An Obstacle to Modernization and Federation: Shaikh Shakhbut of Abu Dhabi

  • Helene von Bismarck
Part of the Britain and the World book series (BAW)


When the minister of state, George Thomson, congratulated Luce in July 1965 on the removal of Shaikh Saqr of Sharjah, he expressed his hope that the recent events would have a salutary effect on the ‘oil rulers’ of the protected states.1 He hoped that the deposition had both frightened and motivated the rulers of Bahrain, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi into accepting the advice of the British Government in the future, especially on the subject of modernization. Thomson’s letter has to be put into the context of the difficulties that the British Government was experiencing in the protected states with the transfer of its jurisdictional privileges and the implementation of its modernization policy. The British Government could not improve the standards of administration, development, and justice in the protected states by itself. All that the men on the spot could do was to use their personal influence to persuade the rulers of the advantages of good government. Ultimately, the pace and the progress of modernization depended on them.


Internal Affair Protected State National Archive Formal Request Political Agent 
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  1. 5.
    See Uzi Rabi, ‘Oil Politics and Tribal Rulers in Eastern Arabia: The Reign of Shakhbut (1928–1966)’, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 33, No. 1, May 2006c, pp. 37–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Helene von Bismarck 2013

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  • Helene von Bismarck

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