Talk:Anglo-Zanzibar War

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Featured articleAnglo-Zanzibar War is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophyThis article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on November 30, 2008.
Did You Know Article milestones
September 20, 2008Good article nomineeListed
October 9, 2008WikiProject peer reviewReviewed
October 17, 2008WikiProject A-class reviewApproved
October 31, 2008Featured article candidatePromoted
Did You Know A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on August 24, 2008.
Current status: Featured article

POV statement?[edit]

While the war is often seen as a comic episode in military history, it nevertheless exemplifies the late 19th-century colonial policies of the British Empire, including a disregard for local traditions and legitimate governments, a willingness to carry out conflicts with its German rival on the backs of the local population, and a willingness to use its firepower on civilian populations to reach its aims. (I've moved this here from the article for now. — Matt Crypto 23:43, 10 August 2005 (UTC))

Why is there an anti-British statement at the bottom of the page? Can it be removed or rephrased please.. User:

Because it more or less accurately describes the situation, and because it's also pretty much the common interpretation of the conflict amomg historians - I won't mind a more NPOV phrasing (would it be better if the sentence read "Despite blahblah, most historinas agree that..." ?), but I think the paragraph shold be there to counter the common view that the whole episode was some sort of comedy event (the Guinness book entry, for example, reads like the affair was a little joke and conveniently ignores that several hundred people died in the conflict, despite its short duration) -- Ferkelparade π 15:27, 17 May 2005 (UTC))
I don't object if it's a common historical interpretation, but it currently reads like it's someone's personal thoughts on the matter. Maybe it would be better to attribute this sort of commentary to someone -- maybe a quote? — Matt Crypto 15:34, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

I agree. That's a pretty out of order thing to say. Wikipedia is meant to be neutral and clearly that is not a neutral comment. While the British may have been ruthless in their colonisation of Africa, it doesn't warrant a comment such as that. And an administation resulting from a coup d'etat could never be described as a legitimate form of government just because the British may be perceived as an aggressor against it.

Yeah, it's quite clearly editorialising. I've moved it here for now. It could be NPOV'd by adding a "some historians argue that it exemplifies..." at the beginning, but I'd like to see an actual source first. — Matt Crypto 23:41, 10 August 2005 (UTC)
Does "neutral point of view" mean "don't criticise anyone"? SpookyMulder 09:48, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
"No Original Research" means that we don't editorialise. We have to limit ourselves to representing criticisms published in reliable sources on the topic. As I said above, if this is a common historical interpretation on this matter, then we can use it, but we need sources. — Matt Crypto 10:37, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

International Politics[edit]

The article seems to give the detail sufficiently well as it stands but it seems to me it has no context. The German support, if not outright connivance with one candidate was a part of the power struggle between Britain and Germany both globally and in Africa. We ought to tie this into the larger 'scramble for Africa' as that gives a better explanation for why two powers were fighting indirectly over the place.

I think we also ought to make some mention of the consequences - Zanzibar was the centre of the trade and its abolition was a visible and practical change.Alci12

After 2001[edit]

What did the Sultan do after 2001?

Not much? This war took place over a century ago, after all. Double sharp (talk) 04:42, 28 November 2014 (UTC)

his nephew, Khalid bin Bargash, seized power in what amounted to a coup d'état.[edit]

Can someone explain this issue in some more detail? Who was legitimate heir then? To seize power one should overthrow someone, isn't it right? Verdi1 06:09, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

I think the use of the phrase "coup d'état" is a bit misleading. There really was no legitimate heir, as in the Omani/Zanzibari political system the succession went to whomever could seize power, generally due to the consensus support of the notables, which Khalid had, overwhelmingly, which is one of the primary reasons the British were against his succession, as this would make him less dependent upon their support and potentially troublesome, especially given the rivalry with Germany. - John


The discovery channel in the UK is running an advert that says that the war lasted only 38 minutes, along with the fact that is was the shortest war in history. I am unsure if this is good enough for the "citation needed" in the opening paragraph to be replaced however... RaGe 18:26, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

IIRC, this claim is also asserted by the Guiness Book of World Records. -- llywrch (talk) 04:25, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
So if the war was 38 minutes, why was the shelling of the area 45 minutes long? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:40, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps he reached the German embassy 7 minutes before the shelling ended?

I love British policy. I wish it was still gunboatish... -- (talk) 14:33, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

The one and only source (the BBC story) says the shelling started at 9am and stopped at 9.40. I've corrected the end time in the article, and note this is also closer to the "38 minutes" statement in the lead.
I'd also argue a war is continuing while either side is still shooting, so the war really lasted 40 minutes not 38. I also doubt anyone was exactly timing it, so about 40 minutes seems more accurate. The BBC's "38 minutes" seems like an acceptable poetic licence rather than anything they can verify. Any objection to therefore changing the lead to "about 40 minutes"? Euryalus (talk) 06:06, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
nah, that seems fine :) unless a source is found saying otherwise Mathmo Talk 06:40, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

When did Zanzibar surrender? Do we deem the war to be ended upon entry into the German Embassy? For that matter, when did the war actually commence? Isn't that normally considered when war is declared? Would the British commanders that were present have had the authority to declare war? Without clarifications to these points (not to mention the legal status of the nephew's government to even be legally entitled to declare war), then this reads more to me like an "incident" than a war? For "I'd also argue a war is continuing while either side is still shooting", I disagree, as battles are often continued after wars are ended, such as the Battle of New Orleans I suggest that the battle/(skirmish?)'s length is timed by the hostilities (shelling), but that the war(/incident)'s duration itself is ambiguous...presumably deemed ended upon the establishment of the successor government if there was no formal surrender/abdication. Vlouie01 (talk) 21:35, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Adding to the confusion the article sets the start of the war on 25 august and not with the end of the ultimatum: "The war started with the death of the pro-British Sultan Hamad on 25 August 1896 and the resulting succession of Sultan Khalid." (Zadkin (talk) 16:34, 27 August 2008 (UTC))

Was the war ever declared? In the US declaring war is a constitutional perogative of the congress I think, how is the situation in the UK? (Zadkin (talk) 16:34, 27 August 2008 (UTC))

I have fixed the "war started" bit in the lead. That was an error on my part. As to declaration, to my knowledge nothing official was declared by parliament (who would probably not have been sitting, being the summer recess) but the telegram from London was seen by Lord Salisbury's administration and gave the commanders on the ground the authorisation to act as they saw fit to resolve the situation. This included the opening of hostilities against the sultan and hence a de facto, if not de jure, war. If I recall correctly few nations declare war now anyway and most of what we consider wars (such as Iraq, Vietnam, Gulf etc) have not been formally declared - a war is defined by public perception and so is a more fluid state of affairs. In this case the action is considered a war by many authorities (including the Guinness book of records) and so we should probably consider it one too. Cheers - Dumelow (talk) 17:58, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Since there's some dispute over the actual duration of the "war", should we have 9:02–9:40 listed as the time when this conflict took place? Nishkid64 (Make articles, not wikidrama) 22:44, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I am reasonably happy with how it is now, that is the length for the war given in numerous sources (which seem to take length of conflict as length of war) and that is how the world record is quoted. However if consensus wants it stated another way then I'll go with that. It should be remembered that the short length is what this war is famous for though - Dumelow (talk) 18:20, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
So, why are there some discrepancies over the exact length of the conflict if the start and end times are known? Nishkid64 (Make articles, not wikidrama) 20:09, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
All of the sources I have seen place the start (or the order to fire) at 9.00 and give a finish time of 9.40 or 9.45. Most give 9.40. The BBC (in a documentary) and Hernon give the order at 9.00, fire being opened at 9.02 and an end at 9.40 and that is the time used in the article. This gives a 38 minute war, which is often quoted (or occasionally a 40 minute war when the order is taken as the start). Although, as I said, a few sources give 45 minutes which I suspect is the time of the land troops occupying the palace square. The war is most often given a 38 minute duration using the above timings.
The concern cited above was whether the war began at Khalid's entry to the palace, the reception of the telegram from London or else the issue of the ultimatum by Cave and Rawson; in addition there was a claim that as Khalid was a usurper and not officially recognised then it is not a war at all but merely an internal policing action. The alternative start times would give a war of a longer duration (1-2 days). In my replies I have stated that we should leave it as it is at 38 minutes as this is the most often quoted duration and the duration of actual hostilities and all of the sources refer to it as an actual war (and not a policing action). I have never seen a source claim the war opening earlier than the expiry of the ultimatum at 9.00am on the 27th. Hopefully that clears a rather complex situation up a bit - Dumelow (talk) 21:19, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, thanks for the explanation. Perhaps we should include a footnote that briefly discusses the discrepancies regarding the duration of the war. Nishkid64 (Make articles, not wikidrama) 21:30, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes that would make sense for the 38-45 minute duration, I'll have a look at some sources later today and add it. However for longer durations I have not seen any sources and so that would probably come under WP:OR - Dumelow (talk) 09:16, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

So by whose watch or clock were the start/stop times established? The same clock or watch or different? How accurate was the clock or watch(es)? How long since they were synchronized? Were they synchronized accurately? Pointless to quibble over minutes if you can't answer these questions.TheDarkOneLives (talk) 21:13, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

More than 500 reported deaths[edit]

This is informatively useless, at least to me. Dumelow, please do not remove the {{specify}} tag again without discussing it here. Reverting to B-class. Ottre 21:19, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't really see the problem here. Hernon (2003) which I have cited states that casualties "topped 500", Patience (1994) gives "around 500" and Owens (2007) states 500. If you like change it to "around 500" which is perhaps a little better but there is no way to specify a figure that was counted approximately at the time, that is as accurate as we can get. I cannot see why you have removed the ref I put on the casualty figure, unless you dispute it as a reliable source? I am restoring the GA tag as this article has passed the formal review process at WP:GA and can only be downgraded to B class via a reassessment- Dumelow (talk) 21:58, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
Well does the source say how many wounded had to be shot? I can't help but think that would have some lasting impact upon colonial policy. Ottre 01:32, 25 September 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ottre (talkcontribs)
None of the sources say that any wounded were shot. Such actions usually took place in prolonged wars where the opposite side were known not to take prisoners (such as the Anglo-Zulu War) and I have not heard of any such actions in this instance. I do however have three reliable sources that put the number of Zanzibari dead at 500. Cheers - Dumelow (talk) 08:02, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
I am going to go ahead and remove the tag as it simply cannot be put any more accurately how many dead there were on Khalid's side. It has been a week since this was first brought up and there has been no other comments put forward. I have added a statement shortly after that one which states that the number of dead who were actual combatants and the number of wounded cannot be ascertained as such things were not recorded at the time. That should hopefully clear up the situation that existed a bit. Thanks for your help in improving this article and your comments, they are really appreciated and do help to improve the standard of Wikipedia. I will shortly be nominating this article for A class review at WP:MilHist following encouraging comments I received during a copyedit. Cheers - Dumelow (talk) 11:30, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
I have stuck out some of my comments above, I have just re-read as many of the sources as possible to try to sort this out. Bennett says 500 "killed or wounded" and the 500 dead in Hernon is a quote from an Illustrated London News article and he later says 500 casualties "of whom most died in the scorched wreckage of the old palace". Also Patience defines casualties as killed or wounded. From this I think I must have grabbed the wrong ed of the stick when first reading Hernon and Patience and that they must mean the 500 number to be the number of killed or wounded and not just killed. I'll fix this now in the article, apologies for this dragging on so long (purely my fault!) and for the resulting confusion. Thanks once again - Dumelow (talk) 12:08, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

500 would be a hell of a bloody conflict. 10 dead/minute, thats about the same rate as WW2, which lasted around 3 Mio. minutes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:01, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Lloyd Mathews[edit]

The introduction lists him as the commander of the Zanzibar forces, but the info box on the right hand side lists him on the British side. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:22, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Accodring to the article text, he was the commander of Zanzibar land troops fighting for the British. AnonMoos (talk) 08:16, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Although Lloyd Matthews was British, and fought on their side, he had resigned from the Royal Navy in 1881 so shouldn't have the white ensign next to his name. He was also the serving First Minister of Zanzibar, a position he had held since 1891. He was fighting against what he saw as an illegitimate usurper of the throne, as well as in British interests. It therefore seems more appropriate to use the flag of Zanzibar for him in the infobox, which I've just done. Modest Genius talk 12:16, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

9:99 am?[edit]

Surely that is a typo for 9:00 am and I have corrected it. I have also changed any mm/dd/yy dates to dd/mm/yy dates for consistency. The latter form seems to be the prevailing one. (talk) 10:09, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Possible contextualisation - Sven Lindqvist[edit]

Swedish writer Sven Lindqvist, in his Exterminate All The Brutes, writes extensively about the Anglo-Zanzibar war and uses it as an important exemplification of the "invisible" power/domination of colonialism. I believe he mentions it in A History of Bombing as well. Maybe it's a potential source of contextualisation? --Birdseed (talk) 21:44, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

some pics we don't have[edit]

There appear to be some pics of the damage done at:\tnewItem%7Citem\tinu-wint-58

©Geni 22:15, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Second-longest war?[edit]

So what was the second-longest war in history? Is there a table/list with durations? (talk) 18:20, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

As theres still no wikilist, heres a list I found for you that may not be exhaustive;

1. Anglo-Zanzibar War, 38-40 minutes 2. 6 Day War, 6 days 3. Indo-Pakistani War, 13 days 4. Serbo-Bulgarian War, 14 days 5. Georgian-Armenian War, 24 days 6. Sino-Vietnamese War, 27 days 7. Greco-Turkish War, 30 days 8. Second Balkan War, 32 days 9. Polish-Lithuanian War, 37 days 10. Falklands War, 42 days The Hundred Days War (aka Second Napoleonic War) also comes to mind, lasted 111 days. Theres a handful of other short wars which were either border skirmishs or civil wars.

The longest wars; 1. Hundred Years War - France v England, 1338 - 1453 - 115 years 2. Wars of the Roses - Lancaster v York, 1455 - 1485 - 30 years 3. Thirty Years War - Catholic v Protestant, 1618 - 1648 - 30 years 4. Peloponnesian War - Peloponnesian League v Delian League, 431 - 404BC - 27 years 5. First Punic War - Rome v Carthage, 264 - 241BC - 23 years 6. Napoleonic Wars - France v other European countries, 1792 - 1815 - 23 years 7. Greco-Persian Wars - Greece v Persia, 499 - 478BC - 21 years 8. Second Great Northen War - Russia v Sweden and War Baltic states, 1700 - 1721 - 21 years 9. Vietnam War - South Vietnam (with US support) v North Vietnam, 1957 - 1975 - 18 years 10. Second Punic War - Rome v Carthage, 218 - 201BC - 17 years

WatcherZero (talk) 09:44, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Length of article vs length of war[edit]

The "View History" tab says the article is approximately 38,000 bytes.

The war is generally accepted to have lasted 38 minutes.

The ratio is approximately 1000 bytes per minute of war.

Is that the highest of any Wikipedia war article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:23, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

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How much makes a "war"?[edit]

Does this thing really qualify as a "War"? It seems as if it's probably too small a conflict for that classification. Skirmish? Maybe this is a large societal conflict that resembles mob action? It's not, really. I just want to point out that terrorism and mass shootings are much more like a war then this. Yet, it's probably a war because there are organized forces and real assets: artillery, gunboats, battery, cruiser. Liberty5651 (talk) 22:10, 27 August 2019 (UTC)

"Shortest war" listed at Redirects for discussion[edit]


An editor has asked for a discussion to address the redirect Shortest war. Please participate in the redirect discussion if you wish to do so. Steel1943 (talk) 22:05, 20 September 2019 (UTC)

"Shortest war in history" listed at Redirects for discussion[edit]


An editor has asked for a discussion to address the redirect Shortest war in history. Please participate in the redirect discussion if you wish to do so. Steel1943 (talk) 22:06, 20 September 2019 (UTC)