Oman: Historical Overview                                        

700s AD

The onset of Arab domination and the introduction of Islam to the area.


The Ibadiyah Islamic sect begins ruling via a succession of elected and hereditary Ibadite imams.


The Portuguese sack Muscat and capture the Omani coast. They are driven out in 1650.


The Persians invade.


The Omani empire expands to include Zanzibar and Mombasa on Africa's east coast and parts of the Indian subcontinent, reflecting Oman's strong maritime heritage.

Late 18th century

In the late 18th century, the young sultanate in Muscat signed the first in a series of friendship treaties with Britain. Over time, Oman's dependence on British political and military advisors increased, but it never became a British colony.


In 1970, Qaboos bin Said Al-Said overthrew his father in a bloodless coup. His extensive modernization program has opened the country to the outside world while preserving the longstanding close ties with the UK and the US. Oman's moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to maintain good relations with its neighbors and to avoid international tension.


Oman is a founding member of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.

1997 Sultan Qaboos decrees that women can stand for election to and vote for the majlis al-shura or Consultative Council. Two women are elected to the body.


Sultan Qaboos extended voting rights to all citizens over the age of 21. Voters were previously chosen from among tribal leaders, intellectuals and businessmen.


Nearly 100 suspected Islamists are arrested. 31 Omanis are subsequently convicted of trying to overthrow the government but are pardoned in June.


A cargo vessel was hijacked by suspected Somali pirates off Oman—apparently the first such attack in the area.


Inspired by the popular uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa beginning in January 2011, some Omanis staged demonstrations, calling for more jobs and economic benefits and an end to corruption. In response to protester demands, Qaboos pledged to implement economic and political reforms, such as granting legislative and regulatory powers to the Majlis al-Shura and increasing unemployment benefits.

Majlis al-Shura, a consultative council or Shura council, is the overarching political and decision making body of Hamas. It includes representatives from the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Israeli prisons, and the exiled external leadership, the Political Bureau, based in Damascus.

In 2011, the Sultan announced that the municipal councils will have the power to advise the Royal Court on the needs of local districts across Oman's 11 governorates.


The Sultan announced a royal directive mandating the speedy implementation of a national job creation plan for thousands of public and private sector jobs. As part of the government's efforts to decentralize authority and allow greater citizen participation in local governance, Oman successfully conducted its first municipal council elections in December 2012.