Said bin Sultan

Sayyid Saïd bin Sultan al-Busaidi (Arabic: سعيد بن سلطان, Sa‘id bin Sulṭān, Swahili: Saïd bin Sultani) (5 June 1791 – 19 October 1856), was Sultan of Muscat and Oman, the fifth ruler of the Busaid dynasty from 1804 to 4 June 1856. His rule commenced following the death of his father, Sultan bin Ahmad, in November 1804 and a period of conflict and internecine rivalry of succession that followed. He is often referred to as the Lion of Oman (Asaad al Uman), as one of the greatest Omani sultans.[2] Said's uncle Qais bin Ahmad finally agreed to Said's primacy following Said's killing of his cousin, Badar bin Saif, a pretender to the throne. He is noted for having moved his capital to Zanzibar, during which time the Omani Empire reached the zenith of its power and wealth.[3][4]

Said bin Sultan
Sultan of the Omani Empire
PredecessorSultan bin Ahmad
SuccessorThuwaini bin Said (as Sultan of Muscat and Oman)
Majid bin Said (as Sultan of Zanzibar)
Born(1791-06-05)5 June 1791[1]
Samail, Oman
Died19 October 1856(1856-10-19) (aged 65)
Makusurani Cemetery
Sa‘id bin Sulṭān al-Bu’saidi
سعيد بن سلطان
DynastyAl Said
FatherSultan bin Ahmad
MotherSayyida Ghanneyeh bint Saif Al-Busaidi
ReligionIbadi Islam

Early years

Said bin Sultan was son of Sultan bin Ahmed, who ruled Oman from 1792 to 1804. Sultan bin Ahmed died in 1804 on an expedition to Basra. He appointed Mohammed bin Nasir bin Mohammed al-Jabry as the Regent and guardian of his two sons, Salim bin Sultan and Said bin Sultan.[5] Sultan's brother Qais bin Ahmad, the ruler of Sohar, decided to attempt to seize power. Early in 1805 Qais and his brother Mohammed marched south along the coast to Muttrah, which he easily captured. Qais then started to besiege Muscat. Mohammed bin Nasir tried to bribe Qais to leave, but did not succeed.[5]

Mohammed bin Nasir called on Badr bin Saif for help.[5] After a series of engagements, Qais was forced to retire to Sohar. Badr bin Saif became the effective ruler.[6] Allied with the Wahhabis, Badr bin Saif became increasingly unpopular.[7] To get his wards out of the way, Badr bin Saif made Salim bin Sultan governor of Al Maşna‘ah, on the Batinah coast and Said bin Sultan governor of Barka.[8]

In 1806, Said bin Sultan lured Badr bin Saif to Barka and murdered him nearby. Said was proclaimed ruler of Oman. There are different accounts of what happened, but it seems clear that Said struck the first blow and his supporters finished the job. Said was acclaimed by the people as a liberator from the Wahhabis, who left the country. Qais bin Ahmad at once gave his support to Said. Nervous of the Wahhabi reaction, Said blamed Mohammed bin Nasir for the murder.[1]


Said bin Sultan became the sole ruler of Oman, apparently with the consent of his brother. Their aunt, the daughter of the Imam Ahmad bin Said al-Busaidi, seems to have influenced this decision.[9]

In 1820, he launched a punitive expedition against the Bani Bu Ali with the assistance of the East India Company. It was defeated, but the following year a larger Company force returned and defeated the tribe.[10]

In 1835, he ratified a treaty with the United States on very favorable terms, that had been negotiated by Edmund Roberts at Muscat on 21 September 1833,[11] and returned by USS Peacock.[12]

In 1837, he conquered Mombasa, Kenya. In 1840, Said moved his capital from Muscat, Oman, to Stone Town, Zanzibar where Richard Waters was American Consul,[13] and sent a ship to the United States to try to further a trading relationship.[14]

In 1843 he nominated a nominal representative in Mogadishu and was forced to pay tribute to Sultan Yusuf Mahamud Ibrahim of the Geledi Sultanate.[15]

Upon Said's death in 1856, his realm was divided. His third son, Thuwaini bin Said, became the Sultan of Muscat and Oman, and his sixth son, Majid bin Said, became the Sultan of Zanzibar.

The National Museum of Oman in Muscat houses numerous items of silverware and other possessions that belonged to Said.


Said had 36 children

  1. Sayyid Sultan bin Said al-Said (ca. 1815–1851): an alcoholic, according to Ruete (Ch. 15), he left three sons, Saud, Faisal, and Muhammed
  2. Sayyid Khalid bin Said al-Said (c.1819–1854)
  3. Sayyid Thuwaini bin Said al-Said (also called Tueni) (−1866): Sultan of Muscat and Oman, 1856–1866
  4. Sayyid Muhammad bin Said al-Said (1826–1863): he "...was considered the most pious of our entire family.... cared little for the world and worldly goods.... possessed by... antipathy against Zanzibar" (Ch. 14, Ruete); he lived most of his life in Oman; father of Hamoud bin Mohammed, Sultan of Zanzibar.
  5. Sayyid Turki bin Said (1832–1888): Sultan of Muscat and Oman, 1871–1888
  6. Sayyid Majid bin Said Al-Busaid (1834/5-1870): 1st Sultan of Zanzibar, 1856–1870
  7. Sayyid Ali bin Said al-Said (?-1893)
  8. Sayyid Barghash bin Said Al-Busaid (1837–1888): 2nd Sultan of Zanzibar, 1870–1888
  9. Sayyid Abdu'l-Wahhab bin Said al-Said (1840–1866)
  10. Sayyid Jamshid bin Said al-Said (1842–1870)
  11. Sayyid Hamdan bin Said al-Said (1843–1858)
  12. Sayyid Ghalib bin Said al-Said
  13. Sayyid Sawedan bin Said al-Said (1845–?)
  14. Sayyid Abdu'l-Aziz bin Said al-Said (1850–1907)
  15. Sayyid Khalifah bin Said Al-Busaid, 3rd Sultan of Zanzibar (1852–1890): Sultan of Zanzibar, 1888–1890
  16. Sayyid Hamad bin Said al-Said
  17. Sayyid Shuwaid bin Said al-Said
  18. Sayyid Abbas bin Said al-Said
  19. Sayyid Manin bin Said al-Said
  20. Sayyid Ali bin Said Al-Busaid, 4th Sultan of Zanzibar (1854–1893): Sultan of Zanzibar, 1890–1893
  21. Sayyid Badran bin Said al-Said (?-1887)
  22. Sayyid Nasir bin Said al-Said (also called Nasor) (?-1887) went to Mecca with his older sister Chadudj: died in his twenties
  23. Sayyid Abdu'l-Rab bin Said al-Said (?-1888)
  24. Sayyid Ahmad bin Said al-Said
  25. Sayyid Talib bin Said al-Said
  26. Sayyid Abdullah bin Said al-Said
  27. Sayyida Sharîfe of Zanzibar and Oman: the daughter of a Circassian woman, she was "a dazzling beauty with the complexion of a German blonde. Besides, she possessed a sharp intellect, which made her into a faithful advisor of my father's" (described in Ruete, Ch. 15)
  28. Sayyida Chole (or Khwala) of Zanzibar and Oman (died 1875): the daughter of a Mesopotamian woman, she "was particularly close to our father; her enchanting personality, her cheerfulness and charm won him over completely" (Ruete, Ch. 15)
  29. Sayyida Aashe of Zanzibar and Oman: full sister of Chole; after the death of their brother Hilal (1851), she "took motherly care of his eldest son Suud" (Ruete)
  30. Sayyida Chadudj of Zanzibar and Oman: full sister of Majid; after his death (1870), she went with her younger brother Nasir to Mecca and died not long afterward (Ruete)
  31. Sayyida Shewâne of Zanzibar and Oman: the daughter of an Abyssinian woman; "a classical beauty ... endowed with a keen mind", she died early (Ruete)
  32. Sayyida Mettle of Zanzibar and Oman: the daughter of an Abyssinian woman, she married a "distant cousin" in Stonetown and had "two charming twin boys" (Ruete)
  33. Sayyida Zeyâne of Zanzibar and Oman: the daughter of an Abyssinian woman (Ruete)
  34. Sayyida Semsem of Zanzibar and Oman: full sister of Zeyâne, she was married "rather late in life [to] our distant cousin Humud" (Ruete)
  35. Sayyida Nunu of Zanzibar and Oman: the daughter of a Circassian woman, she was born blind; after the deaths of her parents, she lived with her sister Aashe (Ruete)
  36. Sayyida Salme of Zanzibar and Oman (1844–1924): she became known as Emily Ruete[16]from then



  1. Miles 1919, p. 309.
  2. Nicolini, Beatrice (1999). Saiyid bin Sultan al Bu Saidi of Oman and his relationship with Europe. Aram. pp. 159–161.
  3. Lorimer, John Gordon (1915). Gazetter of the Persian Gulf Vol 1. Bombay: British Government. pp. 437–440.
  4. "Saʿīd ibn Sulṭān | ruler of Muscat, Oman, and Zanzibar". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-10-30.
  5. Miles 1919, p. 304.
  6. Miles 1919, p. 305.
  7. Miles 1919, p. 307.
  8. Miles 1919, p. 308.
  9. Badger 1871, p. 144.
  10. Peterson 2013.
  11. Cotheal 2008.
  12. Ruschenberger 1838.
  13. Gilbert 2011.
  14. Barrett 1863.
  15. Shillington, Kevin (2005). Encyclopedia of African History, Volume 2. Fitzroy Dearborn. p. 990. ISBN 9781579584542.
  16. Ruete 1888.


Further reading

  • Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar, Emily Ruete, 1888. (Many reprints). Author (1844–1924) was born Princess Salme of Zanzibar and Oman and was a daughter of Sayyid Said. In the fifteenth chapter of her book, she describes her sisters and two of her brothers (Hilal and Thuweini).
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