The Shortest War in History: How to end a war in 45 minutes!

April 08, 2019
Wars are supposed to be long and tedious affairs, but it was not the case when Zanzibar Sultanate decided to take on the British. Their military conflict, which took place on 27th August, 1896, was like a movie played in fast forward, and lasted somewhere between 38 to 45 minutes!

If the history buff inside you isn't satisfied, fear not, we do have a summary of the whole conflict, and we will keep it very short, just like our war! Well, Zanzibar Sultanate was a protectorate of the British, and according to the treaty of 1886, it required the permission of the British  consul in matters which involved the throne. But when Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini died on 25th August, Sultan Khalid bin Barghash succeeded him, which did not go down well with the British. Well, it so happened that the dead Sultan was pro-British, and Sultan Barghash was not quite fond of them (well, I wouldn't blame him). The British then issued an ultimatum, instructing him to leave, and as soon as it expired on 27th August, 1896, at 9:00 EAT, the British paid them a visit with three cruisers, gunboats, 150 marines and sailors, like good old colonial lords, led by Rear Admiral Harry Rawson, and faced the Zanzibaris, led by Brigadier General Llyod Mathews, who had around 2,800 Zanzibaris, excluding the machine guns. The Sultan had barricaded himself inside the palace during this whole offending the British saga, and after the short stand-off, the British shot down the flag, and the war was abruptly over at 9:40! 

Sultan Khalid eventually had to seek asylum in the German consulate, and the British got the puppet government they had always fantasized about. A lot has happened since then, and I won't blame you for thinking that the war seemed like one full episode of some Netflix series, except that nobody got to chill.

Post Written by - Lopamudra

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