Impact of British Colonization on the Gulf

1. Introduction

The term ‘colonization’ is used to refer to the active spread of political and economic power over a region, on the part of a country which has occupied the location, and which is normally far in advance of it, in terms of military and technological prowess. It can be defined by the movement of foreign nationals to the location, or by an official seizure of power over the region, either via political or military means.

This process can be triggered by many different things – a swollen population, economic upheaval, social disturbances, and even religious conflicts within the region being colonized. Yet, all of these factors can be linked with expansionism, intrusive humanitarianism and the goals relating to national development, to at least some degree. The act of colonization can be led by the government, or it can be an independent endeavor, helmed by big business. However, before the process can be started, any and all native citizens are first required to be restrained and integrated, or adapted to the customs of the invaders; or else, an agreement has to be drawn up, via the obligation of a treaty or official alliance.

The British Empire was made up of the states, domains, provinces, dependencies and terrains which were governed and controlled by Great Britain. It has its beginnings in the foreign trading routes created by Britain, between the 16th and 18th century. At its peak, it was the biggest overseas kingdom ever seen and, for more than a hundred years, it was the primary world leader. By the end of 1922, Britain controlled more than 458 million people around a fifth of the global population. The empire itself stretched across more than 33,000,000 km squared, which is approximately a quarter of the area of the planet. Unsurprisingly ten, its political, legal and cultural norms travelled far and wide. At its strongest point, the adage ‘the empire on which the sun never sets’ was commonly used to refer to the British Empire, as its huge surface area meant that the sun would always be shining in at least one of its newly acquired domains (see Exhibit 1). [1]

1.1 Definition of colonization

According to the Collins English Dictionary, the word colonialism can be defined as ‘the strategies and regulations of a power, in spreading influence over vulnerable populations or regions.’ The Merriam-Webster Dictionary actually provides no less than four definitions, which include ‘something representative of a colony,’ and ‘influence by one power, over a vulnerable region or population.’[2]

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy utilizes the word ‘colonialism’ to refer to ‘the practice of European invasion, and the spread of political influence, across the planet – this includes the United States, Australia and portions of Asia and Africa.’ It explores the disparity between colonialism and imperialism, claiming that ‘as a result of the complexity of constantly separating the two words, this definition will refer to colonialism as a widespread notion, relating to the process of European political control, from the 16th to the 20th century, which culminated in the national emancipation protests of the sixties.’[3]

1.2 Objectives of colonization
1.2.1 Political Purpose

The political purpose can be assimilate in improve the colonial position in competition for advanced positions on the ladder of the international forces, in order to expand its influence in the international community and make it more powerful to control the international resolutions and directed to its advantage. [4]

1.2.2 Economic Purpose

Colonization can be to have new source for raw materials that country needed, the Europe industrial revolution that happened in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century create a need for new source of raw materials for the new industrials.

The industrial revolution created a wild manufacturing movement, spread across large factories in the colonial states and that led to have surplus in the goods, and colonization allow them to have new markets to sell their products.

Get cheap labor, the colonial powers worked to move millions of people from areas colonized to other areas, in order to employ low-wage or trade them as slaves. At present, many of the industrial countries transfer some of its factories to developing countries, to take advantage of cheap labor in these countries.

Secure transportation routes was one of many purpose for colonization, many countries resort to colonize new areas to secure transportation routes to different areas, in order to protect property and maintain its vital interests, and use commercial stations. [5]

1.2.3 Culture Purpose

When you look at the linguistic map of the world, we find that the colonial language to replace the local language in the colonial countries; Most of the Spanish colonies in America, the Latin used Spanish as an official language, and English is the official language of a number of British colonies such as India and Nigeria, and South African, as French is the official language in the French colonies, such as Chad, Mali, Senegal, and the Portuguese language is the official language of Mozambique as a former Portuguese colony.

If we apply it to the second language in a number of countries, we find that they colonized the language, as is the case with English in Iraq, Egypt and Jordan, which is in line with what the world Tritscka said of that language is the basis of the booming trade, as the nation does not lose its colonies associated language and culture, even if interrupted political association. [6]

1.2.3 Religious Purpose

Colonization has been associated with the presence of a number of campaigns and missions consignments religious missionary, a number of them have succeeded in evangelizing sectors of the population of the colonies, and was the most prominent cases of success in this area in African countries such as South Sudan and southern Nigeria.

1.3 Types of Colonization

It is common for scholars to make a clear distinction between two closely related manifestations of colonialism. ‘Settler colonialism’ refers to mass movements, usually driven by religious, political or economic motives.

‘Exploitation colonialism’ did not involve as many migrants, and instead placed emphasis on the availability of goods for international trade, usually at the centre of the empire. This latter definition relates to the use of trading stations, as well as bigger domains in which migrant colonists would manage most of the political and economic logistics. Yet, they would still lean heavily on native assets for labour and goods. Just before the culmination, and eventual eradication, of the slave trade, if native labour was not accessible, it was common for slave workers to be shipped to America, by migrant colonists from either Britain, France, Holland, Spain or Portugal.

For instance, a plantation based settlement would be an exploitation colony. Yet, invading forces would take advantage of both types of colonialism, in various different domains, contingent on what sort of cultural, economic and topographic conditions confronted them.

‘Surrogate colonialism’ is used to refer to a colonisation venture, funded by a dominant power, in which the majority of the migrants are not native to this power.

‘Internal colonialism’ relates to imbalanced organisational influence, shared between regions of a nation state – the primary motivator of manipulation is the government itself.

2. Colonization in the Arabian Gulf

The unique location of the area was the cause of the greed of others and a direct motivates them to attacks; in order to control the strategic location, and undermine its authority in this vital region. Arabian Gulf experienced multiple stages of the foreign presence began to phase control of the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch occupation stage then stage British colonization.

Portuguese ambition to expand began in the fifteenth century, that ambition stemming from the desire to explore, and the desire to spread Christianity around the world. This expansion began in the Indian Ocean during their trips to west coast of Africa and southern deserts; and in order to get the goods and slaves.

The fall of Portuguese in 1625 after the Battle of Bandar Abbas had a big role in paving the way for the Dutch and the British to enter the region, and in a short time its became a Dutch trading station at Bandar Abbas which was the most active and successful areas; where traded sugar and spice and Indian fabrics, copper, iron, have concluded with Shah Abbas I in 1623 a contract for the silk trade. With the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Dutch became dominant force in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf.

The Arabian Gulf was a battle field for European conflicts, specifically the British and French, but in 1810 the British navy campaign managed to hit the island of Mauritius, which was the start of the French attacks against the British rule; enabling them to become the only dominant force in the region.

British’s began in this period to conduct surveys in the ports, and in the pearl banks; to identify the nature of the area, which has increased the denominators activity in tracking the British ships in the Indian Ocean (1811- 1818), Until they got to a distance of about 60 km from Bombay, which prompted the British to develop plans to destroy the power of denominators and weaken their union; because they see in them a group of pirates, sending a campaign led by General Kiir to Ras Al Khaimah, as a result, the British took control complete control over Arabian Gulf.

Login began with the Gulf sheikhs in the peace treaties, the best known: Treaty (General Peace 1820). Since that time, British placed a naval force in Ras Al Khaimah, and then force in Qeshm; and to oversee treaties signed.

3. The impact of British colonization in the Arabian Gulf

Any colonization will leave impact on the colonist, its can be positive or negative and to be more realistic it usually will be mix between them and the British colonization is no different, the Gulf area which was one of British colonists suffered politically, economically, and socially and in the same time they benefit from that colonization.

The British colonization on that time ended a lot of wars and fights between tribes in Gulf and secure the area which gave people there the feeling of safety, British colonization organized the trading between the gulf and India and eliminate the pirates by agreements with the gulf presidents at that time mostly with Oman and United Arabic Emirates, on other hand British Colonialism altered the geographical map of the Gulf and drew the boundaries and appointed leaders over the Gulf countries. After WWII, the British were in Palestine, Iraq, Arabian Gulf, the Indian Subcontinent, Malaya, and Brunei. It replaced the educational, legal, and economic institutions. British colonialism replaced Muslim self-rule under Islamic Law, which had been in existence from the time of the Prophet Muhammad, by their European lows.

The Muslim world’s centuries of long struggle with Western colonial rule was followed by authoritarian regimes installed by European powers. The absence of stable states has led many to ask whether there is something about Islam that is antithetical to civil society and rule of law. The answer to this question lies more in history and politics than in religion. Modern Muslim states are only several decades old and they were carved out by European powers to serve Western interests.

British set the borders for Iraq and Kuwait and created a new entity called Jordan. Such arbitrary borders fed ethnic, regional, and religious conflicts including the Lebanese Civil War between Christians and Muslims, the occupation of Lebanon by Syria, the Gulf War, which resulted from Saddam Hussein’s claim to Kuwaiti territory, and the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

One of the biggest borders problems that stile exist the one between United Arabic Emirates and Saudi Arabia, without a doubt the origin of the border problems due to the maps that drawn by the British to the region but also Saudi Arabia greed that have borders problems with all Gulf countries contribute take that problem to other level.

The dispute between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, has begun after the independence of the United Arab Emirates in the early seventies of the last century. The dispute was about the Buraimi Oasis, which was at the same time a subject of dispute between Abu Dhabi and Oman, which ended up sharing the region. And away from the logic, Saudi Arabia imposed on the UAE unfair deal when dropped their demands in the AL-Ain area and desert Dhafra according to Jeddah agreement to the border with the UAE in 1974, attached to it by recognizing the UAE, and got in return some areas. That agreement separated UAE and Qatar, and give Saudi Arabia 80% of the oil that was between the countries (see Exhibit 2).

We can see on that example how the British colonization even after it withdrew from the area produced contrasting appreciations, it give the preference for Saudi Arabia over UAE and a lot of oil that belong to Saudi Arabia today could be belong to UAE or at least could be joint field between the two countries.

Also these borders separated UAE from Qatar which give the advantage to Saudi Arabia again, before the British colonization there was prosperous trade between UAE and Qatar throw their borders but after the new borders set they had to pass Saudi Arabia to reach each other which lead to weakness this trades and in the same time benefit Saudi Arabia (see Exhibit 3).

Political and economic models were borrowed from the West to replace the Islamic political and economic systems after independence from colonial rulers in the mid-twentieth century, creating overcrowded cities lacking social support systems, high unemployment, government corruption, and growing the gap between rich and poor people. Rather than leading to a better quality of life, Westernization led to the breakdown of traditional family, religious, and social values. Many Muslims blame Western models of political and economic development as the sources of moral decline and spiritual malaise.

On other hand, the British colonization period strengthens the bonds between Gulf countries and western countries, and these relations still existing until today, and we can clearly see it in the trading products between countries and how Gulf countries rely on Europe and epically on British to import lot of goods. On other level we can see the influence of that colonization on the political system, where all Gulf countries leaders are from the royal family and not elected by people, on social and culture level the British colonization had a big influence on the people in the gulf region, because of all other factors we mentioned before and how close the Gulf become from British the people started to gain some habits from British culture. For example most people in Gulf and other colonies with was colonized by British like Egypt and Iraq started drinking tea and consider it necessary part of their daily life, which is originally an English habit. Another culture effect we noticed is the language influence, lot of our words that we used today are taken from English language for example in Kuwait we say the “tire” while it’s in Arabic language “Etar” and there are lot of other wards. But the language influence didn’t stop there.

In recent years, the subjects of global English, and language based imperialism, have been explored in great depth – not least in the Arabian Gulf, where Arabic is still the main tongue, even if it is gradually becoming less used and less prevalent, particularly in regards to the proportion of speakers. In many ways, the English language is now a representation of the internationalization and transformation, resulting from the hydrocarbon profits which support many of the Gulf nations. As these countries attempt to expand their economies, retain skilled professionals, and prepare natives for life on the international stage, the English language has become a much talked about issue in discussions on religion, politics and society. In fact, it is regularly held responsible for the decay of Islamic lifestyles.

Whilst the prominence of the English language certainly comes with disadvantages, a high proportion of young workers seem to understand its benefits, and are much more willing to utilize it within business, law and science sectors. According to many of these people, poor English skills are one of the biggest limitations on the development of private sectors.

According to the research of Karmani, which has monitored the development of the English language learning sector, in economic and social terms, in Arabic countries – these motivations, linking back to the fifties and seventies are entrenched in the political world, and have become reciprocally aligned.[7]

A lot of workers in the Gulf come from domains which used to be controlled by the British Empire (regions like India and Pakistan), so the English language continues to have an important function for many. It can function as a primary ‘lingua franca,’ particularly in regards to disparate emigrant populations, and between Arabs and emigrants. In some of these nations, the emigrant population accounts for more than 81% (CIA, 2011).[8]

A collective anxiety, across the Gulf nations, relates to the decay and possible abandonment of Arabic, as a written and verbal tongue. In fact, there are lots of people, across the Emirati and the Arabic regions, who are extremely worried about the impact that this kind of linguistic transition is bound to be effecting on the integrity of the Arabic spoken in the UAE.

4. Conclusion

Colonialism is a practice of domination, which involves political and economic control over the colonist areas. Economic Instability, political weakness, revolutions and other factors can be the reason of colonization. The goal of colonization can be increase its power and influence globally, find a new source of row materials, widens its culture over the world, and expand its religious. Arabian Gulf went throw many colonialisms, the British colonization was the last one which controlled the area to achieve specific goals one of them to secure the trades that have established with India.

Although that, Arabian gulf got freedom for a while now but we still can see that the impact of that colonization exist on several levels: political, economic, and social. Here we have to mention that the impact of the colonization is not always negative there are some positive impacts, like the economics relationship that existing between British and most Gulf countries and also the improvement in education process in these countries. On other hand colonization some time can create preference for one country over other country, like the dispute between Saudi Arabia and UAE over boards and how Saudi Arabia took over the oil fields.

Exhibit 1

British Empire

Exhibit 2

UAE-Saudi Arabia Boarder

Exhibit 3

UAE-Qatar Boards