The pirate coast was the region between Bahrain and Khasab; the present day Qatar to Oman (Potts, 2000). The Persian Gulf, on the other hand, is the modern day UAE; UAE is country that consists of seven emirates namely, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, and Ras Al Khaimah. The seven emirates came together after the end of the Pirate Coast.
The area was referred to as the pirate coast by the British people simply because it was a base for local Arabs who pursued piracy. Pirates are groups of people who attack ships in the sea and destroy or seize what they have robbed from the people on board (Potts, 2000). Pirates may also hold the people on the ships and ask for ransom or even torture and kill them. Piracy in the ocean has been a concern since time immemorial; primarily because it has significant negative economic impacts. At the time Pirate coast, the British people considered piracy as the biggest threat to maritime trade both in the Persian Gulf and in other regions (Potts, 2000).
The pirates in this base attacked the traders that used the Persian Gulf route to travel to and from India. The Pirate Coast existed during the Ancient Mediterranean also known as the golden age. During this time there were no rules or regulations against piracy in the Persian Gulf beach; therefore, they lived in a state of lawlessness. The main occupation of the Arabs living in the area was piracy; the people were bloodthirsty individuals who found delight in murder and robbery. In fact, during that period piracy was not considered as something extraordinary.
The inhabitants of the Pirate Coast attacked shipping that was traveling to or from India and stole from people on board. However, the pirates did not keep all the valuables that they had acquired to themselves; they had to share with the chief. For example, Husain Bin Ali, the vicegerent of the Pirate Coast kept one-fifth of the valuables that the pirates had 'earned.' The pirates also organized several raids on foreign ships and killed all the people on board, most of who were of British origin. As time went by, the situation got worse, more British ships were attacked and people on board killed (Potts, 2012).
King Sennacherib made an attempt to bring piracy to an end, but he failed; this prompted the British government to attack and bombard the Persian Gulf area. In 1809, the British Empire bombarded Ras Al Khaimah, Lingeh and other AlQasimi ports because of the need to establish safe trade routes. They carried out an expedition In the Pirate Coast with over 3000 soldiers. There was a war between the British Empire and the Arab seafarers; the latter lost significantly.
The British had offered Said bin Sultan of Muscat the position of the ruler of Pirate Coast if he agreed to assist them in carrying out the expedition. In 1820, Britain signed a partial maritime peace treaty, which was to protect British vessels only. Therefore, the coastal wars between tribes continued. Later on, in 1853, a permanent truce was agreed upon. After the treaty, the British people started referring to the region as the Trucial Coast (Potts, 2012).
The People who occupied the Pirate Coast were generally Arabs; however, the tribes that engaged in piracy were the Al Qasimi and the Wahhabis. The Wahhabis carried out organized piracy on some parts of the Persian Gulf while the Al Qasimi controlled the maritime activities of the lower region of the Persian Gulf. Both groups carried out attacks on ships that passed through that route; the raids mostly affected Indian and British shipping. The Al Qasimi claimed that they carried out their raids as a form of resisting the British.
Mir Muhanna and Rahmah Jabir Jalahimah were successful and famous Persian pirates who caused a lot of trouble for traders along the Persian Gulf. They were the major perpetrators of piracy. Husain Bin Ali was the vicegerent of the Pirate Coast; he ordered chiefs to loot all trade ships and kept a portion of the proceeds to himself. However, he later negotiated with the British government and stopped attacking them. The Pirates would later trade the gold and other valuable jewels that they had stolen.
Even though the security forces have been able to curb and reduce piracy, it is still a problem especially in the East African Coast (Haenrick, 1996). Pirates continue to hold hostages and ask for ransom. The maritime treaty between the British and Trucial rulers led to long-lasting peace, which created an enabling environment or trade. After peace prevailed in the area; they were able to discover oil reserves. The coastal areas of the Persian Gulf are considered the world largest single source of crude oil. The coming together of the seven emirates has also played a crucial part in the prosperity of the nations (Potts, 2012).
Some Arabs have a perception that piracy in the gulf was a myth and an allegation that was used by the British to attack their base. Emirati historians referred to the piracy that was carried out by the Al Qasimi tribe, as resistance (Haenrick, 1996). They argue that they were resisting against the British who aimed at trade between Arabs and Indians. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, a ruler of Sharjah, argues that the British created this piracy notion, to impose imperialism to their people. However, most of them also agree with the notion that the British treaty brought about peace in the region; consequently, leading to the development of the region.
People from the western world have always viewed pirates as criminals who should be arrested and convicted. There was a time when the penalty of piracy was death. According to Haenrick (1996), the British attacked the Pirate Coast to protect its traders and continue with their businesses. They believed that the pirates that lived on this beach had led a lot of deaths and the loss of expensive minerals and valuables. Therefore, it was the responsibility of the Britain Empire to protect the lives of her people and their property (Haenrick, 1996).
It is important to note that bit is not certain that before the British treaty, pirates that had settled in the Pirate Coast posed a lot of danger to traders that used the Persian Gulf route. It is also important to point out the fact that Indians claim that the British bombards were due to self-interests rather than being on a peace mission. Nonetheless, it is evident the treaty was beneficial both to the people inhabiting the area and those using the sea to travel.
Haenrick, E. (1996). The Seventh and Eight Belgian archeological expeditions to ed-Dur (Ummal Qawain), Arabian archeology and epigraphy. 69-74. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0471.1996.tb00089.x
Potts, D. T (2000). Arabian Time Capsule. Archeology. 44-48. Retrieved from https://archive.archaeology.org/0009/abstracts/arabian.html
Potts, D. T. (2012). In the Land of the Emirates: The Archeology and History of the UAE. Abu Dhabi/ London: Trident Press. Retrieved from https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/37832044/OLIJDAM_2015c.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1555606070&Signature=NuGRBxy6rWMdrCup6QkLJzdDnAE%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DReview_H._David-Cuny_and_J._Azpeitia_201.pdf
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