Sir Basil Shillito Cave KCMG CB FRGS (1865–1931)
was a British consul. He was the son of Thomas Cave, a Liberal Member of Parliament, and one of his brothers was George Cave who would become a Conservative Home Secretary and a Viscount. Basil Cave worked for the Foreign Office as a civil servant and was appointed Vice-Consul of British East Africa in 1891. In 1893 he was placed in command of a number of soldiers during civil disorder on Zanzibar and in 1895 was appointed Consul to the country. The Consul-General, AH Hardinge being away, Cave was responsible for starting the Anglo-Zanzibar War in 1896. He issued an ultimatum to Khalid bin Barghash who had seized the throne on the death of Sultan Hamad. The resulting 38-minute war, the shortest in history, ended with victory for Britain and the installation of their chosen Sultan, Hamoud bin Mohammed.
Cave was rewarded with appointment as a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1897 and accompanied Zanzibari Prince Ali bin Hamud to the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902. He received promotion to Consul-General in 1903 and issued orders that resulted in the quelling of a mutiny in the Sultan’s army in 1907. He left the country in 1909, being posted to Algeria where he was said to have worked hard to “strengthen the friendship between the French and the British peoples”. Cave was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1925 and was also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.