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Thursday 02 August ,2018

The National Archives launched the book of Unraveling the Biography of Sheikh Tahnoun

A book on the biography of Sheikh Tahnoun Bin Shakhbout, the 4th ruler of Al Bu Falah
The National Archives launched the book of Unraveling the Biography of Sheikh Tahnoun
The UAE’s National Archives has launched the book Unraveling the Biography of Sheikh Tahnoun Bin Shakhbout Al Nahyan, which is rich in events that occurred in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and other emirates during the reign of Sheikh Tannoun Bin Shakhbout. The importance of this book arises from being one of the latest publications of the NA. It documents the biography of the fourth ruler of Al Bu Falah, Sheikh Tahnoun Bin Shakhbout Al Nahyan (1818-1833), his role in the history of Bani Yas tribe, in particular, and of the UAE, in general, and the events that took place during his reign since he was the most prominent sheikh of Al Nahyan in the first half of the 19th century. His reign culminated in Bani Yas’s reaching its fullest power and influence sextending over Abu Dhabi, Dubai and parts of the Qatar Peninsula, Liwa, Dhafra, fringes of Al Ain and its oases.
The prologue points out that he was characterized by strong personality, courage, generosity, vision and wisdom. He was a distinguished leader, known for his insight, and his diplomatic and military abilities in managing crises and fighting battles. Sheikh Tahnoun was a just ruler, whose system of governance was based on justice, principles of consultation and equality among all members of his tribe. During his reign, Bani Yas tribe has never submitted to any of its opponents as it was a counterbalance between the competing local powers: Omanis, Qawasim, and Saudis.
The book aims to revive the biography of Sheikh Tahnoun to highlight the good deeds and virtues of this Falahi Amir during his accession to power in the Emirate of Bani Yas: Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Chapter 1, ‘Al Bu Falah the Hilalis and the Foundation of their Emirate’, traces the ancestry of Al Nahyan sheikhs of Abu Dhabi to Al Bu Falah the Hilali from Bani Yas, an Arab tribe that belongs to Abdul Qais tribe that is traced to Rabia and Adnan. All genealogists, poets and narrators agree unanimously on the fact that Al Bu Falah descend from their ancestor named Hilal as ancient historical indications suggest that Al Bu Falah descends from Hilal.  
The book points out that the name of Al Nahyan family has been closely associated with the history of Bani Yas since their first Amir had become known in the first half of the 17th century. This family is one of the ancient royal families along the Arabian Gulf coast.
Chapter 2 tackles aspects of Sheikh Tahnoun’s life starting from his birth, family and tribe, upbringing and era, qualities and deeds, to his death after ruling the Sheikhdom of Bani Yas for fifteen years.
This chapter reviews his great achievements starting with fortifying his emirate and then with supporting the economic activity. He had left a clear imprint on humanitarian and social aspects and on the friendly tribal relationships.
Chapter 3 is entitled ‘Sheikh Tahnoun in the Eyes of British Politicians and Officers’. All of those who worked in the Arabian Gulf had unanimously agreed that Sheikh Tahnoun had a leading exceptional personality, which is respected by all of his neighbors and feared by his enemies, and showed an extraordinary ability to manage crises and treat disarray. They praised his noble morals.
The privileged status, which Sheikh Tahnoun enjoyed among the sheikhs of the emirates and other regional forces, has resulted in Al Mulla Husein, Local Agent for British interests in the emirates, expressing his fears of an outbreak of internal disorder outbreaks after his death, which may lead to imbalance of political powers in the region.
Sheikh Tahnoun Bin Shakhbout was one of the prominent figures that lived during the time of the poet Ali Bin Mohammed (Meheen) Al Shamsi. Sheikh Tahnoun and his father might likely have been addressed in his praise poems. 
After the demise of his brother Sheikh Mohammed Bin Shakhbout, Sheikh Tahnoun held the reins of power and worked with his father in governance, supported by Bani Yas and Manaseer tribes, which were loyal to them. His skills in governing was obvious in settling several major issues at that time such as the issue of Deira, the relationships with Bahrain and his mediation between the disputing parties over Buraimi. This settlement was, indeed, indicated by the poet, Maheen Al Shamsi, in his poem in which he praises Sheikh Tahnoun of Al Nahyan and his Hilali ancestors.
The book sheds the light on the issue of Dubai and Al Hazaa Bin Za’al, Suhar revolution in 1830 and the demise of Sheikh Tahnoun in April 1833, which was a sad loss not only for Bani Yas but also for his Omani allies.
The book’s conclusion emphasizes the leadership qualities and statesmanship, which Sheikh Tahnoun had inherited from his father in addition to the military and economic powers. Having such qualities in his personality enabled him in governing a wide extensive emirate. He had made great success in signing the Treaty of Perpetual Peace in 1820 with the British authority. The Emirate of Abu Dhabi maintained an increasing economic growth. During his reign, Bani Yas has never submitted to any of its opponents. It is worth mentioning that the book content is supported with documents and illustrative maps. In the book prologue, Dr. Faleh Handal suggests that the author has adopted the proper method of the historical approach by relying on and explaining references and resources and illustrating the reasons and faults of events. Inasmuch as he relied on British documents, he compared them with the available Emirati and Gulf resources to have a rich material that clearly depicts the past. In this respect, he achieved remarkable success and became distinguished from historians who wrote about the history of the UAE and depended only on foreign references. Therefore, he boldly presented us with critical issues concerning the causes of historical conflicts, which no society is devoid of; he compared such society with the Emirati society, which enjoys peace, dignity and glory.
Book: Unraveling the Biography of Sheikh Tahnoun (1818-1833)
Publisher: National Archives, Abu Dhabi, 2017, First Edition, 299 pages.
Author: Abdulla Bin Mohammed Al Muhairi.