The nineteenth-century rise of Zanzibar under the ruling Albusaidi Dynasty of Oman owed its origins primarily to the solid foundations of commercial activity laid down in Muscat in the preceding century. In the subsequent development of the Omani economy, in Omani territories in both Arabia and Africa where the dictates of the Omani political/tribal system did not allow for any centralization of authority, local communities and tribal groups resisted the domination of the Albusaidi rulers as they strove to bring under their own control the benefits of burgeoning trade.
The opposition of the major Omani groups in East Africa, the Mazāri‘a of Mombasa and the Banū Nabhān of Pate, to the Albusaidis and the eventual success of the Omani rulers in dismantling and neutralizing this opposition are fairly well documented. However, the sustained challenge of Hilāl b. Sa‘īd to the reign of his father Sa‘īd b. Sulṭān, the Albusaidi ruler of Oman and Zanzibar and their dependencies from 1806 to 1856, has hitherto been neglected, despite the fact that Hilāl's resistance in East Africa was the greatest internal threat to Sa‘īd after that posed by the Mazāri'a and had dire consequences for the subsequent course of Oman's history. The conflict between father and son set in train a course of events that led inexorably to the 1861 British-sponsored dismemberment of Oman into two Sultanates, one in Arabia and the other in East Africa.