Representing Postcolonial Zanzibar in Contested Literary, Cultural, and Political Geographies

Authored by: Garth Myers

The Postcolonial World

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138778078
eBook ISBN: 9781315297699
Adobe ISBN: 9781315297682


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In 2015, the United Republic of Tanzania was embroiled in a long constitutional reform crisis, in which Zanzibar is central. Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous polity within Tanzania, consisting of two main islands, Pemba and Unguja. Zanzibar’s relationship to East Africa – politically, culturally and historically – has been a subject of extensive debate for centuries. The islands share a great deal with the Swahili coast, from southern Somalia to northern Mozambique: Zanzibar city Swahili is the language’s standard dialect. The Omani Sultanate, which ruled Zanzibar from the 1690s through 1890, established tariffs and control over ports on the entire coast. 1 Oman extended its informal empire inland to Lake Tanganyika in the nineteenth century. 2 The Sultanate became a British Protectorate in 1890 and was a separate colony from Tanganyika even when the latter shifted from German to British control in 1920, until independence (for Tanganyika in 1961; for Zanzibar in December 1963).

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