German Travelers in Oman

By Hilal Al-Hajri.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Portuguese occupied Oman for 150 years, until they were expelled in 1650. Their departure and general loss of power in the region led other European powers, notably Britain, Holland, and France, to fill the gap. In turn, this created conditions for European knowledge of Oman to expand significantly. Hence, between the 17th and 20th centuries, Oman was effectively opened to the world, a change resulting largely from European powers and their representatives pursuing a colonial agenda. Though at that time Germany was not a major power, some of its citizens played an important role in exploring Oman and communicating their findings to the world. As this paper seeks to show, because Germany became imperially active for only a very brief period (1871–1918), the information on Oman contained in early German travel accounts is particularly objective. Differing from British, French, and Dutch experiences, the Germans simply had no time to develop a colonial outlook towards the Omani people.

Keywords: Orientalism, German Travelers, Oman, Engelbert Kaempfer, Carsten Niebuhr, Friedrich Rosen, Max Baron von Oppenheim, Hermann Burchardt

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 10, pp.353-364. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 862.890KB).

Dr. Hilal Al-Hajri

Assistant Professor, Department of Arabic, Sultan Qaboos University, Alkhodh, Muscat, Oman

Hilal al-Hajri is an Omani poet and academic. He has published poems and articles in various Arabic journals. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Warwick in 2004, with a thesis on British travelers to Oman. Currently, he is Assistant Professor of comparative literature, in the Department of Arabic, at Sultan Qaboos University in Oman. Some of his published works include: British Travel-Writing on Oman: Orientalism Reappraised (Oxford, Bern: Peter Lang, 2006) (in English); Lyrical Prosody: A New Project For Teaching Arabic Meters (Muscat: Ministry of Heritage and Culture, 2006) (in Arabic); and The Lure of the Unknown: Oman in English Literature (Beirut: Dar Al-Intishar, 2010) (in Arabic). His research interests include: travel writing, Orientalism, comparative literature, and Arabic prosody.

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