Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar

Born a princess Sayyida on the African spice island of Zanzibar, Emily Ruete was brought up in a harem in the Sultan’s palace, naturalized as a German through marriage, and then manipulated by both Germans and British in their efforts to gain control over the island.

Her engrossing memoirs, set against a backdrop of political intrigue in the great age of European colonialism, offer a vivid portrait of nineteenth-century Arab and African life, not only in the palace, but in the city and plantations as well. They also explore relationships within her family and to the Arab and black communities, children’s education, and the role of women in a polygamous society.

Emily Ruete, author, was born Sayyida, Princess of Zanzibar and Oman. In this autobiography, she provides a comparison between a woman’s life in Muslim society and the conditions within the nineteenth-century European bourgeoisie.

Patricia Romero, editor, of Towson State University, is author of Sylvia Pankhurst: Portrait of a Radical and Lamu: History, Society, and Family in an East African Port City (also available from Markus Wiener).