The Omani People


Centuries of trading with other nations and an imperial history have created a race that is multi ethnic and many colored; fair, dark and brown complexions, all are part of the Omani people. Predominantly Arab, with Arabic as the official language and also language of daily use, intermarriage with other groups particularly from East Africa and Asia, has resulted in this varied ethnological mix.

Omani people have a strong sense of their tribe and usually their names indicate which tribe they belong to. The three major racial strains among Omanis include Omanis, the Baluchis and the Zanzibaris.
The Omanis, it is believed belong to two main tribes, the Hinawis and the Ghafiris. The Hinawis moved in from neighboring Yemen and the Ghafiris from Central Arabia. The Baluchis, who are originally from the region of present day Baluchistan, came into Oman as warriors and were mobilized to the Sultan’s army as mercenaries in the wars with the Persians. Today they are concentrated up the Batinah coast and speak Urdu and Arabic. The Zanzibaris migrated into Oman from Zanzibar, present day Tanzania, once a colony of the Sultan of Oman. Zanzibaris or Zinzibaris as they are often called, speak both Swahili and Arabic.
Smaller ethnic groups like the Kumzaris in the Musandam Peninsula, who speak an Indo Iranian dialect which is a mixture of Farsi, Arabic and Portuguese and the JIbbalis, a Jewish community in the Dhofar region, who speak `the language of the birds’, a completely disparate language, complete the multicultural racial picture. Trade with India resulted in the settlements of Indian traders in Oman, notably the Baniya community from Sind, many of whom though Hindu, have been granted citizenship by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos.

The population of Oman today number around three million and includes about half a million expatriates.