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Early Heraldry

Maskat & Oman, Oman

[ Dawlat Oman ]




Air Force


Royal Guard





Sultanate in the south east of the Arab peninsula. Formerly Maskat and Oman an renamed Oman on 8 August 1971. Since 18 November 1970 Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id is the ruler of Oman.

From the 3rd century BC to the arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD, Oman was controlled by two other Iranian dynasties, the Parthians and the Sassanids. During this period Oman's administrative name was Mazun.

Oman adopted Islam in the 7th century, during the lifetime of the prophet Muhammad. Ibadism became the dominant religious sect in Oman by the 8th century

Afterwards Oman was conquered by several foreign powers, having been controlled by the Qarmatians between 931–932 and then again between 933–934. Between 967 and 1053, Oman was part of the domain of the Iranian Buyyids, and between 1053 and 1154, Oman was part of the Great Seljuk empire.

In 1154, the indigenous Nabhani dynasty took control of Oman, and the Nabhani kings ruled Oman until 1470, with an interruption of 37 years between 1406 and 1443.

Muscat was taken by the Portuguese on 1 April 1515, and was held until 26 January 1650, although the Ottomans controlled Muscat between 1550–1551 and 1581–1588. In about the year 1600, Nabhani rule was temporarily restored to Oman, although that lasted only to 1624, when fifth imamate, which is also known as the Yarubid Imamate. The latter recaptured Muscat from the Portuguese in 1650 after a colonial presence on the northeastern coast of Oman dating to 1508. The Yarubid dynasty expanded, acquiring former Portuguese colonies in East Africa and engaging in the slave trade. By 1719 dynastic succession led to the nomination of Saif ibn Sultan II. His candidacy prompted a rivalry among the ulama and a civil war between the two major tribes, the Hinawi and the Ghafiri, with the Ghafiri supporting Saif ibn Sultan II. He assumed power in 1748 after the leaders of both factions had been killed in battle, but the rivalry continued, with the factionalization working in favor of the Iranians, who occupied Muscat and Sohar in 1743.

When Sultan Sa'id bin Sultan Al-Busaid died in 1856, his sons quarreled over the succession. As a result of this struggle, the empire—through the mediation of the British Government under the Canning Award—was divided in 1861 into two separate principalities: Zanzibar (with its East African dependencies), and Muscat and Oman.

In 1868 Azzam ibn Qais Al-Busaid (r. 1868–1871) emerged as self-declared imam. Although a significant number of Hinawi tribes recognized him as imam, the public neither elected him nor acclaimed him as such.

In 1970, Qaboos bin Said Al Said ousted his father, Sa'id bin Taymur, who later died in exile in London. Al Said has ruled as sultan ever since.





Nabhan Dynasty (1406-1624)

Makhzum ibn al Fallah

1406 - 1435

Abul Hassan of Oman

1435 - 1451

Omar ibn al Khattab

1451 - 1490

Omar al Sharif

1490 - 1500

Muhammad ibn Ismail

1500 -

Portuguese Protectorate imposed on 15 April 1515

Muhammad ibn Ismail

- 1529

Bakarat ibn Muhammad

1529 -

Ottoman Control 1550-1551

Bakarat ibn Muhammad


Abdulla ibn Muhammad

1560 -  

Ottoman Control 1581-1588

Abdulla ibn Muhammad

- 1624

Ya'ariba Dynasty (first reign, 1624-1724)

Nasir ibn Murshid

1624 - 1649

Sultan I ibn Sayf

1649 - 1650

Portuguese expelled on 1 January 1650

Sultan I ibn Sayf

1650 - 1688

Bil'amb ibn Sultan

1688 - 1692

Sayf I ibn Sultan "Qayd al-Ard"

1692 - 15.10.1711

Sultan II ibn Sayf

15.10.1711 - 1719

Sayf II ibn Sultan (first reign)

1719 - 2.10.1724

Banu Ghafir Dynasty (1724-1728)

Muhammad ibn Nasir

2.10.1724 - 11.03.1728

Ya'ariba Dynasty (second reign, 1728-1749)

Sayf II ibn Sultan (second reign)

11.03.1728 -

Persian Occupation 1741 -1749

Sayf II ibn Sultan

- 20.06.1743

Sultan III ibn Murshid ibn 'Adi


Bal’arab ibn Himayr ibn Sultan

20.06.1743 - 10.06.1749

Abu Sa'id Dynasty (1749-Present)

Abu Hilah Ahmad ibn Sa’id

10.06.1749 - 15.12.1783

Sa'id ibn Ahmad

15.12.1783 - 1784

Hamad ibn Sa'id

1784 - 13.03.1792

Sultan ibn Ahmad

13 .03.792 - 20 .11.804

Salim I ibn Sultan and

Sa'id II ibn Sultan (co-regent)

20.11.1804 - 14.09.1806

Sa'id II ibn Sultan (sole ruler)

14.09.1806 - 19.10.1856

Thuwayni ibn Sa'id

19.10.1856 - 11.02.1866

Salim II ibn Thuwayni

11.02.1866 - 3.10.1868

'Azzan ibn Qays

3.10.1868 - 30.01.1871

Turki ibn Sa’id

30.01.1871 - 4 .06. 1888

Faysal ibn Turki

4 .06.1888 - 1891

British Protectorate imposed on 20 March 1891

Faysal ibn Turki

1891 - 9 10 1913

Taimur ibn Faysal Abdicated

9.10.1913 - 10.02.1932

Sa'id III ibn Taimur Deposed

10.02.1932  - 23.07.1970

Qaboos ibn Sa’id

23.07.1970- 1971

British Protectorate ended on 2 December 1971

Qaboos ibn Sa’id

 1971 - present



Early Omani heraldry is dominated by flags and tughra’s but very little of it has been preserved. In the following a short review is given of early Omani emblems.


Nabhan Dynasty 1406 - 1624


Portuguese Protectorate 1515 - 1650



Diogo Homem, on his map of the Indian Ocean (1555) gives for Oman, then a Portugues Protectorate a flag: Gules, four escutceons Azure, charged with five balls Argent..(ill.) This is a symbol that is specific for the Omani settlements in the 16th century because in this time different  flags were flown in Mombasa and Sofala.


 Ya'ariba Dynasty (first reign, 1624-1724)


The flag of the Omani Ya’rubi dynasty is documented by a Dutch flag chart of about the middle of the 18th century called Nieuwe Tafel van alle de Zee-varende VLAGGE des Werelds, op nieuws van alle voorgaande Fouten gesuyverd. under the name of Pav: de Sangrian. It was a flag of 13 stripes red-white-green-yellow-red-green-yellow-red-green-yellow-re-white and green, the yellow stripes charged with green crescents 3,2,3, like this:



 Abu Sa'id Dynasty (1749-Present)



After the extinction of the Ya'ariba dynasty in 1744, the new Abu Sa’id dynasty, to which all later Omani sultans belonged, flew their own flag which was red  without any other symbol.


For other Omani flags ð Roberto Bresci


H.H. al-Haj Sultan Sayyid Said ibn Sultan, Sultan of Muscat and Oman

1806 - 1856


Tughra of Sultan Sayyid Said ibn Sultan

dated ١٢٣٦ = 1816 AD


Masqat wa ‘Oman until 1971

Oman 1971 - present



Maskat and Oman Coin, 1940

Showing the emblem of Maskat and Oman.


The emblem of Maskat and Oman is known with certainty from the reign of Sa’id III ibn Taimur as-Saíd. It is on the reverse of a series of coins issued in 1940.

The emblem consists of two sabres in saltire and a khanjar per pale.


Emblem of Maskat and Oman, 1940 -


A khanjar is a ceremonial dagger with its abundantly decorated sheath, traditionally made of rhinonoceros-horn. The khanjar is highly appreciated in the arab world and for that reason contributes substantially to the extinction of the rhinoceros in Africa. 








ï  Khanjar

(Coll. Museum voor Volkenkunde, Rotterdam)


Dawlat Oman (1955-1959)



In 1955 a revolt in the Imamate of Oman against Sultan Said bin Timur was led by Imam Ghalib bin Ali Al-Hinai (1912-2009). A state was founded, the State of Oman (Dawlat Oman). The insurgency lasted five years until the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces (aided by British soldiers from the Special Air Service) put down the Jebel Akhdar revolt in 1959, and Ghalib escaped to Dammam in Saudi Arabia.

The flag of the insurgents was white with a sword and the text of the Quran surah LXI, verse 13: “Victory and Liberty with God’s Help” in arab, all red.

The emblem of this ephemeral state was:

Emblem of the State of Oman on ryal-coins minted 1971


Emblem: Two State flags on their poles oin saltire, crested with a crescent-and- five-pointed star and surroounded by two swords in base.




Qaboos ibn Sa’id

1971 - present


In 1980 the emblem was restyled.


ð See illustration in the head of this essay.


At the same time a royal royal emblem was adopted. This last consists of the state-emblem of Oman, crested with the Royal crown of Oman:


Royal Emblem






Royal Arms


Royal Standard




The Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces (SAF) are the Royal Army of Oman, Royal Navy of Oman, Royal Air Force of Oman and other defence forces of the Sultanate of Oman. They were established in th early 1950s with British assistance.


The ancient emblem of the tri-service of the armed forces of Oman, as illustrated above, was of three bars red, light blue and navy blue charged with two rifles in saltire, a pair of wings per fess, and an anchor per pale, charged with a khanjar per pale; crested with the royal crown and surrounded by a garland of laurel. In base is a scroll with the name of the service. 


Royal Oman Army



Emblem on the army flag


Royal Oman Navy


Emblem of the RON (1995)


Royal Oman Air Force


Emblem of the ROAF


Arms of the ROAF


Royal Oman Police


Emblem of the Royal Oman Police


Royal Guard of Oman




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© Hubert de Vries 2011-03-24

[1] ) Burke's Royal Families of the World. Vol. II, Africa & the Middle East. London, Burke's Peerage Ltd. 1980.

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