ABSTRACT

After the British occupation of the Arab Gulf region in the early nineteenth century, the first of the treaties made by Britain with all the sheikhs of the coast of Oman (Trucial States) was concluded in 1820. 1 This followed a war waged by Britain against the population and rulers during which the fleet and the towns of the Qawāsim were burnt down, since the Qawāsim represented the only maritime striking force to be reckoned with in the Gulf waters. The British pretext for war was the need to safeguard British maritime routes, particularly those of the British East India Company. Britain’s ultimate goal, however, was to establish its supremacy in the region against the claims of other European powers.