Sultan Said bin Taimur 1943

Sultan Said bin Taimur 1943


Sultan Said bin Taimur boards HMS Enterprise during its visit to Muscat in 1943. He is the father of Sultan Qaboos, the current sultan of Oman. Photographer unknown.




 antique photo Omani sultan visiting British warship Muscat

Antique photo Sultan of Oman visiting British warship Muscat Oman

History of Sultan Said bin Taimur

Sultan Said bin Taimur inherited in 1932 a bankrupt and politically deeply divided country (coastal Muscat area and the tribal Oman interior) from his father Taimur bin Faisal.  He stabilized the extremely  difficult financial situation of the country and, surprisingly to many, may very well have been the right man for the period. However when oil was discovered in the 1950´s and the financial situation and opportunities for Oman dramatically improved he stuck to his old conservative policies, thereby obstructing the progress of the country resulting in discontent and an uprising in the country.  In 1970 he was peacefully removed from power by his son Qaboos with the help of the British. 

The father of Said bin Taimur  also already inherited a high public debt and widespread rebellion among the tribes in the interior. Between 1915 and 1920, the Sultan's forces were aided by British financial and material support against the rebel tribes, ensuring adequate resistance but not total victory. An uneasy situation of no war, no peace, existed, with the sultan controlling Muscat and the coastal towns and the Imam ruling the interior. This was tacitly codified in the Treaty of Seeb in 1920, brokered by the British political agent in Muscat. The treaty was between the sultan and the tribes, represented by Sheikh Isa bin Salih al Harthi, leader of the Al Harthi tribe. In return for full autonomy, the tribes in the interior pledged to cease attacking the coast.  Similar from around 1800 the Sultan of Oman already had to pay "protection" fees to the Saudi's to prevent attacks on Oman from their Wahhabi tribes.  

The 1920 Treaty of Seeb was, de facto, a partition agreement between Muscat and Oman (i.e. coastal areas and the interior) serving Britain's interest in preserving its power through the office of the sultan without having to dispatch British troops to the region ( divide and rule) The Treaty of Seeb ensured political peace between Muscat and Oman that lasted until the 1950s, when oil exploration in the interior reintroduced conflict. In return for accepting a truncation of his authority, the sultan received a loan from the government of British with an amortization period of ten years, sufficient to repay his debts to merchants. When Sultan Taimur ibn Faisal abdicated for financial reasons in 1932, the twenty-two-year-old Said ibn Taimur inherited an administration that was deeply in debt. The previous explains why until 1970 the name of Oman was "Muscat and Oman" and also why Sultan Said bin Taimur was so extremely reluctant to loosen financial controls when the oil income started.