The Siege of Fort Jesus was a siege of the Portuguese fort at Mombasa by the army of the Imam of Oman, Saif I bin Sultan, from 13 March 1696 to 13 December 1698.
The Yaruba dynasty had been expanding since the expulsion of the Portuguese from Oman in 1650. They attacked Portuguese possessions in East Africa and engaged in slave trade. In 1660 they attacked Mombasa for the first time, sacking the city, but could not capture the fort.
When the Omanis surrounded Fort Jesus in 1696 the garrison consisted of between 50 to 70 Portuguese soldiers and several hundred loyal Arabs. Hunger and disease thinned the garrison and the civilian population who had taken refuge in the fort. The Queen of Zanzibar sent supplies to the fort but no reinforcements arrived from the Portuguese until the siege was lifted in December 1696.
Soon the Omanis returned and disease killed all the Portuguese soldiers. The defense was left in the hands of Sheikh Daud of Faza with seventeen of his family members, 8 African men and 50 African women. Portuguese reinforcements arrived again on September 15 and December of 1697. After another year of siege, in December 1698, the garrison comprised only the Captain, nine men and a priest. The last Omani attack on December 13 captured the fort. Just seven days after its capture a Portuguese relief fleet arrived to see the fort lost. The siege had lasted almost three years. Mombasa would remain in Omani hands until 1728.
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