Chronology I Sultans
A former centre of the spice and slave trades, present-day Zanzibar is infused with African, Arabic, European and Indian influences.
Its original settlers were Bantu-speaking Africans. From the 10th century Persians arrived. But it was the Arab incomers, particularly Omanis, whose influence would be paramount.
The Arabs set up trading colonies and in 1832 the Omani sultan moved his capital from Muscat to Zanzibar, by now a major slave-trading hub. Zanzibar become an independent sultanate.
The slave trade was abolished in 1873 and in 1890 the British declared Zanzibar a protectorate. In 1963 the islands regained independence, but upheaval lay around the corner.
In January 1964 members of the African majority overthrew the established minority Arab ruling elite.
A republic was established and in April the presidents of Zanzibar and Tanganyika, on the mainland, signed an act of union, forming the United Republic of Tanzania while giving semi-autonomy to Zanzibar.