Clove Auction.

Behind the scenes of the largest spice exporting buisness in the world at that time were numerous sorting, grading, and packaging operations.

The sale of almost all products was done via auction.

Ivory Market

Ivory was imported to Zanzibar then cured, and stored securely until exported to the east (Indian and China) and to the west (England and the United States.)

In America the demand was especially strong, in Massachusetts large factories turned out a multitude of ivory piano keys, hairclips, knife handles and billiard balls.

Kerosene Storage

This surprisingly modern looking storage facility dates to about 1910. Zanzibar by then had long served as a fuel storage point and businesses in Zanzibar sold fuel to much of east Africa.

Town Landing

Before the docks were built at the north end of town, in the early 1920's, much of the cargo from visiting ships was unloaded directly onto this beach.

No one can know how many tons were shifted by hand, first from the large ships to the smaller boats and lighters, then onto the beach, then up the sand to the town, all by the men and women of Zanzibar.

Coconut Plantation

Unguja and Pemba islands were once covered with four million coconut trees. There were many large tree plantations which were supported by the thriving market for copra. Today there are many fewer trees and virtually no export market for coconut products.

Court Street

There were several legal firms in old Zanzibar and the courts in Stone Town were always busy hearing all the important cases, both civil and criminal. There was even an Admiralty Court in Zanzibar which specialized in shipping law.

Beach Boy

For those arriving by ship the first Zanzibar businessmen they met were often boys in very small boats. They would display their ability to dive to great depths by retrieving pennies thrown by the passengers.

Indian Holiday

Harji also liked to photograph crowd scenes. He often colorized these images to capture the festive spirit of the events.

Seyyid Ali arrives.

July 27, 1902. The people are awaiting the immanent arrival of the new Sultan. That would have been Sayyid Ali Bin Hamoud who had been away when the old Sultan died.

It is said that the underage and nervous new ruler, who was returning to Zanzibar after 3 years abroad at a boarding School, was so overcome by the unexpected death of his father and by the overwhelming crowds upon his arrival that Sayyid Ali was unable to speak for two days.

He could not address the large crowd shown in this rare colorized photo. They left disappointed, a bad omen perhaps for a new reign. Sultan Ali later became the only Zanzibar Sultan ever to abdicate.