ORA Thesis: "Britain's withdrawal from the Persian Gulf, 1964-1971" - uuid:df0aec03-0426-410e-be60-e5e702647df3



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Reference: Shohei Sato, (2011). Britain's withdrawal from the Persian Gulf, 1964-1971. DPhil. University of Oxford.

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Title: Britain's withdrawal from the Persian Gulf, 1964-1971
Subtitle: A study of informal empire


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.

Digital Origin:Reformatted digital
Type of Award:DPhil
Level of Award:Doctoral
Awarding Institution: University of Oxford
Notes:This thesis is not currently available via ORA.
About The Authors
institutionUniversity of Oxford
facultySocial Sciences Division - Politics and International Relations
oxfordCollegeSt Antony's College
fundingSwire Educational Trust
Prof Avi Shlaim More by this contributor
Bibliographic Details
Issue Date: 2011
Copyright Date: 2011
Urn: uuid:df0aec03-0426-410e-be60-e5e702647df3
Item Description
Member of collection : ora:thesis
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Copyright Holder: Shohei Sato
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