The British Empire Library


Zanzibar and the shortest war in history

by Kevin Patience

Zanzibar and The Bububu Railway

by Kevin Patience

Zanzibar and the loss of HMS Pegasus

by Kevin Patience


Courtesy of OSPA


Review by Brian Eccles (Colonial Administrative Service, Zanzibar, Tanganyika, Nigeria 1952-1989)
These are three paperback booklets, written about different episodes in Zanzibar's history, by someone who runs a diving and salvage business in the Middle East, but who was resident for many years in East Africa and developed there an interest in the region's military and transport history. All the booklets are illustrated with sometimes rare and invariably well-reproduced photographs. The first two concern:

  • the British naval attack on Zanzibar on 27 August 1896 to depose Sultan Khalid (it lasted 45 minutes).

  • the construction of a horse drawn tramway, succeeded by a steam railway, both on the orders of Sultan Barghash (1870-88) - the former ran to Chukwani, the latter to Bububu (although Chwaka was once intended as the destination). Smoky steam trains, running from the Beit-al-Ajaib and serviced in the neighbouring Arab fort (which then apparently had two storeys) were not popular with all the citizens of Zanzibar!

    These two booklets, although the history is very occasionally at variance with the accounts of recognised historians and the style of writing betrays some infelicities, are entertaining and easily read accounts of episodes of the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century a longer, European inspired, war accounted for the loss of HMS Pegasus at its outset. Much that is new is told by an author whose professional knowledge, as a salvage worker, and personal research interest have well equipped him to tell the story of the build-up to the construction of HMS Pegasus, her commissioning for South America in 1899 and eventual destruction at Zanzibar on 20 September 1914 by the much better gunned SMS Konigsberg. The booklet also records the duel with the Konigsberg in the Rufiji, salvage work on both the Pegasus and the Konigsberg and the subsequent history of some of the British naval personnel involved. Any incident, however small, and any recollections, however personal, were grist to the author's mill and he is to be congratulated on making such an entertaining and well-illustrated record.

  • British Empire Book
    Author
    Kevin Patience
    Published
    1994
    Pages
    26
    Publisher
    Kevin Patience
    ISBN
    B00CCRIRLI
    Availability
    Abebooks
    Amazon
    British Empire Book
    Author
    Kevin Patience
    Published
    1998
    Pages
    28
    Publisher
    Kevin Patience
    ISBN
    B0040GFH8K
    Availability
    Abebooks
    Amazon
    British Empire Book
    Author
    Kevin Patience
    Published
    1995
    Pages
    48
    Publisher
    Kevin Patience
    ISBN
    B0040GFH8K
    Availability
    Abebooks
    Amazon


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