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  • The reconquista between the Christian and Islamic kingdoms in Iberia lasted for 774 years, which marks the longest conflict ever fought in recorded human history.

  • 66 violent conflicts across human history have lasted for longer than a century, while dozens and dozens more have lasted for decades.

  • When you think of war, you usually imagine something lasting for years, like either of the world wars or the American Civil War.

  • But sometimes when the two sides are really unbalanced and nobody bothered to make a patch or a Nerf, a war can end in only a few minutes.

  • And the shortest war ever fought in all of human history was a war that was kind of like this, with an O.

  • P.

  • Mega empire going up against just a tiny little island.

  • The war took place in 18 96 and it was fought between the British Empire on one side and the Sultanate of Zanzibar on the other, and it lasted for only 38 minutes.

  • But the reasons for why it ended so quickly largely have to do with the area's history.

  • For 160 years, Zanzibar was ruled by a guy who didn't even live in Zanzibar but by a guy who lived thousands of miles away here in Oman.

  • And for 200 years before that, Zanzibar was ruled by another guy who also lived thousands of miles away here in Portugal.

  • So after finally gaining some kind of independence after centuries of being ruled by someone bigger, of course the British got curious and came around to introduce themselves to the new kid on the block.

  • Britain acted all friendly at first by recognizing the island's sovereignty, but they were worried about Germany coming into the region and competing there for influence.

  • The third Sultan of Zanzibar had granted rights to his Kenyan territory over to the British, but granted the rights to Tanzania over to Germany, and both European countries have their eyes set on the island of Zanzibar itself.

  • The British acted quickly in 18 90 by basically doing the most British thing ever and just declaring that Zanzibar was now officially a British protectorate, no flag, no country they didn't ask anybody who actually lived there.

  • And by 18 93 the British had installed a pro British sultan as their puppet who committed the unforgivable sin of banning slavery.

  • Britain wasn't exactly that big into the whole slave trade thing by this point in time, but a lot of people in Zanzibar were pretty upset about it all the same on underground resistance of former slave masters and owners began fermenting under the surfaces of Zanzibari society for a few years until on August 25th, 18 96 when the pro British puppets Sultan unexpectedly died.

  • The British wanted this character to succeed to the throne afterwards because he was allegedly a pretty friendly and chill kind of dude.

  • But that's not exactly what happened.

  • Instead, the sultan's cousin Khalid saw an opportunity and got to the palace, first, declared himself the sultan instead and barricaded himself inside with around 3000 of his loyal followers.

  • So part of the problem with that was back when Zanzibar became a British protectorate.

  • Part of the rules were that whoever became sultan needed the permission of the local British consulate First.

  • Khalid didn't exactly care for that, so he didn't do it and then demanded the total freedom and independence of Zanzibar.

  • But before you go thinking that Khalid was the good guy in the story, he wanted the independence of Zanzibar, primarily because he wanted to bring back the good old days of slavery that the British had forcefully abolished.

  • The British considered his accession to Sultan without their permission, an act of war, and they gave him a two day ultimatum to stand down and surrender.

  • Khalid refused, to the surprise of nobody.

  • And at precisely 9 a.m. On the 27th of August 18 96 the British ultimatum expired, and the most one sided war in all of human history immediately followed.

  • The British had expected that their ultimatum would have fallen on deaf ears, so they assembled a battle force of three cruisers and to gun boats in the harbor directly adjacent to the palace where Khalid had barricaded himself.

  • Inside, 150 British marines and sailors man the ships along with 900 pro British Zanzibari troops, to bring the total up to 1000 and 50 men.

  • Khalid, meanwhile, outnumbered them nearly three toe, one with close to 3000 men including slaves and random peasants that he just forced to fight for him.

  • Some artillery pieces and machine guns and a yacht that was ironically donated to Zanzibar by Britain that he had converted into a junkie makeshift war boat.

  • Just two minutes after the ultimatum expired at 902 a.

  • M, the British ships open fire and began a bombardment of the wooden palace, which quickly set it on fire.

  • All of Khalid's outdated artillery pieces were quickly destroyed, while the Zanzibari Jiang kyat kamikaze out towards the British fleet with machine gun fire.

  • However, it was quickly sunk and everybody aboard was rescued by the British cruisers, who presumably felt pretty bad about it.

  • After the bombardment practically leveled the palace, the pro British Zanzibari troops stormed in and took the place over with minimal fighting.

  • Just 38 minutes after the opening shots of the war, the whole thing was already over, with the British and control of the country again.

  • The Zanzibaris suffered about 500 casualties, dead and wounded mostly from the bombardment, while the British side only suffered one guy who got injured and that's it.

  • Khalid allegedly escaped out of a back door the moment that the first shells were fired and found refuge in the German consulate, where he afterwards fled to German East Africa.

  • He was eventually found by the British and captured during the first World War, after which he was exiled to ST Helena, the same place where the British exile Napoleon a century previously.

  • The British then installed their loyal puppet as the sultan, and Zanzibar remained a British protectorate for the next 67 years without another violent uprising again, all over a 38 minute long conflict in the 19th century.

  • The British strategy of quickly bombing an enemy into submission, however, was still in its infancy.

  • Much later, in 1943 in a single night, the British air Force bombed the city of Hamburg in Germany and destroyed 350,000 homes and killed over 40,000 people, a significant increase in deadly efficiency.

  • This might surprise you, and you might wonder how the logistics of bombing a city work, and I'd answer you with curiosity Stream, as in Go check out this two part documentary on curiosity stream that explains the technology and logistics that go into the mass bombings of cities through the 20th century.

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  • Thank you so much for watching and, as always, I'll see you again next week.

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Why the Shortest War in History Lasted 38 Minutes

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/23
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