13. Sayyid Khalid bin Barghash Al-Busaid was Sultan of Zanzibar for three days, culminating in the shortest war in recorded history
Sayyid Khalid bin Barghash Al-Busaid was the eldest son of the second Sultan of Zanzibar, Sayyid Barghash bin Said Al-Busaid, and the sixth Sultan of Zanzibar in 1896 CE. After the death of Sultan Sayyid Hamad bin Thuwaini, commonly presumed to have been poisoned by Khalid, on August 25, 1896, Khalid himself sought to seize power in the sudden crisis. A protectorate of the British Empire since 1890, the conditions of which demanded approval for any ascension to the throne, Great Britain subsequently refused to recognize Khalid’s claim to the Sultanate of Zanzibar instead preferring the more favorably inclined Hamud bin Muhammad. The failure to uphold the obscure treaty requirement from 1866 was distorted by the British as a casus belli, who issued an immediate order for surrender and resulted in the Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896, the shortest war in recorded history.
Lasting between 38 and 45 minutes, after Khalid had rejected the British ultimatum to surrender and barricaded himself and his men inside the royal palace at Zanzibar Town, on August 27, the British Royal Navy initiated a bombardment against the Zanzibari. On one side were three cruisers, two gunboats, 150 marines, and 900 local militia, whilst Khalid retained approximately 2,800 predominantly untrained local civilian supporters. Disabling the defending artillery and sinking the royal yacht HMS Glasgow, British troops stormed the palace. In the course of the fighting Khalid’s forces suffered an estimated 500 casualties, whilst only one British sailor was injured. By 0940 the fighting was over, with Khalid fleeing capture and escaping to the German consulate for asylum. Concurrently, the British installed Hamud as the new Sultan albeit with greatly reduced independence signaling the dramatic increase of British control over the protectorate. Khalid was smuggled to German East Africa, where, in 1916, he was eventually captured by the British at Dar es Salaam. Exiled to the Seychelles and Saint Helena, Khalid was finally released and allowed to return to East Africa, dying in Mombasa in 1927.