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Volume :4 Issue : 16 1978      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

BRITISH GULF POLICY AND KUWAIT IN THE 19TH CENTURY

Auther : By Dr. Jacquelline S. Ismael

 

Throughout the eighteenth century, the main external impact on Kuwait was tribal, not State.  By the nineteenth century, however, this was rapidly changing, and Kuwait was increasingly drawn into the vortex of the region’s international relations.  This article examines the impact of this on Kuwait in terms of the growth of British imperialism in the Gulf.

 After over viewing the expansion of British imperialism in the Gulf in the context of the growth of European imperialist rivalry, the suppression of indigenous powers, and the integration of the Gulf into the British mercantile system, the article focuses on the development of relations between Kuwait and the British.  It examines the strategic importance of Kuwait to the expansion of British imperialism in the Middle East – both in its commercial and political dimensions.  Finally, based on an examination of British diplomatic correspondence, the article argues that the British played an active role in Sheikh Mubarak’s usurpation of power in 1896.

 The article then examines the political and diplomatic maneuvering culminating in the secret agreement between Britain and Sheikh Mubarak of 1899.  It argues that through the agreement, Kuwait became a tool of British policy vis-à-vis the Ottoman Empire and in Central Arabia.

 Mubarak’s agreement with Britain marks the point of Kuwait’s integration into British imperial relations of production.  Unlike many other nations, Kuwait’s integration into this system did not emerge from a commercial, but from a distinctly political basis.  Nevertheless, as a result, Kuwait became part of an emerging world division of labor.

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