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British Involvement in Arabic Peninsula - Dissertation Example

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The Arabic Peninsula has been an interest to the British for a very long time now. The desire for the British to intervene in the Arabic affairs was not there before the twentieth century. During this time, the Arabic peninsula was part of the Ottoman Empire. …
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Download file to see previous pages However, the interest into the Arabic Peninsula is motivated by the beautiful landscape of the place. The terrain and climate of the Peninsula had successfully kept away any adventurers for years. The British contact into the area was just on the individual level and not on governmental level at all (ROGERS, 2006).
These individuals were mainly explorers who were visiting the place, and many other places around the world, for adventure. It is through the activity of these explorers that the world came to know about the Arabic peninsula. Some of the outstanding explorers were Charles Doughty and Richard Burton who get the credit for opening up this place to the western world.
The peninsula’s location in the Arabic region was the spark to the British interest. For a long time, traffic from between the Orient and Europe used to pass through a corridor which bordered the Sahara on the south-west, and the mountains of turkey and Persia on the north-eastern region. It is along this corridor that the Arabic peninsula stretches. The corridor was, therefore, completely not penetrable. Explorers and people on adventure had to pass around the region by either going through Syria towards the Euphrates and then down to the Gulf, or across the Red Sea through Egypt. Even though Vasco da Gama had discovered the Cape route in the 15th century, the all-sea route was still preferred by many who sought to go around Africa.
In the beginning of Britain’s interests in the Middle East, the main objective was commercially motivated. It was in the 17th century that the British government started to show interest in the Arabic Peninsula. During this time, the East India Company opened new offices in locations around the region such as the Red Sea, Basra and the Persian Gulf coast. The company main objective was to seek for new markets in the Middle East region. Although the intention of the British was purely economic at first, it started to take a political perspective towards the end of the 18th century (BALFOUR-PAUL, 1994). During this time, the British had already consolidated the Indian empire and, therefore, cared less about the local trade ventures. Consequently, they turned their interests to the strategic location of the Gulf because it was a major route into India. Because of this, the British administration turned all the offices in the region outside India from trade centers into political and diplomatic hubs. These centers were now used for purposes preservation and protection of the British’s interests in the region. The British notably coined some clever treaties that enabled them to preserve and protect their presence in the region. In these treaties, the British offered to protect the local Arabian rulers from their rivals in return of the Britons dominance in the region. The British, therefore, achieved the command of the Indian Ocean gateways. In this way, they were able to deny any other international powers the ports of the sea. When the British learnt of a Napoleonic entry into Egypt, they sought an agreement with the Sultan of Muscat so that they can prevent the French from expanding their territories towards the Arabic Gulf region. In other measures to protect their interests in the Arabic Peninsula region, the British signed numerous treaties with the surrounding kingdoms. These treaties were aimed at reducing piracy in the Gulf region and to safeguard trade. British have been consistent in fighting off other colonies that posed a threat to the Britons’ supremacy in the Gulf region. Among these are the Egyptians, French and Russians who have posed threat to the Ottoman Empire. The British are much concerned with the interference of the Russians, who have showed increased ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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