Fort Jesus, now a museum, became the focal point of the island. In the years between 1631 and 1875, the fort changed hands nine times. In 1631, the town people revolted and killed every Portuguese on the island, but the Sultan of Mombasa had no real support and the Portuguese reoccupied Fort Jesus and consolidated their control. The Omanis, who had been steadily gaining strength, took the town and laid siege to the Fort from 1696-98. The Santo Antonio de Tanna sank in 1697 while trying to break the siege (and the museum holds numerous relics recovered from the ship). After 33 months Fort Jesus again changed hands, with most of the defenders having died from starvation or disease.

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