Since 1890, the sultanate of Zanzibar, located on the east coast of Africa, the current state of Tanzania, was a British protectorate. When the Sultan of Zanzibar, Sayyid Hamid bin Said Thuwain died August 25, 1896, Khalid bin Saeed, a usurper hostile to the British seized power.
Having rejected the ultimatum of the United Kingdom, he erects defenses against the Indian Ocean and involves 2,800 troops. The British government on Zanzibar dispatch the fleet of Admiral Harry H. Rawson (1843 -1910) of the Royal Navy to stop this regime.
On August 27, 1896, British ships bombard Zanzibar destroying shore batteries and an old steam yacht belonging to armed self-proclaimed new Sultan.
He organized the resistance, but the balance of power is too uneven in terms of both quality and quantity weapons.
Taking note of the defeat of his troops, the usurper fled to the German consulate where he received political asylum for 38 days. On October 2, 1896, he was evacuated to Dar es Salaam where he lived fifteen years, while a new sultan Hamoud ibn Muhammad, favorable to the British head Zanzibar.
This battle, which lasted 40 minutes and killed more than 500 Zanzibaris is considered as the shortest in history.
In January 1964, Zanzibar became an independent republic and in October 1964, it formed with the Tanganyika, the Republic of Tanzania.