed specifically for pageant and march past and review of/by tribal infantry before the Ruler.)Like its predecessors, Al Said dynastic rule has been characterized by a history of internecine family struggle, fratricide, and usurpation. Apart from threats within the ruling family, there was the omnipresent challenge from the independent tribes of the interior who rejected the authority of the sultan, recognizing the imam as the sole legitimate leader and pressing, by resort to arms, for the restoration of the imamate.

Schisms within the ruling family were apparent before Ahmad ibn Said's death in 1783 and were later manifest with the division of the family into two main lines, the Sultan ibn Ahmad Al Said (r. 1792–1806) line controlling the maritime state, with nominal control over the entire country; and the Qais branch, with authority over the Al Batinah and Ar Rustaq areas. During the period of Sultan Said ibn Sultan Al Said's rule (1806–1856), Oman cultivated its East African colonies, profiting from the slave trade. As a regional commercial power in the 19th century, Oman held territories on the island of Zanzibar off the coast of East Africa, the area along the coast of East Africa known as Zanj including Mombasa and Dar es Salaam, and until 1958 in Gwadar (in present-day Pakistan) on the coast of the Arabian Sea. But when the British declared slavery illegal in the mid-19th century, the sultanate's fortunes reversed. The economy collapsed, and many Omani families migrated to Zanzibar. The population of Muscat fell from 55,000 to 8,000 between the 1850s and 1870s. Most of the overseas possessions were seized by the United Kingdom and by 1850 Oman was an isolated and poor area of the world.

Late 19th and early 20th centuries

When Sultan Sa'id bin Sultan Al-Busaid died in 1856, his sons quarreled over the succession. As a result of this struggle, the empire—through the mediation of the British Government under the Canning Award—was divided in 1861 into two separate principalities: Zanzibar (with its East African dependencies), and Muscat and Oman.

The death of Sa'id bin Sultan in 1856 prompted a further division: the descendants of the late sultan ruled Muscat and Oman (Thuwaini ibn Said Al-Busaid, r. 1856–1866) and Zanzibar (Mayid ibn Said Al-Busaid, r. 1856–1870); the Qais branch intermittently allied itself with the ulama to restore imamate legitimacy. In 1868 Azzam ibn Qais Al-Busaid (r. 1868–1871) emerged as self-declared imam. Although a significant number of Hinawi tribes recognized him as imam, the public neither elected him nor acclaimed him as such.

Imam Azzan understood that to unify the country a strong, central authority had to be established with control over the interior tribes of Oman. His rule was jeopardized by the British, who interpreted his policy of bringing the interior tribes under the central government as a move against their established order. In resorting to military means to unify Muscat and Oman, Imam Azzam alienated members of the Ghafiri tribes, who revolted in the 1870–1871 period. The British gave Imam Azzam's rival, Turki ibn Said Al-Busaid, financial and political support. Turki ibn Said succeeded in defeating the forces of Imam Azzam, who was killed in battle outside Matrah in January 1871.

Muscat and Oman was the object of Franco-British rivalry throughout the 18th century. During the 19th century, Muscat and Oman and the United Kingdom concluded several treaties of friendship and commerce. In 1908 the British entered into an agreement of friendship. Their traditional association was confirmed in 1951 through a new treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation by which the United Kingdom recognized the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman as a fully independent state.

During the late 19th century and early 20th century, the sultan in Muscat faced rebellion by members of the Ibadi sect residing in the interior of Oman, centered around the town of Nizwa, who wanted to be ruled exclusively by their religious leader, the Imam of Oman. This conflict was resolved temporarily by the Treaty of Seeb, which granted the imam autonomous rule in the interior Imamate of Oman, while recognising the nominal sovereignty of the sultan elsewhere.

The conflict flared up again in 1954, when the new imam led a sporadic 5-year rebellion against the sultan's efforts to extend government control into the interior. The insurgents were defeated in 1959 with British help. "The Buraimi Confrontation" and "The Jebel Akhdar Campaign". The sultan then terminated the Treaty of Seeb and eliminated the office of the Imam. In the early 1960s, the Imam, exiled to Saudi Arabia, obtained support from his hosts and other Arab governments, but this support ended in the 1980s. Zanzibar paid an annual subsidy to Muscat and Oman until its independence in early 1964.

In 1964, a separatist revolt began in Dhofar province. Aided by Communist and leftist governments such as the former South Yemen (People's Democratic Republic of Yemen), the rebels formed the Dhofar Liberation Front, which later merged with the Marxist-dominated Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Arab Gulf (PFLOAG). The PFLOAG's declared intention was to overthrow all traditional Persian Gulf régimes. In mid-1974, the Bahrain branch of the PFLOAG was established as a separate organisation and the Omani branch changed its name to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman (PFLO), while continuing the Dhofar Rebellion".Unquote

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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