History of United Arab Emirates: British Influence

History of United Arab Emirates: British Influence Last updated on Sunday 16th May 2010

In the early 19th century, the area that is now the UAE was known as the "Pirate Coast" because of the occupation of its inhabitants.

Beginning in 1820, Great Britain entered into treaties with various leaders in the area out of a desire to protect its ships in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. In addition, Britain was allowed to handle foreign relations for the area known as "Trucial Oman" or "the Trucial States" because of the Perpetual Maritime Truce that the Arab rulers signed with the British in 1853.

Relations with Britain continued in the same way until the first decades of the 20th century.

Around 1914, the Saudi Arabia re-emerged as a great force in Central Arabia, becoming a threat even for the Ottoman power. Because Russia, France and Germany sought to intensify their presence in the area, the British had to formalize relations with the Trucial States of Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait.

During the inter-war period, England focused its attention onto Egypt and Iraq, but relations among Arab countries changed. The League of Arab States was formed in 1945 by countries who had some form of independence.

The growing influence of the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser in the Arab world forced Britain to allow greater local participation in the governments of several states of the protectorate. In 1968, Britain decided to withdraw all its military forces from the region. That same year, the OPEAC , which used to be a branch of OPEC , was formed.

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