Friday, December 17, 2010
The Shortest War in History
War, as people understand it, is something that doesn’t merely end in a blink of an eye. Rather, it’s usually a long and drawn out process – a process that takes months to years to come to a finale. But the shortest war in history, the Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896, was precisely the former: a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of world history. This war, fought between the United Kingdom and the East African state of Zanzibar, lasted a mere approximate forty minutes from the Britain navy’s initial invasion.
The cause of the war came when the British-supporting ruler Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini died, resulting in succession of the throne of Sultan Khalid bin Barghash – who was not a staunch British supporter. When the United Kingdom’s demand of a new pro-British ruler was not carried out, they declared war on Zanzibar on August 27. At 9:02, the British navy started their bombardment on the palace and its forces. The palace consequently caught on fire, disabling the artillery and crippling their movement. Some 1,000 pro- British Zanzibar citizens raided the palace and the flag was shot down. A cease fire took place at 9:40.
About 500 of the sultan’s forces were suffered casualties while only one lone British sailor was injured. Britain’s victory marked the beginning of direct British control over Zanzibar. Still, in light of all the wars that took place, the Anglo-Zanzibar War was nothing more than a blip in the grand scheme of things.
by Grace Z., Period 8