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Saif bin Sultan

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Title: Saif bin Sultan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Yaruba dynasty, Saif bin Sultan II, Oman, Comoros, 1711 deaths
Collection: 1711 Deaths, Omani Ibadi Muslims, Omani Imams, Omani Monarchy, Yaruba Dynasty, Year of Birth Unknown
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Saif bin Sultan

Saif bin Sultan
Imam of Oman
Rulers of Oman
Reign 1692-1711
Predecessor Bil'arab bin Sultan
Successor Sultan bin Saif II
Dynasty Yaruba

Saif bin Sultan was the fourth of the Yaruba dynasty Imams of Oman, a member of the Ibadi sect. He ruled from 1692 to 1711. His navy achieved important victories over the Portuguese in East Africa, where Omani presence became firmly established on the coast.

Early years

Saif bin Sultan was the son of the second Yaruba Imam, Sultan bin Saif. On his father's death his brother Bil'arab bin Sultan became Imam in 1679. Later Saif bin Sultan fell out with his brother, built up his forces and besieged Bil'arab in Jabrin. After Bil'arab died there in 1692/93 Saif bin Sultan became Imam.[1]


The castle of Rustaq

Saif bin Sultan invested in improving agriculture, building aflaj in many parts of the interior to provide water, and planting date palms in the Al Batinah Region to encourage Arabs to move from the interior and settle along the coast.[2] He built new schools.[3] He made the castle of Rustaq his residence, adding the Burj al Riah wind tower.[4]

Saif bin Sultan continued the struggle against the Portuguese on the East African coast.[2] In 1696 his forces attacked Mombasa, besieging 2,500 people who had taken refuge in Fort Jesus. The Siege of Fort Jesus ended after 33 months when the thirteen survivors of famine and smallpox surrendered.[5] Soon after the Omanis took Pemba Island, Kilwa and Zanzibar.[2] They now became the dominant power on the coast.[5]

The expansion of Omani power included the first large-scale settlement of Zanzibar by Omani migrants.[6] Saif bin Sultan appointed Arab governors to the city states of the coast before he returned to Oman. Later, many of these were to come under the control of Muhammed bin Uthman al-Mazrui, governor of Mombasa, and his descendants, the Mazrui, who made only nominal acknowledgement of the suzerainty of Oman.[7] Saif bin Sultan also encouraged piracy against the merchant trade of India, Persia and even of Europe.[8]

Death and legacy

Saif bin Sultan died on 4 October 1711. He was buried in the castle of Rustaq in a handsome tomb, later destroyed by a Wahhabi general.[8] At his death he had great wealth, said to include 28 ships, 700 male slaves and one third of Oman's date trees. He was succeeded by his son Sultan bin Saif II

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