Piracy in the Persian Gulf

Piracy in the Persian Gulf describes the naval warfare that was prevalent until the 19th century and occurred between seafaring Arabs in Eastern Arabia and the British Empire in the Persian Gulf. It was perceived as one of the primary threats to global maritime trade routes, particularly those with significance to British India and Iraq.[2][3] Many of the most notable historical instances of piracy, referred to as resistance by modern Emirati historians, were perpetrated by the Al Qasimi tribe. This led to the British mounting the Persian Gulf campaign of 1809, a major maritime action launched by the British to bombard Ras Al Khaimah, Lingeh and other Al Qasimi ports.[2][4] The current ruler of Sharjah, Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi argues in his book The Myth of Piracy in the Gulf[5] that the allegations of piracy were simply excuses used by the British to impose imperialism.[6]

Piratical activities were common in the Persian Gulf from the late 18th century to the mid 19th century, particularly in the area known as the Pirate Coast which spanned from modern-day Qatar to Oman. Piracy was alleviated from 1820 with the signing of the General Maritime Treaty, cemented in 1853 by the Treaty of Maritime Peace in Perpetuity, after which the Pirate Coast began to be known by the British as the Trucial Coast (present-day United Arab Emirates).[7][8]

Strait of hormuz
An 1892 map of Arabia denoting the Pirate Coast. The term was first used by the British around the 17th century and acquired its name from the raiding activities that Al Qawasim pursued against the British. The charge of piracy has been disputed by historians and archivists in the UAE in particular. The counter-argument is that the Al Qasimi were the subject of British aggression in an attempt to stamp its authority on trade routes thought of as important to Iraq and India.[1]

History

Early history

PersianGulf vue satellite du golfe persique
Persian Gulf from space.

Piracy flourished in the Persian Gulf during the commercial decline of the Dilmun Civilization (centered in present-day Bahrain) around 1800 BC.[9]

As early as 694 BC, Assyrian pirates attacked traders traversing to and from India via the Persian Gulf. King Sennacherib attempted to wipe out the piracy but his efforts were unsuccessful.[10][11]

It is suggested in the historical literature of the Chronicle of Seert that piracy interfered with the trade network of the Sasanians around the 5th century. The works mention ships en route from India being targeted for attacks along the coast of Fars during the reign of Yazdegerd II.[12]

Ibn Hawqal, a 10th-century history chronicler, alludes to piracy in the Persian Gulf in his book The Renaissance Of Islam. He describes it as such:[13]

From Ibn Hawqal's book, "The Renaissance Of Islam": —

As early as about the year 815 the people of Basrah had undertaken an unsuccessful expedition against the pirates in Bahrain; 2 in the 10th century. People could not venture to sail the Bed Sea except with soldiers and especially artillery-men (naffatin) on board. The island Socotra in particular was regarded as a dangerous nest of pirates, at which people trembled as they passed it. It was the point d'appui of the Indian pirates who ambushed the Believers there. Piracy was never regarded as a disgraceful practice for a civilian, nor even as a curious or remarkable one. Arabic has formed no special term for it; Estakhri (p. 33) does not even call them "sea-robbers," but designates them by the far milder expression "the predatory." Otherwise the Indian term the barques is used for them.

In Richard Hodges' commentary on the increase of trade in the Persian Gulf around 825, he makes references to Bahraini pirate attacks on ships on ships from China, India and Iran. He believes the pirates were attacking ships travelling from Siraf to Basra.[14]

Marco Polo made observations of piracy in the Persian Gulf. He states that in the seventh century, the islands of Bahrain were held by the piratical tribe of Abd-ul-Kais, and in the ninth century, the seas were so disturbed that the Chinese ships navigating the Persian Gulf carried 400 to 500 armed men and supplies to beat off the pirates. Towards the end of the 13th century, Socotra was still frequented by pirates who encamped there and offered their plunder for sale.[15]

17th century

Following the expulsion the Portuguese from Bahrain in 1602, the Al Qasimi (called by the British at the time Joasmee or Jawasmi1 ) – the tribes extending from the Qatari Peninsula to the Ras Musandam – adopted maritime raiding as a way of life due to the lack of any maritime authority in the area.[7]

European piracy in the Persian Gulf was frequent in the 16th and 17th century, targeting mainly Indian vessels en route to Mecca.[16]

Edward Balfour asserts that the Muscat Arabs were "highly predatory" from 1694 to 1736, but it was not until 1787 that the Bombay records made mention to the systemic recurrence of piracy in the Persian Gulf.[17]

The Pirate Coast

Piratecoastpersiangulf
An 1849 map of Arabia denoting the Pirate Coast. Shortly after the map was created, The Pirate Coast was renamed The Trucial Coast.

The designation Pirate Coast was first used by the British around the 17th century and acquired its name from the raiding activities that the local Arab inhabitants pursued.[18] Edward Balfour proclaims that the Pirate Coast was comprehended to have encompassed the area between Khasab and Bahrain, an area circumscribing 350 miles. It is also claimed that the principal stronghold was in Ras Al Khaimah.[8][17]

Hermann Burchardt, a 19th-century German explorer and photographer, surmised that the Pirate Coast deserved its designation, and goes on to claim that piracy was the main occupation of the inhabitants who were infamous for their fanatacism and bloodthirstiness.[8] A British customs official named John Malcolm who served in the Persian Gulf area from the 18th century to the 19th century wrote that when he questioned an Arab servant named Khudádád about the Jawasmi (the main pirate tribe in the Persian Gulf), Khudádád professed that "their occupation is piracy, and their delight murder; and to make it worse, they give you the most pious reasons for every villainy they commit".[19]

18th century

RahmahIbnJabir
A sketch of Rahmah ibn Jabir al-Jalahimah done in 1836.

One of the earliest mentions of piracy by the British comes from a letter written by William Bowyear dated in 1767. It describes a Persian pirate named Mīr Muhannā. The letter states "In his day, he was a major source of concern for all those who traded along the Persian Gulf and his exploits were an early factor, beyond purely commercial concerns, that led the East India Company to first become entangled in the politics of the region".[20]

Rahmah ibn Jabir al-Jalahimah was the most notorious pirate to have exploited the Persian Gulf during this era. He was described by the English traveller and author, James Silk Buckingham, as ‘the most successful and the most generally tolerated pirate, perhaps, that ever infest any sea.’[21] He moved to Khor Hassan in Qatar around 1785.[22] In 1810, the Wahhabis attempted to strengthen their position in the Persian Gulf region by aligning themselves with him as he was the most influential personage in Qatar at the time.[23] He ruled Qatar for a short period and the British considered him to be the leading pirate of the Pirate Coast.[24]

In his book Blood-Red Arab Flag, Charles E. Davies alleges that the issue of piracy in the Persian Gulf appeared to have escalated in 1797.[25] This date corresponds with some of the most prominent acts of piracy committed against the British by the Al Qasimi tribe, eventually giving rise to the Persian Gulf campaign of 1809.[2] The first recorded instances, however, under the rule of Saqr bin Rashid Al Qasimi are disputed as constituting acts of piracy by Emirati historians.[26]

19th century

Organized piracy under the Wahhabis

Around 1805, the Wahhabis maintained an unsteady suzerainty over parts of the southern Persian coast. They implemented a system of organized raids on foreign shipping. The vice-gerent of the Pirate Coast, Husain bin Ali, compelled the Al Qasimi chiefs to send their vessels to plunder all the trade ships of the Persian Gulf without exception. He kept one-fifth of the loot for himself.[27] Arnold Wilson suggests that the Al Qasimi tribe members acted against their will so as not to incur the vengeance of the Wahhabis.[27] However, upon remarking on the rampant increase in piracy starting in 1805, J. G. Lorimer, a British chronicler, perceives this view as extreme, and believes the Al Qasimi acted within their volition.[28]

1809 Persian Gulf campaign

Ras Al Khaimah by Charles Hamilton Smith
A painting depicting the British Expeditionary Force off the coast of Ras Al Khaimah in 1809.

In the aftermath of a series of attacks in 1808 off the coast Sindh involving 50 Qasimi raiders and following the 1809 monsoon season, the British authorities in India decided to make a significant show of force against the Al Qasimi, in an effort not only to destroy their larger bases and as many ships as could be found, but also to counteract French encouragement of them from their embassies in Persia and Oman.[29] By the morning of 14 November, the military expedition was over and the British forces returned to their ships, having suffered light casualties of five killed and 34 wounded. Arab losses are unknown, but were probably significant, while the damage done to the Al Qasimi fleets was severe: a significant portion of their vessels had been destroyed at Ras Al Khaimah.[30]

While the British claim that acts of piracy disrupted maritime trade in the Persian Gulf, Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, author of The Myth of Piracy in the Gulf, dismisses this as an excuse used by the British to further their agendas in the Persian Gulf.[6] Indian historian Sugata Bose maintains that while he believes the British colonial accounts of piracy were self-serving, he disagrees with Al Qasimi's thesis that piracy was not widespread in the Persian Gulf region.[31] Davies argues that the motives of the Al Qasimi tribe in particular may have been misunderstood and that it cannot be definitively stated that they were pirates due to issues of semantics.[25] J.B. Kelly comments in his treatise on Britain and the Persian Gulf that the Qasimi are undeserving of their reputation as pirates, and goes on to state that it was largely earned as a result of successive naval incidents with the rulers of Muscat.[32]

Renewed tensions

There were numerous outrages expressed by the British, who were dismayed with the acts of piracy committed against them after an arrangement between them and the Al Qasimi broke down in 1815. J.G. Lorimer contends that after the dissolution of the arrangement, the Al Qasimi "now indulged in a carnival of maritime lawlessness, to which even their own previous record presented no parallel". Select instances are given:[28][33]

"In 1815 a British Indian vessel was captured by the Jawasmi near Muscat, the majority of the crew being put to death and the rest being held for ransom."

"On the 6th of January 1816, the H.E.I. Company's armed pattamar "Deriah Dowlut," manned entirely by natives of India, was attacked by Jawasmi off Dwarka, and eventually taken by boarding. Out of 38 individuals on board, 17 were killed or murdered, 8 were carried prisoners to Ras-al-Khaimah, and the remainder, being wounded, were landed on the Indian coast. The entire armament of the Deriah Dowlut consisted of two 12-pounder and three 2-pounder iron guns; whereas each of the pirate vessels, three in number, carried six 9-pounders and was manned by 100 to 200 Arabs, fully armed."

"Matters were at length brought to a head by the capture in the Red Sea, in 1816, of three Indian merchant vessels from Surat, which were making the passage to Mocha under the British flags; of the crew only a few survivors remained to tell the tale, and the pecuniary loss was estimated at Rs. 12,00,000."

Following the incident involving the Surat vessels (said to have been carried out by Amir Ibraihm, a cousin to the Al Qasimi Ruler Hassan Bin Rahmah) an investigation took place and the 'Ariel' was despatched to Ras Al Khaimah from Bushire, to where it returned with a flat denial of involvement in the affair from the Al Qasimi who were also at pains to point out they had not undertaken to recognise 'idolotrous Hindus' as British subjects, let alone anyone from the West Coast of India other than Bombay and Mangalore. A small squadron assembled off Ras Al Khaimah and, on Sheikh Hassan continuing to be 'obstinate', opened fire on four vessels anchored there. Firing from too long a range, the squadron expended some 350 rounds to no effect and disbanded, visiting other ports on the coast. Unsurprisingly given this ineffective 'punishment', Lorimer reports "The temerity of the pirates increased" and further raids on shipping followed, including the taking of "an Arab vessel but officered by Englishmen and flying English colours" just 70 miles North of Bombay.[34]

After an additional year of recurring incidents, at the end of 1818 Hassan bin Rahmah made conciliatory overtures to Bombay and was "sternly rejected." Naval resources commanded by the Al Qasimi during this period were estimated at around 60 large boats headquartered in Ras Al Khaimah, carrying from 80 to 300 men each, as well as 40 smaller vessels housed in other nearby ports.[35]

1819 Persian Gulf campaign

In 1819, the British wrote a memo regarding the issue of rising piracy in the Persian Gulf. It stated:[36]

The piratical enterprises of the Joasmi [Al Qasimi] tribes and other Arab tribes in the Persian Gulf region had become so extensive and attended by so many atrocities on peaceful traders, that the Government of India at last determined that an expedition on a much larger and comprehensive scale than ever done before, should be undertaken for the destruction of the maritime force of these piratical tribes on the Gulf and that a new policy of bringing the tribes under British rule should be inaugurated.

The case against the Al Qasimi has been contested by the historian, author and Ruler of Sharjah, Sultan bin Muhammed Al Qasimi in his book, 'The Myth of Arab Piracy in the Gulf' in which he argues that the charges amount to a 'causus belli' by the East India Company, which sought to limit or eliminate the 'informal' Arab trade with India, and presents a number of internal communications between the Bombay Government and its officials which shed doubt on many of the key charges made by Lorimer in his history of the affair.[26] At the time, the Chief Secretary of the Government of Bombay, F. Warden, presented a minute which laid blame for the piracy on the Wahhabi influence on the Al Qasimi and the interference of British vessels in native affairs. Warden also, successfully, argued against a proposal to install the Sultan of Muscat as Ruler of the whole peninsula. Warden's arguments and proposals likely influenced the shape of the eventual treaty concluded with the Sheikhs of the Gulf coast.[37]

In November of that year, the British embarked on an expedition against the Al Qasimi, led by Major-General William Keir Grant, voyaging to Ras Al Khaimah with a platoon of 3,000 soldiers. The British extended an offer to Said bin Sultan of Muscat in which he would be made ruler of the Pirate Coast if he agreed to assist the British in their expedition. Obligingly, he sent a force of 600 men and two ships.[38][39]

صورة 003
Ras Al Khaimah under attack by the British in December 1819.

The force gathered off the coast of Ras Al Khaimah on 25 and 26 November and, on 2 and 3 December, troops were landed south of the town and set up batteries of guns and mortars and, on the 5th December, the town was bombarded from both land and sea. Continued bombardment took place over the following four days until, on the 9th, fortress and town of Ras Al Khaimah were stormed and found to be practically deserted. On the fall of Ras Al Khaimah, three cruisers were sent to blockade Rams to the North and this, too was found to be deserted and its inhabitants retired to the 'impregnable' hill-top fort of Dhayah.[40]

The rout of Ras Al Khaimah led to only 5 British casualties as opposed to the 400 to 1000 casualties reportedly suffered by the Al Qasimi.[41] However, the fight for Dhayah was altogether harder and hand-to-hand fighting through the date plantations of Dhayah took place between 18 and 21 December. By December 21, the Al Qasimi defenders had repaired to Dhayah Fort, protected by the slopes around the fortification. Two 24-pounder guns were brought to Dhayah from the 'Liverpool' in a great effort and set up at the foot of the hill. The transport of the guns involved running them three miles up a narrow, shallow creek before being dragged through a muddy swamp and then pulled over rocky ground. Once they were set up, a message was sent to the defenders offering for their women and children to leave but it was ignored. The guns opened fire at 8.30am and by 10.30 the walls of the fort were breached and its defenders put up a white flag and surrendered. 398 fighting men and some 400 women and children left the fort.[40]

The town of Ras Al Khaimah was blown up and a garrison was established there, consisting of 800 sepoys and artillery. The expedition then visited Jazirat Al Hamra, which was deserted, but then went on to destroy the fortifications and larger vessels of Umm Al Qawain, Ajman, Fasht, Sharjah, Abu Hail and Dubai. Ten vessels which had taken shelter in Bahrain were also destroyed.[42]

The British took counter measures to suppress piracy in the region by relocating their troops from Ras Al Khaimah to the island of Qeshm. They eventually withdrew from the island around 1823 after protests by the Persian government.[43]

Peace treaties

Travels in Assyria Ras Al Khaimah (cropped)
‘Ras-el-Khyma, the chief port of the Wahabee pirates’ from p. 476 of 'Travels in Assyria, Media, and Persia' (1829) by James Silk Buckingham.

The surrender of Ras Al Khaimah and the bombardment of other coastal settlements resulted in the Sheikhs of the coast agreeing to sign treaties of peace with the British. These consisted of a number of 'preliminary agreements' (the foremost of which was that with Hassan Bin Rahmah of Ras Al Khaimah, who signed a preliminary agreement which ceded his town for use as the British Garrison) and then the General Maritime Treaty of 1820. This resulted in the area becoming known first as Trucial Oman and then generally the Trucial States.

The first article of the treaty asserts: 'There shall be a cessation of plunder and piracy by land and sea on the part of the Arabs, who are parties to this contract, for ever.' It then goes on to define piracy as being any attack that is not an action of 'acknowledged war'. The 'pacificated Arabs' agree, on land and sea, to carry a flag being a red rectangle contained within a white border of equal width to the contained rectangle, 'with or without letters on it, at their option'. This flag was to be a symbol of peace with the British government and each other.

The vessels of the 'friendly Arabs' were to carry a paper (register), signed by their chief and detailing the vessel. They should also carry a documented port clearance, which would name the 'Nacodah' (today generally spelled nakhuda), crew and number of armed men on board as well as the port of origin and destination. They would produce these on request to any British or other vessel which requested them.

The treaty also makes provision for the exchange of envoys, for the 'friendly Arabs' to act in concert against outside forces and to desist from putting people to death after they have given up their arms or to carry them off as slaves. The treaty prohibits slaving 'from the coasts of Africa or elsewhere' or the carrying of slaves in their vessels. The 'friendly Arabs', flying the agreed flag, would be free to enter, leave and trade with British ports and 'if any should attack them, the British Government will take notice of it.'[44]

Signatories

The treaty was issued in triplicate and signed at mid-day on 8 January 1820 in Ras Al Khaimah by Major-General Grant Keir together with Hassan Bin Rahmah Sheikh of 'Hatt and Falna' (hatt being the modern day village of Khatt and Falna being the modern day suburb of Ras Al Khaimah, Fahlain) and Rajib bin Ahmed, Sheikh of 'Jourat al Kamra' (Jazirah Al Hamra). A translation was prepared by Captain JP Thompson.

The treaty was then signed on 11 January 1820 in Ras Al Khaimah by Sheikh Shakbout of 'Aboo Dhebbee' (Abu Dhabi) and on 15 January by Hassan bin Ali, Sheikh of Rams and Al Dhaya (named on the treaty document as 'Sheikh of 'Zyah').

The treaty was subsequently signed in Sharjah by Saeed bin Saif of Dubai (on behalf of Mohammed bin Haza bin Zaal, the Sheikh of Dubai was in his minority) on 28 January 1820 and then in Sharjah again by Sultan bin Suggur, Sheikh of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah (at Falayah Fort) on 4 February 1820. On 15 March 1820 Rashid bin Humaid, Sheikh of Ajman and Abdulla bin Rashid, Sheikh of Umm Al Qawain both signed at Falayah.

Further treaties

Bushehrseafront1870
Bushehr sea-front, c. 1870.

The treaty only granted protection to British vessels and did not prevent coastal wars between tribes. As a result, piratical raids continued intermittently until 1835, when the sheikhs agreed not to engage in hostilities at sea for a period of one year. The truce was renewed every year until 1853, when a treaty was signed with the United Kingdom under which the sheikhs (the Trucial Sheikhdoms) agreed to a "perpetual maritime truce".[45] As a result of this agreement, the British would in the future refer to the coastal area as the "Trucial Coast" rather than the "Pirate Coast", its earlier moniker. It was enforced by the United Kingdom, and disputes among sheikhs were referred to the British for settlement.[46] Bahrain subscribed to the treaty in 1861.[7]

Despite the treaties, piracy remained a problem until the coming of steamships capable of outrunning piratical sail ships. Much of the piracy in the late nineteenth century was triggered by religious upheavals in central Arabia.[47] In 1860, the British opted to concentrate its forces on suppressing the slave trade in adjacent East Africa. This decision left its trade vessels and steamers in the Persian Gulf vulnerable to piracy, prompting some to take their business elsewhere.[48]

During the late 19th and early 20th-century a number of changes occurred to the status of various emirates, for instance emirates such as Rams (now part of Ras Al Khaimah) were signatories to the original 1819 treaty but not recognised as trucial states, while the emirate of Fujairah, today one of the seven emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates, was not recognised as a Trucial State until 1952. Kalba, recognised as a Trucial State by the British in 1936 is today part of the emirate of Sharjah.[49]

20th century

Kuwait signed protective treaties with Britain in 1899 and 1914 and Qatar signed a treaty in 1916.[50] These treaties, in addition to the earlier treaties signed by the Trucial States and Bahrain, were aimed suppressing piracy and slave trade in the region.[47] Acts of piracy in the Persian Gulf desisted during this period. By the 20th century, piracy had become a marginal activity,[51] mainly due to the increasingly widespread use of steamships which were too expensive for freebooters to finance.[52]

21st century

Jamie Wrona of the Maritime Liaison Office declared that piracy throughout the Middle East region was not only a threat to the regional economy, but also to the global economy.[53]

Iraq experienced a rise in piracy since the start of the century. There were 70 incidents of piracy reported from June to December 2004, and 25 incidents from January to June 2005. It is usually perpetrated by small groups of three to eight people using small boats.[54] From July to October 2006, there were four reported piracy incidents in the northern Persian Gulf, which targeted mainly Iraqi fishermen.[55]

See also

Notes

1. Al Qasimi were also referred to as Joasmi, Jawasmi, Qawasim and Qawasmi in various records and books.

References

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  53. ^ "PIRACY CONFERENCE HELD IN OMAN". armedmaritimesecurity.com. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  54. ^ Griffes. South Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean. ProStar Publications. p. 184. ISBN 1577857992.
  55. ^ "U.S. troops battling pirates, smugglers off Iraq's coast". stripes.com. 26 October 2006. Retrieved 14 January 2015.

External links

Media related to Piracy in the Persian Gulf at Wikimedia Commons

  • Qatar Digital Library - an online portal providing access to British Library archive materials relating to piracy in the Persian Gulf, including public domain resources
Abdulaziz Al-Mahmoud

Abdulaziz Al-Mahmoud is a Qatari engineer, journalist and author. He previously served as editor-in-chief of The Peninsula and its Arabic counterpart, Al Sharq. As a writer, his debut novel Al Qursan experienced commercial success after its release in August 2011. The novel was translated into English under the title The Corsair one year later and went on to become one of the best-selling books to be released by a Qatari author.

Bani Bu Ali expedition

The Bani Bu Ali expedition (1820–21) was a punitive campaign of the Sultan of Muscat assisted by the British East India Company against an Omani tribe known as the Bani Bu Ali in southeastern Arabia. It consisted of two expeditions. The first was the only land campaign Said bin Sultan conducted in Arabia during his long reign. It included a small allied British force and was defeated. The second, led by a more substantial British component, resulted in the destruction of the Bani Bu Ali.

Company units engaged in the expedition received the "Beni Boo Alli" battle honour.

British currency in the Middle East

British involvement in the Middle East began with the Aden Settlement in 1839. The British East India Company established an anti-piracy station in Aden to protect British shipping that was sailing to and from India. The Trucial States were similarly brought into the British Empire as a base for suppressing sea piracy in the Persian Gulf. Involvement in the region expanded to Egypt because of the Suez canal, as well as to Bahrain, Qatar, and Muscat. Kuwait was added in 1899 because of fears about the proposed Berlin-Baghdad Railway. There was a growing fear in the United Kingdom that Germany was a rising power, and there was concern about the implications of access to the Persian Gulf that would arise from the Berlin-Baghdad Railway. After the First World War the British influence in the Middle East reached its maximum extent with the inclusion of Palestine, Transjordan and Iraq. At first, Indian rupees were introduced to Aden and the Gulf States, and later during the First World War to Mesopotamia. After the First World War, the Indian rupee in British East Africa was replaced by a florin and then a shilling, which eventually replaced the Indian Rupee in Aden by 1951. Meanwhile, in 1927 a new Palestine pound at par with the pound sterling was introduced in the mandated territories of Palestine and Transjordan to replace the Turkish and Egyptian currencies. The East African Shilling in Aden was replaced in 1965 with the South Arabian Dinar at par with the pound sterling.

French frigate Chiffone (1799)

Chiffonne was a 38-gun Heureuse-class frigate of the French Navy. She was built at Nantes and launched in 1799. The British Royal Navy captured her in 1801. In 1809 she participated in a campaign against pirates in the Persian Gulf. She was sold for breaking up in 1814.

General Maritime Treaty of 1820

The General Maritime Treaty of 1820 was a treaty initially signed between the rulers of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah and the British in January 1820, with the nearby island state of Bahrain acceding to the treaty in the following February. Its full title was, "General Treaty for the Cessation of Plunder and Piracy by Land and Sea, Dated February 5, 1820".

The treaty followed the fall of Ras Al Khaimah, Rams and Dhayah to a punitive British expedition mounted from Bombay in 1819, principally targeting the fleet of the troublesome Al Qasimi, a seafaring tribe who had committed 'piracy and plunder' according to the British. Ras Al Khaimah fell to the force on 9 December 1819, with Dhayah falling on 22 December.

The British expeditionary force then blew up the town of Ras Al Khaimah and established a garrison there of 800 sepoys and artillery, before visiting Jazirat Al Hamra, which was found to be deserted. They went on to destroy the fortifications and larger vessels of Umm Al Qawain, Ajman, Fasht, Sharjah, Abu Hail, and Dubai. Ten vessels that had taken shelter in Bahrain were also destroyed. The Royal Navy suffered no casualties during the action.With the Sheikhs of these communities either in captivity or choosing to give themselves up, a treaty was proposed in order to govern peaceful relationships in the future. The treaty opens, 'In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate! Praise be to God, who hath ordained peace to be a blessing to his creatures.'

Under the auspices of the UK's representative Sir William Keir Grant, the treaty prohibited piracy in the Persian Gulf, banned slavery and required all usable ships to be registered with British forces by flying distinctive red and white flags which exist today as the flags of the respective emirates.The treaty was part of the UK's strategic policy of ensuring an open lines of communication between the British Raj and the United Kingdom, by excluding rival European powers from the Persian Gulf region, notably the Russian empire and France. Britain also sought to pacify the Persian Gulf by preserving the independence of Qajar Iran, the Ottoman empire and the Second Saudi State.

Jasim bin Jabir

Jasim bin Jabir (Arabic: جاسم بن جابر‎), also known as Raqraqi, was a 19th-century pirate active in the Persian Gulf.

Bin Jabir had his base at Khawr al Udayd and attacked British ships in the Persian Gulf, with caravans carrying the booty inland. Khalifa bin Shabkhout, the ruler of Abu Dhabi, having received permission from the resident British authorities, attacked Udaid in May 1836, killing 50 men and destroying its houses and fort. In the aftermath of the attack, bin Jabir took refuge in Doha in September 1836. The chief of Doha was warned not to harbor bin Jabir, but he refused to heed the warning. In the aftermath of bin Jabir's seizure of a British vessel off of Ras al-Khaimah in February 1841, the city of Doha was bombarded by British forces as punishment for continuing to provide him with a safehaven.

Kaleem Shaukat

Vice-Admiral Kaleem Shaukat (Urdu: كليم شوكت) HI(m), SI(m) is a three-star rank admiral in the Pakistan Navy, currently serving in the capacity as the Vice-Chief of Naval Staff since 2017.

Kharg Island

Kharg Island (Persian: جزیره خارگ‎) is a continental island in the Persian Gulf belonging to Iran. The island is located 25 km (16 mi) off the coast of Iran and 483 km (300 mi) northwest of the Strait of Hormuz. Administered by the adjacent coastal Bushehr Province, Kharg Island provides a sea port for the export of oil and extends Iranian territorial sea claims into the Persian Gulf oil fields. Located on Kharg Island is Kharg, the only city in the Kharg District.

Maritime Security Agency

For the other organisation previously known as the Maritime Security Agency see: Pakistan Coast GuardThe Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (reporting name: PMSA) is a uniform service branch within the Pakistan Navy. The MSA is the Navy-managed and Navy-controlled law enforcement agency whose mission is to provide protection to the Pakistan's maritime interests and enforcement of maritime law with jurisdiction over the domestic and international waters of Pakistan including the exclusive economic zone.Created on 1 January 1987 in compliance to the UN Convention on Law of the Sea of 1982, the PMSA functions as a federal regulatory agency under the Ministry of Defence (MoD) whose command level leadership and personnel comes directly from the Pakistan Navy. Apart from enforcing maritime law, the PMSA conduct to assists in military operations against human trafficking, smuggling, and deep sea search and rescue.The leadership of the agency comes from the external billets appointment approved by the Pakistan Navy and its executive officer is designated as the Director-General who usually at the two-star rank admiral– the Rear-Admiral in the Navy. The current director of the agency is Rear-Admiral Zaka-ur-Rehman who took the directorship of the agency in 2018.Since 2014, the mission objectives and area of responsibility of the PMSA expanded substantially with Chinese Navy transferring the coast guard vessels to provide maritime protection to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Nimitz-class aircraft carrier

The Nimitz class is a class of ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in service with the United States Navy. The lead ship of the class is named after World War II United States Pacific Fleet commander Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who was the U.S. Navy's last living fleet admiral. With an overall length of 1,092 ft (333 m) and full-load displacement of over 100,000 long tons, the Nimitz-class ships were the largest warships built and in-service until USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) entered the fleet in 2017.Instead of the gas turbines or diesel-electric systems used for propulsion on many modern warships, the carriers use two A4W pressurized water reactors which drive four propeller shafts and can produce a maximum speed of over 30 knots (56 km/h) and maximum power of around 260,000 shp (190 MW). As a result of the use of nuclear power, the ships are capable of operating for over 20 years without refueling and are predicted to have a service life of over 50 years. They are categorized as nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and are numbered with consecutive hull numbers between CVN-68 and CVN-77.All ten carriers were constructed by Newport News Shipbuilding Company in Virginia. USS Nimitz, the lead ship of the class, was commissioned on 3 May 1975, and USS George H.W. Bush, the tenth and last of the class, was commissioned on 10 January 2009. Since the 1970s, Nimitz-class carriers have participated in many conflicts and operations across the world, including Operation Eagle Claw in Iran, the Gulf War, and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The angled flight decks of the carriers use a CATOBAR arrangement to operate aircraft, with steam catapults and arrestor wires for launch and recovery. As well as speeding up flight deck operations, this allows for a much wider variety of aircraft than with the STOVL arrangement used on smaller carriers. An embarked carrier air wing consisting of up to around 90 aircraft is normally deployed on board. After the retirement of the F-14 Tomcat, the air wings' strike fighters are primarily F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornets and F/A-18A+ and F/A-18C Hornets. In addition to their aircraft, the vessels carry short-range defensive weaponry for anti-aircraft warfare and missile defense.

The unit cost was about $8.5 billion in FY 12 dollars, equal to $9.36 billion (2018) inflation adjusted.

Persian Gulf

The Persian Gulf (Persian: خلیج فارس‎, romanized: Xalij-e Fârs, lit. 'Gulf of Fars') is a mediterranean sea in Western Asia. The body of water is an extension of the Indian Ocean (Gulf of Oman) through the Strait of Hormuz and lies between Iran to the northeast and the Arabian Peninsula to the southwest. The Shatt al-Arab river delta forms the northwest shoreline.

The body of water is historically and internationally known as the "Persian Gulf". Some Arab governments refer to it as the "Arabian Gulf" (Arabic: ٱلْخَلِيْج ٱلْعَرَبِي‎, romanized: Al-Khalīj al-ˁArabī) or "The Gulf", but neither term is recognized globally. The name "Gulf of Iran (Persian Gulf)" is used by the International Hydrographic Organization.The Persian Gulf was a battlefield of the 1980–1988 Iran–Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers. It is the namesake of the 1991 Gulf War, the largely air- and land-based conflict that followed Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

The gulf has many fishing grounds, extensive reefs (mostly rocky, but also coral), and abundant pearl oysters, but its ecology has been damaged by industrialization and oil spills.

The Persian Gulf resides in the Persian Gulf Basin, which is of Cenozoic origin and related to the subduction of the Arabian Plate under the Zagros Mountains. The current flooding of the basin started 15,000 years ago due to rising sea levels of the Holocene glacial retreat.

Persian Gulf campaign of 1809

The Persian Gulf Campaign, in 1809, was an operation by a British Royal Navy to force the Al Qasimi to cease their raids on British ships in the Persian Gulf, particularly on the Persian and Arab coasts of the Straits of Hormuz. The operation's success was limited as the Royal Navy forces, already heavily involved in the Napoleonic Wars, were unable to permanently suppress the strong fleets of the Al Qasimi of Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah. The expedition did achieve its short-term goals by destroying three Al Qasimi bases and over 80 vessels, including the largest Al Qasimi ship in the region, the converted merchant ship Minerva. Although operations continued into 1810, the British were unable to destroy every Al Qasimi vessel and by 1811 attacks had resumed, although at a lower intensity than previously.

Although characterised at the time and since as actions against piracy, this charge has been disputed by historians and archivists in the UAE in particular, notably the current Ruler of Sharjah, HH Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi in his book 'The Myth of Arabian Piracy in the Gulf'. The counter-argument is that the Al Qasimi, a strong and independent maritime force, were the subject of British aggression in an attempt to stamp its authority – and that of its Omani allies – on trade routes thought of as important to Iraq and India.The operation against the Al Qasimi was a joint campaign by the Royal Navy and the fleet of the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), with soldiers drawn from the garrison of Bombay. The expeditionary force, led by Captain John Wainwright in the Navy frigate HMS Chiffone, was despatched to the region, following an escalation in attacks on British shipping in the Persian Gulf after the French established diplomatic missions in Muscat and Tehran in 1807. These attacks not only threatened British trade links in the region, but also placed British relations with Oman and Persia in jeopardy at a time when French aspirations against British India were a cause for concern to the British government.

Because the available charts of the Persian Gulf were inaccurate or incomplete at the time, Al Qasimi ships could hide from Wainwright's squadron in the uncharted inlets, a problem Wainwright reported upon his return that resulted in improved British cartography of the area.

Persian Gulf campaign of 1819

The Persian Gulf campaign of 1819 was a British punitive expedition, principally against the Arab maritime force of the Al Qasimi in the Persian Gulf, which embarked from Bombay, India in November 1819 to attack Ras Al Khaimah. The campaign was militarily successful for the British and led to the signing of the General Maritime Treaty of 1820 between the British and the Sheikhs of what was then known as the 'Pirate Coast', would become known as the 'Trucial Coast' after this treaty and the territory that today comprises the United Arab Emirates.

Piracy in the 21st century

Piracy in the 21st century has taken place in a number of waters around the world, including the Gulf of Guinea, Strait of Malacca, Indian Ocean, and Falcon Lake.

Qatari literature

Qatari literature traces its origins back to the 19th century. Originally, written poetry was the most common form of expression, but poetry later fell out of favor after Qatar began reaping the profits from oil exports in the mid-20th century and many Qataris abandoned their Bedouin traditions in favor of more urban lifestyles.Due to the increasing number of Qataris who began receiving formal education during the 1950s and other significant societal changes, the following years saw the introduction of short stories, and later, novels. Poetry, particularly the predominant nabati form, retained some importance but would soon be overshadowed by other literary types. Unlike most other forms of art in Qatari society, females have been involved in the modern literature movement on a similar magnititude to males.

Qatari–Bahraini War

The Qatari–Bahraini War also known as the Qatari War of Independence was an armed conflict that took place between 1867 and 1868 in the Persian Gulf. The conflict pitted Bahrain and Abu Dhabi against the people of Qatar. The conflict was the most flagrant violation of the 1835 maritime truce, requiring British intervention. The two emirates agreed to a truce, mediated by the United Kingdom, which led to Britain recognizing the Al Thani family of Qatar as the semi-independent ruler of Qatar. The conflict resulted in wide-scale destruction in both emirates.

Rahmah ibn Jabir Al Jalhami

Rahmah ibn Jabir ibn Adhbi Al Jalhami (Arabic: رحمة بن جابر بن عذبي الجلهمي‎; c. 1760–1826) was an Arab ruler in the Persian Gulf and was described by his contemporary, the English traveller and author, James Silk Buckingham, as ‘the most successful and the most generally tolerated pirate, perhaps, that ever infested any sea.’As a pirate his reputation was for being ruthless and fearless, and he wore an eye-patch after he lost an eye in battle. He is the earliest documented pirate to have worn an eye-patch. He is described by the former British adviser and historian, Charles Belgrave, as 'one of the most vivid characters the Persian Gulf has produced, a daring freebooter without fear or mercy' (perhaps paradoxically his first name means 'mercy' in Arabic).

He began life as a horse dealer and he used the money he saved to buy his first ship and with ten companions began a career of buccaneering. He was so successful that he soon acquired a new craft: a 300-ton boat, manned by 350 men. He would later have as many as 2000 followers, many of them black slaves. At one point his flagship was the 'Al-Manowar' (derived from English).

Transport vessels for the British campaign against the Al Qasimi pirates (1819-20)

In 1819 the British government of India decided to mount an expedition to Ras Al Khaimah to suppress piracy in the Persian Gulf.

A British memo of 1819 stated:

The piratical enterprises of the Joasmi [Al Qasimi] tribes and other Arab tribes in the Persian Gulf region had become so extensive and attended by so many atrocities on peaceful traders, that the Government of India at last determined that an expedition on a much larger and comprehensive scale than ever done before, should be undertaken for the destruction of the maritime force of these piratical tribes on the Gulf and that a new policy of bringing the tribes under British rule should be inaugurated.

For the expedition the government engaged a number of merchant vessels to transport troops and ordnance stores.

†:Register;

‡: Phipps; no mark when both agree

Following the surrender of Ras Al Khaimah and Dhayah Fort, the British expeditionary force then blew up the buildings comprising the town of Ras Al Khaimah and established a garrison there of 800 sepoys and artillery, before visiting Jazirat Al Hamra, which was found to be deserted. They went on to destroy the fortifications and larger vessels of Umm Al Qawain, Ajman, Fasht, Sharjah, Abu Hail, and Dubai. Ten vessels that had taken shelter in Bahrain were also destroyed. The Royal Navy suffered no casualties during the action.

William Keir Grant

General Sir William Keir Grant, KCB, GCH (born William Keir; 25 May 1771 – 7 May 1852) was a British Army general during the first half of the 19th century.

He was born in Fife, Scotland, the son of Archibald Keir of the East India Company and joined the British Army as a cornet in the 15th (The King's) Light Dragoons.

He was promoted lieutenant in 1793, and accompanied part of his regiment to Flanders, where he fought at Famars, Valenciennes, and elsewhere in the campaigns of 1793–4. He was present at the Villers-en-Cauchies on 24 April 1794, when two squadrons of the 15th and two of the Austrian Leopold Hussars, although finding themselves unexpectedly without infantry support, overthrew a much superior force of French cavalry, pursued them through the French infantry, and captured three guns. The action saved the Emperor of Germany, who was on his way to Coblentz, from being taken by the French. Keir and seven other officers were awarded a large gold medal by Francis II. Only nine of these medals were struck, one being given to each of the eight British officers present, and the ninth placed in the Imperial Museum, Vienna. The officers were also made knights of the Military Order of Maria Theresa, which, as in the case of other foreign orders of chivalry previous to 1814, carried the rank of a knight-bachelor in England and other countries. It also gave the recipient the rank of baron in Austria.

He was then promoted to a troop in the 6th Regiment of Dragoon Guards, with which he served in Germany in 1795 and Ireland in 1798. In the latter year Keir received permission from George III to wear the gold medal given by Francis II in commemoration of the action at Villers-en-Cauchies.

Keir joined the Russian and Austrian armies in Italy early in 1799, and served in the campaigns of 1799, 1800 and 1801. He was present at the battles of Novi, Rivoli, Mondovi, and Sanliano. He also served in the gunboats at the Siege of Genoa (1800) and in several actions in the mountains of Genoa, when the Austrians and Russians lost nearly thirty-three thousand men. He was also at the Battle of Marengo and the sieges of Alessandria, Sanaval, Tortona, Cunio and Savona.

On 3 December 1800 he was appointed lieutenant-colonel in the 22nd Light Dragoons, with which corps he landed in Egypt after the cessation of hostilities in 1801. The regiment was disbanded on the Peace of Amiens, and Keir was placed on half pay.

For a short time he was aide-de-camp to the Prince of Wales, and afterwards first aide-de-camp to Lord Moira, before being appointed adjutant-general of the king's troops in Bengal, where he commanded the advance of Major-general St. Leger's force on the Sutlej in 1810. Subsequently, while on the Bengal staff, Keir, who became colonel in 1810 and a major-general in 1813, was appointed to command a small force of cavalry and grenadiers sent against Ameer (Amir) Khan (afterwards the Nawab of Tonk) in 1814. In 1815 he was made commander-in-chief and second member of council on the island of Java, a position he held until the island was restored to the Dutch after the peace.

In 1817 he was appointed to the Bombay staff and commanded the Gujerat field force, part of the army of the Deccan, in the operations against the Pindaris. In February 1819 he was in command of a force assembled on the frontier of the Sawunt Warree state. The latter proving intractable the troops entered the country, carried the strong hill fort of Raree by storm and marched to the capital, where a treaty was signed with the regency. In March the same year he commanded a force sent against the Rajah of Cutch, which, after defeating the enemy and capturing the hill fortress of Bhooj, received the submission of that province.

In October 1819 Grant Keir was despatched by the Bombay government with a strong armament for the suppression of piracy in the Persian Gulf. The attack was specially directed against the Joasmi (Al Qasimi), a tribe of maritime Arabs of the sect of Wahhabis or followers of the Arab religious reformer, Abd-ul-Wahab (Bestower of Blessings), whose pirate craft had long been the terror of the coasts of western India. Ras Al Khaimah, their stronghold, had been destroyed by a small force from Bombay in 1809, but their power was again in the ascendant. Ras Al Khaimah was captured with small loss on 9 December 1819, and on 8 January 1820 Grant Keir signed a general treaty of peace on the part of the British government with the chiefs of the tribes of maritime Arabs of the Persian Gulf, by whom it was subsequently signed at different times and places. It provided for the entire suppression of piracy in the Gulf. For his services Grant Keir received the thanks of the governor-general in council and the Persian decoration of the Lion and Sun.

He returned home at the end of his staff service and was made KCB in 1822, lieutenant-general in 1825, GCH in 1835 and given the colonelcy in 1839 of the 2nd (Royal North British) Regiment of Dragoons (later the Scots Greys), an honour he held until his death in 1852. He was promoted to full general on 23 November 1841.

He died at his home in Chapel Street, Belgrave Square, London, aged 80. He had married in 1811 a daughter of Captain Jackson, R.N.

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