End of Said's reign
Sultan Said made periodic visits to Muscat, leaving his son Khaled as governor of Zanzibar in his absence. Khaled had a predilection for French goods and called his principal country estate Marseilles, after the French Mediterranean port. When Khaled died of tuberculosis in November 1854, an order came from Said in Muscat appointing another son, the 20-year-old Majid, as governor.
In September 1856 Said sailed for Zanzibar again in his boat Kitorie. He travelled with his family, including his son Barghash, now 19 years old. Said ordered some loose planks of wood to be loaded onto the ship, saying that if anyone should die on board, the body must not be buried at sea according to Muslim custom, but embalmed and taken to Zanzibar in a coffin. Said seemed to know it was he who was about to die: he began to suffer severe pains from an old wound in his thigh followed by an attack of dysentery. On 19 October 1856 he died on board the ship. He was 65 years old.
Barghash put his father's body in the coffin and took command of the fleet. He knew his elder brother Majid would succeed his father as the new Sultan of Zanzibar, but he also realised that Majid would be unaware of their father's death. On the night of his arrival at Zanzibar, Barghash came ashore secretly and tried to take control of the palace at Mtoni and the Fort in Zanzibar Town, but he was unable to muster enough supporters and his attempt was thwarted.
On 28 October 1856 Majid bin Said was proclaimed Sultan of Zanzibar. A ship was sent to Oman with the news, but Said's eldest son Thuwaini refused to acknowledge Majid as sultan, believing that he was the legitimate successor. Majid agreed to pay Thuwaini 40,000 Maria Theresa dollars annually as compensation, but after a year the payment ceased.