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Near & Middle East Titles:
Arab Gulf Cities
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ISBN: (13) 978-1-85207-540-8
Extent: 4 volumes, 2,900 pages

Editor: R. Trench
ISBN: (10) 1-85207-540-6
Published: 1994
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available

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In four volumes Arab Gulf Cities draws together key documents reflecting the history and development of the major cities of the Arab Gulf up to the 1960s. There is detailed coverage of Kuwait City; Manama; Doha; Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah; and Muscat and Mattrah. The range of material in the volumes is extensive: covering economic, municipal and social development; topography; water resources, electrification and road building, although the amount of detail surviving in the historical record naturally varies from place to place. The work is edited and introduced by the scholar and author on Middle East travel and topography, the late Richard Trench.
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Historical Overview

On Kuwait

... "Eighty years ago Kuwait was a small village of single-storey sand-coloured clay houses on an empty shore, surrounded by a crumbling wall. The wall was rebuilt and heightened in 1920 to protect Kuwait from Ikhwan raids... (The wall) had five high watch-towers and gates, and was four metres high and three miles long. Every male Kuwaiti was conscripted to work on its construction, and the wall was guarded each night by quotas of men supplied by the local merchants.

In June 1946 Kuwait´s first barrel of oil was exported. Exactly ten years later the city wall was bulldozed to rubble..."

On Manama

"The old town of Manama, with its traditional Gulf houses built of coral slabs and gypsum and its labyrinth of alleys, still exists, elbowed up against high-rise office blocks...

...What relevance does the Old Town, whose records are contained in this volume, have to the modern city that overshadows it? Not much, you could say. But what relevance does the photograph of the young child have to the grown-up adult studying it? Not much, either - except that the one grew into the other..."

On Doha and the cities of the Emirates

"From the early nineteenth century, the descriptions of Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah stress how alike they are: towns and villages of white buildings beside shallow lagoons...

...Yet though each is different, the nineteenth century traveller coming in from the sea was not entirely wrong. Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah have more than simple geographical proximity in common. They were ports and they were markets (and sometimes pirate ports . . . ) . "

On Muscat and Mattrah

"Until 1962, Muscat was still surrounded by a wall, guarded each night by rotas drawn from the Hawasina and Beni Umr tribes. There were three main gates: the Bab Kebir, the main gate which led to the oasis of the Wadi Kebir and the American Mission Hospital; the Bab Saghir, a narrow gate for pedestrians only, that led to the Ali Moussa mosque and Muscat´s only school; and the Bab Mathaib, which took you onto the road to Mattrah, a couple of miles and a volcanic outcrop away..."
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Documentary Importance

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Arrangement of volumes

Volume 1: Kuwait
Volume 2: Manama
Volume 3: Doha and the Emirates Cities
Volume 4: Muscat and Mattrah
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Contents Outline

The range of material in the volumes extends over the following aspects, although the amount of detail surviving in the historical record naturally varies from place to place.

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Key documents

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Editor's Introduction

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Related Titles:
Aramco Reports on Al-Hasa and Oman 1950–1955
Gazetteer of Arabian Tribes
Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia
GCC States: National Development Records: Civil Aviation 1920–1962, The
GCC States: National Development Records: Communications & Transport 1860–1960, The
GCC States: National Development Records: Defence in the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia 1920–1960, The
Historic Maps of Bahrain 1817–1970
Memoirs of Baghdad, Kurdistan & Turkish Arabia 1857
Middle East Intelligence Handbooks 1943–1946
Military Handbooks of Arabia 1913–1917
Persian Gulf Gazette and Supplements 1953–1972
Persian Gulf Historical Summaries 1907–1953, The
Persian Gulf Précis, The
Records of Bahrain 1820–1960
Records of Dubai 1761–1960
Records of Kuwait 1899–1961
Records of Oman 1867–1960
Records of Qatar 1820–1960
Records of Saudi Arabia 1902–1960
Records of the Emirates 1820–1960
Records of the Hajj: The Pilgrimage to Mecca
Records of the Hashimite Dynasties
Records of the Persian Gulf Pearl Fisheries 1857–1962
Ruling Families of Arabia: Documentary Records of the Dynasties of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Oman
Survey of Western Palestine 1882-1888