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Near & Middle East Titles:
Arabian Boundaries 1853–1960
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ISBN: (13) 978-1-85207-130-1
Extent: 30 volumes, 15,500 pages, including 3 map boxes

Editor: R. Schofield; G. Blake
ISBN: (10) 1-85207-130-3
Published: 1988
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available

To enquire about a PRINTED version of this title, please use the button ADD TO ENQUIRY LIST. Then, go to ENQUIRY FORM page and follow the instructions.


It has been the publishers´ objective to assemble within one major research publication copies of the essential documents for a comprehensive view of the creation of modern boundaries within the Arabian peninsula. The process of finding, obtaining and organising such material has been lengthy, and the work renders a large mass of documents easily accessible.

The boundaries of the Arabian peninsula are notable for the sensitivities and disagreements which have accompanied their relatively short history. Not only is the perennial human concern for territory involved; in this region, as the 20th century progressed, the partition of resources, initially pastures and water wells, subsequently oil and gas, was particularly crucial. The boundary makers, chiefly the diplomats of the imperial powers, were inconsistent in paying attention to the human and physical characteristics of the terrain when negotiating or imposing many limits. Consequently boundary studies in this area have been and remain a fruitful topic for geographers and anthropologists as well as a necessary pre- occupation for strategists and politicians.  The particular distinguishing characteristics of Arabia´s territorial framework is that it is far from complete. Saudi Arabia´s border in the southern peninsula has never been formally finalised, while the status of many supposedly ´final´ delimitations elsewhere is at best uncertain, if not actively disputed. Here, then, is a particularly compelling reason for the publication of these documents. The records of the various British government departments represented here provide by far the most extensive and complete survey of the evolution of territorial affairs in Arabia and the Gulf. They will certainly form the core of any future legal debate focussing upon the historical aspects of any one of the region´s boundaries on land or sea.
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Historical Overview

This collection makes available copies of the several thousand documents which have determined the territorial divisions of Arabia today. An appreciation of Arabia´s territorial history is essential for an understanding of contemporary political events in the region. Boundaries were originally defined by Britain to protect her interests in the area but it is the relatively new, independent states of the Gulf and the peninsula who have to live within this imposed territorial framework. This has not always been easy and boundary disputes remain a ready source of friction between many neighbouring states. To complicate the picture further certain boundaries in the southern peninsula have not yet been agreed at the time of publication, (1988).

The future settlement of such borders demands an intimate knowledge of Arabia´s territorial past. This is best provided by inspection of the records of the British government, the most important items of which have been selected for presentation in these volumes. Their publication in this form offers two advantages. First, it makes available to a wider audience material previously located only in the archives of the National Archives at Kew and the India Office Library and Records, London. Second, the sequence of documents appearing in these volumes has been drawn from a vast and complex web of material and totally re-organised in a clear, coherent and logical manner.
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Documentary Importance

The criteria for the selection of documents are the following. Records have been identified which either specifically define the various boundaries concerned or throw direct light on their origin or evolution. Thus the records presented include treaties, letters, telegrams, memoranda and notes, the latter often being diplomatic summaries and assessments. The events described include negotiations, agreements, disputes, incursions and claims.

The aim in this publication is to present a sequence of original file material in integral form for the benefit of the researcher. The editors have refrained from judgement and comment other than to provide notes on the historical background to the records in each volume. Individual documents are reproduced in their entirety and balance is maintained where files include submissions of more than one point of view. This edition is reprinted from original material varying greatly in size and quality. For ease of handling the volumes have been printed to the regular library format of 248 x 160mm. The accompanying maps are supplied in map boxes made and bound in a similar form to the text volumes. The maps have been reproduced as far as possible in their original sizes and colours.
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Arrangement of volumes

The collection is organised in the first instance according to geographical sequence. Each interstate boundary around the periphery of Saudi Arabia is examined in turn in a clockwise manner. The material on each boundary is then presented, in the respective volumes, in chronological order. The first two volumes deal with general political issues in the Arabian Peninsula.

The starting point for the collection is determined by an agreement of 1853 which (although some material of earlier date is included) marks Britain´s resolve to impose a peace upon the southern Gulf region.

The editors have written a General Introduction discussing the special characteristics of boundaries in the Arabian peninsula. Each volume or group of volumes is then preceded by an editorial note on the historical background to the documents for that area.
Volume 1: General Issues of Political Control and Sovereignty I, 1866-1914
Volume 2: General Issues of Political Control and Sovereignty II, 1914-1930 ; Ottoman Claims to Sovereignty in the Arabian Peninsula, 1879-1920; Saudi Arabia: Internal Boundaries, 1920-1935
Volume 3: Aden Protectorate-Imamate of Yemen I, 1901-1928
Volume 4: Aden Protectorate-Imamate of Yemen II, 1931-1957; Saudi Arabia-Imamate of Yemen, 1934  
Volume 5: Saudi Arabia-Transjordan I, 1924-1932  
Volume 6: Saudi Arabia-Transjordan II, 1932-1940  
Volume 7: Kuwait-Iraq I, 1899-1940  
Volume 8: Kuwait-Iraq II, 1941-1957  
Volume 9: Saudi Arabia-Kuwait, 1919-1957; Saudi Arabia-Iraq, 1922-1925 
Volume 10: Saudi Arabia-Bahrain, 1938-1957; Bahrain-Qatar, 1937-1954
Volume 11: Persian claims to Bahrain I, 1862-1928  
Volume 12: Persian claims to Bahrain II, 1929-1957
Volume 13: Issues of Island Sovereignty: the Gulf, 1856-1957; Issues of Island Sovereignty: the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, 1854-1957
Volume 14: Trucial Coast: Internal Boundaries, 1902-1957
Volume 15: Saudi Arabia-Trucial Coast I, 1934-1935  
Volume 16: Saudi Arabia-Trucial Coast II, 1935-1949
Volume 17: Saudi Arabia-Trucial Coast III, 1949-1957
Volume 18: Saudi Arabia-Sultanate of Muscat and Oman, 1934-1957
Volume 19: Sultanate of Muscat and Oman-Trucial Coast, 1901-1956; Trucial Coast-Qatar, 1928-1954; Saudi Arabia-Qatar, 1934-1955
Volume 20: Buraimi, 1954-1956  
Volume 21: Territorial Waters and Seabed Claims in the Gulf, 1934-1955
Volume 22: International Relations and Issues of Sovereignty in the Post-war Era, 1951-1957; Sultanate of Muscat and Oman-Aden Protectorate, 1946-1956; Saudi Arabia-Aden Protectorate, 1955-1956
Volumes 23-25: Map boxes: for details see MAPS below
Volumes 26-29: Continuation volumes for 1958; 1959
Volume 30: 1960
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Contents Outline

The following table is not an exhaustive list of contents but indicates documents of particular political and historical importance included in the collection.

Volume 1: General Issues Of Political Control And Sovereignty I, 1866-1914
Volume 2: General Issues Of Political Control And Sovereignty II, 1914-1930

Volume 3: Aden Protectorate - Imamate Of Yemen I, 1901-1928


Volume 4: Aden Protectorate - Imamate Of Yemen II, 1931-1957
Volume 5: Saudi Arabia-Transjordan I, 1924-1932
Volume 6: Saudi Arabia-Transjordan II, 1932-1940

Volume 7: Kuwait-Iraq, 1899-1940


Volume 8: Kuwait-Iraq II, 1941-1957


Volume 9: Saudi Arabia-Kuwait, 1919-1956


Volume 10: Saudi Arabia-Bahrain, 1938-1957
Volume 11: Persian Claims To Bahrain I, 1862-1928

Volume 12: Persian Claims To Bahrain II, 1929-1957


Volume 13: Issues Of Island Sovereignty: The Gulf 1856-1957



Volume 14: Trucial Coast: Internal Boundaries, 1902-1957
Volume 15: Saudi Arabia-Trucial Coast I, 1934-1935
Volume 16: Saudi Arabia-Trucial Coast II, 1935-1949
Volume 17: Saudi Arabia-Trucial Coast III, 1949-1957
Volume 18: Saudi Arabia-Sultanate Of Muscat And Oman, 1934-1957
Volume 19: Sultanate Of Muscat And Oman- Trucial Coast, 1901-1956
Volume 20: Buraimi 1954-1956
Volume 21: Territorial Waters And Seabed Claims In The Gulf, 1934-1955
Volume 22: International Relations And Issues Of Sovereignty In The Postwar Era, 1951-1957
Volumes 23-25: Maps see below
Volumes 26 - 30: Documentation For The Years 1958-1960

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Key documents

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Volume 23: Maps 1-13

Map 01. Map of Arabia illustrative of W.G. Palgrave´s journey in 1862-1863; shows territory under nominal jurisdiction of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan of Muscat and Wahhabi Amirs; London, 1865.

Map 02. Limits of the Kingdom of the Hedjaz as agreed upon by Britain and France in October 1917; London, October 1917.

Map 03. Aden Survey: marked with limits of Captain R.A. Wahab´s survey of 1891-1892; Calcutta, May 1893.

Map 04. Aden Survey: marked with limits of Captain R.A. Wahab´s survey of 1891-1892; and boundaries of tribes under British influence, 1891-1892; Calcutta, August 1895.

Map 05. Map showing the limits of the settlement of Aden: shows limits of British, tribal and military territory; prepared by Captain F.M. Hunter; Calcutta, July 1900.

Map 06. General Maitland´s proposal for area to be surveyed by joint Anglo-Ottoman boundary commission in Dthali region; Calcutta, 1901.

Map 07. Sketch of the attack on Ad Dareja, southern Arabia, showing position of Muhammad bin Nasr Mukhbil´s tower and Turkish boundary; prepared by Captain A.L. Pilleau; Simla, August 1901.

Map 08. Sketch map showing boundary claimed by British Commissioners and that claimed by Turkish Commissioners in the neighbourhood of Dthali; signed by Colonel R.A. Wahab; Aden, April 1902.

Map 09. Dthali boundary, Arabia, with various lines drawn by Colonel R.A. Wahab, British Boundary Commissioner; London, June 1902.

Map 10. Boundary line in area west of Ad Dthala; London, June 1902.

Map 11. Map of the Aden frontier: shows British and Turkish boundary proposals, and boundary in Dthali region; prepared by Colonel R.A. Wahab; War Office, London, January 1903.

Map 12A. Southern Arabia: map illustrating the boundary demarcated by the Anglo-Turkish Commission 1902-1904: sheet A showing boundary from point I (Wadi Bana) to point XXXIX (Jebel Sarir); Simla, June 1904.

Map 12B. Southern Arabia: map illustrating the boundary demarcated by the Anglo-Turkish Commission 1902-1904: sheet B showing boundary from point XL (Jebel Mansura) to point LI (Ras Namis); Simla, June 1904.

Map 12C. Southern Arabia: map illustrating the boundary demarcated by the Anglo-Turkish Commission 1902-1904: sheet C is a list of references for sheets A and B; Simla, June 1904.

Map 13 Map of Subaihi Border, Survey of India: shows Anglo-Turkish boundary from point LXIV (Ras Iraf) to point LXV (Barh am Ashara) with references: continuation of maps 12A, 12B and 12C; Bombay, August 1904.

Volume 24: Maps 14-29

Map 14. Map of Shekh Said, Survey of India: shows line proposed by Government of India in telegram of 14th July 1904; Bombay, August 1904.

Map 15. Map showing Tribes and New Boundary of the Aden Protectorate; War Office London, January 1906.

Map 16. Map of the Aden Protectorate showing boundary with Turkish Arabia and Turkish territory north of Perim ´not to be alienated´: note of boundary agreement north-east of Wadi Bana; Simla, 1908.

Map 17. Map of Part of Arabia; shows Aden boundary as delimited in 1903-1905, Turkish territory not to be alienated, the ´Violet Line´ running north-east from Wadi Bana to latitude 20º in the Rub al Khali and the Blue Line of the Anglo-Turkish Convention of the 29th July 1913; War Office, London, February 1914.

Map 18. Sketch map showing proposals for adjustment in boundary between Aden Protectorate and Imamate of Yemen and names of tribes and sub-sections of tribes; Colonial Office, Aden, 1933.

Map 19. Sketch map showing boundary between Aden Protectorate and Imamate of Yemen and internal tribal divisions within the Protectorate; Colonial Office, Aden, 1935.

Map 20. Sketch map of the Aden Protectorate from Shuqra to Wadi Meifah: shows boundary between Western and Eastern Aden Protectorate; Royal Air Force, Aden, 1947.

Map 21. Sketch map of frontier area between Aqaba and Wadi Sirhan; War Office, London, 1934.

Map 22. Sketch map of area to be surveyed in Aqaba-Rum region; Colonial Office, Amman, 1934.

Map 23. Sketch map of area to be surveyed in Jebel Tubaiq region; Colonial Office, Amman, 1934.

Map 24. Sketch map showing area to be covered by proposed Transjordan Air Survey; Colonial Office, Amman, 1934.

Map 25. Proposals for Saudi-Transjordanian boundary in Al Jauf area, 1938: shows Black, Blue, Blue-dotted and Green Line proposals, 1925-1927; War Office, London, 1938.

Map 26. Map of Kuwait-Iraq frontier with special reference to location of proposed port at Umm Qasr; shows boundary lines according to interpretation of 1923 exchange of letters and proposal in a note of 1940; Foreign Office, London, January 1948.

Map 27. Map to show limits of Kuwait and adjacent country, 1913: shows ´Red´ and ´Green´ Lines of 29th July 1913 Anglo-Turkish Convention: map is copy of Annex No. 5 to 1913 Convention; Foreign Office, London, May 1954.

Map 28. Northwards extension of proposed Saudi-Bahrain seabed delimitation with note; Foreign Office, London, 1955.

Map 29. Map showing proposed Saudi-Bahrain seabed delimitation; Foreign Office, London, 1955.

Volume 25: Maps 30-45

Map 30. Map showing position of Halul island in relation to offshore Qatari and Trucial Coast concession areas; Foreign Office, London, 1956.

Map 31. Sketch map of disputed areas between Dubai and Abu Dhabi: shows Dubai claim of 1949; Political Agency, Sharjah, January 1949.

Map 32. Sketch map of various proposals for solution of Dubai-Abu Dhabi boundary dispute; Political Agency, Sharjah, January 1949

Map 33. Sketch map showing territorial limits of various Trucial Coast shaikhdoms as recognised by Britain; after 1955 Report of J.F. Walker; Political Agency, Dubai, 1956
Map 34. Chart showing the pearl banks along the southern coast of the Gulf between Ras Tanura and Dubai: enclosure to part III of Volume 1 of J.G. Lorimer´s Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia, London, 1908: presented as evidence in memorandum supporting claims of Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Muscat and boundary dispute with Saudi Arabia; Foreign Office, London, 1949.

Map 35. Outline map to accompany ´Note on Parts of Eastern Arabia´: shows southern boundary of Qatar mainland concession area and further suggestions for boundary delimitation: also detailed inset of Buraimi area; Foreign Office, London, 1949.

Map 36. Map of the frontier area of Qatar: relates to correspondence on the Anglo-Saudi (Dammam) Frontier Conference, February 1952; Foreign Office, London, April 1952.

Map 37. Map showing various claims to territory in south-eastern Arabia, 1935-1952; Foreign Office, London, April 1952.

Map 38. General map of the Trucial Coast showing disputed areas referred to arbitration by Anglo-Saudi agreement of 30th July 1954: Map A of the British Memorial prepared for submission before the Buraimi Arbitration Tribunal; Foreign Office, London, 1955.

Map 39. Map showing the ´Blue Line´ of the Anglo-Turkish Convention of 29th July 1913 and other frontier lines suggested by the two parties in subsequent negotiations: Map B of the British Memorial prepared for submission before the Buraimi Arbitration Tribunal; Foreign Office, London, May 1955.

Map 40. Map showing Dhafrah, Liwa and Buraimi zone: Map E of the British Memorial prepared for submission before the Buraimi Arbitration Tribunal; Foreign Office, London, July 1955.

Map 41. Map giving detail of Buraimi zone: Map F of the British Memorial prepared for submission before the Buraimi Arbitration Tribunal; Foreign Office, London, July 1955.

Map 42. Map showing suggested limits for jurisdiction over the subsoil of the Gulf seabed: adapted to show continental shelf claim of Qatar; Foreign Office, London, 1949.

Map 43. Map showing suggested limits for jurisdiction over the subsoil of the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman seabed; Foreign Office, London, 1949.

Map 44. Map showing suggested division of Gulf seabed according to median-line principle: prepared by S.W. Boggs for United States State Department, Washington, 1949.

Map 45. Map showing the disputed areas referred to arbitration in Anglo-Saudi agreement of 30th July 1954 and location of subsequent frontier incidents in south-eastern Arabia before January 1955; Foreign Office, London, January 1955.

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Editor's Introduction

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Related Titles:
Arabian Boundaries 1961–1965
Arabian Boundary Disputes
Arabian Treaties 1600–1960
Buraimi Dispute 1950–1961 – Contemporary Documents, The
Buraimi Memorials 1955, The
Diplomacy in the Near and Middle East 1535–1956
Documentary Studies in Arabian Geopolitics: Iran in the Persian Gulf 1820–1966
Documentary Studies in Arabian Geopolitics: Lower Gulf Islands: Abu Musa And The Tunbs Dispute
Documentary Studies in Arabian Geopolitics: South-West Arabia: Saudi Arabia–Yemen Dispute
Documentary Studies in Arabian Geopolitics: UAE: Internal Boundaries And The Boundary With Oman
Iran–Iraq Border 1840–1958, The
Islands and Maritime Boundaries of the Gulf 1798–1960
Israel: Boundary Disputes with Arab Neighbours 1946–1964
Oil Concessions in Five Arab States 1911–1953: Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Trucial States and Oman
Palestine Boundaries 1833–1947
Treaties and Engagements Relating to Arabia and the Persian Gulf