The cause of the war was due to when Sultan Khalid seized power following the death of pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini on 25 August 1896. According to the terms of a treaty of 1886, any sultan acceding to the throne had first to seek British approval.
|Sultan Palace before war|
In response, Khalid called up his palace guard and barricaded himself inside the palace.
At 9.02 five Royal Navy warships began bombarding the palace and disabled the defending artillery. A small naval action took place with the British sinking a Zanzibari royal yacht and two smaller vessels, and some shots were fired ineffectively at the pro-British Zanzibari troops as they approached the palace.
It lasted thirty-eight minutes and ended in a British victory. It was the shortest war in history. The sultan’s forces sustained roughly 500 casualties, while only one British sailor was injured.
At some point before 9.30 am, the sultan fled to the German Embassy, leaving his slaves and servants to fight on.