Zanzibar horse guards and state carriage & Royal presents

The Zanzibar horse guards armed with lances, swords etc.
  • Description

Photo of the sultan of Zanzibar horse guards and state carriage. The guards armed with lances, swords etc.

Original high resolution photograph by A.C. Gomes & Co. (1897  or earlier) Some sources claim this state carriage to be the present that Queeen Victoria gave to the Sultan of Oman and Zanzibar in 1842, unfortunately this is incorrect. The coach sent in 1842 was not even unpacked from the crates when it arrived as there were no suitable roads in Zanzibar at the time.... It was eventually sold or given to a Maharadja in India. While the Omani would typically give useful presents to the British,  they would typically receive unpractical often gaudy (and lower value) presents in return... The most embarrassing  example was when in 1854 the Sultan handed over the Kuria Muria islands to Britain and received a snuffbox in return... (the islands were valuable as they had thick layers of seabird-manure called Guano) Guano remained  valuable until artificial fertilizers were produced large scale. In 1967 the islands were returned to Oman....  The Sultan was also given by Britain a large box with dinner silver, unfortunately when the box was opened in front of the Sultan it contained a tombstone for a missionary (boxes had been mixed up during transport) The "Omani import" section of our website contains a dinner plate that was part of  a royal present given by Britain to the sultan of Oman and Zanzibar. 

Antique photo Zanzibar guard sultan

 The Sultan's guard

Photographers:  A.C. Gomes

The photographer A.C. Gomes and Sons was founded by A.C. Gomes in Aden in 1869, where he was appointed Government Photographer for the Fortifications (Macmillan 1930, p.314). The company seems to have moved to Zanzibar circa 1870s. Playne listed the firm's address as 'in the Main Road (opposite the G.P.O. ) Zanzibar' and wrote that 'for over forty years now their business has been carried on in those parts...' (1908-9, p.419) Gomes was briefly in partnership with J.B. Coutinho (partnership dissolved 31st July 1897)  His son P. F. Gomes continued the family business in Zanzibar for many years, he died in 1932. Over those years both have left us with some marvelous images.His earliest work is marked "A.C. Gomes & Co" (like on this photograph) Between 1900 and 1905 this photo was used  for a (low resolution) postcard The firm was appointed photographers to the Government Aerial Service during the First World War (Macmillan 1930, p.314)  A.C. Gomes died in 1917 (Macmillan 1930, p.314) The business was continued by P.F. Gomes who died in 1932. A branch of the company was opened in Dar-es-Salaam by P.F. Gomes and his son, E. Gomes, in 1929. In 1930 P.F. Gomes's other son, G. Gomes, was running the studio in Main Street, Zanzibar (Macmillan 1930, p.314)  The family were possibly originally from Goa. A photograph of A.C. Gomes and P.F. Gomes can be seen on p.419 of Playne's 'East Africa...' (1908-9)

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