An independent State, in South-eastern Arabia, whose integrity has been guaranteed by Great Britain and France. Oman extends along the southern shore of the gulf of that name from the entrance into the Persian Gulf to the extreme eastern point of Arabia, and thence S.W. as far as Ras Sajir, lat. 16° 8″ N. The coast line is nearly 1,000 miles long. Inland Oman is bounded on the S.W. by the great desert. Area, 82,000 square miles; population, estimated at 500,000, chiefly Arabs, but there is a strong infusion of negro blood, especially along the coast. The towns of Muskat and Muttrah hardly contain an Arab, being inhabited almost entirely by Baluchis and Negroes. The capital, Muskat, and the adjacent town of Muttrah have together about 20,000 inhabitants. Less than a fifth of this number now live in Muskat itself, which is in the last stages of decay and mostly in ruins. Muskat was occupied by the Portuguese from 1508 to the middle of the seventeenth century. After various vicissitudes it was recovered in the eighteenth century by Ahmed bin Sa’eed, of Yemenite origin, who was elected Imam in 1741, and whoso family has since ruled, though under the title of Sultans for the last three generations. From 1913, the last year of the reign of the late Sultan, till October 1920, the interior of Oman Proper was in rebellion. The tribes elected an Imam, who, assisted by a Council of Sheikhs established paramount authority over the whole of the interior, and even threatened the coast towns. By an agreement signed at Sib, in October 1920, between the tribes and the Sultan through the mediation of the Political Agent, peaceful relations were re-established between the two parties, on the basis of home rule for the tribes of the interior and complete freedom of intercourse and trade. The Sultan’s direct control therefore now only extends along the sea coast.
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