The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj: Merchants, Rulers, and the British in the Nineteenth-Century Gulf - Oxford Historical Monographs (Hardback)
  • The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj: Merchants, Rulers, and the British in the Nineteenth-Century Gulf - Oxford Historical Monographs (Hardback)
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The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj: Merchants, Rulers, and the British in the Nineteenth-Century Gulf - Oxford Historical Monographs (Hardback)

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Hardback 380 Pages / Published: 22/11/2007
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The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj is a study of one of the most forbidding frontier zones of Britain's Indian Empire. The Gulf Residency, responsible for Britain's relationship with Eastern Arabia and Southern Persia, was part of an extensive network of political residencies that surrounded and protected British India. Based on extensive archival research in both the Gulf and Britain, this book examines how Britain's Political Resident in the Gulf and his very small cadre of British officers maintained the Pax Britannica on the waters of the Gulf, protected British interests throughout the region, and managed political relations with the dozens of Arab rulers and governors on both shores of the Gulf. James Onley looks at the secret to the Gulf Residency's effectiveness - the extent to which the British worked within the indigenous political systems of the Gulf. He examines the way in which Arab rulers in need of protection collaborated with the Resident to maintain the Pax Britannica, while influential men from affluent Arab, Persian, and Indian merchant families served as the Resident's 'native agents' (compradors) in over half of the political posts within the Gulf Residency.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199228102
Number of pages: 380
Weight: 602 g
Dimensions: 223 x 145 x 24 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
[an] illuminating book... * Peter Clark, Asian Affairs *
Conveys a great sense of intellectual excitement in its confident, but careful, rethinking of the British Indian Empire... Onley has the enviable ability to convey a world that has passed to a modern reader. As I read, I felt that I was with these resilient merchant families (enduring the heat!) as they offered their services to the British, generation after generation after generation. * 2001 Malcolm H. Kerr Award Committee *
Through the meticulous use of family archives and local as well as British sources, this study succeeds in rescuing from obscurity key local actors in the British imperial system. * 2002 Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize Committee *
Meticulously researched, James Onley's work provides an excellent introduction to the informal structures of British imperial rule. The first part, in particular, should be essential reading for any student of British imperial history; it radically readjusts the focus from British imperialists on to the indigenous agents of empire, largely unstudied by historians. * James Canton, Times Literary Supplement *
A first-rate study that is of crucial importance not only for work on the Middle East, but also for more general studies of imperialism and, in particular, of informal empire... Onley's study of the indigenous side of informal empire is an important contribution to work on imperialism and deserves widespread attention. * Jeremy Black, History: *
well-written and thoroughly researched book ... an engaging and accomplished work * Hala Fattah, Enterprise and Society *
[James Onley] has made a major contribution to our understanding of the functioning of the British Empire, as exemplified by the situation in the Persian Gulf in general and in the Bahrain Agency in particular. At the same time, he has given us a much better understanding of Gulf society and culture, which, as in previous centuries, differed from that of the adjacent mainland nations. * Willem Floor, Middle East Journal *
James Onley's book is especially welcome. His work, founded on extensive research in both Britain and the Gulf itself, produces incisive conclusions which add greatly to our understanding of British methods of control in the informal empire. * Simon C. Smith, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society *
a new and exciting departure in the historiography of the [Persian Gulf] region. In an equally stimulating fashion this book prompts the reader to re-think the historical roots of the contemporary political geography of the region which is usually considered the preserve of Middle Eastern specialists. Onley's book is a remarkable display of bibliographical erudition and knowledge of the subject matter. This study is clearly brilliantly researched...its approach is original and timely and likely to inspire other scholars in the field of regional and imperial history. * Nelida Fuccaro, Reviews in History Online *
This is, all told, a very nice book making a very nice point. With enviable resourcefulness, Onley plumbs a range of official and private, metropolitan and colonial archives and a precious set of oral histories to reconstruct the lives and work of his 'invisible agents of empire' (223), generously illuminating the fascinating workings of the Indian empire-within-the-empire along the way." "Onley deserves immense credit for the many useful and convincing findings he has unearthed with his island tale. His most signal achievement remains his painstaking restoration of the full cast and crew behind the illusionary solitary British officer in the Persian Gulf. * Priya Satia, Journal of British Studies *
Another superior work of scholarship * Keith Simpson, MP *
James Onley's well-researched study maps in great detail and with exemplary clarity how this collaboration [of indigenous elites with the British Indian Empire] came into being in the early modern Persian Gulf. . [It represents] a major step on the path toward integrating Middle Eastern studies into wider theoretical debates. * Rudi Matthee, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient *
this book is an excellent resource for scholars studying the Gulf region and for those interested in British imperialism. Onley has provided us with a unique view of the nineteenth-century Gulf. * Miriam Joyce, American Historical Review *
James Onley's painstakingly researched monograph constitutes an important contribution to our understanding of the British Empire in the Persian Gulf and beyond...The book contains much fascinating detail...Onley is to be congratulated for a very well-researched and immensely readable book which will benefit both imperial historians as well as those concerned with the Gulf Area. * Ulrike Freitag, H-Net *
a brilliant book by James Onley, which I consider the best piece of Gulf scholarship to appear in many, many years. * Paul Rich, Creating the Arabian Gulf: The British Raj and the Invasions of the Gulf (2009) *

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