Reading in ‘Oman History over Time’

Muscat, Feb 23 – The encyclopedia ‘Oman’s History Over Time’, which was launched on the opening day of the current edition of Muscat International Book Fair, is a result of a painstaking effort by a group of researchers who have been working on preparing and editing this work, commissioned by the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. Prepared and published by the office of His Majesty’s Adviser for Cultural Affairs, it details Oman’s history from prehistoric to modern times.

The chapters include: ‘Between glorious past and bright future’, ‘Passing through the modern state’, ‘Security and guards of homeland’, and ‘Development of man and society’.

Since the very beginning of the new Renaissance of Oman, the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos made it clear in his speeches that “Without cooperation between the government and the people, we will not be able to build our country with the speed necessary to get it out of the backwardness that it has suffered for so long”. Late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos assumed power in Oman at a time when the country was reeling under poverty, ignorance and disease, and was facing a fierce war that targeted Oman’s identity and belief. In his speech on July 23, 1970, he said: “My people and my brothers, it was dark yesterday, but with God’s help, a new dawn will rise over Oman and its people.” Those words had a magical effect and helped Oman rise from what it was then to what it is today.

In the chapters of the encyclopedia, the history of Oman is narrated in five interconnected periods of time. The first chapter, which comes under the title ‘Prehistoric Era’, unveils the historical heritage of Oman and its inherent Arabism and identifies earliest inhabitants through their monuments and mobility.

The second chapter of the encyclopedia comes with the title ‘Oman During the Period (3000 – 1300 BC)’, and deals with the period of copper export to Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. Archaeological evidence indicates that the discovery and use of copper ore that began from the Neolithic period in the seventh and sixth millennium BC and that Omanis have known and used this metal since that period like their counterparts in places such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, the Land of the Balkans and the Near East.

The third chapter talks about ‘Oman During the Period (1300 BC – 525 AD)’. It also talks about the names given to Oman and some of its territories, as at the end of the second millennium BC, new transformations began which culminated in the establishment of a harmonious regional civilisation of historical Oman.

The fourth chapter is on ‘Oman During the Period (627 AD – 1970 AD)’, which includes important periods of Omani history. This was the time when Islam entered Oman in 6 AH (627AD), and when the Prophet, peace be upon him, approved the regime of Oman rule as it was. It also sheds light on the impact of Islam on the life of Omani society in its social, economic, political, cultural, as well as architectural aspects.

The fifth and final chapter of the encyclopedia, named ‘The Contemporary Omani Revival (1390 AH – 1970 AD)’, reviews the sources of strength and vision of late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. In addition, it talks about elements and Oman’s capabilities for the benefit of the country and the people.

The encyclopedia reveals that the relationship between the Omani man and the sea began with his first attempts to ride the waves on boats of reeds. Historical sources and archaeological evidence confirm the importance of maritime navigation in the past, as Oman became a bridge for cultural communication and was known as the land of copper (Majan) and the land of frankincense (Luban), as well as “the nation of sea pioneers” during the classical period.