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M'Simbati (1959-1961) (Tanzania)

Self proclaimed "sultanante"

Last modified: 2017-11-11 by bruce berry
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[M'Simbati sulatanate flag according to photo] image by Jarig Bakker, 06 Feb 2003

See also:

M'Simbati "Sultanate" flag

M'Simbati is an island or peninsula in southeastern Tanzania. In 1959 Mr. Latham Leslie-Moore, a retired civil servant, declared the secession of the "Sultanate of M'Simbati" from the then colony of Tanganyika. He designed a flag for this "Sultanate", which was flying over his house, until the "secession" was suppressed in 1962 by Tanzanian government troops.

There is a black and white photograph of the flag on p. 80 of the article "The White Sultan" by Charles Miller which appeared in the Saturday Evening Post on 20 April 1963. See also an article in The Flag Bulletin, No. 204 (2002) by Dr. Whitney Smith.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 06 Feb 2003

The information you give on the website is not entirely correct. My parents as well as good friends of ours in Mikindani knew Mr. Leslie-Moore reasonably well, and my wife and I with our friends actually spent a night with him in January 1965. He was a real eccentric and his story is rather more interesting than you indicate on your website.

Leslie-Moore wrote to the Tanzanian government in jest, asking for the independence of Msimbati to be recognised by President Julius Nyerere, who had a good sense of humour, and replied that whilst the Tanzanian government could not officially recognise the sultanate, Tanzanian government officials would not step onto his "island" without Leslie-Moore's permission, provided that Leslie-Moore invariably granted such permission. A very neat solution which Leslie-Moore appreciated! He was also not permitted to hoist his flag unless the Tanzanian flag was hoisted on the same flagpole and was above his (he didn't like that).

He was never evicted from his "sultanate" but took ill. The Tanzanian government felt that because of his illness it could no longer ensure his welfare and therefore deported him to England, where he later died.

Whilst we were on Msimbati, Leslie-Moore showed us the correspondence with the Tanzanian government as well as earlier correspondence with colonial governors of Tanganyika (two of them, Lord Twining, who, as a fairly junior colonial civil servant had worked with Leslie-Moore, who was an agricultural officer in the colonial civil service, and his successor, whose name I forget), and also to the United Nations, with a reply signed by the then Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjold.
John Bottern, 25 Nov 2005