Sharja and Ras Al Khaima (Rak) During Early Qawasim Rule
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The experience of the Qawasim family of Sharja and RAK was quite different from the Nahyans or Maktums. They started as a major maritime power in the Gulf in the eighteenth century with interests on both Persian and Arabian shores. The Qawasim were gradually contained and diminished in the nineteenth century and by the twentieth century their territories were ruled separately by various branches of the family or lost altogether to non-Qawasim chiefs. These events reduced their once proud empire to political and economic insignificance in comparison with Abu Dhabi. These consequences resulted from a number of factors including their maritime activities that inevitably put them in conflict with powerful foreign powers; the uncompromising stance some Qawasim leaders took regarding the British; competitive family lineages unable to consolidate their interests behind single strong leaders; and the accident of location with no windfall of oil to provide an alternative means of livelihood and power.
KeywordsEighteenth Century Political Culture Maritime Activity Local Chief Bandar Abba
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