Oman has often been considered to be identical to the
land of Magan, which is mentioned in Sumerian texts
from the 21st century BC. From this time, settlements based
on fishing, agriculture and trade are occupied. From the
300s BC belonged to the Hadramawt area. During the 20th
century AD came the supremacy to be divided between the
kingdom of the Hymians in the south and Sasanid Iran.
Oman was Islamized from 630 and came to embrace the
ibaditic doctrine with its own imamate. (See religion above
and kharijites.) See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Oman. It was a relatively stable and prosperous
society that lived on trade, shipping and pearl fishing.
During the 12th century, Sohar was the largest and most
important city in the area, and Omani sailors sailed all the
way to China.
The Portuguese conquered in 1507 i.a. Muscat but was
driven from there and from the rest of Oman in 1650. Muscat,
which was the center of an independent area, extended its
empire and conquered from the end of the 17th century to
about 1730 former Portuguese possessions in East Africa.
About 1749 Ahmad ibn Said (died 1783) was elected imam. He
founded the Al Bu Said dynasty, which still governs Oman.
Around 1790, Imam Said ibn Ahmad moved the capital from
ar-Rustaq in the interior of Oman to Muscat, where he
established a new, hereditary sovereignty for his family.
This led to two rival rulers: one secular under the Sultan
of Muscat and one religious under a chosen imam in the
interior, whose tribes did not accept the Sultan.
Under Said ibn Sultan's rule (1806-56), Oman was the
largest colonies and included, among other things, Zanzibar,
where cultivation of cloves began. In 1829, Dhofar became
part of Oman. Britain, which had been acting as a protective
force for Muscat from the end of the 18th century, gained
increasing influence through treaties concluded to stop it
for the profitable slave trade of Oman. The economy was also
degraded by the loss of possessions in East Africa, and the
Imamat seized the opportunity and conquered Muscat in 1868.
However, with British aid, the Sultanate, who also sought to
take control of the interior of Oman at the expense of the
Imam's power, resurrected. Uprising and fighting ensued
between the formally united Muscat and the interior of Oman,
until peace was concluded in 1920.
Oman formally became free in 1951 as Muskat and Oman,
but British influence persisted. New battles erupted in 1954
after the death of the Imam, after the Sultan failed to be
elected to the Imam and the new Imam sought to establish a
separate Imam. With British help, Sultan Said ibn Taymur
gained control of the country in 1959, and the imamate was
obliterated. The Arab world protested and raised the issue
of Oman's status at the UN. In 1965, a serious uprising
broke out in Dhofar. It was defeated in 1975 with the help
of British, Jordanian and Iranian troops. In 1970, Said ibn
Taymur - probably with British involvement - was deposed by
his son Qabus ibn Said, who began a modernization of the
backward and isolated Oman.
Oman's strategic location has attracted both regional and
international powers. Good relations have been established
with the US, which has military bases in the country.
Relations with neighboring states have gradually improved;
the same applies to many Arab states, France and Israel.
In 1981, Oman, together with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the
United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar founded the Gulf
Cooperation Council, the GCC, which developed into a free
trade area and gradually became a customs union. This does
not mean that Oman has given up its cautious and independent
foreign policy. The country strives to be neutral. For
example, diplomatic relations with both Iraq and Iran were
maintained during the war between these countries 1980-88.
Oman's relations with Iran are generally good.
The domestic political scene in Oman has been mostly
calm, but in connection with the Arab Spring 2011, unrest
also erupted in Oman. Protesters demanded jobs and political
reform. Sultan Qabus promptly issued pledges to meet the
protesters. These promises were repeated before the election
of representatives to the Consultative Council (Majlis
al-Shura) in October 2011.