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Title: Britain's withdrawal from the Persian Gulf, 1964-1971 : a study of informal empire
Author: Sato, Shohei
ISNI:       0000 0004 2726 9624
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis is about British disengagement from the southern coast of the Persian Gulf. Britain never had colonies in the region, but had held significant imperial sway over nine Protected States since the nineteenth century. The informal empire remained intact until the Labour government (1964-70) announced its intention to leave, in consequence of which Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates became independent in 1971. This thesis attempts three things. First, it draws on extensive archival research to provide the fullest possible account of British withdrawal: why it had to leave, how it did and what followed. The Gulf rulers wanted to maintain British protection for their own security, but Britain decided nonetheless on military retreat, because it needed to placate the domestic constituency in order to push forward the reversal of social reforms due to economic retrenchment. The Gulf rulers responded quickly, yet unsuccessfully, in deciding how many states would be formed as they achieve independence. It was only after the Gulf rulers and the British diplomats on the ground made late and mutually acceptable compromises about coming together that the nine Protected States became three new independent sovereign states. In the end, Britain was able to leave the Gulf peacefully, and the new states retained close relations with Britain. Second, the study of an informal empire illuminates the enduring collaborative relationship between Britain and the Gulf rulers, characterised by the nominal sovereignty given to the Protected States. This relationship not only helped Britain maintain its imperial sway at little cost, but also made possible a peaceful withdrawal and the orderly emergence of the new states. Third, this informal empire characterised by collaboration and nominal sovereignty laid the structural foundations for the later international society in the region – a point more generally telling for the study of international relations.
Supervisor: Shlaim, Avi Sponsor: Swire Educational Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: International,imperial and global history ; International studies ; History of Britain and Europe ; History of other areas ; informal empire ; sovereignty ; collaboration ; United Arab Emirates ; Qatar ; Bahrain ; map-making ; catography ; Persian Gulf