Majid bin Said of Zanzibar

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Sayyid Majid bin Saïd al-Busaidi (Arabic: ماجد بن سعيد البوسعيد) (c. 1834(1870-10-07)7 October 1870) was the first Sultan of Zanzibar. He ruled Zanzibar from 19 October 1856 to 7 October 1870.

Majid bin Said
ماجد بن سعيد (Arabic)
1859 Portrait
Sultan of Zanzibar
Reign19 October 1856 – 7 October 1870
PredecessorSaid bin Sultan (as Sultan of the Omani Empire)
SuccessorBarghash bin Said
Bornc. 1834
Died7 October 1870(1870-10-07) (aged 35–36)
Zanzibar (Unguja)
Makusurani Cemetery
ConsortSayyida Aisha Al-Said
IssueSayyida Khanfora bint Majid Al-Said
Sayyid Majid bin Said Al-Busaid
HouseAl Busaid
FatherSaid bin Sultan
ReligionIbadi Islam

He succeeded his father Said bin Sultan as ruler of Zanzibar and East Africa, and briefly (claimed) Oman following Said’s death. During his reign his brother Bargash would prove constantly rebellious and adhered to his rule, nonetheless, Majid remained in power until his untimely death which was due to ‘over indulgence in sensual pleasures and stimulants’. The region’s wealth soared, particularly with the controversial slave trade.[citation needed]


Sayyid Majid bin Said was born in 1834 in Zanzibar to Said bin Sultan and Sarah, a Circassian suri.[1] Majid was the second eldest of Said’s children born in Zanzibar, after Khalid bin Said (died 1854).

Majid became Sultan of the Omani Empire, based at the capital at Zanzibar, following the death of his father, Sayyid Said bin Sultan, but his accession was contested. Following the struggle over the accession to the position of Sultan of Oman, Zanzibar and Oman were divided into two separate sultanates, with Majid ruling Zanzibar and his older brother Thuwaini ruling Oman.

His marriage produced only one daughter, Sayyida Khanfora bint Majid (who married her cousin, Hamoud bin Mohammed). Consequently, Majid was succeeded as Sultan by his brother Barghash. Majid's grandson Ali bin Hamud Al-Busaid later became the 8th Sultan of Zanzibar, while his great-grandson Abdullah bin Khalifa Al-Said was the 10th Sultan.

In 1866, he purchased the former Confederate commerce raider CSS Shenandoah and renamed her El Majidi after himself.[2]

In 1871, botanists published a genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Sapindaceae, from Central Africa and called it Majidea in his honour.[3]


  1. ^ Nicolini, Beatrice (2009). The Myth of the Sultans in the Western Indian Ocean during the Nineteenth Century: A New Hypothesis. p. 250.
  2. ^ "CSS Shenandoah Confederate Navy Cruiser American Civil War".
  3. ^ "Majidea Kirk ex Oliv. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science". Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 17 May 2021.


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Preceded by Sultan of Zanzibar
Succeeded by