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(all: mŭs`kăt, mŭs`kət), city (1993 pop. 533,774), capital of Oman, SE Arabia, on the Gulf of Oman. It is flanked by rugged mountains. Muscat, which has a fine harbor, was seized by the Portuguese Afonso de Albuquerque in 1508 and kept by Portugal until 1648. Persian princes held it until 1741, when it became the capital of Oman. Dates, dried fish, mother-of-pearl, and frankincense are exported, although much of Muscat's trade has been taken over by neighboring Matrah, which has better land communications.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



Sultanate of Muscat, a sultanate in southeastern Arabia from 1792 to 1970, It was formed in the coastal regions of the imamate of Oman.x

In 1798 the first treaty was signed between the sultan of Muscat and the British East India Company, which was used by the British colonialists to penetrate gradually into the Persian Gulf region. By the early 19th century, Zanzibar and the East African coast were under the control of the sultans of Muscat. In 1822 the power of the Muscat sultans in this region became secure. The Muscat-Zanzibar Empire arose, and its feudal rulers became rich from the slave trade.

In 1856, after the death of Sultan Sayid Said, Zanzibar seceded and became an independent sultanate. In 1862 an Anglo-French declaration was signed, according to which Great Britain and France pledged themselves to observe the independence of Muscat and Zanzibar. However, Great Britain intensified its penetration into Muscat. The pro-British policy of the rulers of Muscat aroused discontent, and in 1865, 1886, 1890, and 1895 a series of uprisings against the British colonialists took place. Making use of conflicts among the tribal elite of Muscat and Oman, bribery, and sometimes even direct intervention, the British imperialists crushed these rebellions.

In March 1891, Great Britain forced the sultan of Muscat into a secret treaty that turned Muscat into a British protectorate. Increasing discontent throughout the country with the domination of the British colonialists led to the conclusion of a secret treaty in 1898 between Muscat and France, under which France was to get a coal base in Bandar al-Jissah. However, under pressure from Great Britain the agreement was nullified.

The national liberation movement in Muscat intensified during World War I, along with the movement for unification with Oman. On Sept. 25, 1920, representatives of Great Britain, Muscat, and the imamate of Oman signed the Agreement of Sib, recognizing the de facto independence of Oman and containing a mutual agreement by Muscat and Oman of noninterference in each other’s internal affairs. This served for a long time to delay the attempts of Great Britain to subjugate Oman by uniting it with Muscat.

In 1955, as a result of the discovery of large petroleum reserves in Oman, the sultan of Muscat, supported by Great Britain, led his troops into Oman in order to occupy it. The imam of Oman was driven from the country. In 1958 the treaty of 1891 that established a British protectorate in Muscat was replaced by a new agreement, providing for the island of al-Masirah to be handed over to Great Britain to be used as a military base for a term of 99 years; a military air base in the region of Salalah (Dhofar) was also provided for Britain. In return, Britain pledged to provide Muscat with military aid and with armaments worth £ 1,250,000 annually.

The antifeudal and anti-imperialist movement intensified during the mid-1960’s in Dhofar in southwestern Muscat. By the end of 1965 the rebels had liberated a number of areas around Dhofar. There the Dhofar Liberation Front, a national revolutionary organization, was created; it was transformed in 1968 into the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arabian (Persian) Gulf. On July 23, 1970, a palace coup d’etat took place in Muscat, as a result of which the sultan Qabus bin Said came to power. In August 1970, Sultan Qabus, supported by Great Britain, announced that the imamate of Oman was to be annexed to Muscat and the new state be renamed the sultanate of Oman.




a city, capital of Oman, on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Average temperature in January, 23°C, and in July, 34°C; annual precipitation, 100 mm. Population, 10,000 (1969, including suburbs). Port on the shore of the Gulf of Oman. Muscat has an airport. It is a junction of caravan routes. Dates, fuits, and dried fish are exported from Muscat. Crafts are practiced.



any one of a group of grape varieties with a strong characteristic aroma reminiscent of musk. In the USSR the following muscat grapes are grown: white (Ladanum), pink (red), Alexandrian, Hamburg, Hungarian, and black. Soviet plant breeders, by crossing the Katta-Kurgan and Alexandrian varieties, have obtained a new variety, Uzbekistan muscat, which is characterized by a high quality of grape and good harvests. The best wines, known throughout the world, are made from the white, pink, and black muscat grapes. Alexandrian, Hungarian, Hamburg, and Uzbekistan muscat grapes may also be eaten fresh.

Muscat grapes are also grown in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, the German Democratic Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, and other countries. In the USSR, muscat grapes have been regionized in the Moldavian SSR, the Ukrainian SSR, the republics of Middle Asia, the southern regions of the RSFSR, and Transcaucasia.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the capital of the Sultanate of Oman, a port on the Gulf of Oman: a Portuguese port from the early 16th century; controlled by Persia (1650--1741). Pop.: 689 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005