Muscat, the capital of Oman

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Muscat, the capital of Oman, is the perfect place to understand the Arab country that most of all rests its fortune on the sea

Origins

The first remains of Muscat date back to 6000 BC. and they testify how, since ancient times, it has represented a leading landing place for trade between India and the Mediterranean, so much so that it is even reported by the Greek geographer Ptolemy. Thanks to its strategic position and the incredible skill of its sailors, Muscat will be among the first Arab cities to distinguish itself in the world, attracting the craving of the Sassanids.

Muscat

The latter arrived there in the 3rd century AD, but were then driven out with the arrival of Islam in the 7th century, which further increased the value and fame of the city. The Azd, the tribe then in power, were able to fully exploit the potential of the new “Islamic state”, managing to make Muscat one of the most important centers for all trade with India.

Nabhani and Portuguese

In the 9th century the Ibadi, a particular current of Islam, took power for the first time in Oman, managing in a very short time to unite all the tribes of the hinterland, but causing the Abbasids to anger. The latter, still troubled by the clashes between Shiites and Sunnis, saw in this interpretation a problem to public order, so much so that they conquered the country in those years and reigned there until the 11th century. The arrival of the Seljuks will put an end to the Arab dynasty and will allow the creation of new ones which, free from the subjection of Baghdad, managed to develop more than ever. The Nabhani, in particular, will soon gain control of all of Oman, driving out the invaders and placing the Ibadi as the country’s dominant confession.

Muscat

Thanks to their close alliances with their Indian neighbors, they were able in a short time to bring Muscat back to the glories of the time, bringing however an ever greater discontent to the inhabitants of the hinterland, who felt placed in the background. In 1507, the city was conquered by the Portuguese, who placed it under their dominion until 1624, even managing to withstand several Ottoman and Persian sieges.

The Ya’rubids and the golden age of Oman

On that date, in fact, Nasir bin Murshid was elected ad imam, who quickly distinguished himself as one of the greatest local political leaders. Within 20 years he expelled all the Portuguese, even managing to found the Ya’rubid dynasty, destined to make Oman a country of extraordinary power.

Muscat

This family will in fact expand its borders even in Africa, transforming Oman into the richest, most influential and important country in the entire Arabian Peninsula. However, as always in these cases, this power corrupted more and more the ruling family which, starting from 1718, started enormous fratricidal struggles that even brought the Persians of Nadir Shah into the country. With the fall of the Ya’rubids, the Al Bu Saidi will emerge, a dynasty that still governs Oman today.

The sultan Qaboos

In the 19th century, under the rule of Said bin Sultan, the kingdom was divided into smaller sultanates, forming, over time, the borders we know today. In the middle of the same century, however, the inhabitants of the hinterland returned to feel the inequality of treatment with their compatriots on the coast, starting a long series of skirmishes culminating in the Dhofar War. Starting in 1962, much of the region had expressed a strong discontent with the favorable treatments reserved for the British, coming to form a real source of liberation, which was even supported by Russia and China.

Muscat
Sultan Qaboos as a young man

The ascent to the throne of Sultan Qaboos and a decisive British and Persian intervention, however, put an end to the question, giving way to the modernization of the country. The new ruler had such a great impact on the country that he was considered the de facto father. Starting from his arrival, in fact, the distinctions between hinterland and Muscat were eliminated, innovations such as electricity and oil, a new school system and a new role in local geopolitics were brought. In a short time, in fact, Oman managed to earn the nickname of “Switzerland of the Arab world” thanks to a series of complicated political relations of the new sovereign, which will guarantee the country a very precious role of international mediation. Sultan Qaboos died in 2020 and, in the absence of heirs, he was succeeded by his cousin Haytham bin Tariq Al Sa’id, former minister of culture.

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