Oman Arabs

  • After the final defeat of the Portuguese in 1698, the Oman Arabs imposed themselves at the E.African coast as the new rulers.
  • Mombasa was to become the centre of Oman rule at the coast.

Why the Oman Arabs wished to control the East African coast

  • Politically, the Oman Arabs wanted to exercise their political powers by imposing themselves as the new rulers of the coast.
  • The Oman Arabs also wanted to impose taxes on the East African coastal people so as to generate revenue for their country Oman.
  • The Oman Arabs wanted to rule the coast as compensation for helping the coastal people defeat the Portuguese i.e. they believed that their help was not for free.
  • The East African coast was free from conflicts compared to Oman which had the Yorubi – Busaidi family conflicts.
  • The Oman Arabs wanted to control the coast to make sure that the Portuguese did not return e.g in 1778 the Portuguese tried to re-capture Fort Jesus which scared the Oman Arabs. 
  • Mombasa which was under the Mazrui Arabs was rebellions to Oman rule, therefore the Oman Arabs wanted to crush Mombasa and set an example to other towns.
  • Economically, the Oman Arabs wanted to gain from the profitable Indian Ocean trade e.g they wanted to control the gold wealth in Kilwa.
  • The coastal climate was favorable for agriculture compared to the arid conditions in Oman.
  • The coast was blessed with fertile soils for agriculture hence the Oman Arabs wanted to set up plantations.
  • The East African coast was also strategic enough with good natural harbors which could allow big ships to anchor.
  • The Oman Arabs wanted to effectively exploit the cheap slave labour at the coast i.e. they did not want to use fellow Muslims as workers.
  • Socially, the Oman Arabs wanted to strengthen and spread Islam which had greatly declined during the Portuguese rule.
  • The Oman Arabs wanted to maintain social and culture ties with their Muslim brothers at the coast.