November 18 is Oman’s National Day, celebrates independence from Portugal control in 1650.
From the late 17th century, the Omani Sultanate was a powerful empire, vying with Portugal and Britain for influence in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.
At its peak in the 19th century, Omani influence or control extended across the Strait of Hormuz to modern-day Iran and Pakistan, and as far south as Zanzibar (today part of Tanzania, also former capital).
As its power declined in the 20th century, the sultanate came under the influence of the United Kingdom. Historically, Muscat was the principal trading port of the Persian Gulf region. Muscat was also among the most important trading ports of the Indian Ocean. Oil reserves were discovered in 1964 and extraction began in 1967. In the Dhofar Rebellion (launched in the province of Dhofar against the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman), which began in 1965, leftist forces were pitted against government troops. As the rebellion threatened to overthrow the Sultan’s rule in Dhofar, Sultan Said bin Taimur was deposed in a bloodless coup (1970) by his son Qaboos bin Said.
After deposing his father in 1970, Sultan Qaboos opened up the country, embarked on economic reforms, and followed a policy of modernization marked by increased spending on health, education and welfare. Oman became independent in 1971.
Oman, officially the Sultanate of Oman, is an Arab country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Holding a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the nation is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the south and southwest, and shares marine borders with Iran and Pakistan.