William Lloyd Mathews
The house on Changuu Island, a short distance offshore from Zanzibar Town, once belonged to William Lloyd Mathews, a military officer and later a government official in Zanzibar in the latter part of the 19th century.
Mathews was a Welshman born in Madeira in 1850. He entered the British navy in 1864, and from 1870 served in the slave-patrolling boats of HMS London. In August 1877 Mathews was seconded from the navy and appointed to command and organise a European-style army for Sultan Barghash, who wanted to enforce his sovereignty over the interior. Until then, the sultan's army had been composed of Arabs and Persians only, but the new army contained 500 Africans, with a uniform of red caps, short black jackets and white trousers. The Arab officers wore dark-blue frock coats and trousers, with gold or silver lace, possibly modelled on uniforms of the British Royal Navy. The British government donated 500 rifles, and by the beginning of the 1880s Mathews had about 1,300 men under his command.
One of the new army's first tasks was to stop the slave smuggling between Pemba and Pangani on the mainland and they were soon successful, capturing several slave smugglers and hindering the illicit trade. Mathews was released from the navy and became Brigadier-General Mathews, commander-in-chief of Zanzibar's army.
A leading slave trader at this time was called Hindi bin Hattam. His dhow was captured by a British navy ship, captained by one C J Brownrigg, between Zanzibar and Pemba. Brownrigg found about 100 slaves on board Hindi bin Hattam's dhow, but before any action could be taken Hindi's men killed Brownrigg, and most of the British crew, and sailed away. In another ship General Mathews pursued Hindi bin Hattam to Wete in Pemba, and took him prisoner after a battle. Hindi died later of gunshot wounds. Brownrigg was buried on Grave Island.
In 1891, when a constitutional government was established in Zanzibar, General Sir Lloyd Mathews was appointed as His Highness's First Minister, and he was awarded a knighthood on 3 March 1894. On 11 October 1901 Sir William Lloyd Mathews died in Zanzibar, of malaria, at the age of 51. He was buried with full naval and military honours in the English cemetery outside Zanzibar Town.