ISSN 1729-9039 LiwaVolume 3 • Number 6 • December 2011 ISSN 1729-9039 2011 برمس يد • س...

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Volume 3 • Number 6 • December 2011 ISSN 1729-9039 Liwa Journal of the National Center for Documentation & Research

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  • Volume 3 • Number 6 • December 2011ISSN 1729-9039

    ال�سنة الثالثة • العدد ال�ساد�س • دي�سمرب 2011ISSN 1729-9039



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    LiwaJournal of the National Center for Documentation & Research

    جملة علمية حمّكمة ي�صدرها املركز الوطني للوثائق والبحوث

  • LiwaJournal of the National Center for Documentation & Research (NCDR)

    Editor-In-ChiefDr. Abdulla El ReyesDirector General of the National Center for Documentation and Research

    Advisory BoardH.E. Zaki Anwar NusseibehAdviser in the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) and Board Member of National Center for Documentation & Research

    Prof. Mustafa Aqil al- KhatibProfessor of Modern History-Qatar University

    Dr. John E. PetersonHistorian and Political Analyst

    Dr. Muhammad Sa’ad al- MuqaddamAssistant Professor of Modern HistorySultan Qaboos University

    Dr. Sa’ad Abdulla al- KobaisiAssistant Professor of AnthropologyUAE University

    Managing EditorDr. Aisha Bilkhair

    Editorial BoardDr. L. Usra SoffanDr. Jayanti MaitraMr. Ali Darwish Imran

    Editorial Secretary Sharifa Al Faheem

    Design & Layout Mohamed Adel

    © National Center for Documentation and Research, 2011Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

    The Editor of the Liwa Journal (ISSN 1729-9039) invites the submission of original and unpublished scholarly articles in English and Arabic related to archaeology, history and heritage of the UAE and the Arabian Gulf region.

    Manuscripts and all other correspondences concerning ‘Liwa’ should be addressed to: [email protected]

    Books sent for review in the Journal cannot be returned.

    For more details about ‘Liwa’ and subscriptions, access

    The views expressed in this issue are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board or the National Center for Documentation & Research.

    جملة علمية حمّكمة ي�صدرها املركز الوطني للوثائق والبحوث

    رئي�س التحريرد. عبد اهلل الري�س

    املدير العام للمركز الوطني للوثائق والبحوث

    الهيئة اال�ست�ساريةمديرة التحرير�سعادة زكي اأنور ن�سيبة

    م�ست�سار وزارة �سوؤون الرئا�سة، ونائب رئي�س هيئة اأبوظبي للثقافة والرتاث، وع�سو جمل�ساإدارة املركز الوطني للوثائق والبحوث

    اأ. د. م�سطفى عقيل اخلطيباأ�ستاذ التاريخ احلديث - جامعة قطر

    د. جون بيرت�سونموؤرخ وحملل �سيا�سي

    د. حممد �سعد املقدماأ�ستاذ التاريخ احلديث امل�ساعد - جامعة ال�سلطان قابو�س

    د. �سعد عبداهلل الكبي�سي اأ�ستاذ الأنرثوبولوجيا امل�ساعد - جامعة الإمارات العربية املتحدة

    د. عائ�سة باخلري

    هيئة التحريرد. ي�رسا �سوفان

    د. جوينتي مايرتاعلي دروي�س عمران

    �سكرترية التحرير�رسيفة الفهيم

    الت�سميم واالإخراجحممد عادل

    © املركز الوطني للوثائق والبحوث، 2011اأبوظبي، الإمارات العربية املتحدة

    العربية باللغتني املن�سورة، غري الأ�سيلة العلمية بالبحوث )ISSN1729-9039( ليوا جملة حترير هيئة ترحب والإجنليزية، يف مو�سوعات تخت�س بالتاريخ والرتاث والآثار للإمارات العربية املتحدة ومنطقة اخلليج العربي.

    [email protected] تر�سل البحوث وجميع املرا�سلت املتعلقة مبجلة ليوا اإىل العنوان الإلكرتوينالكتب التي ت�سل اإىل املجلة ملراجعتها ل ُترّد اإىل اأ�سحابها. ملزيد من املعلومات ولل�سرتاك يف املجلة يرجى دخول موقعما ورد يف هذا العدد يعرب عن اآراء الُكّتاب ول يعك�س بال�رسورة اآراء هيئة التحرير اأو املركز الوطني للوثائق

    والبحوث.Printed in the National Center for Documentation & Research Printing Press طبعت يف مطابع املركز الوطني للوثائق والبحوث

  • Volume 3 • Number 6 • December 2011

    LiwaJournal of the National Center for Documentation & Research

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    Mukhâ’ (Mocha), Jidda and Makka Al-Mukarrama: Urban Mapping in The Anis Al-Hujjâj Ms. in The Nasser D. Khalili Collection Dr. Geoffrey KingReader in Islamic Art and Archaeology SOAS, University of London


    Imperial Airways And The Airfield At Sharjah, 1932-1939

    Dr. Nicholas Stanley-PriceConsultant on Cultural Heritage Preservation, former Strategic Advisor to Sharjah Museums Department


    Narrowing the Gulf: Anglo-American Relations and Arabian Oil 1928–1974 Mr. Michael Quentin MortonIndependent writer and researcher


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    The illuminated Anis al-Hujjâj MSS 1025 (the Pilgrim’s Companion) in the Nasser D. Khalili Collection is an illustrated guidebook written in piety by the hajjî Sâfî b. Vali1, advising the pilgrim in great detail about the journey to Makka al-Mukarrama from Surat, north of Mumbai/Bombay. Sâfî b. Vali’s pilgrimage on which the Anis is based was undertaken in 1087/1676-7 and was funded by the Mughal Emperor Awrangzîb’s pious daughter, Zib al-Nisâ’. On his return to the Mughal court, Sâfî b. Vali’s text and illuminations were brought together to form the present Khalili Anis al-Hujjâj. It is suggested that it was executed in Gujarat2.

    Nahla Nassar rightly terms the Khalili Anis al-Hujjâj illustrations “diagrammatic” and comments on the acute attention to detail in these paintings3. Inscriptions name specific buildings shown in the given towns, including the town maps of Mukhâ’/ Mocha (Illustration 1)4, Jidda (Illustration 2)5 which appear to be accurate renderings of their town plans in the late 11th C. H./17th C. AD as far as one can judge from comparison with the same places today.

    Although there is a degree of standardized mapping convention used in the Anis al-Hujjâj just as in a modern map, there are also more specific renderings of particular buildings and sites. This is especially the case with Jidda, where the Anis records what seems to be the first illustration of the tomb of Huwâ’ (Eve), the Mother of Mankind.

    In contrast to the town mapping in the Anis of Surat6, Mukhâ’ (Mocha) and of Jidda, the illustration of Makka al-Mukarrama showing “Shrines to visit in Mecca which are not part of the hajj rituals” (Illustration 3) is a record of revered sites rather than a map. The same is true of “Pilgrims performing some of the rites at the town of Mina on the 10th of the month of Dhu’l-Hujjaj” (Illustration 4). Both of these Anis illustrations should be considered in context of the little studied corpus of illustrations of places in and around Makka al-Mukarrama, many of which were visited by pilgrims in the past7. Such illustrations are rare compared with those that record the Holy Haram Mosque.

    Mukhâ’ (Mocha), Jidda and Makka Al-Mukarrama: Urban Mapping in The Anis Al-Hujjâj Ms. in The Nasser D. Khalili Collection Geoffrey King

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    Geoffrey King

    Mukhâ’The Khalili Anis al-Hujjâj illustration of Mukhâ’ on the Yemen Tihâma of the Red Sea (Illustration 1) has the following catalogue entry title: “The port of Mocha in the Yemen, with the ships departing for India”.

    South is at the top of this illustration. In the conventions used in the Anis, the top of the map marks the direction of travel by the pilgrims. This corresponds to the intention of showing that from Mukhâ’, the pilgrims are heading south to the mouth of the Red Sea to then head across the Indian Ocean on their return journey to Surat. By contrast, in the Jidda map, the top of the map is north as the pilgrims were encamped by the north gate of the city before departing towards Makka al-Mukarrama towards the east.

    The plan of the port of Mukhâ’ as Sâfî al-Dîn recorded it in 1677 (after his Hajj) can generally be corroborated by the present writer’s fieldwork there in 19958 when fine old buildings were still intact on the waterfront following a street plan that corresponds to that in the Anis. In 1995, a very extensive graveyard lay beyond the old town’s buildings, to the east. In the midst of this area of graves was the white plastered domed tomb and the similarly plastered nine-domed mosque of Shaykh ‘Alî b. ‘Umar al-Shâdhilî (Illustration 5). The mosque is dated to before ca 821/1418 and next to it is a massive minaret of later date. The reluctance of Muslims to disturb Islamic graves had protected this empty area down to 1995 so it remained without covering buildings and an archaeological deposit was preserved to some depth with numerous Islamic period potsherds. The presence of Islamic graves has protected the ancient archaeological surface from disturbance at a number of Tihâma coastal sites. At the time of my visit to Mukhâ’ it was evident that this large empty area would soon be built over since concrete blocks had already been laid out to define new property boundaries.

    The Mukhâ’ townscape as it existed in 1995 was readily recognizable as that which Sâfî b. Vali had recorded in 1677 for the Khalili Anis. The orientation of the main streets of Mukhâ’ by the sea in 1995 was the same although there obviously had been building in the waterfront streets between the 17th C. and the early 20th C. As in other Red Sea ports, the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 had probably led to a boom in prosperity at Mukhâ’, stimulated by the commerce passing to the Canal.

    The Khalili Anis al-Hujjâj shows that the mosque of Shaykh ‘Alî b. ‘Umar al-Shâdhilî was the main Islamic antiquity in the town in 1677, as it still was in 1995. The Shaykh had brought Mukhâ’ to prominence in the early 15th C. by founding the Shâdhilîya Sûfî tarîqa, whose exponents used the then virtually unknown commodity of coffee. Coffee consumption spread and it became a major item of international commerce, bringing Mukhâ’ much prosperity. At his death, Shaykh ‘Alî was buried next to his mosque at Mukhâ’ in ca 821/1418 (Illustration 5) and in the years that followed, Mukhâ’ held the world monopoly of coffee for a time, introducing it to the Arab and the Ottoman world and then to Europe beyond.

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    When Sâfî b. Vali saw Mukhâ’, it was at the height of its commercial power, and it had already begun to receive trading vessels from Europe as well as the Middle East seeking to purchase coffee. The port of Mukhâ’ and its immediate hinterland is presented in the Anis al-Hujjâj in town plan with buildings and other landmarks recorded in terms of standardized conventions. The stylized fortifications and the towers that the Anis shows protecting the bay of Mukhâ’ gave safe anchorage to the boats of the Hajj convoy in which Sâfî b. Vali sailed. The fortifications are not specific to Mukhâ’ for the same generic formula is also used for the map of the harbour shown in the Anis record of Jidda.

    Two boats are shown loaded with hajjîs tied up against the Mukhâ’ harbour side and about to set sail. These vessels recall the bûms still seen in Arabian fishing ports like Abu Dhabi, Dubai creek and Doha. A smaller vessel, empty and seemingly at anchor, is shown in the Mukhâ’ harbour mouth in the Anis.

    The two single streets of Mukhâ’ shown in the Anis run parallel to the alignment of the sea shore with a single east-west street linking them. Shops marked in the manner of a convention run on either side. This street arrangement, although probably with later buildings, was still readily recognizable in 1995. There were a number of dignified buildings still standing then, some of which may conceivably have gone back to Sâfî b. Vali’s day.

    The large building called in the Anis caption the manzil al-hâkim is shown in post-17th C. European portrayals of Mukhâ’ made from seawards. The town’s topography became a favorite topic for Europeans in this period, initially driven by a desire to record for other mariners the key points on the skyline to navigate safe entrance to the harbour.

    South of the east-west street linking the two main streets of Mukhâ’ in the Anis is a rectangular building with an open courtyard on the north side, marked farza, and an enclosed courtyard to the south with chambers around it. The building type in the mapping convention seems to signify a “wikâla” or “khân”, or the sarais shown in the Anis at Jidda. The Mukhâ’ farza has monumental entranceways on the east and west sides, the main one being on the west side, towards the port.

    In the south of the town by the sea is a green domed building marked masjid (mosque). It is a convention rather than a portrait of a specific mosque. European illustrations of Mukhâ’ show a mosque in this rough location. On the northern edge of the town, the Anis shows a large domed mosque rendered in Indian Islamic style. It has an inscription describing it as the Masjid of Shaykh ‘Alî b. ‘Umar al-Shadhili. This mosque in reality has nine domes rather than the one in the Anis. Nine-domed mosques are a very specific type encountered in Central Asia, Egypt and east Africa from ca 10th -11th C. AD onwards (Illustration 5)9. The Anis town-map makes no attempt to render the Masjid of Shaykh ‘Alî accurately, with its distinctive nine domes. Instead, the single green dome and paired minarets follow a formula encountered in

    Urban Mapping in The Anis Al-Hujjâj Ms. in The Nasser D. Khalili Collection

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    Indian mosques. The mosque is thus shown in the manner of a mapping convention rather than as an accurate portrait of the Shaykh ‘Alî b. ‘Umar al-Shâdhilî mosque, but its relative location in the town is generally accurate, close to the eastern street of Mukhâ’. By 1995, the mosque and tomb were isolated in the graveyard and the archaeological ruin-field mentioned above and quite far from the old street system of the town. I have the impression that the illustrators of the Anis made the picture more compact than it is in reality. The Anis accurately shows many Islamic graves around the mosque of Shaykh ‘Ali, just as there were in 1995.

    East of the eastern street of the town of Mukhâ’, the Anis shows tents and arched structures of a type that are also shown in the Anis map of Jidda (cf. Illustration 2). It seems that these are a convention to show the tents of the Hajj camp. The tents of the pilgrims were specially made and were of white cotton. They bear no resemblance to the black camel-hair tents of the badawî of the Yemen hinterland nor the straw tents that were once used by the badawî of the Red Sea Tihâma. The artist has used a standard convention to indicate these white pilgrimage tents which should be understood whenever used in the Anis as marking the camp used by the Hajj.

    This Hajj encampment is interspersed with small pink structures which perhaps mark the scattered houses of the common people of Mukhâ’. This whole eastern area is enclosed by the wall of the town, formed by the frame of the illustration, with a single town gate in the centre of the east side of the frame. The Anis thus shows clearly that the Hajj camp was located inside the town wall for security.

    Jidda The Anis al-Hujjâj map of Jidda has the same level of accuracy of landscape and schematic conventions of mapping as the map of Mukhâ’, but it also has a more precise record of specific places. In contrast to the Mukhâ’ illustration, the Jidda map has north at the top and the Red Sea, or more precisely, the Manqabî bay (Jidda’s old anchorage), is on the left i.e., to the west (Illustration 2). The implication within the conventions of the Anis is that the map shows the pilgrims’ camp on the north side of Jidda before they departed eastwards to Makka al-Mukarrama.

    Just as in the Mukhâ’ map in the Anis, the topography of Jidda is recorded accurately. The rendering of the al-Manqabî harbour and sea fortifications of Jidda follows a convention rather than giving any sense of portraiture as these Jidda fortifications are identical to those shown in the Mukhâ’ map. In Jidda harbour, two boats are shown full of pilgrims and two are empty.

    The Anis representation of Jidda is defined on the north and east sides by a wall line forming the picture frame in the same way as we see in the Anis illustration of Mukhâ’. The fact that these frames are the walls of Jidda is demonstrated by the gates in them, one in the north wall, the Madîna al-Munuwarra gate, and two gates in the east side. The remaining wall of the town (to the south) has a single gate. As already

    Geoffrey King

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    Urban Mapping in The Anis Al-Hujjâj Ms. in The Nasser D. Khalili Collection

    noted, the al-Manqabî lagoon and the Red Sea border the town on the remaining side, on the left of the picture, although this is not entirely accurate: the Manqabî lagoon is in reality north-west of the surviving Balad al-Qadîm, the old town areaof modern Jidda.

    A single main street runs through Jidda in the Anis, parallel to the sea. The presently surviving Balad al-Qadîm of Jidda still has the main street running in the same manner. Courtyard buildings, each captioned as sarai, run along this single street in the Anis illustration. If the Anis is accurate, the main street through the Balad al-Qadîm may have shifted further eastwards inland since the 17th C., although I make this suggestion very hesitantly.

    Two sarais with courtyards are marked in the Anis on the east side of the main street and they are preceded by colonnades. On the west side of the street, again there are colonnades, preceding another sarai with a courtyard, its main entrance facing eastwards onto the street with a lesser entrance from the harbour. Next to it is another courtyard building termed qaraza and on the corner between the sea and the north wall of the town, there is a differently designed building, without a courtyard and marked as manzil al-hakim, i.e., the governor’s palace.

    The sarais must correspond to the secure wikâlas described by Charles Poncier who visited Jidda in the winter of 170010. He says that the wikâlas were of two to three stories, each built around a courtyard and that they provided rooms for visitors and storage on the ground floor. One must assume that Jidda as Poncet saw it could hardly have changed much since the Anis illustrations were recorded only 23 years earlier and that his wikâlas were the Anis‘s sarai’s.

    Inside the town, east of the main street of Jidda, the Anis marks the only mosque it records in the town of Jidda, with the caption reading Masjid al-Shâf‘î. This is surrounded by small structures, including three domed buildings which seem to be monumental tombs. All tomb buildings have now vanished, probably destroyed after 1926 when such buildings were removed by the Saudi religious authorities as being contrary to Islam. Other structures shown in the Anis map seem to be minor buildings and tents - perhaps wood and reed matting huts of the rectangular booth type called jundub that were once found in the towns and villages of the Tihâma11.

    The Masjid al-Shâf‘î today still stands on the commercial thoroughfare that runs through the Balad al-Qadim (Illustration 6). It is north of the Mi‘mar mosque of the later Ottoman period. In the Anis, the Masjid al-Shâf‘î is shown to the east side of the main street of 17th C. Jidda whereas today it is the west side of the present main street from which the mosque is entered. Because the street level has risen over time around the Masjid al-Shâf‘î, steps are now necessary to descend to the level of the courtyard and the prayer-hall, which represents the ancient ground level when the mosque was first founded.

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    As to the form of the Masjid al-Shâf‘î in the Anis, it is marked in a formulaic convention as a green domed mosque preceded by three arches. A single entrance in the west side gives access to its courtyard. Thus far it is unexceptional and similar to other mapping conventions used elsewhere in the Anis.

    However, the single minaret that is marked in the Anis as a distinctive feature of the Masjid al-Shâf‘î and it is accurately noted. The existing Masjid al-Shâf‘î has a single minaret which is the oldest part of the mosque and, indeed, is the oldest minaret in Jidda (Illustrations 6, 7). It is to be attributed on stylistic grounds to the work of Malik al-Muzaffar Sulaymân b. Sa‘d al-Dîn Shâhanshâh II, a Rasûlid ruler of the Hijaz and Yemen who seems to have completed it in 649/1251, the date of his death12. It is this Rasulid minaret which the Anis specifically records.

    In later times, the Shâfcî mosque was restored by an Indian merchant, al-Khwâja Muhammad ‘Alî who came in 940/1533-4 from Yemen to Jidda with building materials and restored the mosque. There are parts of the mosque’s woodwork extant in the courtyard today which seem likely to be from this period and in Indian style. (Illustrations 8, 9). The Shâfcî mosque courtyard and minaret are generally much as they were when Sâfî b. Vali saw them in 1087/1676-7.

    The record of the area to the north of the Jidda’s town wall is very interesting in the manner in which it is recorded in the Anis al-Hujjâj. Beyond the single north gate leading to Madîna al-Munuwarra, there is a large cemetery with numerous simple Islamic graves marked in the manner of the graveyard in the Mukha’ town map. To north and south of the graves at Jidda are white tents, marking the pilgrim encampment.

    Immediately north of and parallel to the north wall of Jidda there is what seems to be a street, perhaps of booths serving the pilgrim camp nearby. The mapping convention used to mark these more flimsy structures distinguishes them from the permanent buildings shown inside Jidda. These booths, marked as simple white squares, are accessed from outside the north wall of the town.

    North-west of the north wall of Jidda, the Anis al-Hujjâj shows a rectangular patch of dotting, apparently a mapping convention marking raised ground. It is not covered by the white tents of the Hajj camp that lies north and south of it. Immediately in front of the north gate of the town, in the centre of the graveyard, is a rectangular enclosure that is marked mahal surra. To the south-east is another area of dotting with a blackened square on top of it, which was originally silver, but now is tarnished black. It is marked “hasir”. These three features should be identified as the constituent elements of the tomb of Huwâ’, the Mother of Mankind, who is believed to have fallen to earth at Jidda when she and Adam (S.) were expelled from Paradise and Adam (S.) landed on earth at Mt ‘Arafa13.

    The Anis al-Hujjâj illustration in the Khalili collection seems to be the first illustration

    Geoffrey King

  • 9

    of the Huwa’ tomb and it is only to a degree comparable to photographs of it as it still survived in the late 19th and early 20th C. The central square opposite the town gateway marked in the Anis as mahal surra is the navel of Huwâ’ but it appears not to be domed. In this respect it differs from early accounts of it (see below) and early photographs. The black tarnished silver square on the more easterly raised mound marked by dots is the burial place of the head of Huwâ’. What sort of structure this may indicate is not clear, although the Anis does not use any of the dome conventions that we find elsewhere in the illustrations.

    The tomb of Huwâ’ is one of the ancient religious monuments of Jidda, mentioned in the earliest Islamic accounts of the city14. The first description (rather than a mere mention of it) is by Ibn Jubayr (579/1183) who refers to a high dome over the grave of Huwâ’15. According to Ibn al-Mujawir (also writing in the 13th C.), Persians settlers from Sirâf moved to Jidda in the 4th/10th C. after their city was destroyed by earthquake and built a tomb of âjurr (fresh coral) and juss at the grave of Huwâ’. Ibn al-Mujawir marked the tomb of Huwâ’ on his map of Jidda16. It was demolished in 621 H./1224 AD when Ibn al-Mujawir was at the town which was under Ayyubid rule. He saw the tomb before and after its destruction although he does not explain who did this damage to the structure or why.

    The shrine seen by Sâfî b. Vali in 1676-7 was therefore later in origin than 621/1224 but it appears not to have been rebuilt as a domed building, judging from its representation in the Anis. Sir Richard Burton made a plan of the shrine in 1853 and his plan of the overall shrine is much like that which we see in early photographs. The place of the navel was marked by a dome and a flint stone carved as a concentric, clockwise, stylized navel motif which was seen by ‘Abd al-Quddûs al-Ansârî17. As there is no domed structure in the long Huwâ’ grave shown in the Anis al-Hujjâj illustration of Jidda, it seems that the dome over the navel of Huwâ’ was built after the visit of Sâfî b. Vali in 1087/1676-7. It is this dome which is recorded in photographs of the early 20th C. (Illustrations 10, 11: ca 1909).

    By the 19th C. (and probably earlier) the shrine marking the burial place of Huwâ’ measured about 86.7 m. from the head to the navel and 59 m. from the navel to the feet according to A. Pesce’s calculations using several sources. Overall it was about 146 m.18 This matches the estimate made by the account of Muhammad al-Batanûnî19. ‘Abd al-Quddûs al-Ansârî calculates that the whole site was 150 m. long and marked out like the sides of a qanat. At the south end there were three walls which marked the place of the head of Huwâ’ (Illustration 10). The navel of Huwâ’ was once again marked by a dome when al-Batanûnî and al-Ansarî saw it (Illustration 11). The place of the feet had a few bushes growing in the early 20th C. (Illustration 12).

    Today, the features that cumulatively marked the tomb of Huwa’ have vanished, destroyed in 192820 and the area is walled off to prevent ziyâra. Such practices, represent both bida‘ (innovation contrary to religion) and shirq (division of the

    Urban Mapping in The Anis Al-Hujjâj Ms. in The Nasser D. Khalili Collection

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    Geoffrey King

    Oneness of Allah) in the eyes of Najdî clerics of the Salafî tradition who arrived in Jidda with the Al Sa‘ûd victory over the Hashemites in 1925. The Anis al-Hujjâj record of the much changed tomb of Huwâ’ is the earliest illustration of the shrine that seems to be known. The importance of the Anis in this respect has not been noted before, as far as I am aware.

    Makka al-MukarramaThe account of Makka al-Mukarrama in the Anis al-Hujjâj includes somewhat stylized scenes with reasonably distinctive dress suggesting first-hand recording of the various pilgrim groups and their dress---the Maghribîs21, those from Damascus22 and from India and Iran23 although there are numerous repeated poses and facial types, regardless of the pilgrims stated places of origin.

    It is difficult to judge the degree to which the Anis al-Hujjâj illustration entitled “Shrines to visit in Mecca, which are not part of the hajj rituals” (Illustration 3) is either an accumulation of mapping conventions or a reflection of specific characteristics of these sites. All of the shrines shown have now disappeared and one of the values of this particular illustration is that it records these revered sites as they were in 1087/1676-7, even if stylized. Nadia Nahla in the Khalili collection Catalogue entry notes that the sites shown in the “Shrines to visit in Mecca which are not part of the hajj rituals” (Illustration 3) include the birth-place of the Prophet Muhammad (S.), that of Fatima al-Zahrâ’, his daughter, that of Abû Bakr al-Siddîq and a madrasa founded by the Ottoman sultan, Sulaymân al-Qanûnî. There was also a Bektâshî darwîsh lodge24.

    There are signs of the use of standard conventions to mark these buildings although it is true that all of the buildings shown differ from those marked on the Mukhâ’ and Jidda maps in the Anis. The form of the shrines associated with the Prophet (S.), of Sitt Fâtima al-Zahrâ’ and of Abû Bakr al-Siddîq are very similar although there are additional details in the iwân-like structure portrayed at the birth-place of the Prophet Muhammad’s (S.).

    One detail is certainly a specific and a reflection of direct observation of practice in the Holy City. The Anis marks a woman praying alone at the Fâtima al-Zahrâ’ shrine, while those praying at the other shrines are all male. This is likely to be an accurate reflection of what Sâfî b. Vali saw at the Sitt Fâtima al-Zahrâ’ shrine, a place particularly venerated by women. In the mapping in the Anis, the crowds of pious women who would have gathered there were reduced to the symbol of single woman praying.

  • 11

    Urban Mapping in The Anis Al-Hujjâj Ms. in The Nasser D. Khalili Collection

    Mînâ’The Anis Hujjâj illustration “Pilgrims performing some of the rites at the town of Mina on the 10th of the month of Dhu’l-Hijja” (Illustration 4) is accurate in a conventional manner and in specifics in terms of topography and structures. East is at the top of the map, the direction in which the pilgrims were heading at that point in the rituals of the Hajj. The mountains to south and north of the valley leading from Makka al-Mukarrama to Mt ‘Arafa are schematically shown. So too are the awnings for the protection of the pilgrims from the sun.

    The activities of the pilgrims portray the various aspects of the Hajj rites. Awnings are shown that served to provide shade for the pilgrims from the harshness of the sun. Some make the sacrifices required, although the only animals being slain are camels, a particularly valued and pious animal of sacrifice at Hajj. Those pilgrims who have completed the Hajj rites are having their hair cut while others stone the three Satans, the Jamrat al-‘Aqaba. The Satan stones represented in the Anis in the upper right-hand corner retain the same appearance as they have in the earliest photographs of them, in the form of three upright stone structures (Illustration 13). The Masjid al-Khayf is marked in a conventional form on the north side of the valley of Minâ’ in the Anis but it shows none of the details that we see in early 20th C. photographs. The Anis representation appears to be unique in its conventions and its accurate account of the rituals that end the Hajj.

    As with the unique precision of record that the Anis al-Hujjâj provides for Mukhâ’ and Jidda in the mid-11th/17th C. so too its illustrations of the environs of Holy Makka at Minâ’ and Mt ‘Arafa in the Khalili Anis al-HujjâjAnis al-ujjaj are a rare record, of the landscape beyond Holy Makka itself. They add an entirely different dimension to the limited corpus of illustrations of the Holy Haram that show its surroundings as far as Mt ‘Arafa, as opposed to the far more familiar convention of illustrating the sacred mosque and its key features alone. The Anis also differs in its conception of the narrative of the sacred journey of the pilgrim, an approach contrasting with the static Ottoman and other maps that simply record the holy sites of Islam geographically.

    It could be argued that the Anis al-Hujjâj is a very sophisticated version of the Hajj certificates that were issued to pilgrims and many of which have been made by artists from the Indian subcontinent. It is a valid point but the sophistication and execution of the Anis are far greater. The sense of narrative is essential to the nature of the Anis al-Hujjâj. So too is its accuracy when compared with the record of early photography and personal observation of Mukhâ’ and Jidda in recent times. Cumulatively, the Anis provides confirmation of the precision of those who compiled the record of Hajjî Sâfî b. Vali’s journey. In this respect, it is unique in its record of the Arabian places through which the Indian pilgrims passed, presented in terms of conceptions that contrast markedly with the far more familiar terms of Ottoman mapping.

  • 12

    Select Endnotes1. J. M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam Treasures from the Nasser D. Khalili Collection. TDIC,

    Abu Dhabi (2007), pp. 284-287. Part of the collection was exhibited as The Arts of Is-lam, Treasures from the Nasser D. Khalili Collection at Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi in 2008, at the Musée de Monde Arabe in Paris in 2010 and at De Nieuwe Kerk in Am-sterdam in 2011.

    2. Nahla Nasser in J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam Treasures from the Nasser D. Khalili Col-lection. Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Abu Dhabi (2008), pp. 284-287.

    3. Nahla Nasser, op. cit., p. 284.

    4. Rogers, op. cit., p. 287, Cat. 340, MSS 1025, folio 21a.

    5. Rogers, op. cit., p. 287, Cat. 341, MSS 1025, folio 22b.

    6. Nahla Nasser, op. cit., Cat. 332, MSS 1025, folio 2b, p. 284.

    7. Nahla Nasser, op. cit., Cat. 335, MSS 1025, folio 11b.

    8. Rogers, op. cit., p. 287, Cat. 340.

    9. Geoffrey King, “The Nine Domed Mosque in Islam”, Madrider Mitteilungen 30 (1989), pp. 332-390.

    10. Sir W. Foster (ed.,), The Red Sea and adjacent countries at the close of the Seventeenth Century as described by Joseph Pitts, Willian Daniel and Charles Jacques Poncet, Hakluyt, London (1949; 1967), pp. 157-9.

    11. T. Prochazka, jr., “The Architecture of the Saudi Arabian South-West”, Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, vol. 7 (1977), pp. 128-9 and figure 11.

    12. ‘Abd al-Quddus al-Ansari, Mawsu‘a tari’ikh madina Jidda, I, 3rd printing, Cairo (1401/1980), pp. 428-9; Geoffrey King, The Historical Mosques of Saudi Arabia, Long-man, London (1986), pp. 38-9.

    13. For the fall of Adam, see ibn al-Walîd Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah b. Ahmad al-Az-raqî, Akhbar Makka. ed. Rushdî Malhasan, Dâr al-thaqâfa, Makka al-Mukarrama (1403/1983), p. 51.

    14. A. Pesce summarises the sources in Jidda. Portrait of an Arabia City, Falcon Press, re-vised ed. (1976), p. 128.

    15. Ibn Jubayr, Travels (Rihla), Beirut (1379/1959), p. 53.

    16. Ibn al-Mujawir, Ta’rîkh al-Mustabsir, Leiden (1951), 48 ff.

    17. ‘Abd al-Quddûs al-Ansârî, Ta’rîkh Madîna Judda , Cairo (1402/1982) , p. 12, pp. 47-48, pp. 485-6. A. Pesce, op.cit., p. 128.

    18. Pesce, op. cit., p. 127

    19. Muhammad al-Batanûnî, Al-Rihlat al-Hijâzîya, Cairo (1329/1911), pp. 11-15.

    20. Pesce, op. cit., p. 130.

    Geoffrey King

  • 13

    21. Rogers, op. cit., p. 287, Cat. 336, “The encampment of the caravan of pilgrims from the Maghrib (North Africa)”, MSS 1025, folio 5a.

    22. Rogers, op. cit., p. 287, Cat. 337, “The encampment of the caravan of pilgrims from Damascus”, MSS 1025, folio 16a.

    23. Rogers, op. cit., p. 287, Cat. 336, “The encampment of the caravan of pilgrims from India and Iran”, MSS 1025, folio 17a.

    24. Nahla Nassar, in Rogers, op. cit., p. 285.

    Bibliography‘Abd al-Quddus al-Ansari, Mawsu‘a tari’ikh madina Jidda, I, 3rd printing, Cairo (1401/1980).

    Al-Azraqî , Ibn al-Walîd Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah b. Ahmad, Akhbar Makka wa mâ jâ’ fî-hˆminal-athâr, ed. Rushdî Malhasan, Dâr al-Thaqâfa, Makka al-Mukarrama (1403/1983).

    Sir W. Foster (ed.,), The Red Sea and adjacent countries at the close of the Seventeenth Century as described by Joseph Pitts, William Daniel and Charles Jacques Poncet, Hakluyt, London (1949; 1967).

    Ali Ibrahim Al-Ghabban, Béatrice André-Salvini, Françoise Demange, Carine Juvin and Marianne Cotty (eds ) Roads of Arabia. Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Ara-bia, Musée du Louvre, Paris (2010).

    Geoffrey King, The Historical Mosques of Saudi Arabia, Longman, London (1986).

    Geoffrey King, “The Nine Domed Mosque in Islam”, Madrider Mitteilungen 30 (1989), pp. 332-390.

    Nahla Nasser in J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam Treasures from the Nasser D. Khalili Collection, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Abu Dhabi (2008).

    T. Prochazka, jr., “The Architecture of the Saudi Arabian South-West”, Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, vol. 7 (1977), pp. 120-133.

    J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam Treasures from the Nasser D. Khalili Collection, Tourism Devel-opment & Investment Company (TDIC), Abu Dhabi (2008).

    IllustrationsI express my thanks to Professor David Khalili for permission to publish the illustrations from the Anîs al-Hujjâj. Photographs of the tomb of Huwâ, the Mother of Mankind at Jidda and of the Jamrat al-‘Aqabat are published by kind permission of the Barakat Trust, Oxford. I also express thanks to Christies, London for permission to publish the illustration of the sites around Makka al-Muksarrama and to the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris for permission to publish the illustration of the al-Ma‘la cemetery.

    Urban Mapping in The Anis Al-Hujjâj Ms. in The Nasser D. Khalili Collection

  • 14

    Geoffrey King


    Illustration 1. “The port of Mocha in the Yemen, with the ships departing for India”, Anis al-Hujjâj, Khalili Cat. 340, MSS 1025, folio 21a. Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art. Copyright: Nour Foundation. Courtesy of the Khalili Family Trust.

  • 15

    Urban Mapping in The Anis Al-Hujjâj Ms. in The Nasser D. Khalili Collection

    Illustration 2. “The port of Jeddah on the Red Sea”, Anis al-Hujjâj, Khalili Cat. 341, MSS 1025, folio 22b. Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art. Copyright: Nour Foundation. Courtesy of the Khalili Family Trust.

  • 16

    Geoffrey King

    Illustration 3. “Shrines to visit in Mecca which are not part of the hajj rituals”, Anis al-Hujjâj, Khalili Cat. 335, MSS 1025, folio 11b. Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art. Copyright: Nour Foundation. Courtesy of the Khalili Family Trust.

  • 17

    Urban Mapping in The Anis Al-Hujjâj Ms. in The Nasser D. Khalili Collection

    Illustration 4. “Pilgrims performing some of the rites at the town of Mina on the 10th of the month of Dhu’l-Hijja”, Anis al-Hujjâj, Khalili Cat. 334, MSS 1025, folio 10b. Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art. Copyright: Nour Foundation. Courtesy of the Khalili Family Trust.

  • 18

    Geoffrey King

    Illustration 5. The Mosque of Shaykh ‘Alî b. ‘Umar al-Shâdhilî, Mukhâ’ (GK: 1995).

  • 19

    Urban Mapping in The Anis Al-Hujjâj Ms. in The Nasser D. Khalili Collection

    Illustration 6. Exterior of the Masjid al-Shâf‘î , Jidda, from the south-east (GK:1983).

    Illustration 7. Rasûlid minaret of the Masjid al-Shâf‘î, Jidda. From the courtyard of the mosque (GK: 2009).

  • 20

    Geoffrey King

    Illustration 9. Wooden columns and capital in the courtyard of the Masjid al-Shâf‘î, Jidda (GK: 2009). Possibly Indian workmanship, 940/1533-4.

    Illustration 8. The courtyard of the Masjid al-Shâf‘î, Jidda (GK: 2009). Note the descending steps from the present ground-level to the early mosque level.

  • 21

    Urban Mapping in The Anis Al-Hujjâj Ms. in The Nasser D. Khalili Collection

    Illustration 10. The head marker at the tomb of Huwâ’, the Mother of Mankind, Jidda (Saleh Soubhi: 1891).. Barakat Trust, Oxford.

  • 22

    Geoffrey King

    Illustration 12. The foot marker of the tomb of Huwâ’, the Mother of Mankind (Early 20th C.). Barakat Trust, Oxford.

    Illustration 11. The dome over the navel of Huwâ’, the Mother of Mankind (Early 20th C.). Barakat Trust, Oxford.

  • 23

    Urban Mapping in The Anis Al-Hujjâj Ms. in The Nasser D. Khalili Collection

    Fig 14. Masjid al-Khayf, Mînâ’ early 20th C. Barakat Trust, Oxford.

    Fig 13. Jamrat al-‘Aqaba, ca 1908. Barakat Trust, Oxford.

  • 24

    The airfield that was built outside the town of Sharjah in 1932 came about as a result of strained relations between the British and Persian governments. These relations mattered especially because of the strategic geographical position that Persia occupied with respect to communications, whether by land, sea or air, between Britain and its imperial possession of India. An airfield came to be built at Sharjah as a means of Britain avoiding any dependence on Persia for the concession of rights to fly between London and Karachi.

    Since 1921, the British Royal Air Force (RAF) had been running a fortnightly mail service between Cairo and Baghdad, known as the Desert Airmail Service. In December 1926, it handed it over to Imperial Airways, which had been established two years earlier as the Chosen Instrument of the British Government, for incorporation into its new weekly service London-Baghdad. The understanding was that Imperial could use the existing RAF airfields and landing-grounds in the Middle East and then extend the service to India.

    Because of difficult negotiations with the Persian government, only in 1929 was Imperial Airways finally authorised to fly over Persian airspace. For a period of three years it could have weekly flights in each direction along the Persian coast, following the route Baghdad – Basrah – Bushire – Lingeh – Jask – Gwadar – Karachi. In the meantime Persia would be establishing an inland air corridor across the country and Imperial Airways would be obliged, on the expiry of the current agreement, to use that instead. In 1931, the route of the proposed inland corridor across Persia was announced as due to follow the line Baghdad – Amara – Isfahan – Yazd – Bam – Gwadar. As the surveyor sent there by Imperial Airways discovered, it would involve crossing the 4,270m. high Bakhtiari mountains with their permanent snow and roadless desert areas in which intermediate or emergency landing grounds would be hard of access and not usable in all weather. Wireless communications would also be problematic in the mountains.1

    Faced with this prospect, Imperial Airways decided to resume an investigation of an alternative route along the western Arabian coast of the Gulf that it had discontinued a few years earlier.

    The RAF was charged with identifying locations along the western shores of the Gulf that could serve two purposes: to provide a safe anchorage for flying-boats and to

    Imperial Airways And The Airfield At Sharjah, 1932-1939Nicholas Stanley-Price

  • 25

    have the potential for an adjacent airstrip for land aircraft. But because of the flying distance between Basrah and Karachi, the civil airline needed more than periodic refuelling stops and emergency landing sites. It required also an intermediate stopover point somewhere on the peninsula with a rest house where its passengers could spend the night, since it was against the company’s policy to have night flights.2

    The coastal lagoons of the peninsula provided good flying-boat anchorages and most of them also had expanses of adjacent flat ground suitable for land aircraft to use. In November 1931, because of the difficulties with Persia, the British government agreed to switch to the Arabian coast route even though no candidate for a night stopover point had yet been identified. Negotiations with the Rulers of Ras al-Khaimah and Dubai, with their attractive combined creek and land facilities, had proved fruitless. Some breathing space arose after Persia granted a three-month extension to its agreement to the end of June 1932 but, yielding to the pressure to resolve the issue as soon as possible, Imperial Airways announced in March – to the surprise of all – that, for economic and technical reasons, they now planned to use land aircraft rather than the flying-boats agreed upon a year previously. The location of Imperial Airways’ stopover point on the Trucial Coast was to be at Sharjah, which could provide facilities for land aircraft but not a flying-boat anchorage (its creek was too shallow due to silting). After long and difficult negotiations, Shaikh Sultan bin Saqr of Sharjah signed an agreement with Imperial Airways to this end.3

    Fig 1. The Rest House from the air in August 1933

  • 26

    The 1932 Agreement – its terms and conditionsThe Agreement, dated 22 July 1932, was made specifically “for the establishment of an air station at Sharjah”.4 It defined (a) what the Ruler would provide, (b) what the British government would pay in return, and (c) what conditions the latter accepted for having a long-term presence in Sharjah. The Agreement was for eleven years, renewable, with payments being paid only for so long as the facilities were utilised.

    (a) The Ruler agreed to provide:1. A landing ground, duly marked out, where aeroplanes could land;2. A rest house for the passengers and staff of Imperial Airways;3. Duty-free importation of petrol, spare parts and provisions for the passengers

    and staff, and whatever might be needed for serving them;4. Protection to the staff and passengers and the aircraft, to which end 35

    guards and 2 head guards would be provided;(b) The British government agreed to pay:

    1. 20 Rupees per month for each guard and 40 Rupees per month for each head guard;5

    2. 800 Rupees per month rent for the Air Station;3. 300 Rupees per month rent for the Rest House;4. 500 Rupees per month personal subsidy to the Ruler for the responsibility

    that he had accepted;5. A landing fee of 5 Rupees for every commercial plane landing there (RAF

    planes were exempt from this charge).6. The cost of doors, windows and steel joints and corrugated iron for the Rest

    House.(c) The British government accepted the following conditions:

    1. The Rest House and fixed fittings would be considered the Ruler’s property;2. The Rest House would be on a site selected by the British government

    and built according to plans drawn up under the supervision of one of its engineers;

    3. Staff of Imperial Airways might reside in the Rest House but neither they nor the passengers might enter the town of Sharjah without the Ruler’s permission;

    4. The Ruler would be given loans determined as reasonable by the engineer supervising construction of the Rest House, and no rent would be payable until all loans had been repaid;

    5. Imperial Airways and its employees must not deal directly with the Ruler but through the Residency Agent or Political Resident.

    The Agreement covered the principal points necessary to allow construction of the airfield and Rest House to go ahead. It also itemised the income due to the Ruler in compensation for the “responsibility that he had accepted”, namely in authorising such

    Nicholas Stanley-Price

  • 27

    Imperial Airways And The Airfield At Sharjah, 1932-1939

    a controversial project that was meeting strong local opposition. In an astute political move, the Political Resident, Sir Hugh Biscoe, had argued successfully that the Ruler should build the airfield and rest house facilities and that they should remain his property, with the British renting them from him. Having them belong to the Ruler would help allay his fears about a loss of independence by agreeing to allow their presence on his territory. Moreover, it would be difficult for an outsider to arrange the acquisition and transport of building materials; much better to allow the Ruler to organise this.6

    A second three-month extension of the Persian agreement was due to expire at the end of September 1932. By then the British had to have equipped an airfield for the safe movement of aircraft, and to be able to provide facilities for the overnight accommodation of passengers and crew.

    Location and design of the airfield and its rest houseOnce Sharjah had been selected, security was the principal consideration behind the choice of location of the airfield and the design of its rest house. The prolonged and difficult negotiations over the past few years had demonstrated how hostile were many local people to the idea of a foreign presence in the Trucial States. The airfield and rest house about to be implanted there would have to be capable of being defended from them, so the argument ran in London.

    The first landing of land aircraft at Sharjah had confirmed these fears. Two weeks after an aerial reconnaissance on 4 May 1932 to identify a possible landing ground and rest house area, two Wapiti aircraft of No. 84 Bomber Squadron from Shaibah (the RAF base outside Basrah in Iraq) had landed at Sharjah in order to mark out the ground for future flights. After their departure, Shaikh Muhammad Saqr al-Qasimi threatened the life of his brother Sultan if he were to persist with the agreement for an airfield, and twice sent men to destroy the circle newly marked out in white to identify the landing-ground.7

    In fact, whatever the perceptions in London, views differed among British officials in the Gulf as to the reality of the threat posed either by the shaikhs of the ruling families or by the beduin. In May Biscoe had advised that the future rest house should be surrounded by a wall, and both it and the aerodrome should be clear of the town and under the cover of naval guns. He also argued that it would not be beyond a disgruntled bedu provocatively to fire a shot or two in the vicinity of the rest house so as to undermine Shaikh Sultan’s position. This would certainly alarm the airline’s passengers and had to be prevented at all costs. On the other hand H.R.P.Dickson, the Political Agent in Kuwait who had signed the Agreement in Sharjah as representative of Biscoe following the latter’s unexpected demise, concluded that the beduin of the hinterland posed no serious threat to the airfield. He expressed the view that the real reason for the Ruler’s suspicion about the airfield was his fear of closer British control over certain internal matters.

  • 28

    Whether or not that claim could be substantiated, it suited both the Ruler and the British that the airfield and rest house should be located well outside the town of Sharjah. The airfield could be located wherever good landing conditions were to be found. But ensuring the safety of Imperial Airways’ distinguished passengers was equally important to the continued success of the airline’s India route. So the rest house would be located on the airfield itself and the arriving aircraft would taxi in as close to that building as possible. The chosen site lay some two kilometres inland from the Ruler’s Al Hisn fort.

    Given the decision that, for security reasons, the rest house should be located in the desert well outside the town of Sharjah, the British government officials and Imperial Airways had few precedents on which to call for its design. On the Persian route the Imperial Airways overnight rest house had been a house in the town of Jask. In Muscat the RAF had rented a house that had once been the American Consulate as a wireless and telegraph station, and in Bahrain they had secretly purchased the former quarantine station from the Ruler. But the decision at Sharjah to locate the airfield well outside the town meant that all facilities needed to be purpose-built.

    There was, however, one precedent on which to call: Rutbah Wells in Iraq. When, in December 1926, Imperial Airways had taken over the Cairo – Baghdad route from the RAF, they had been faced with the need to have an intermediate stop for refuelling of both the aircraft and their passengers. To this end they made use of the fort at Rutbah Wells, located on a plateau 600m. above sea-level halfway between Damascus

    Nicholas Stanley-PriceNicholas Stanley-Price

    Fig 2. The Handley-Page 42E Hadrian at Sharjah airfield

  • 29

    and Baghdad, and known for its deep wells and good fresh water. The Rutbah fort had been built as a police post, wireless station and rest house, a four-square building with watch-towers at every corner. This building – familiar to many officials as they travelled to their duty-post in Iraq or in the Gulf – inspired the design for the one that was to be constructed at Sharjah, which also was not to be an ordinary rest house “but may much more aptly be described as a large fort with watch towers, parapets, firing step, loop holes, etc.”.8 Plans of the proposed Rest House had been circulated at the end of May 1932.9 Biscoe’s view about them was that security considerations had prevailed over those of climate – it would be intolerably hot in summer and some upstairs rooms should be provided. The Air Ministry responded that security, simplicity, rapidity of construction and economy were the main considerations and a single-storey building would best meet these criteria. Except for Imperial Airways personnel (who were changed every few months), the Western occupants would be passengers who arrived in the evening, dined and slept on the roof and would leave at dawn. Moreover, it claimed, local materials for construction were unknown and building a two-storey construction might not be feasible.10

    The Air Ministry’s view betrayed a remarkable lack of familiarity with local conditions. Sleeping in the open on the roof might be testing for some of the airline’s passengers, in the mid-winter months for the chill and in the summer months for the humidity or for the strong winds that can arise in the early hours of dawn. More surprising is the Ministry’s assertion about local building materials and a possible inability to build two-storey buildings. This would have appeared ridiculous to anyone who had seen the many substantial two-storey stone houses in Sharjah town or, a closer parallel to the intended building, the large forts such as Al Hisn in Sharjah itself and others in neighbouring shaikhdoms.

    Construction of the Rest HouseWith the Sharjah Agreement signed on 22 July, and the Persian agreement with Imperial Airways due to expire on 30 September 1932, the airline aimed to switch to using the new Arabian coast route on 1 October. The Sharjah airfield would be used from that date for the regular India flights, but passengers would have to be accommodated in a temporary tented camp. It would take at least a year to construct the fort/rest house. The work would be supervised by an officer of the Royal Engineers and by an Indian supervisor from the RAF Works Department to be permanently stationed at Sharjah. But it would take time since local labour worked slowly and anyway during the pearling season many local men were away. The Ruler had agreed, against a cash advance, to start collecting building materials.11

    The supervising engineer from Baghdad was Captain Kenneth Mackay (Royal Engineers) and the construction supervisor Natha (Nat) Singh, a Jat Sikh employed by the Works and Buildings Department. Captain Mackay was in Sharjah accompanying

    Imperial Airways And The Airfield At Sharjah, 1932-1939Imperial Airways And The Airfield At Sharjah, 1932-1939

  • 30

    H.R.P. Dickson at the time of the signing of the Agreement on July 22 and had visited the proposed site of the landing-ground and rest house the previous day. Discussions by the two of them with ‘Isa bin ‘Abd al-Latif, the Residency Agent, soon revealed some of the difficulties that the operation was facing, many of them created by the Agent himself. For the Residency Agent, the imminent construction of a British airfield in Sharjah offered attractive business opportunities but it also constituted a threat to his immensely powerful position.12 The prospect of a permanent British presence in Sharjah threatened to restrict it severely. In particular, the advantages of the physical distance from Bushire, where the British Political Resident was based, would be instantaneously diminished if wireless communications were installed at the airfield.

    Until this point the Residency Agent’s activities had been largely relied upon by his British superiors in the interest of benefitting from the undoubtedly useful role that he played on the Coast in reporting on events and liaising with official visitors. But by August the extent of the undermining of the airfield agreement was becoming clear. As Mackay reported in a long memorandum, during a visit made on 11 August he found little progress had been made in constructing the Rest House. One reason was that the advance of 10,000 rupees made by the British to the Ruler for purchase of materials. Another was that the only vehicle available for transporting stone to the construction site, a Ford bus converted into a lorry, belonged to a syndicate controlled by Isa. Because of this control, Mackay could not reduce the cost of labour that was being inflated. He suspected deliberate delays were being caused until the end of the pearling season so that the Agent’s own divers could be hired as labourers in order not to pay them their usual loans towards subsistence expenses during the off-season. On receipt of this memorandum, T.C.W.Fowle (later Sir Trenchard Fowle), who had succeeded the deceased Biscoe as Resident in Bushire, went immediately to Sharjah to have serious discussions with him.13 Matters improved thereafter.

    As for importing and landing building materials at Sharjah, Shaikh Sultan had secured an agreement that the British India Steam Navigation Company (BISN) steamship should call at Sharjah as well as Dubai, but the facilities for loading and unloading cargo at Sharjah were very poor. In an incident in September, the Shaikh of Dubai refused to help out by sending boats and labour to Sharjah to unload its cargo from the steamer.14 In practice, because of the poor harbour infrastructure at Sharjah, the cargo destined for the airfield was often unloaded at Dubai and then transported overland.

    Even if goods were landed at Sharjah, transporting them from the waterfront to the airfield was also problematic. Pack animals (donkeys and camels) were in short supply and motor vehicles were still a rare sight in the Trucial States. There was only the one lorry in Sharjah, around which the monopoly syndicate had developed. Mackay therefore requested the import of two lorries from Basrah. By the end of the year, the two Ford motor lorries and a team of donkeys were transporting sand and water to the building site.

    Nicholas Stanley-Price

  • 31

    Because of these initial difficulties with transport, progress in building the Rest House was slow. The airfield facilities, on the other hand, had been installed successfully as planned, in time for the initiation of regular Imperial Airways flights by 1 October as the Persian agreement expired. As a temporary measure, passengers were housed in a tented camp that was erected to the west of the Rest House building site. Imperial Airways’ internal report after its first westbound flight through Sharjah described effusively how the passenger accommodation was excellent, considering the difficulties. The tents were well erected, food was good and the sanitary arrangements excellent. Paths bordered by whitewashed stones led to the various tents, and sign boards had been erected. The Mess Tent was furnished with rugs and armchairs, and the airline’s staff was highly satisfied with what they had achieved.15

    By dint of sustained effort, Mackay and his team had made the airfield at Sharjah ready for use in only three months. But Shaikh Sultan complained that construction work was going too slowly. The builders had completed certain temporary buildings, or nearly so, but had not yet started to build the Rest House itself. They had dug and cemented foundations, and erected enclosures with barbed wire to surround the aircraft and the Rest House. But they were being held up by a shortage of cement.

    As for labour, Mackay was employing up to 60-70 men per day, but it was sometimes as few as 20, depending on how negotiations were going. In October, he estimated that another six months would be needed for construction of the Rest House. It was clear that progress was slower when he himself was not present but it was not feasible for him to be in Sharjah full-time.16 Fowle as Political Resident agreed that Loch, the newly appointed Political Agent in Bahrain and (unlike Mackay) an Arabic-speaker, should visit Sharjah regularly in order to give Mackay a hand. Together they soon decided that an Arabic-speaking RAF officer, Flight-Lieutenant Finch, should be temporarily stationed at Sharjah to help the engineer. His duties would be exclusively concerned with construction of the Rest House. If any locals approached him with a grievance, he should report it to Fowle or Loch.17 This condition was fully in line with the stipulation in the Sharjah Agreement that those employed at the Rest House should not deal directly with the Ruler. With Finch in place from December, construction moved ahead steadily (Figs. 4,5). On 26 April 1933, the first passengers of Imperial Airways stayed overnight in the new building. The electricity supplied by generators was intermittent at the start; but a regular supply of fresh water for drinking, washing and cooking was assured, thanks to the constant caravans of donkeys bringing water in four-gallon cans from the wells at Al-Falaj some three kilometres away.

    The Rest House was built as a single-storey, rectangular fort around a central open courtyard (Fig. 1). A series of rooms, shaded by verandahs, ran round the inside of the four external walls. The main entrance was in the centre of the south wall (actually oriented WNW-ESE, the wall on the right of Fig. 1). The west and east corners (actually southwest and northeast) were strengthened by square watchtowers which

    Imperial Airways And The Airfield At Sharjah, 1932-1939

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    projected from the line of the walls and therefore could cover all four walls with fire if necessary. Stairs from the courtyard led up to the upper storey of the watchtowers; a third stair led up to the sentry-walk at the north corner. With its 2m. thick stone walls, small high windows, a single entrance closed with steel doors, parapets and sentry walk, the building was an impressive and defensible fort.18

    It was as well that the defensive capability of the Rest House was rarely tested, since it exhibits a surprising design fault.19 The two watchtowers built projecting from the west and east corners allowed defenders to provide covering fire in two directions from loopholes. The loopholes were at the centre of embrasures that, unusually, are splayed towards the exterior rather than being a feature of the interior face. The splays would tend to divert ricochets of incoming bullets towards the aperture and the defender. The same design was to be found in the Defence Post, a small, stone-built octagonal fort that was constructed in August 1932 to defend the area of the airfield in which aircraft manoeuvred. That this was a design fault seems to be confirmed by the appearance of the east tower of the Rest House. The original east tower was demolished and rebuilt when the Rest House was doubled in size in 1939.20 On the rebuilt tower the loopholes, visible today, are narrow slits in the wall, the external face of each one protected by a perforated iron plate.21 The rebuilding of the tower in its new location in 1939 allowed the design fault of the 1932-33 construction to be corrected for this tower (but not for the western tower which retains today the form of the original loopholes).

    The airfield’s impact on communications within the Gulf regionThe establishment of the airfield had an immediate impact on communications within the Gulf region. Two of the important impacts were: the installation there of wireless and postal facilities; and the much reduced travel time from Sharjah to neighbouring countries.

    From 1932, the Sharjah airfield had wireless telegraph facilities similar to those that the RAF had installed at a number of landing-grounds along the Gulf coasts, both eastern and western. The longstanding wish of the British government for wireless communication with the Trucial Coast had now been realised – but, ironically, as a result of Imperial Airways’ change of routing rather than through a deliberate request to the shaikhs. Its control of the Trucial Coast was further tightened since its diplomatic representatives could now communicate directly and quickly with each other. Their representative in the Trucial States, ‘Isa bin ‘Abd al-Latif, was instructed henceforth to communicate with the Political Agent in Bahrain (Colonel Loch) rather than with the Political Resident in Bushire (Major T.C.W.Fowle).22 Urgent communications could now be made by wireless.

    Shaikh Sultan of Sharjah objected to this development, however, on the grounds that he had not been consulted about it. An agreement made in December 1932 between Imperial Airways and the company, International Communication (later, Inter Cable

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    and Wireless Limited), made the wireless station available to the general public for the sending and receiving of telegrams.23 Word had already gone around the merchants of Dubai and Sharjah about this innovation. The Ruler had no objection in principle, seeing the advantage of this form of communication, and was ready to come to an agreement with Imperial Airways over access to the service and remuneration. The matter then became more complicated when it transpired that any such telegraph service (which in the meantime continued to operate) needed to be registered with the International Telegraph Union based in Berne. On the one hand, Sharjah was not able to request registration itself because of its longstanding accord with the British not to enter into any agreement with foreign powers; on the other hand, the government in British India did not wish to be responsible for Sharjah’s wireless station. The matter was finally resolved only in 1937, long after the station had been operating successfully for some years.

    This episode illustrated the complexity of the Trucial Coast’s political status as it increasingly participated in international communications. Similar issues were soon to arise with the desire to have postal facilities in Sharjah (see below).

    Another impact of the airfield on communications related to the greater ease of travel and transport of goods within the Gulf region and between the Gulf and India.

    Imperial Airways And The Airfield At Sharjah, 1932-1939

    Fig 3. Passengers disembarking

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    Imperial Airways’ monopoly service that called at Sharjah started as a weekly service in each direction, and from January 1935 became a twice-weekly operation. The increased frequency of service opened up opportunities for local businessmen and officials who needed only to make a ‘flying visit’ to or from Sharjah. Long-haul passengers were the principal market targeted by Imperial in its publicity, but its regular, reliable flights led to a regional and local market developing within the Gulf and linking it to India. For instance, thanks to the scheduling of its flights, it was possible for the Political Agent in Bahrain in late 1934 to fly to Sharjah and then back to Bahrain the next day after spending one night in the Rest House. But the resident diplomats, while welcoming the much quicker mail service to London, could not afford Imperial’s airfares for their own family travel.24

    The new service also accelerated the transport of goods around the Gulf region. It carried fresh fruit and betel nut from Karachi to Bahrain, with pearls going in the opposite direction. With the pearl trade already in steep decline, its desperate merchants were quick to realise the advantages of the new air service: within a month of its starting in October 1932, a courier carrying pearls from Sharjah was travelling to Karachi. Others travelled from Bahrain to Kuwait. Sending pearls to market in India by courier or by air parcel was much quicker and more secure than using the fortnightly mail steamer (the ‘slow mail’) or other means. Imperial Airways claimed that a 2nd Class passage on the BISN steamer from Dubai to Karachi cost about Rs.120 and took five days; whereas a flight with Imperial Airways cost Rs.145 and took only nine hours.25 A business trip to Karachi or Baghdad for only a few days became feasible, especially after the twice-weekly air service had been introduced. It was not cheap, however. In 1933 the fare between Baghdad and Sharjah was £23 (Rs.300). There was a reduction of 20% on the one-way fare for the homeward journey if return tickets were booked in advance. In 1935 that fare remained fixed at £23 even though the single fare between London and Karachi was reduced from £95 to £85.26

    The advantages of quick travel around the Gulf region brought in its wake some risks such as the accelerated spread of disease. Members of the Shaikhs’ ruling families in the Gulf region had been invited to take flights in Imperial Airways’ planes in the early days when negotiations with them for landing and other rights were still under way. Once there were regular schedules, they occasionally took advantage of this rapid means of transport between their own country and their neighbours’. For example, in November 1935 the Ruler of Sharjah and his brother Rashid flew to Bahrain on their way to Hasa in Saudi Arabia where they offered condolences on the death of the Emir of Hasa and met King Abdul Aziz bin Sa‘ud. But earlier that year, in April, Shaikh Muhammad bin Saqr, another brother of the Ruler of Sharjah, had returned by air from his pilgrimage to Mecca via Bahrain. The Shaikh was reported on arrival to be showing some signs of smallpox but, after three days’ isolation, he recovered.27 Others were not so fortunate and by the end of the year there had been a serious outbreak of smallpox in Sharjah and Dubai. A campaign of vaccination of the town’s

    Nicholas Stanley-Price

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    residents and of the Rest House staff gradually brought it under control. But in the meantime, stopovers at Sharjah’s airfield were suspended, with flights being diverted to Ras al-Khaimah.

    Airmail service and the changing role of the airfieldDuring the later 1930s, the role played by the Sharjah airfield in the airline’s operations began to change. This came about for two reasons: one was that, as the range of aircraft increased and as night flying became commoner, it was no longer necessary to schedule an overnight stop on the Trucial Coast for all flights. The other was a result of Imperial Airways securing a Government contract for the delivery of international mail under the Empire Air Mail Scheme (EAMS). The scheme would make possible the transport of all airmail letters in bulk throughout the British Empire without any surcharge.28 The scheme led to a large increase in the quantity of mail being sent, peaking in the months preceding Christmas.

    The establishment of the airfield at Sharjah had made airmail postage available to the Trucial States, a much quicker service than the one offered in Dubai by the British India Steam Navigation Company. By mid-1933, there was a functioning postal service at the airfield and it was not long before the Ruler asked for a post office to be established in the town, offering a building rent-free on the waterfront. In the end, after more than two years of negotiations, the Political Resident determined that the Ruler could not guarantee adequate security for post office premises in the town and that the airfield facilities would suffice.29 It was not until 1963 that a post office was established in Sharjah town.

    The launch of the Empire Air Mail Scheme should have resulted in Sharjah handling even greater quantities of mail in transit, as one of the stops on the London-Karachi route that had in the meantime been extended to Australia. But Imperial Airways had decided to introduce flying-boats to handle the greater part of the EAMS. This decision ruled out Sharjah as a transit point, since the silting up of its creek and lagoon prevented its regular use by flying-boats. Instead the creek at Dubai took over this role, to the benefit of its merchants and at the expense of those in Sharjah.

    The introduction in 1937 of Imperial Airways’ flying-boat service at Dubai was a further blow to the continued importance of Sharjah as a stopover on the India route. The staff of Imperial Airways based at the Sharjah airfield managed the flying-boat operations at Dubai, and still handled the land aircraft services of Imperial that continued on a reduced scale. Passengers on the flying-boats landing at Dubai lodged in the Sharjah Rest House if the schedule required an overnight stay, but most of them passed through Dubai only briefly while in transit.

    The Sharjah airfield had been servicing Imperial’s aircraft for years with less than full passenger-loads. Now land aircraft were being built with a greater range that no longer needed to make an intermediate stop at Sharjah; and the transport of mail,

    Imperial Airways And The Airfield At Sharjah, 1932-1939

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    which had taken on a much greater economic importance than the conveyance of passengers, was assigned to flying-boats which could not even land at Sharjah.

    But these ominous trends for Sharjah formed part of a larger picture that was to see the demise of Imperial Airways. Following sustained questioning of Imperial’s operations and finances, the Cadman Inquiry in March 1938 criticised severely the state of British aviation, with the management of Imperial Airways in particular coming in for critical comment. In November, the Government recommended the creation of a public corporation by merging two companies, namely Imperial Airways and British Airways, a small airline that operated flights in the United Kingdom and Europe. The merger led to the creation of a new British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), due to take effect on 1 April 1940.30

    The Second World War broke out even before the new BOAC had come into being. But the war, rather than putting an end to the services offered by the Sharjah airfield, gave it a little publicised but valuable role in Allied operations. Although far removed from the battle-fronts, Sharjah’s location was a strategic one for transporting men and materiel to India and to the Far East theatres. BOAC operated as an instrument of the government, transporting officials and political leaders through Sharjah where they enjoyed the facilities of the Rest House. Around that building there gradually developed a low-budget RAF camp that housed personnel from Britain and from Commonwealth and other Allied countries. They were joined for some eighteen months in 1944-45 by members of an Air Transport Command unit of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) which occupied adjacent but markedly superior facilities in the same camp.31 Reverting to civil and military aviation use after the war, the airfield eventually came under Sharjah government control in 1968 and operated as the Sharjah International Airport until the present airport replaced it in the 1970s.

    AcknowledgementsFor consultation of official records, I am grateful to the British Library in London, the Dr Sultan al-Qasimi Centre for Gulf Studies in Sharjah, and the National Centre for Documentation and Research in Abu Dhabi. I am indebted to Charles Mackay for permission to reproduce photos in his collection.

    Endnotes1. Bentley, G.W., “Development of the air route in the Persian Gulf”, Journal of the Royal

    Central Asian Society 20 (1933), pp.173-189; Burchall, H., “The political aspect of com-mercial air routes”, Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society 20:1 (1933), pp.70-90; Said Zahlan, R. The origins of the United Arab Emirates. A political and social history of the Trucial States, Macmillan, London (1978); Morsy Abdullah, M., The United Arab Emirates: a modern history, Croom Helm, London (1978).

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    2. Stanley-Price, N., Imperial outpost in the Gulf: the airfield at Sharjah (UAE), 1932-1952, Book Guild (in press, 2012) which provides sources for statements not referenced here.

    3. For the long negotiations in 1930-32, principally between the British and the Rulers of Ras al-Khaimah, Dubai and Sharjah, see Morsy Abdullah, The United Arab Emirates; Said Zahlan, Origins; and Al-Qasimi, S. Mahattat il Shariqa Al-Jawiyya Bayn Al-Sharq Wa Al-Gharb, Sharjah, (2009).

    4. The text of the Agreement included by Tuson in Records of the Emirates, Primary docu-ments 1820-1958 (12 volumes), Archive Editions, Vol. 8, 1935-1947, pp.134-135, is probably the one used for its renewal in 1943 since it gives BOAC as the partner (which did not exist in 1932) rather than Imperial Airways. The wording is hardly changed, however, from that of the 1932 Agreement.

    5. Since 1927 the exchange rate had been pegged at 13⅓ rupees = 1 pound.

    6. IOR/L/P&S/12/1966, PZ3859/32, Political Resident to Governor of India, 21 June 1932 in Burdett, A.L.P. (ed.), The GCC States: National Development Records: Civil Aviation 1920-1962, Volume 3, Trucial States, 1928-1934. Saudi Arabia, 1926-1932, Archive Editions (1994), p.81.

    7. Al-Qasimi, Mahattat, p.32.

    8. IOR/L/P&S/12/1966, PZ3859/32, Political Resident to Governor of India, 21 June 1932 in Burdett, The GCC States, p.82.

    9. IOR/L/P&S12/1966, memo dated 27 May 1932 refers to plans being attached. I have not been able to locate them.

    10. IOR/L/P&S12/1966, Air Ministry to India Office, 11 June 1932.

    11. IOR/L/P&S/12/1966, PZ3859/32, Political Resident to Governor of India, 21 June 1932 in Burdett, The GCC States, p.86.

    12. Said Zahlan, Origins, pp.167-172.

    13. IOR/L/P&S/12/1965, PZ6975/32, Memorandum from Captain K. Mackay (Royal En-gineers), 18 October 1932, ff.130-137; Said Zahlan, Origins, p.172.

    14. Al-Qasimi, Mahattat, pp.69-70.

    15. IOR/L/P&S12/1966, f. 92, Air Ministry to India Office, 28 October 1932 citing Impe-rial Airways’ own report on the first westbound flight.

    16. IOR/L/P&S/12/1965, PZ6975/32, Memorandum from Captain K. Mackay (Royal En-gineers), 18 October 1932.

    17. IOR/R/15/2/269/7/3, Scope and functions of F/Lt Finch at Sharjah.

    18. The documentary film Air Outpost (Strand Films, 1937), now available on YouTube, is a valuable source for the appearance of the Rest House and the handling of Imperial Airways flights as of November 1936. See N. Stanley-Price, “Paul Rotha and the making of Strand Films’ Air Outpost (1937)”, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 32,1 (2012), in press.

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    19. In 1945 the Rest House did come briefly under attack; Stanley-Price, Imperial Outpost, Ch.7.

    20. Stanley-Price, Imperial Outpost, Ch. 5; on the Defence Post, ibid., Chapter 7.

    21. Walker, J., Tyro on the Trucial Coast, The Memoir Club, Durham (1999), p.4, refers to embrasures shielded by iron plates on the towers (sic) during his posting to Sharjah in 1953.

    22. Morsy Abdullah, The United Arab Emirates, p.45.

    23. Tuson, Records, Vol. 9, p.43. See Al-Qasimi, Mahattat, pp.81-89 for a detailed discus-sion of the issue.

    24. Tuson, Records, Vol. 7, p.299; Dickson, V., Forty years in Kuwait, Allen & Unwin, London (1971), p.122.

    25. Imperial Airways Staff News no. 102 (29 November 1932), p.2.

    26. Imperial Airways England – Egypt – ‘Iraq – India – Malaya – Australia, time-table in force from April 1935, on (accessed 28.2.10).

    27. IOR/R/15/2/1865, 24 November 1935 and 17 April 1935.

    28. Edmonds, L., “Australia, Britain and the Empire Air Mail scheme, 1934-38”, Journal of Transport History 20 (1999), pp.91-106.

    29. Al-Qasimi, Mahattat, pp.90-91.

    30. Lyth, Peter J., “The Empire’s airway: British civil aviation from 1919 to 1939”, Revue Belge de Philologie et d’Histoire 78, 3 (2000), pp.865-887.

    31. Stanley-Price, Imperial Outpost.

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    Narrowing the Gulf: Anglo-American Relations and Arabian Oil 1928–1974 Michael Quentin Morton

    The impact of the discovery of oil in Arabia and the Arabian Gulf has attracted the attention of historians as one of several issues which led to tension between Great Britain and the United States in the 20th century Middle East. For example, in an article in the International History Review (vol. 14, No. 1 (Feb., 1992), pp. 71–91) “Anglo-American Rivalry in the Middle East: The Struggle for the Buraimi Oasis, 1952–1957”,1 later refined in his book, The Middle East between the Great Powers: Anglo-American Conflict and Co-operation, 1952– 1957 (1992), Tore Tingvold Petersen examined oil in the context of the Eisenhower administration seeking to replace Britain as the dominant power in the Gulf. Nathan Citino in From Arab Nationalism to OPEC: Eisenhower, King Saud, and the Making of U.S.-Saudi Relations (2002) took a different view, contending that the United States wished to maintain a British presence in the Gulf in order to secure a steady supply of oil to Western Europe. In Separate Agendas: Churchill, Eisenhower, and Anglo-American Relations, 1953–1955 (2007), Daniel C. Williamson viewed the oil issue from the perspective of Britain’s determination to defend her interests in the Gulf. Simon Davis in Contested Space: Anglo-American Relations in the Persian Gulf, 1939-1947 (2008) highlighted a conflict between American “new deal internationalism” and British “guided development” which created a dysfunctional rather than a special relationship between the two countries.2 W. Taylor Fain in American Ascendance and British Retreat in the Persian Gulf Region (2008) concluded that there was little evidence to suggest that the US government worked insidiously to undermine British influence during the Cold War, but there were frictions between the two countries that made the special relationship a fragile one.

    It can be seen from this brief historiography that there are different interpretations of the Anglo-American relationship in the mid-20th century. This article examines relations in the light of the discovery and development of Arabian oil between 1928 and 1974. The tension initially developed over Iraq oil with the Americans pursuing free market principles through its “Open Door” policy, and the British preferring controlled market conditions. The first attempt to resolve this tension resulted in the Red Line Agreement of 1928. The subsequent failure of that agreement, and of later attempts to co-ordinate Arabian oil policy, had serious consequences for Anglo-American relations at a diplomatic and commercial level, and shaped the two countries’ responses accordingly. However, despite this tension in the relationship,

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    there remained a strong desire on both sides to work together to meet the challenges to their common interests in Arabia and the Gulf.

    The Red Line Agreement On 31 July 1928, American pressure to secure access to Middle Eastern oil brought its reward with the signing of the Red Line Agreement whereby a number of major American and European oil companies combined in the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPC) for the purpose of oil exploration and production in the region.3 The precise area of their interest was defined by a red line drawn on a map, along the boundary of the former Ottoman Empire, with the exclusion of Kuwait. None of these companies were permitted to operate in this area without the agreement of the others—this was the so-called “self-denying clause”.4 The agreement, it was hoped, would put an end to the apparently incessant squabbling over the oil resources of the region and guarantee future oil supplies for the Western world.

    In 1929, TPC was renamed the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC).5 Despite its multinational composition, IPC was perceived as a British company.6 It was led by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, itself a British company in which the British Government held a majority share, and its headquarters were in London.

    For the time being, the rivalry between British and American oil interests over Iraq was held in abeyance by the Red Line Agreement. However, as fresh oil discoveries unfolded, problems surfaced elsewhere. Heralded as a victory for US Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover’s drive for an Open Door to the oil resources of the Middle East, the agreement was in fact the opposite. As the oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian observed, “never was the open door so hermetically sealed.”7

    Bahrain and Kuwait The inability of the Red Line Agreement to contain American oil aspirations was soon exposed in Bahrain. Gulf Oil (a signatory to the Red Line Agreement) was unable to develop its concession because its IPC partners would not agree to its involvement on the island. Much of this stemmed from the scepticism of IPC partners, Shell and Anglo-Persian in particular, that there was any commercial oil on the island,8 but the effect of their decision was to allow Standard Oil of California (Socal) through the door. Socal, not being a signatory to the Red Line Agreement, and being therefore free to act unilaterally, bought the Bahrain concession from Gulf Oil for $50,000.

    But there was still a major obstacle to Socal operating the concession. Between 1913 and 1923 the rulers of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the Trucial States, and Muscat and Oman had signed undertakings not to grant oil concessions except to companies approved by the British Government. Such a clause was considered by the British to be a necessary part of a guarantee of protection from external aggression. Thus Socal’s interest in the Bahrain concession faced strong opposition from the British Colonial

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    Office and the India Office. Nevertheless, anxious to avoid the squabbles that had dogged the negotiations over the Iraq concession, the Foreign Office determined that British interests lay in a policy of conciliation towards the United States.9 In 1929, Socal was allowed to operate the Bahrain concession with a subsidiary company, the Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO), subject to certain restrictions.10

    Anglo-American commercial rivalry found a clearer expression in Kuwait, which was outside the Red Line Agreement. Anglo-Persian put up strong opposition to Gulf Oil’s attempts to obtain an oil concession from the ruler of Kuwait, Sheikh Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah. With Frank Holmes representing Gulf Oil, and Archibald Chisholm representing Anglo-Persian, negotiations dragged on until 1932 when Anglo-Persian accepted that Holmes was too well-entrenched to defeat. The company joined forces with Gulf Oil and formed the Kuwait Oil Company which gained the oil concession in 1934.11

    Saudi Arabia One effect of the Red Line Agreement was to bind certain American companies to the British-led IPC. Another was to divide American oil interests into two camps, the IPC group and the rest, so that the line between British and American oil interests was not easily di