Oman's National Day is celebrated on 18 November. This public holiday celebrates independence from Portugal control in 1650. This holiday is the start of a two day break, as 19 November is also a public holiday to mark the birthday of the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al Said.
Soon after Vasco Da Gama's voyage round the Cape of Good Hope and to India, the Portuguese arrived in Oman, occupying the region from 1507. The Portuguese fortified Muscat as used the town as a port from which to protect their trade routes to India.
Unhappy with how they felt the Portuguese were exploiting their presence in Oman, the powerful Al-Ya’ribi clan agreed a treaty with the British East India Company to allow the British to have rights in their ports. This weakened Portuguese control in Oman, and on 18 November 1650, Imam Sultan Bin Saif led a rebellion that expelled the Portuguese from Oman and its ports.
Did you know?
The independence from Portugal in 1650 means that Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world.
National Day events include parades, fireworks, camel races, an equestrian show, a marine festival and once very five years, a military show. The two day holiday means that many Omanis will take the opportunity to return to their home villages which means that traffic level on these days may be much heavier than usual.