1958, Muscat & Oman Sultanate. Copper 3 Baisa Coin. Struck for Dhofar Province!
Denomination: 3 Baisa
Mint Year: AH 1378 (1958 AD)
Said bin Taimur (13 August 1910 – 19 October 1972) was the sultan of Muscat and Oman (the country later renamed to Oman) from 10 February 1932 until his overthrow on 23 July 1970. His second wife was Mazoon al-Mashani. He studied in Mayo College, Ajmer in India from 1922 to 1927 in Urdu and English.
The son of Taimur bin Feisal, he inherited the remains of an Omani Empire, which included the neighboring provinces of Oman and Dhofar, as well as the last remnants of an overseas empire, including Gwadar on the Pakistani coast—the latter was ceded to Pakistan in 1958. Nevertheless, his petroleum-rich country also had long established ties with the United Kingdom, based on a 1798 Treaty of Friendship, and was a British protectorate since 1891.
As sultan, oil wealth would have allowed Sultan Said bin Taimur to modernize his country, and, in fact, he secured British recognition of its independence in 1951. Nevertheless, he also faced serious internal opposition, from the Imam – a religious leader of Oman, who claimed power in the sultanate for himself. The Imam’s revolt in Jebel Akhdar was suppressed in 1955 with the help of the United Kingdom, but this, in turn, earned Taimur the animosity of Saudi Arabia, which supported the imam, and of Egypt, which regarded British involvement in suppressing the revolt as unconducive to the cause of Arab nationalism. In 1957, these two countries supported a renewed revolt by the Imam, which was similarly suppressed by 1959.
In 1958 Said sold Gwadar to Pakistan.
In 1965, the province of Dhofar revolted, this time with the support of People’s Republic of China and some of the nationalist Arab states, followed by an assassination attempt in 1966, which had a marked effect on Said causing him to become even more erratic in governing the country. Reportedly, even wearing eyeglasses was discouraged. No one was safe from the sultan’s paranoia, not even his own son, Qaboos, who was kept under virtual house arrest at the Sultan’s palace in Salalah.
Qaboos staged a coup in 1970 and exiled his father to the United Kingdom. Said lived his last two years of life at the Dorchester Hotel in London. He was originally laid to rest in Brookwood Cemetery, Woking, Surrey, England. His corpse was then uprooted and transported back to Oman whereupon he was buried in the Royal cemetery in Muscat.
During his reign Said is rumored to have been suspicious towards banks and investments, and so keeping all his gold under his bed.
Muscat is the capital of Oman. It is also the seat of government and largest city in the Governorate of Muscat. As of 2010 census, the population of the Muscat metropolitan area was 734,697. The metropolitan area spans approximately 1,500 km2 (580 sq mi) and includes six provinces called wilayats. Known since the early 1st century CE as an important trading port between the west and the east, Muscat was ruled by various indigenous tribes as well as foreign powers such as the Persians and the Portuguese Empire at various points in its history. A regional military power in the 18th century, Muscat’s influence extended as far as East Africa and Zanzibar. As an important port-town in the Gulf of Oman, Muscat attracted foreign tradesmen and settlers such as the Persians, the Balochs and Gujaratis. Since the ascension of Qaboos bin Said as Sultan of Oman in 1970, Muscat has experienced rapid infrastructural development that has led to the growth of a vibrant economy and a multi-ethnic society.
The rocky Western Al Hajar Mountains dominate the landscape of Muscat. The city lies on the Arabian Sea along the Gulf of Oman and is in the proximity of the strategic Straits of Hormuz. Low-lying white buildings typify most of Muscat’s urban landscape, while the port-district of Muttrah, with its corniche and harbour, form the north-eastern periphery of the city. Muscat’s economy is dominated by trade, petroleum and porting.
Ptolemy’s Map of Arabia identifies the territories of Cryptus Portus and Moscha Portus. Scholars are divided in opinion on which of the two related to the city of Muscat. Similarly, Arrianus references Omana and Moscha in Voyage of Nearchus. Interpretations of Arrianus' work by William Vincent and Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville conclude that Omana was a reference to Oman, while Moscha referred to Muscat. Similarly, other scholars identify Pliny the Elder’s reference to Amithoscuta to be Muscat.
The origin of the word Muscat is disputed. Some authors claim that the word has Arabic origins – from moscha, meaning an inflated hide or skin. Other authors claim that the name Muscat means anchorage or the place of "letting fall the anchor". Other derivations include muscat from Old Persian, meaning strong-scented, or Arabic meaning falling-place, or meaning hidden. Maas-gat in the old Persian means “fishing place” (Moscha Portus). Even Masandam means “massan (fishes)+ dam (net)” in the old Persian. Cryptus Portus is synonymous with Oman (“hidden land”). But “Ov-man” (Omman) and the old sumerian name Magan (Maa-kan) means sea-people in Persian and Arabic.
Evidence of communal activity in the area around Muscat dates back to the 6th millennium BCE in Ras al-Hamra, where burial sites of fishermen have been found. The graves appear to be well formed and indicate the existence of burial rituals. South of Muscat, remnants of Harappan pottery indicate some level of contact with the Indus Valley Civilisation. Muscat’s notability as a port was acknowledged as early as the 1st century CE by Greek geographers Ptolemy, who referred to it as Cryptus Portus (the Hidden Port), and by Pliny the Elder, who called it Amithoscuta.
The port fell to a Sassanid invasion in the 3rd century CE, under the rule of Shapur I., while conversion to Islam occurred during the 7th century. Muscat’s importance as a trading port continued to grow in the centuries that followed, under the influence of the Azd dynasty, a local tribe. The establishment of the First Imamate in the 9th century CE was the first step in consolidating disparate Omani tribal factions under the banner of an Ibadi state. However, tribal skirmishes continued, allowing the Abbasids of Baghdad to conquer Oman. The Abbasids occupied the region until the 11th century, when they were driven out by the local Yahmad tribe. Power over Oman shifted from the Yahmad tribe to the Azdi Nabahinah clan, during whose rule, the people of coastal ports such as Muscat prospered from maritime trade and close alliances with the Indian subcontinent, at the cost of the alienation of the people of the interior of Oman.
The Portuguese conqueror Afonso de Albuquerque attacked Muscat in July, 1507. A bloody battle ensued between the Portuguese and forces loyal to the Persian governor of the city. After the fall of the town, Albuquerque massacred most of the remaining inhabitants – men, women and children, following which the town was occupied and pillaged.
The Portuguese maintained a hold on Muscat for over a century, despite challenges from Persia and a bombardment of the town by the Turks in 1546. The Turks twice captured Muscat from the Portuguese, in the Capture of Muscat (1552) and 1581-88. The election of Nasir bin Murshid al-Yaribi as Imam of Oman in 1624 changed the balance of power again in the region, from the Persians and the Portuguese to local Omanis. On August 16, 1648 the Imam dispatched an army to Muscat, which captured and demolished the high towers of the Portuguese, weakening their grip over the town. Decisively, in 1650, a small but determined body of the Imam’s troops attacked the port at night, forcing an eventual Portuguese surrender on January 23, 1650. A civilian war, and repeated incursions by the Persian king Nadir Shah in the 18th century destabilised the region, and further strained relations between the interior and Muscat. This power vacuum in Oman led to the emergence of the Al Bu Sa’id dynasty, which has ruled Oman ever since.
Muscat’s naval and military supremacy was re-established in the 19th century by Said bin Sultan, who gained control over Zanzibar, eventually moving his capital to Stone Town, the ancient quarter of Zanzibar City, in 1840. However, after his death in 1856, control over Zanzibar was lost when it became an independent sultanate under his sixth son, Majid bin Said (1834/5–1870), while the third son, Thuwaini bin Said, became the Sultan of Oman. During the second half of the 19th century, the fortunes of the Al Bu Sa`id declined and friction with the Imams of the interior resurfaced. Muscat and Muttrah were attacked by tribes from the interior in 1895 and again in 1915. A tentative ceasefire was brokered by the British, which gave the interior more autonomy. However, conflicts among the disparate tribes of the interior, and with the Sultan of Muscat and Oman continued into the 1950s, and eventually escalated into the Dhofar Rebellion (1962). The rebellion forced the Sultan Said bin Taimur to seek the assistance of the British in quelling the uprisings from the interior. The April 26, 1966 failed assassination attempt on Said bin Taimur led to the further isolation of the Sultan, who had moved his residence from Muscat to Salalah, amidst the civilian armed conflict. On July 23, 1970, Qaboos bin Said, son of the Sultan, staged a bloodless coup d'état in the Salalah palace with the assistance of the British, and took over as ruler.
With the assistance of the British, Qaboos bin Said put an end to the Dhofar uprising and consolidated disparate tribal territories. He renamed the country the Sultanate of Oman (called Muscat and Oman hitherto), in an attempt to end to the interior’s isolation from Muscat. Qaboos enlisted the services of capable Omanis to fill positions in his new government, drawing from such corporations as Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). New ministries for social services such as health and education were established. The construction of Mina Qaboos, a new port conceived initially by Sa`id bin Taimur, was developed during the early days of Qaboos' rule. Similarly, a new international airport was developed in Muscat’s Seeb district. A complex of offices, warehouses, shops and homes transformed the old village of Ruwi in Muttrah into a commercial district. The first five-year development plan in 1976 emphasised infrastructural development of Muscat, which provided new opportunities for trade and tourism in the 1980s – 1990s, attracting migrants from around the region. On June 6, 2007, Cyclone Gonu hit Muscat causing extensive damage to property, infrastructure and commercial activity.