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Wednesday 07 November ,2018

(The Ominous Intervention) at the National Archives Sharjah Book Platform 2018

(The Ominous Intervention) in the National Archives Sharjah Book Platform 2018

The National Archives of the United Arab Emirates inaugurated the book (The Ominous Intervention), which it recently issued at its stand at the Sharjah International Book Fair 2018. The book describes the work of the British India Steam Navigation Company and its trade in the Arabian Gulf region over the past 120 years, and how it contributed to the development of the region.< br />
The Arabs have known the phenomenon of monsoons since ancient times, and they transferred their knowledge to sailors in all parts of the earth, and established a trade system extending from Africa to India and the Far East, which included merchants whose goods included various commodities.

In the middle of the nineteenth century, small dhows sailed near the coasts to transport their goods between local ports and in creeks and rivers or across the Gulf, while larger boats sailed in the long sea lines.

  The British searched for a new element that replaced the wind and tide, and that element was the steam engine that drove the ships that could set their schedules independently of the wind and tides, and in the summer of 1839 the ship "ENS Hollandsey" appeared from the Trucial Coast, in Ras Al Khaimah beach exclusively, and its appearance was frightening, and this ship, which was made of teak wood in Bombay, visited places such as: Umm Al Quwain, Sharjah, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi.

The book lists the development of steam ships and the services they provided, such as mail. And with the prosperity of the trade in horses, pearls, corn and cotton in the Gulf region, the ships visiting Muscat, Kuwait and Bushehr made the markets of Europe, the Far East and the markets of India accessible to the Gulf, and vice versa. The ships carried passengers and goods, and the ships kept the local boats away from the trade line.

The second chapter of the book turns to the Suez Canal, which gave Europeans better access to the Gulf, and its role in transporting pilgrims, and the merchant families could not compete with the steamship companies.

The third chapter of the book dealt with the services of steamships in the Gulf, pointing out that they topped the growing trade in it until the picture became flourishing in the Arabian Gulf, and the visits of steamships to Dubai had a great impact on the levels of trade and politics. It introduced more competition to the coast in the form of British and foreign ships and European visitors sometimes, and the expansion of Dubai's commercial position had an impact on Oman, which was an ideal model for ports. The book describes the arrival of steam ships to Zanzibar, which was under the control of an Arab sultan at the time. Its port attracts pilgrims with all the commodities that pilgrims used to bring, and modern ships have opened up new horizons for the trade of dates of all kinds.

The fourth chapter of the book deals with the dangers of the sea. This chapter focuses on infection, even indicating that ships have become potential carriers of the disease. This chapter documents a number of dangers that ships faced at sea.

The fifth chapter conveys the echoes of the war, as the outbreak of the First World War in August 2014 triggered an economic shock in the Middle East, and turmoil that changed the region forever.

The sixth chapter monitored the reality of people and trade in the Arabian Gulf. As steam ships began to replace sailboats, the book describes the conditions of Arab travelers on the new ships, and the fees imposed by the Arab rulers at the time on them.

Chapter Seven describes what the British India Steam Navigation Company has achieved in the Arabian Gulf. After the war, the ships of this company were worn out and exhausted. The book refers to the disappearance of these ships, but their memory still remains.

The book ends its chapters with a conclusion and a number of illustrative maps, tables of ships, lists of terminology explanations, historical and illustrative pictures of ships, their crews and ports.

Book: The Ominous Intervention (British India Steam Navigation Company in the Persian Gulf 1862-1982)

Publisher: The National Archives, Abu Dhabi, 2018, first edition, 301 pages.

Written by: Michael Quentin Morton.

Translation: National Archives.