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The Sultan Who Never Ruled Zanzibar Goes Back

After more than half a century of living in Southsea, Portsmouth, with its unpredictable British weather, shingle beaches and Victorian pier, relocation to the Gulf state of Oman might take some adjustment. But for Jamshid bin Abdullah al-Said the 91-year-old last sultan of Zanzibar, it was the next best thing to going home. The man who ruled the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago until he was deposed in a bloody revolt in January 1964 finally arrived in Muscat last week. Multiple earlier requests from the sultan to be allowed to live in the Gulf state had been rejected by the government on security grounds. The ex-sultan’s long and unlikely journey from the palm-fringed islands of Zanzibar via the crazy golf courses and amusement parks of Southsea to Muscat came after his short-lived reign ended in revolution. He became sultan of Zanzibar after the death of his father in July 1963. In December that year, the islands – 22 miles off the coast of Tanzania – were granted independence from Britain. Just one month later the sultan was deposed in an insurrection, and a republic was proclaimed.