The Dhofar (Arabic ظفار Ẓufār) region lies in Southern
Oman, on the eastern border of Yemen. Its mountainousarea covers convert|99300|km2|abbr=on and has the population of 215,960 as of census 2003. The largest town in the region is Salalah. Historically, it was the chief source of frankincensein the world. However, its frankincense is now mostly used locally. ( Somaliais now the leading exporter.)
While Arabic speakers from the dominant
Omaniculture have come to live in the province, especially the larger cities and towns, Dhofar has been the traditional homeland of many tribespeople speaking a variety of South Arabian Semiticlanguages. One of the largest - spoken by the Qara(Ehkelô), Shahra, Barahama, ِAl Mashaikhand Bathiramountain tribes - is called Shehri- popularly referred to as "Shahri people" or "mountain talk". It is closely related to Mehriin Yemen. Other indigenous groups speaking smaller languages such as Bathari live in the coastal towns of Shuwaymiyaand Sharbithat. The Harasis, speaking Harsusi, number 1-2,000 and live in Jiddat al-Harasis.
Al-Mahara in Yemen and Dhofar in Oman are the only parts of south
Arabiadirectly exposed to the South East monsoonfrom mid August to late September or early October; this is known as the khareef. As a result, it has a lush green climate during the monsoon season and for sometime after until the vegetation loses its moisture. Dhofar's temporarily wet climate contrasts sharply with the neighboring barren Empty QuarterDesert. The Salalahplain was once a well cultivated area with a sophisticated irrigation system. During World War Iit was fertile enough to produce food and grain to supply a large proportion of the requirement of the British Armyfighting in Mesopotamia.
A counter-insurgency campaign was fought here by the
Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces(SAF) 1965-1975 against guerrilla fighters of the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Persian Gulf (PFLOAG), supported by Communist South Yemenafter that territory's independence. It aimed to depose the Sultan. The Sultan's forces, assisted by the United Kingdom, Iran, Jordanand India, prevailed, and once the campaign was declared over in December 1975, the active remainder of PFLO forces surrendered.
Dhofar is a tribal community, home to many ancient tribes. The Arab tribes include Al Kathiri tribes which include, Al Shanfari (known to have played the main role in extending the current Al-Busaidi dynasty to the Dhofar region), Al-Rawas, Al-Marhoon, Al-Fadhil, Al-Hadhri,Bait Kaheir, Bait Ghawas, Al Masaly, Al-Hubais, Al-Rashdi and others. There are also Al-Hashmeis, Al-Yafei, Al-Mashaikh and more
The Qara/ Jebbali tribes include Al-Mashani (better known for Mazoon Al-Mashani, mother of the Sultan of Oman), Bait Said, Bait Tabouk, Bait Kashoob,Bait Qatan, Jabob,Al Awaid Al-Amri, Al-shahri and more.
It has been recently discovered that the Dhofar region is rich in meteorites.
Dhofar governorate consists of ten
districts (" wilayat"):
Mazyonahor al-Mazuna(new since October 2006)
Shalim and the Hallaniyat Islands
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