In 1798, Oman and Great Britain signed a Treaty of Friendship. Under this treaty, Britain guaranteed the Sultan’s rule. A succession crisis in 1856, however, saw the Omani Empire divided into the Sultanate of Oman and Muscat and the Sultanate of Zanzibar. In 1891, Oman and Muscat became a British Protectorate. For much of this period, the Sultan controlled the coast around Muscat while the Imam governed the interior from Nizwa. Under the 1951 Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation, Oman received independence from Britain.
Sultan Qaboos ascended to the throne on 23 July 1970. Since this time, Oman has emerged as a prosperous and modern nation. Sultan Qaboos has balanced tribal, regional and ethnic division and improved his people’s quality of living. In 1996, Sultan Qaboos introduced the ‘Basic Statutes of the States’, Oman’s first written constitution, which guarantees rights within the framework of Qur’anic and customary law.