Nothing Quite Like a Short War

In what is documented as the shortest war in history, was that of the Anglo-Zanzibar war. The Anglo-Zanzibar was fought between the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate in the late 19th century, and lasted an exhausting 38 minutes. Following the death of Zanzibar’s pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini, Sultan Khalid bin Barghash ascended to the Sultanate which was the main catalyst for the war. 

Palace after bombardment

Palace after bombardment

In accordance with the 1886 treaty, it was a condition for an incoming sultan to be approved by the British consul before taking the sultanate, on this occasion Britain preferred Hamud bin Muhammed, and as Khalid did not seek the approval of the British, the British issued an ultimatum to Zanzibar for breach of treaty. 

Following the expiration of the ultimatum, the British launched their assault on the royal palace. The British arrived with a small naval force, 150 marines and 900 Zanzibaris in the harbour, and faced an army of 2,800 Zanzibaris defending the palace. The British opened their bombardment upon the palace in the early morning, followed by a short assault on the palace, and after 38 minuted all fighting had ceased. After the conflict the Zanzibaris has amassed 500 casualties, and the British suffered just one casualty (of whom later recovered). 

The Sultan was granted asylum in the German consulate following the conflict, and later fled to German East Africa (modern day Tanzania), the British moved quickly to place their preferred Sultan into power. Mostly due to the effectiveness and efficiency of Britain’s assault, there were no further uprisings against British during the remaining 67 years of the protectorate.