In this essay we are going to discuss Britain’s colonization of Bahrain, one of the major powers that colonized Bahrain in modern history due to its quite big importance due to its place and culture and fishing and pearls.
Britain was alarmed due to the attention paid Bahrain by the Ottoman Empire and Japan because of its reputation as a center for trade which Britain had reserved for its sole benefit. The ancient civilization of Delmon, which dates back to five thousand years, three thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ, has aroused the interest of archaeologists and historians throughout the ages. In these epics, Delmon was portrayed as a paradise or paradise of the frades and was considered a sacred and purified land to the extent that it was widely believed that this land was a graveyard that favored the inhabitants of the territory to bury their dead closer to the gods who loved this land with their wealth of water, greenery and pearls. In studying the ancient texts of the civilization of Mesopotamia we can discern the relationship between the civilization of Delmon and those ancient civilizations. At the beginning of the nineteenth century Britain tried to dominate the region to end piracy in the Arabian Gulf to secure the maritime trade routes of the East India Company. In 1805 Bahrain’s ruling family offered the Al Khalifa support to Britain against the first Saudi state in return for occasional help from British ships. Her request was supported by a British resident in Muscat but the Government of India refused. In 1816 William Bruce, the British political resident of the Arabian Gulf, signed an informal agreement with the Al Khalifa that Britain would remain neutral in the war between Oman and Bahrain.
Four years later, Bruce refused to secure a truce agreement between the government of Bahrain and Oman. Britain was a big role in world in 1800s they tried repeated attempts to intervene in the affairs of Bahrain by protecting it from regional ambitions and expelling Oman, Persia, Najd, Egyptians and Ottomans from Bahrain, which enabled it to be unique in running the affairs of the region in its favor. Britain has been keen to implement its plans in the region, which could be to prevent the emergence of any forces in the Arabian Gulf that would affect the balance of power to its disadvantage, support the commercial interests of its Indian nationals in Bahrain, grant them rights beyond the rights of citizens, After the reasons for this were established in 1868. Britain has followed the legal and military means of extending its control over Bahrain and has signed several agreements of an economic nature supported by the military force, including the General Peace Treaty on 23 February 1820 and the Treaty of 21 May 1860.
Important positions: 1. The Political Resident The govt. of British India controlled the gulf by means of its political resident in Bushire.
His political role included the following: a. Representing the foreign interest of all the Sheikhdoms of the western coast of the Gulf, for example, being responsible for the foreign relations b/w Bahrain and the rest of the world. b. Specifying the limits in the relationships b/w the countries of the Gulf. c. Making sure that they complied with the agreements that had been made with Britain. The political resident had great military power and wide means of direct intervention enforcing any policy and compelling the sheikhs of the western coast of the Gulf in signing them.
However, after 1914 the position of political resident became restricted to dealing with administrative issues. With regard to administrative matter, he was in-charge of: 1. Carrying out agreements dealing with flight, electricity and the postal system 2.
Reviewing and deciding on all contracts received by Bahrain from any foreign party. Having the power to accept if it agreed with British policy or refuse if it opposed that policy. 3. Supervise the work of banks and coinage and watch for drugs and any trade in slaves. It was also in-charge of British cultural centers and the sending and translation of news.
4. Maintaining commercial activity in the gulf for the benefit of Britain. With regard to his legal role, it was similar to that seen in the policy enforced by European countries on the Ottoman Empire in the latter’s final days. Matters concerning foreigners were referred to the consulates specific to them which did not comply with local law. In 1861 this was legalized in the agreement signed with Sh. Mohammed b. Khalifa Al Khalifa and the legal role became one of the main characteristics of the political resident.
He therefore had the right to enter into all cases that contained British citizens or those b/w an Arab and a foreigner. He also had the right to enforce all penalties apart from the death sentence which required the consent of the foreign minister. The political resident obtained his actual power from the agreement signed with the rulers of Bahrain and from the British military presence in the gulf.
The powers granted to the political resident were discarded following independence in August 14, 1971. 2. The Political Agent The position of political agent in Bahrain was formed by means of the agreement of 1868 and existed till the British political residency in the Gulf was transferred from Bushire to Bahrain.
The basis for the role of political agent was to lighten the administrative pressure placed upon the political resident due to the latter’s responsibilities. The political agents made widespread arrangements in Bahrain and intervened in internal affairs. One prominent political agent was Major Clive Kirkpatrick Daly who became agent in Bahrain in 1921 and remained so till 1926.
He enforced colonial law in Bahrain and controlled its customs. 3. Military Bases The British fleet brought an end to the French and Dutch influence in the gulf and later turned to dealing with the Qawasims. Since then it enforced its policies and influence in the region through intervention. British forces took Bahrain as a military base in 1914 as a first base of their invasion of Iraq. Following World War II, the british forces expanded by setting up military and naval bases in different parts of the Bahrain islands following a rental agreement or contract making use of the island’s geographic location. They intervened to safeguard British interests during the turmoil in 1956 and 1965. Local Institutions: 1.
Sheikhs of Bahrain The Al Khalifa sheikhs continued to rule Bahrain during the period it was under British protection. The succession of rule took place by family council following the death of the ruler. Sh. Isa b. Ali Al Khalifa however sought to modernize this succession system so that the rule would pass to the eldest son in the light of previous conflicts in the term before he became ruler.
Britain agreed to this in 1898. When Sh. Isa b.
Ali Al Khalifa died in 1932, he was succeeded by his son, Sh. Hamad b. Isa Al Khalifa (1932-1932) followed by Sh. Salman b. Hamad Al Khalifa (1942-1961), then Sh. Isa b.
Salman Al Khalifa (1961-1999). 2. The British Political Advisor Due to many responsibilities, the political resident had foreign representatives in the countries of the gulf. The internal affairs of these were in the hands of the British agents who helped the ruler in local administration. This position was modernized following the turmoil of 1919 when the agent Major Clive Kirkpatrick Daly dealt with events harshly and took upon himself the role of ruler by means of martial law for a period of 5 years (1921-1926). When complaints against him multiplied he was removed from his post and the crown prince Sh.
Hamad b. Isa Al Khalifa was requested to take up the reigns of govt. Sh. Hamad b. Isa Al Khalifa appointed Charles Belgrave as his advisor and Belgrave remained in this post from 1926 to 1956. Charles Belgrave had the respect and trust of Sh.
Hamad b. Isa Al Khalifa and began his work as a financial advisor to the govt. of Bahrain before also becoming a political, military and legal advisor. Power became concentrated in his hands and he became the commander of the Police Force and head of judges as well as the supervisor of all govt. institutions. He was a contemporary of the reigns of Sh. Hamad b. Isa Al Khalifa and Sh.
Salman b. Hamad Al Khalifa. Following him Mr. Smith became secretary to the govt.
of Bahrain but did not possess the same benefits as Belgrave. Smith was restricted to being a member of the administrative council. 3. Administrative Institutions: The modern administrative system in Bahrain began in 1926 when Belgrave took up the position of advisor. Amongst the tasks the system concerned itself with were: Registering land ownership, collecting taxes dealing with commercial conflicts and directing internal affairs. In 1956 the administrative council was founded It was comprised of 26 sections.
It was also decided to expand the organizations of municipal councils. 6 councils were therefore setup for the main towns where earlier they were restricted to Manama and Muharraq. Offices were also founded in the 1960s to support the administrative system amongst them being: Petrol office and the economic growth office. In 1970, the stat council was founded as an influential and administrative governmental institution. The number of sections was decreased from 26 to 11 main ones. Each administration was given the right to make decisions given to it and organize its own affairs. The state council was transformed a year alter into the Council of Ministers on the morning following Bahrain’s independence, i.
e. August 15, 1971. Legal system in Bahrain was divided into 3 divisions. The first one The British legal system which was formed in Bahrain according to the agreement of 1861 which granted British citizens the right to refer case to council judges and these cases would be heard under the supervision of the British Political Resident.
Second was the local legal system which would look into urban cases. The third one was The Sharia’a legal system Sunni and Jafferi which would look into individual cases. The period 1880-1910: Britain began to fear the interest of the Ottoman Empire and Japan in the advantages of the Bahrain Trade Center, which was Britain’s monopoly on its interests. Britain sent the political resident in the Gulf to Bahrain to sign an agreement on 22 December 1880 with Sheikh Issa bin Ali pledging not to negotiate or sign Any agreements or opening consular, diplomatic or commercial agencies with any foreign country except with the consent of Britain, where Bahrain has become under British protection. The treaties and agreements through which Britain wanted to control the affairs of Bahrain. He referred to the Treaty of March 13, 1892, in which Shaikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa pledged himself and his descendants not to enter into any agreements or enter into any contacts with any foreign country except Britain , And not to agree to establish an agent for any foreign country on the land of Bahrain without the consent of the British government, and not to give up part of its territory by selling or renting by any other country except Britain.
In 1903, Lord Kirzon visited the deputy king of India and Bahrain and highlighted the need for customs reform, which was in chaos through a British administrative appointment, but Isa resisted it as interference and said to him that the British would continue their demands. Complaints about customs began as early as 1885 and remained a popular theme for British officials pending the implementation of administrative reforms. During this period, Isa resisted British control over customs in order to remain financially independent. In 1904 the British aide was promoted to the British political attach. On Sept.
29, Ali’s nephew Ali bin Ahmed al-Khalifa attacked clerks working for a German trading company. Ali himself attacked the German merchant. On November 14 his followers attacked and severely wounded several Persians.
The political official asked Jesus to punish the aggressors and compensate the victims, but he refused. After failing to obtain justice in Bahrain, the victims’ parties referred their cases to the German consul in the Persian port of Bushehr and the Persian secretary of foreign affairs, respectively. Fearing that these incidents would not allow foreign forces to “gain an opportunity to attack the British regime,” Major General Percy Cox, the acting political resident of the Arabian Gulf, visited Bahrain in a naval fleet on Nov.
30. Isa agreed to punish those who stood behind the attack on the German company but not those who attacked the Persians. Threatened to fire on the capital Manama if Isa did not comply.
Isa agreed to the demands on Feb. 26 after Cox fired a few empty shots at the main coastal city of Manama. In a secret he claimed to have warned Ali that his arrest was inevitable. It was discovered that Ali had been deported and took Cox Crown Prince Hamad hostage and imposed house arrest on Isa and the confiscation of Ali’s property. The Sunni magistrate Jassim al-Muhannah was also arrested. Three days later, Cox was satisfied with the results for the British. Hamad and Muhaz were released and Isa was released from house arrest. Ali surrendered in July and was deported to Bombay, India, in September.
In January 1906, Cox extended the British political authority’s mandate to the Persians when he ruled that the Persian, who had been caught stealing from a British ship that had been housed in Bahrain, was under British jurisdiction. In April, the British political official also extended his term to include Jews and indigenous Christians after the first group complained of harassment because of taxes imposed by Jesus. According to a British official, all these jurisdictions were “unauthorized under any law.
” The full implications of these measures were not realized at first because all foreigners were placed under the jurisdiction of the British political authority, which established a dual authority that often conflicted with the authority of the Governor and the other by the British political agency he led. During that time there was an increasing number of foreigners due to the boom of pearl fishing which settled on high rates. At the same time the term foreigner lacks a precise definition. Both Isa and the British announced that non-Bahrainis and Baharna were among their nationals. Isa’s political and financial motives were to obtain 10% of all legal fees.
Isa reacted to the change by postponing any reform to customs, which he called “the most precious British trade.” The British tried to use this atmosphere for their benefit. Captain P. B. Bredo, the newly appointed political agent, has drawn up plans for administrative reforms.
Unlike other British officials, he did not suggest changes in the customs or internal authority of the Al Khalifa. Instead, Bredo suggested that reforms focus on “ending local tyranny” in the form of forced labor and judicial and financial corruption. His proposals were the basis of the Bahraini State Council by a document issued in 1913 that guaranteed the legal status of Britain in Bahrain. Initially, these plans were rejected by Cox who believed it was too early. British officials believe that by 1908 Isa will have to accept customs reforms because of the end of the Banyan contracts. However, in January 1908 customs revenues rose when Isa appointed local officials. Before the end of 1907, the British did not openly declare that Bahrain was officially protected and instead considered it under their protection. The Foreign Ministry refused to use strict conditions to determine the status of Bahrain.
In private correspondence between British officials, however, the term “protection” has often been used since 1890. On November 14, 1907, the Indian government requested a decision to establish the Bahraini State Council in light of Britain’s increasing jurisdiction over foreigners. The rise of foreign interests and trade in the region especially for Germans was another important motivation.
In this request, the Government of India recognized that the 1880 Treaty had transformed Bahrain into a kind of protector. In February 1908, the State Department questioned whether administrative reforms could be carried out in conjunction with the official recognition of Britain’s authority over Bahrain, and that the latter might not provoke any hostile reaction from other foreign powers. In March, a committee chaired by John Murley, secretary of state for India, was formed. Concluded in its final report that Bahrain was in fact a British visual reserve but did not consider it appropriate to announce the matter and that a decision should be made by the Council with the written consent of Isa to Britain’s jurisdiction over the aliens. The report was approved in February 1909. In addition to its recommendations, the Government of India was commissioned in May to prepare a project to participate in the Council. The period 1910-1939: Bahrain underwent a period of major social reform between 1926 and 1957, under the de facto rule of Charles Belgrave, the British advisor to Shaikh Hamad ibn Isa Al-Khalifa (1872-1942).
The country’s first modern school was established in 1919, with the opening of the Al-Hiddaya Boys School, while the Persian Gulf’s first girls school opened in 1928. The American Mission Hospital, established by the Dutch Reform Church, began work in 1903. Other reforms include the abolition of slavery, while the pearl diving industry developed at a rapid pace. These reforms were often vigorously opposed by powerful groups within Bahrain including sections within the ruling family and merchants. In order to counter conservatives, the British removed the Ruler, Isa ibn Ali Al Khalifa in 1923 and replaced him with his son.
Some Sunni families left Bahrain to mainland Arabia, whilst clerical opponents of social reforms were exiled to Saudi Arabia and Iran. The heads of some merchant and notable families were likewise exiled. Britain’s interest in Bahrain’s development was motivated by concerns over the ambitions of the Saudi-Wahabi and the Iranians.
National Response to British Protection: The nationalist response took various forms depending on the situation and period though which Bahrain was passing. Social and cultural development was represented in the means by which nationalist powers opposed British protection. In the 1920s there was a nationalist movement against the implementation of the urban system and laws that were being applied in India based on the claim that they were against Islamic sharia’a. Sh.
‘Abdulwahab Al-Zayani was at the head of this movement. His demands can be summarized as requesting: Formation of a national council to supervise judges, the founding of a nationalist society, the organization of local police and setting up administrative reforms. The British political agent Major Clive Daly refused these demands. Thus led to a nationalist conference at the beginning of the 1920s in which the movement demanded: adhering to Islamic sharia’a, electing a Shura’a council, forming a court for pearl diving cases and insisting that the agent adhere to the agreements made with Bahrain and refrain from intervening in internal affairs. Daly responded harshly by quickly removing Sh. ‘Abdulwahab Al-Zayani and others from leadership of the movement and sending them to India despite objections by Sh. Isa b.
Ali Al Khalifa. The British forces attempted unsuccessfully to remove Sh. Isa b. Ali Al Khalifa from power due to his support for nationalist demands. National support for him however led to the british reducing his benefits in 1923. The british agent Clive Daly was removed from his post due to his harshness in dealing with the nationalist movement and Charles Belgrave was appointed advisor to Sh. Hamad b. Isa Al Khalifa in 1926.
This led to things quieting down till 1938 when a new movement appeared demanding the setting up of a nationalist council, representation of workers in the oil company and the exchanging of unskilled workers for local ones. Belgrave did not cooperate but arranged so that the leaders