Near & Middle East Titles:
Bahrain Government Annual Reports 1924–1970
ISBN: (13) 978-1-85207-040-3
Extent: 8 volumes, 4,000 pages, many illustrations
Editor: R.L. Jarman, former advisor to Bahrain National Museum
Author:N/A ISBN: (10) 1-85207-040-4 Published: 1987 Paper: Printed on acid free paper Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish See sample pages:
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The reports cover five decades of unprecedented social, economic and administrative change in Bahrain. During the years of these reports the foundations of an education and welfare system were laid, together with the administrative infrastructure of today´s state. All these changes were reported on in detail by the Bahrain Government´s Advisor, Sir Charles Belgrave, in the reports up to 1956. The reports are here collated for the first time as a series from the first report in 1924 up to Independence in 1971. Each report includes a summary of revenue and expenditure for the year under review, together with budget estimates for the following year, as well as separate narrative sections and statistical summaries.
In the early 1920s the British in Bahrain were concerned to secure the political stability of the island. In 1923 Shaikh Isa bin Ali al-Khalifa, nearly 80 years old, was induced to hand over power to his son Shaikh Hamad. After a succession of Political Agents it became apparent that a permanent administrator should be found who would ensure some political continuity. Shaikh Hamad agreed to appoint a Personal Adviser employed by himself and not by the British Government, who would help him to modernise the state.
There were no readily available candidates and the post was advertised in The Times in August 1925. It is not known how many applicants there were, but after interviews Charles Dalrymple Belgrave was appointed with an annual salary of £720 – enough for him to get married on. During the war he had served with the Frontiers Districts Administration Camel Corps and had spent two years in the oasis of Siwa. At the time of his appointment he was on leave after two years in the Colonial Service in Tanganyika. He brushed up his Arabic at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and arrived in Bahrain in March 1926, to remain there until 1957. One of his tasks was to write an Annual Report on each year´s progress.
In 1924 life in Bahrain remained close to the old traditional ways. There was no government machinery, the only organised Departments were those of Customs and the Police, the Ruler had no administrative staff and indeed he could hardly afford one on a budget of £75,000 a year. There were two schools, hardly a literate woman, a hospital run by missionaries who were practically the only Western inhabitants, and a total of 12 motor cars.
We follow in the Reports the introduction of the apparatus of modern life. The 1930s saw the arrival of electric power, the telephone and an air-link, but above all there occurred the discovery of oil. Besides showing the evolution of a system of government, the Reports trace the creation of a modern industry. Oil was found in May 1932 and within just over twenty years Bahrain was exporting nearly 1.5 million metric tons and possessed the fifth largest refinery in the world.
"Such a detailed picture of a State, its politics, economy and social life over nearly half a century makes the Reports into a document of the greatest historical importance." Dr Robin Bidwell, Middle East Centre, University of Cambridge.
The Reports cover five decades of unprecedented social, economic and administrative change in Bahrain. The traditional economy was shaken first by the collapse of the pearl trade and subsequently by the development of the oil industry. During the years of these reports the foundations of an education and welfare system were laid, together with the administrative infrastructure of today´s state. All these changes were reported on in detail by the Bahrain Government´s Advisor, Sir Charles Belgrave, in the Reports up to 1956.
The continuation volumes VI-VIII for the years following the Belgrave administration are of great historical importance in reflecting the progressive movement towards Independence. A wide variety of significant events are reported during the years 1957- 1970, including establishment of Bahraini legal jurisdiction (1957), issue of Bahrain stamps (1960), introduction of separate currency (1965), building a new town (Isa Town) and pioneering of free education and health services. Bahrain became independent in August 1971.
Collated here for the first time as a series, from the first report in 1924, up to Independence and including the complete run of reports submitted by Sir Charles Belgrave, the reports to 1970 are published with the approval of the Ministry for Information, State of Bahrain.
Contents of the reports
The sequence of Reports begins with the earliest typescript budget estimates and notes on revenue and expenditure prepared in 1924 by the British Political Agent, Major Clive Daly, and thereafter annually by Charles Belgrave up to 1936, when the reports began to be printed. In successive years the framework of the reports was developed and expanded by Belgrave. Each report includes a summary of revenue and expenditure for the year under review, together with budget estimates for the following year. There are then separate narrative sections covering a wide range of subjects, including: pearl trade, police and public security, public health, census, municipalities, oil industry, education, judicial matters, agriculture.
The reports are illustrated with numerous charts, plans and photographs, including:Hawar fort, 1937; Government buildings 1926-37; Technical school, 1938; Government hospital, 1939; Manama-Muharraq bridge, 1941; Secondary schools, 1946.
A great deal of statistical material is given in each subject section, often treated in diagrams, and including: pearl prices; crime figures; hospital statistics / education statistics, for example: numbers of patients / numbers of students / diseases / courses taken / results of treatment / staff / major operations / equipment.
I 1924-1937 II Ten-year summary(1926-1937) 1937-1941 III 1942-1946 IV 1947-1951 V 1952-1956 VI 1957-1961 (1962: withdrawn) VII 1963-1966 VIII 1967-1970
The Reports for the years 1924–1937 were prepared in typescript. This edition has been reprinted from apparently the only surviving text, a set of carbon copies now in poor condition. The new edition makes every attempt to conserve the legibility of the early material. The typescript Reports - the very existence of which has not been generally known hitherto - are contained in Volume I.
The 'summaries of events' - i.e. the usual narrative report accompanying the budget section - are missing from the years 1935-36 and 1936-37. While it is possible that the text has been lost, there are indications that Belgrave was prevented from writing these sections by pressure of other work; he composed the 1926-1936 Ten-Year Summary at this time. The Ten-Year Summary is the earliest material in the series to be printed, and is included at the head of Volume II of the present edition. Thereafter the Reports are collected in approximately five-year groups per volume. The Report for 1962 was withdrawn by the Bahrain Government and cannot be included in this edition.
The typescript reports for the years 1924-1937 are reprinted from microfilm masters. The printed Reports thereafter have been reduced slightly from their original foolscap size. This published edition brings the complete sequence of Reports together for the first time. The numerous photographs have been carefully reproduced, the colour printing of certain graphs and diagrams has been retained, and the many fold-out charts have been printed separately and tipped in by hand. The Reports are published in the following sequence of volumes.