First Sultan of Zanzibar: Scrambling for Power in the Nineteenth-Century Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean was long one of the world’s most important trade zones, controlled by Arab and Indian merchants. But in the 19th century, the British-French rivalry spilled over into the Indian Ocean. Pirates looted, adventurers sought their fortunes, and Italian spies and American whalers got in on the action. Meanwhile, the Omanis consolidated their empire, and Sa’id bin Sultan moved the imperial capital to Zanzibar and manipulated the British-French rivalry to his advantage, with the slave trade playing a critical role. In this volume, Nicolini provides a colorful portrait of a turbulent time.

Beatrice Nicolini, author, graduated in the Faculty of Political Science, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan, Italy, where she teaches History and Institutions of Africa. She has a degree in International Relations and Comparative Government from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in History of Africa from Siena University, Italy. Her doctoral research focused on Southwestern Asia, the Persian/ Arab Gulf, and sub-Saharan East Africa. The history of the Indian Ocean, together with slave routes and development issues in sub-Saharan East Africa, is the focus of her current research, which she explores through archive and field-work investigations. She has published nearly 100 texts, most of them peer-reviewed in English and some also translated into Arabic. A contributor to numerous international workshops and conferences, Professor Nicolini often has been the only Italian scholar invited to participate in these meetings.