Trucial States

The Trucial Coast (Arabic: الساحل المهادنAs-Sāḥil al-Muhādin or المتصالح al-Mutaṣāliḥ; also known as Trucial States, Trucial Oman, Trucial States of the Coast of Oman, and Trucial Sheikhdoms) were a group of tribal confederations in the south-eastern Persian Gulf, previously known to the British as the "Pirate Coast", which were signatories to treaties (hence 'trucial') with the British Government. These treaties established an informal protectorate by the United Kingdom, and the sheikhdoms, or emirates, were a British protectorate from 1820 until 1 December 1971, when the seven principal trucial sheikhdoms became independent. Six (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah) were to form the United Arab Emirates the next day; the seventh – Ras Al Khaimah – joined the Federation on 10 February 1972.

The Trucial States of the Coast of Oman

Flag of Trucial States
Flag of the Trucial States Council
StatusPersian Gulf Residency of British India (until 1947)
British Protectorate
Common languagesArabic, English
Demonym(s)Trucial Coaster[1]
GovernmentUnited Tribal Confederations
Historical eraNew Imperialism/WWI
8 January 1820
• Perpetual Maritime Truce
• Trucial States Council
• End of protectorate
1 December 1971
• United Arab Emirates
2 December 1971
CurrencyIndian Rupee before 1959
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Abu Dhabi
Emirate of Ajman
Ras Al Khaimah
Umm Al Quwain
United Arab Emirates
Today part of United Arab Emirates


The sheikhdoms included:

The sheikhdoms permanently allied themselves with the United Kingdom through a series of treaties, beginning with the General Maritime Treaty of 1820 and including the Perpetual Maritime Truce of 1853, until in 1892 they entered into "Exclusivity Agreements" with the British—following on from Bahrain in 1880—which put them under British protection. This was an unclear status which fell short of a formal protectorate, but required Britain to defend them from external aggression in exchange for exclusive British rights in the states.[2]

Two sheikhdoms at various times looked as if they might be granted trucial status, affirming their independence from neighbouring Sharjah, Al Hamriyah and Al Heera, but neither signed treaties with the British. Kalba, granted trucial status in 1936 because it was chosen as the site of a back-up landing strip for the Imperial Airways flights into Sharjah, was re-incorporated into Sharjah in 1951 on the death of its ruler.[3]

The last sheikhdom to be granted recognition was that of Fujairah, which became a trucial state in 1952 after the British Government came under pressure from PCL (Petroleum Concessions Limited) to grant status in order that the company could have a free hand to explore for oil along the whole east coast.[3]

In 1952, the Trucial States Council was established to encourage co-operation between the seven Rulers. The Indian rupee remained the de facto currency of the Trucial States as well as the other Persian Gulf states such as Qatar, Bahrain and Oman until these countries introduced their own currencies in 1969, after the great devaluation of the rupee.

The 1820 treaty

The south eastern Persian Gulf coast was called the "Pirate Coast" by the British, who argued that raiders based there - particularly the 'Qawasim' or 'Joasmees' - now known as the Al Qasimi (the Ruling families of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah), harassed British flagged shipping.

The first in a long series of maritime skirmishes between the Al Qasimi and British vessels took place in 1797, when the British-flagged snow Bassein was seized and released two days later. The cruiser Viper was subsequently attacked off Bushire.[4] The Al Qasimi leader, Saqr bin Rashid Al Qasimi, protested innocence in both cases.

A period of great instability followed along the coast, with a number of actions between British and Al Qasimi vessels alongside various changes of leadership and allegiances between the Rulers of Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman and Sharjah with Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi claiming sovereignty over 'all the Joasmee ports' in 1823, a claim recognised by the British at the time.

This version has been particularly well articulated by Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, the current Ruler of Sharjah, in his 1986 book The Myth of Arab Piracy in the Gulf.[4]

British expeditions to protect British Indian trade and interests around Ras al-Khaimah, close to the Strait of Hormuz, led to campaigns against that headquarters and other harbours along the coast, in 1809 but then again (with far greater destructive force) in 1819. The next year, 1820, a peace treaty was signed to which all the sheikhs of the coast adhered. The signatories to that treaty included Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi of Sharjah (on 6 January 1820. He signed a 'preliminary agreement' also on behalf of Ajman and Umm Al Qawain), and then on 8 January at Ras Al Khaimah, Hassan Bin Rahma Al Qasimi signed as "Sheikh of 'Hatt and Falna' formerly of Ras Al Khaimah" ('Hatt' being the modern day village of Khatt and 'Falna' being the modern day suburb of Ras Al Khaimah, Fahlain, near the location of Al Falayah Fort), followed on 10 January by Qadib bin Ahmad of Jazirah Al Hamrah (given in the treaty's English translation as 'Jourat Al Kamra'!) signed.[5]

On 11 January 1820, again at Ras Al Khaimah, Shakhbut bin Diyab Al Nahyan signed on behalf of his son, Tahnoon, the Sheikh of the Bani Yas and Ruler of Abu Dhabi. Husain bin Ali of Rams signed on the 15th. The uncle of Muhammad bin Hazza of Dubai signed on the 28th in Sharjah. The Rulers of Ajman and Umm Al Quwain acceded to the full treaty on 15 March, signing on board the ship of the commander of the British expeditionary force, Major-General William Keir Grant. The treaty was also signed, at Sharjah, by the emir of Bahrain.[6]

The Sheikh of Rams lost the support of his people soon after and both he and the Sheikh of Jazirah Al Hamrah were deposed and their communities became subject to the rule of Ras Al Khaimah.[6]

As a peace treaty it was not a conspicuous success: skirmishes and conflicts, considered as raids by the British, continued intermittently until 1835, when the sheikhs agreed not to engage in hostilities at sea and Sharjah, Dubai, Ajman and Abu Dhabi signed a renewed treaty banning hostilities during the pearling season and a number of other short treaties were made, culminating with the ten-year truce of June 1843. Feeling the benefit of peaceful pearling and trade, the coastal Sheikhs signed the Perpetual Treaty of Maritime Peace in 1853, a process overseen by the British political agent at Bushire, Captain AB Kemball.[7]

Separate treaties in 1847 and 1856 saw treaties undertaking the abolition of slave trading and, in 1873, a further treaty abolishing slaving was signed by Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

1892 Exclusive Agreement

Primarily in reaction to the ambitions of other European countries, namely France and Russia, the United Kingdom and the Trucial Sheikhdoms established closer bonds in an 1892 treaty, similar to treaties entered into by the UK with other Persian Gulf principalities.[8]

The sheikhs agreed not to dispose of any territory except to the United Kingdom and not to enter into relationships with any foreign government other than the United Kingdom without its consent. In return, the British promised to protect the Trucial Coast from all aggression by sea and to help in case of land attack.[9] This treaty, the 'Exclusive Agreement', was signed by the Rulers of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain between 6 and 8 March 1892.[10] It was subsequently ratified by the Viceroy of India and the British Government in London.

The Advent of aeroplanes

In the 1920s, the British Government's desire to create an alternative air route from Great Britain to India gave rise to discussions with the rulers of the Trucial States about landing areas, anchorages and fuel depots along the coast. The first aeroplanes to appear were Royal Air Force (RAF) flying boats, used by RAF personnel to survey the area, and by political officers to visit the rulers. Air agreements were initially resisted by the rulers, who suspected interference with their sovereignty, however they also provided a useful source of revenue. In 1932, the demise of the air route through Persia (today's Iran) led to the opening of an airfield at Sharjah. In 1937, Imperial Airways flying boats began to call in at Dubai, and continued to do so for the next ten years.[11][12]

Trucial States Council

The Trucial States Council was a forum for the leaders of the emirates to meet, presided over by the British Political Agent. The first meetings took place in 1952, one in the Spring and one in Autumn, and this set a pattern for meetings in future years.[13] The Council was purely consultative and had no written constitution and no policy making powers, it provided more than anything a forum for the Rulers to exchange views and agree common approaches. The British managed to provoke considerable irritation amongst the Rulers, especially Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, when the Ruler of Fujairah, recognised as a Trucial State by Britain on 21 March 1952, attended his first Trucial States Council.[14]

By 1958, committees were set up to advise on public health, agriculture and education, but the Council had no funding until 1965, when the chairmanship moved from the Political Agent to one of the Rulers, the first chairman being Shaikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi of Ras Al Khaimah.[15] One issue which came up regularly in the Council's first 14 meetings was that of locusts - the swarms were highly destructive to the agricultural areas of the whole area but the Bedouin of the interior were convinced the spraying of insecticide would be detrimental to their herds and resisted the teams brought in from Pakistan to spray the insects' breeding grounds.[16]

At this time, the Council was given a grant by the British to administer as it saw fit, instead of merely advising on British-prepared budgets. A full-time secretariat was also recruited.[15]

End of the Trucial States

In 1968 the United Kingdom announced its intention to end its protectorate over the Trucial Coast.

The other 'Trucial States' had long been a British protectorate with the British taking care of foreign policy and defence, as well as arbitrating between the rulers of the Eastern Persian Gulf. This changed with Harold Wilson's announcement, on 16 January 1968, that all British troops were to be withdrawn from 'East of Aden'. The decision pitched the rulers of the Trucial Coast, together with Qatar and Bahrain, into fevered negotiations to fill the political vacuum that the British withdrawal would leave behind.[17]

The principle of union was first agreed between the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and Sheikh Rashid of Dubai on 18 February 1968 meeting in an encampment at Argoub Al Sedirah, near Al Semeih, a desert stop between the two emirates.[18] The two agreed to work towards bringing the other emirates, including Qatar and Bahrain, into the union. Over the next two years, negotiations and meetings of the rulers followed—often stormy—as a form of union was thrashed out. The nine-state union was never to recover from the October 1969 meeting where heavy-handed British intervention resulted in a walk-out by Qatar and Ras Al Khaimah.[19] Bahrain and Qatar were to drop out of talks, leaving only six emirates to agree on union on 18 July 1971.

On 2 December 1971, Dubai, together with Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah joined in the Act of Union to form the United Arab Emirates. The seventh emirate, Ras Al Khaimah, joined the UAE on 10 February 1972 following Iran's seizure of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs from Ras Al Khaimah.

See also


  1. ^ Winder, Bayly (1965). Saudi Arabia in the Nineteenth Century. p. 33.
  2. ^ Balfour-Paul, G., The End of Empire in the Middle East: Britain's Relinquishment of Power in her Last Three Arab Dependencies, Cambridge University Press, 1984, ISBN 978-0521466363
  3. ^ a b Bey, Frauke (1996). From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates. UK: Longman. pp. 296–7. ISBN 978-0582277281.
  4. ^ a b 1939-, Sulṭān ibn Muḥammad al-Qāsimī, Ruler of Shāriqah, (1986). The myth of Arab piracy in the Gulf. London: Croom Helm. ISBN 978-0709921066. OCLC 12583612.
  5. ^ Heard-Bey, Frauke (2004). From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates. Motivate. p. 285. ISBN 9781860631672.
  6. ^ a b Bey, Frauke (1996). From Trucial States To United Arab Emirates. UK: Longman. pp. 284–286. ISBN 978-0582277281.
  7. ^ Bey, Frauke (1996). From Trucial States To United Arab Emirates. UK: Longman. p. 288. ISBN 978-0582277281.
  8. ^ Heard-Bey, Frauke (2004). From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates. Motivate. p. 293. ISBN 9781860631672.
  9. ^ Tore Kjeilen (2007-04-04). "Trucial States". LookLex. Archived from the original on 31 January 2010. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
  10. ^ Bey, Frauke (1996). From Trucial States To United Arab Emirates. UK: Longman. p. 293. ISBN 978-0582277281.
  11. ^ Morton, Michael Quentin (June 2018). "Flying Boats on the Trucial Coast, 1927-1947". Liwa. 9 (19): 3–30. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  12. ^ Stanley-Price, Nicholas (2012). Imperial Outpost on the Gulf: The Airfield at Sharjah (UAE), 1932-1952. Book Guild Ltd. ISBN 978-1846246849 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help).
  13. ^ Donald., Hawley, (1970). The Trucial States. London,: Allen & Unwin. p. 177. ISBN 0049530054. OCLC 152680.
  14. ^ 1976-, Alhammadi, Muna M.,. Britain and the administration of the Trucial States 1947-1965. Markaz al-Imārāt lil-Dirāsāt wa-al-Buḥūth al-Istirātījīyah. Abu Dhabi. p. 95. ISBN 9789948146384. OCLC 884280680.
  15. ^ a b Donald., Hawley, (1970). The Trucial States. London,: Allen & Unwin. p. 178. ISBN 0049530054. OCLC 152680.
  16. ^ 1976-, Alhammadi, Muna M.,. Britain and the administration of the Trucial States 1947-1965. Markaz al-Imārāt lil-Dirāsāt wa-al-Buḥūth al-Istirātījīyah. Abu Dhabi. p. 96. ISBN 9789948146384. OCLC 884280680.
  17. ^ Heard-Bey, Frauke (2004). From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates. Motivate. p. 337. ISBN 9781860631672.
  18. ^ Maktoum, Mohammed bin Rashid (2012). Spirit of the Union. UAE: Motivate. p. 30. ISBN 9781860633300.
  19. ^ Wilson, Graeme (1999). Father of Dubai. UAE: Media Prima. p. 126. ISBN 9789948856450.

External links

  • Qatar Digital Library - an online portal providing access to British Library archive materials relating to Persian Gulf history and Arabic science
Al-Nasr Dubai SC

Al-Nasr Sports Club (Arabic: نادي النصر الرياضي‎) is a professional association football club located in Dubai and plays in the UAE Arabian Gulf League. Al-Nasr, literally translating to "victory" in Arabic was founded in 1945 and is considered as the first and oldest club in the United Arab Emirates.

Al Shabab (Dubai)

Al Shabab Al Arabi Club was a football and basketball club based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, that plays in the UAE Arabian Gulf League. The club was founded in 1958.In 2017 merged with, Dubai CSC to join Al-Ahli Dubai F.C to rebrand the club into Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai FC.

Bani Qitab

The Bani Qitab is a tribe of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The singular form of the name, Al Ketbi, is a common family name in the Northern UAE today. Consisting of a settled southern section and a nomadic northern section, the tribe was long influential in the conduct of affairs in the interior of the Trucial States. The Northern branch mostly settled in the inland towns of Dhaid and Al Falayah.

Duru (tribe)

The Duru (singular Al Darai ) is a tribe of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A relatively small tribe, they nevertheless managed to intersperse themselves in a number of territorial conflicts which broke out throughout the Trucial States in the 20th Century.

Emirates Club

Emirates Club (Arabic: نادي الامارات‎) is a professional football club based in the city of Ras al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates.


The Emiratis or Emirati people (Arabic: إماراتيين‎) are the citizens of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Their largest concentration is in the UAE, where there are 1 million Emiratis. Formerly known as the Trucial States or Trucial Oman, the UAE is made up of seven emirates, each of which had a dominant or ruling family or tribe. Abu Dhabi was home to the Bani Yas tribal confederation; Dubai settled in 1833 by an offshoot of the Bani Yas, the Al Bu Falasah; Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah to the Al Qasimi or Qawasim; Ajman to the Al Na'im and Fujeirah to the Sharqiyin. Additionally, a number of large tribes settled in these territories or travelled the interior of the UAE, including the Manasir, Al Ali, Awamir, Mazari, Bani Qitab, Al Bu Shamis, Manahil, Rashid, Al Murrah, Zaab, Tanaij, Naqbiyin, Ghafalah and the Bani Kaab. A large number of them are from other Arab countries too and some have South Asian blood and Sub-Saharan African blood in them.

Fujairah FC

Fujairah Football Club (Arabic: نادي الفجيرة‎) is an Emirati professional football club in Fujairah. Founded in 1968, the club competes in the UAE Pro-League.

History of the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a country in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula located on the southeastern coast of the Persian Gulf and the northwestern coast of the Gulf of Oman. The UAE consists of seven emirates and was founded on 2 December 1971 as a federation. Six of the seven emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah) combined on that date. The seventh, Ras al Khaimah, joined the federation on 10 February 1972. The seven sheikdoms were formerly known as the Trucial States, in reference to the treaty relations established with the British in the 19th Century.

Artifacts uncovered in the UAE show a history of human habitation and transmigration spanning back 125,000 years. The area was previously home to the 'Magan people' known to the Sumerians, who traded with both coastal towns and bronze miners and smelters from the interior. A rich history of trade with the Harappan culture of the Indus Valley is also evidenced by finds of jewellery and other items and there is also extensive early evidence of trade with Afghanistan and Bactria as well as the Levant.

Through the three defined Iron Ages and the subsequent Hellenistic Mlieiha period, the area remained an important coastal trading entrepôt. As a result of the Ridda Wars, the area became Islamised in the 7th Century. Small trading ports developed alongside inland oases such as Liwa, Al Ain and Dhaid and tribal bedouin society co-existed with settled populations in the coastal areas.

A number of incursions and bloody battles took place along the coast when the Portuguese, under Albuquerque, invaded the area. Conflicts between the maritime communities of the Trucial Coast and the British led to the sacking of Ras Al Khaimah by British forces in 1809 and again in 1819, which resulted in the first of a number of British treaties with the Trucial Rulers in 1820. These treaties, including the Treaty of Perpetual Maritime Peace, signed in 1853, led to peace and prosperity along the coast and supported a lively trade in high quality natural pearls which lasted until the 1930s, when the pearl trade collapsed, leading to significant hardship among the coastal communities. A further treaty of 1892 devolved external relations to the British in return for protectorate status.

A British decision, taken in early 1968, to withdraw from its involvement in the Trucial States, led to the decision to found a Federation. This was agreed between two of the most influential Trucial Rulers, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum of Dubai. The two invited other Trucial Rulers to join the Federation. At one stage it seemed likely Bahrain and Qatar would also join the Union, but both eventually decided on independence.

Today, the UAE is a modern, oil exporting country with a highly diversified economy, with Dubai in particular developing into a global hub for tourism, retail, and finance, home to the world's tallest building, and largest man-made seaport.

List of British representatives in the Trucial States

This is a list of British representatives in the Trucial States from 1939 to 1971. They were responsible for representing British interests in the Trucial States, a British protectorate consisting of seven emirates in the Persian Gulf, which formed the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after the protectorate ended.

For British representatives in the UAE since 1971, see: List of ambassadors of the United Kingdom to the United Arab Emirates.

Mazari (Emirati)

The Mazari (singular Mazrouei or Mazrui) is a tribe of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Mazari settled throughout the Trucial States but principally in Abu Dhabi. They are considered a subsection of the Bani Yas and formed the majority of the Bedouin component of that federation of tribes.


The Na'im (Arabic: النعيم‎) (singular Al Nuaimi Arabic: النعيمي‎) is an Arab tribe in the United Arab Emirates. The tribe is also present in other gulf countries.

The Na'im is divided into three sections, the Al Bu Kharaiban, the Khawatir and the Al Bu Shamis (singular Al Shamsi). It is from the former section that the Rulers of the Emirate of Ajman are drawn. Of the three sections, the Al Bu Shamis has become virtually independent and associated closely with the Al Bu Falah of Dubai.The traditional heart of Na'im territory was the oasis town of Buraimi and nearby Al Ain, where Na'im expansion came at the expense of the Dhawahir tribe, but also rubbed up against the Bani Yas and the allied Manasir. Although the Na'im were linked to the growing Wahhabi influence in the Buraimi area and adopted the doctrine, they allied with other forces to evict the Wahhabis from Buraimi and subsequently occupied many of the forts around Buraimi.

Pakistan Education Academy

Pakistan Education Academy is a Pakistani international school in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It provides education to the children of Pakistani expatriates residing in Dubai. The school was founded in 1968.

Persian Gulf Residency

The Persian Gulf Residency was an official colonial subdivision (i.e., residency) of the British Raj from 1763 until 1947 (and remained British protectorates after Indian independence in 1947, up to 1971), whereby the United Kingdom maintained varying degrees of political and economic control over several states in the Persian Gulf, including what is today known as the United Arab Emirates (formerly called the "Trucial States") and at various times southern portions of Persia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar.

Postage stamps and postal history of Abu Dhabi

Now part of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi was formerly the largest of the seven sheikdoms which made up the Trucial States on the Pirate Coast of eastern Arabia between Oman and Qatar. The Trucial States as a whole had an area of some 32,000 square miles (83,000 km²) of which Abu Dhabi alone had 26,000 (67,000 km²). The capital was the town of Abu Dhabi which is on an offshore island and was first settled in 1761.

Postage stamps and postal history of the United Arab Emirates

This is a survey of the postage stamps and postal history of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The UAE consists of seven states, termed emirates, which are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. The capital and second most populous city of the United Arab Emirates is Abu Dhabi. Before 1971, the UAE was known as the Trucial States or Trucial Oman, in reference to a 19th-century truce between the United Kingdom and several Arab Sheikhs.

Revenue stamps of the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates, formerly known as Trucial States, first issued revenue stamps in 1948 and continues to do so to this day. In addition, the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai also had their own separate revenue issues.

Sharjah FC

Sharjah Football Club is a United Arab Emirates football club that plays in the UAE Arabian Gulf League. It is based in Sharjah city. The home stadium is Sharjah Stadium.


The Sharqiyin (singular Al Sharqi) is a tribe of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Sharqiyin were long the dominant tribe along the East coast of the Trucial States (and the second most numerous in the area around the start of the 19th century), an area known as Shamailiyah. A 1968 census showed 90% of the tribal population of Fujairah was Sharqiyin. They were traditionally dependents of Sharjah and, over the centuries, made several attempts to secede and declare independence, finally practically managing this from 1901 onwards and finally gaining British recognition as a Trucial State, Fujairah, in 1952.They settled all along the East Coast of the Trucial States, from Kalba to Dibba, as well as in the Wadi Ham and Jiri plain and by the turn of the 20th century they were some 7,000 strong. Three sections of the tribe are notable, the Hafaitat (from which the ruling family of Fujairah derives), the Yammahi and the Hamudiyin. After the Bani Yas, the Sharqiyin were the second most numerous tribe in the Trucial States.

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