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'File 19/12 Bahrain, Precis of Zobara Affairs in 1895' [‎73bv] (154/230)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (114 folios). It was created in 17 Apr 1895-7 Sep 1895. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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No. 42, dated Bushire, the 4th May 1895.
p rom —colonel F. A. W ilson, Political Resident A senior ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul General) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Residency. in the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. ,
To—The Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department.
In continuation of telegraphic correspondence, I have the honour to report,
for the information of Government, on the difficulty which has arisen at Bahrein
in connection with an attempted settlement at Zobarah.
2. Early in March the Albin-Ali tribe, incensed at some violence done to.
one of their chief men by the brother of Sheikh Esa of Bahrein, talked of re
moving to the Katr Peninsula. A few days later an attempt to seize some of the
Albin-Ali concerned in a quarrel with certain goldsmiths led to a collision in
which shots were exchanged and two men on each side were killed. Sheikh Sul-
tan-bin-Mohamed Salamah, the head of the tribe, then left Bahrein with some
of his leading men, and went in the first place to Roweis near the north point
of the Katr Peninsula, whence the local Chief attempted ostensibly at least to
arrange matters. Sheikh Sultan almost immediately got into communication
with Sheikh Jasim-bin-Thani, who also professedly exerted his good offices to
settle the difference. There can, however, hardly be a doubt that Jasim, whether
or no he fostered the quarrel from the beginning, very soon saw in it a means to
further his own aims and to carry out a design which he has before attempted,
of a settlement at Zobarah.
3. Accordingly, early in April a letter from the Bahrein Chief intimated that
though he had not been seriously concerned at the alienation of Sheikh Sultan,
the object now declared, of a settlement at Zobarah, was a serious menace and
injury to his position at Bahrein. The Chief further said he could turn the in
truders out by force if thought advisable. I then reported the matter to Govern
ment by telegram ; and upon the receipt of the instructions contained in your
telegram of the 21st April, requested the Commander of H. M. S. Bramble
to proceed to Bahrein with Mr. Gaskin, Assistant to the Resident, in order to
communicate to Sheikh Jasim the warning which I had been directed to convey
to him.
I enclose for reference copy, in translation, of my letter to Sheikh Jasim, and
of a letter which I thought it advisable to address to Sheikh Sultan.
The Bramble sailed on 22nd and returned on the evening of the 26th
with Sheikh Sultan's reply to my letter, and the information which Lieutenant
Commander Currey and Mr. Gaskin had been able to obtain. Sheikh Jasim
being in the interior at some days' distance from Zobarah, his answer only reached
me by mail on the 1st May. Copies, in translation, of these two letters are en
closed for reference.
4. The position as gathered from further reports of the Residency A diplomatic office of the British Government established in the provinces and regions considered part of, or under the influence of, British India. Agent
by the mail, supplementing the information brought by H. M. S. Bramble,
has become somewhat complicated. My instructions to Mr. Gaskin, apart from
the warnings he was to convey, were to use every endeavour to induce the Sheikh
of Bahrein and Sheikh Sultan to accept his good offices towards a reconciliation.
These instructions were carried out by Mr. Gaskin with care and judgment, but
unfortunately with little result, owing probably to the outside influences at
work. Sheikh Sultan refused to return to Bahrein immediately, except practi
cally under compulsion, which would have been useless. He stated that it was
only after leaving Bahrein that on his appeal to Sheikh Jasim, and on the latter's
invitation, he went to Zobarah; and at his desire that he had raised the Turk
ish flag there, which, however, he agreed to remove: it had, in fact, ceased to fly
before the Bramble left. Sheikh Esa evidently considered that Sheikh Sultan
had too far identified himself with the enemies of Bahrein to return to his allegi
ance. He declined to accept a condition of his return which Sheikh Sultan had
proposed, viz. —that the tribe should be allowed a separate habitat at El-Had,
a village a few miles from the Chiefs headquarters ; holding that this would be
fatal to his own authority and would facilitate the designs of Sheikh Jasim and
his enemies to usurp his authority and ultimately overthrow his rule. He accord-
ingly preferred that Sheikh Sultan and his tribe should sever their connection
from Bahrein altogether,

About this item


This file contains correspondence regarding an attempt by Sultan bin Mohamed bin Salamah (the head of the Al bin Ali tribe in Bahrain) - with the assistance of Shaikh Jasim Al Thani of Qatar and the Ottoman Governor (Mutasarrif) of El Hasa - to establish a settlement at Zubarah 18th-century town located 105 km from Doha. on the Qatar Peninsula.

The British were entirely opposed to this idea and the correspondence contains details of their reaction to it, including an account of a bombardment of a fleet of dhows at Zubarah 18th-century town located 105 km from Doha. by the H. M. S. Sphinx in September 1895.

Extent and format
1 volume (114 folios)

File is arranged in chronological order, from earliest at beginning of the file to most recent at end. However, from folio 73b onwards the pages are copies of earlier pages (these are also in chronological order).

Physical characteristics

Formerly a bound correspondence volume, the file's pages have been unbound and are now loose. Foliation starts on first page with writing (3rd folio in volume). Foliation is in pencil in top right corner of recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. . The following foliation errors occur: f.61 is followed by f.61A. f.73 is replaced by f.73A and f.73B.

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English in Latin script
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'File 19/12 Bahrain, Precis of Zobara Affairs in 1895' [‎73bv] (154/230), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/1/314, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 23 January 2020]

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