Español

A Short History of Oman

You are here: Countries / Oman



For many years, the Dhofar region found on the southeast part of Oman, bordering Yemen, was famous for its incense. The Old World was witness to its rise as the global exporter of olibanum or frankincense (fragrant resin acquired from Boswellia trees used to produce incense and perfumes). Incense was a commodity sold throughout the world because even in the olden times, a lot of religious rituals and spiritual ceremonies involved the use of incense. This practice actually lasts up to this day, but presently, most of Oman’s frankincense is employed locally and Somalia has taken its place as the primary exporter of the said product.

The first kingdom in Oman was established by one of the Arab chiefs of Hira (part of Mesopotamia) during the early days of the 3rd century A.D. This kingdom was also first to retain its independence and it lasted until the earliest caliphate. Islam came to Oman in the 7th Century and was easily accepted by the Omanis. By 751, they nominated their first imam (Islamic leader.) Three centuries later, the Qarmatians and the Seljuks successively occupied Oman.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in the territory. They conquered Muscat (Oman was previously Muscat and Oman) but were challenged by – the British, the Iranians, and the Dutch forces. In 1650, the Portuguese were expelled from Muscat. Years later, in 1741, Iranians were driven out as well by the leadership of Imam Ahmed bin Said. He likewise became the founder of the first dynasty and became sultan in 1861. In the 19th century, Oman settled special relations with Great Britain.

There were internal conflicts in Oman out of rivalries between its leaders. There were shifts from turbulence to calm from 1913 to 1954. The disputes were finally put to an end with the aid of the British in 1959, when the sultan’s forces were eliminated.

In 1970, Qabus bin Said became the new ruler and by his command, the name of the country was changed from Muscat and Oman to Oman. This move was long contested but persisted nonetheless. According to Qabus bin Said, this was done to represent the country’s unity.

Share this page: