Sultan calls for rewriting British history in GCC
London - Ruler's book sheds light on Sharjah's history
His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has stressed the need to rewrite Britain's history in the GCC region by separating it from the acts of the East India Company, which committed many atrocities in the region. This was in an excerpt from Dr Shaikh Sultan's book Under the Flag of Occupation, the English version of which was launched at the Claridge Hotel in London, one of the most preferred establishments of the British Royal Family.
Dr Shaikh Sultan has portrayed a collection of stories in his book to illustrate the paramount importance of these events in Sharjah's history between 1820 and 1866. It contains nine chapters focused on the Sharjah Port which was built in 1823 during the reign of Shaikh Sultan bin Aqr bin Rashid Al Qasimi who inherited the rule of Sharjah in 1803. The book further explains how the East India Company in Bombay was supported by the British authorities to control key ports on both sides of the Gulf, one of them being the Shaikhdom of Sharjah.
The book is a narrative one based on facts, documents, information and maps. Sharjah Town - when Shaikh Sultan bin Saqr bin Rashid Al Qasimi, the ruler of Al Qawasim clan in the late 1803 - was founded on the shallow creek of Sharjah, with a capacity of about 250 yards. The town was a long, narrow and open place, protected by an old fort by the sea and a number of towers and fortresses stretching from the South and North along the hinterland. Shaikh Saqr signed an agreement with the East India Company in Bandar Ab-bas on February 6, 1806.
According to the agreement: Peace will be made between the East India Company and Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi and all the countries and the subjects who are under him on the coast of the Arabian Peninsula and Persia, and pledge to re-spect the East India Company's flaggedships and subjects. Shaikh Sultan bin Saqr's rule ended and Shaikh Hassan bin Rahma came to the reign of power assisted by his two brothers Ibrahim and Hassan as well as Hassan bin Ali Al Tinaiji, the shaikh of Al Rams.
The British occupied Ras Al Khaimah on December 1819, and the British troops moved to the coastal cities situated between Al Rams and Sharjah pummeling the forts and fortresses, setting fire to vessels anchored on their berths. A brigade led by British officer Lt. Comd. Thomas Tanner arrived in Sharjah on January 24, 1820, and destroyed parts of the city including four fortified houses and five interconnected towers. The British imposed conditions of the 1820 agreement, foremost among which was lowering down the Qawasim flag and raising the Union Jack, the flag of occupation. The book also casts light on the social life, people's morals and manners, traditions and customs and full description of Sharjah city, districts, houses, inhabitants, and trade in a historical tale.
"I have considered in selecting this collection, to present the most important events in the history of Sharjah from 1820 to 1866," he said. The book, Shaikh Sultan said, does not narrate the wars which took place, but rather tells the prac-tices thereafter.