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Papers of Charles Dalrymple-Belgrave, 1926-1957

Papers of Charles Dalrymple-Belgrave, 1926-1957

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Published by ba7raini
Charles Dalrymple-Belgrave (b 1894) took up the post as Personal and Financial Advisor to Shaikh Hamad of Bahrain in 1926, as an experienced British colonial officer. The island was thought by the British to be particularly politically unstable in the early 1920s, a period when Iran had claims on ownership of the country. During the 1830s, Bahrain had signed the first of many treaties with Britain, who offered Bahrain naval protection from Ottoman Turkey in exchange for unfettered access to the Gulf. This arrangement kept the British out of Bahrain's internal affairs until a series of internecine battles prompted the British to install their own choice for emir in 1869, the Al-Khalifa ruler Sheikh Isa bin Ali, ending a period of fiefdom rule and inter-tribal feuding. In 1923, Britain intervened to replace Sheikh Isa bin Ali with his son Sheikh Isa Hamad bin Isa.

After a succession of Political Agents it became apparent that a permanent administrator should be found who would ensure some political continuity. Sheikh Hamad agreed to appoint a Personal Adviser employed by himself and not by the British Government, who would help him to modernise the state. There were no readily available candidates and the post was advertised in The Times in August 1925. Charles Dalrymple Belgrave was eventually appointed with an annual salary of £720. During the war he had served with the Frontiers Districts Administration Camel Corps and had spent two years in the oasis of Siwa. At the time of his appointment he was on leave after two years in the Colonial Service in Tanganyika. He brushed up his Arabic at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and arrived in Bahrain in March 1926. He became Advisor to the Government of Bahrain in 1933, a position which he held until 1949. He helped create the country's educational system, overseeing much modernisation and reforms of Bahrain's infrastructural development. When Emir Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa ascended the throne in 1942, he further capitalised on Bahrain's superior level of development to take advantage of the oil boom happening in Saudi Arabia and other neighbouring countries, making Bahrain the Gulf's main entrepôt.

Belgrave remained in Bahrain until 1957 when British involvement in Bahrain was under heavy criticism. At this point, British troops had been brought into the country as part of the Suez crisis of 1956. Britain announced its intention to leave the Gulf 15 years later, prompting Bahrain to proclaim its independence on 14 August 1971.
Charles Dalrymple-Belgrave (b 1894) took up the post as Personal and Financial Advisor to Shaikh Hamad of Bahrain in 1926, as an experienced British colonial officer. The island was thought by the British to be particularly politically unstable in the early 1920s, a period when Iran had claims on ownership of the country. During the 1830s, Bahrain had signed the first of many treaties with Britain, who offered Bahrain naval protection from Ottoman Turkey in exchange for unfettered access to the Gulf. This arrangement kept the British out of Bahrain's internal affairs until a series of internecine battles prompted the British to install their own choice for emir in 1869, the Al-Khalifa ruler Sheikh Isa bin Ali, ending a period of fiefdom rule and inter-tribal feuding. In 1923, Britain intervened to replace Sheikh Isa bin Ali with his son Sheikh Isa Hamad bin Isa.

After a succession of Political Agents it became apparent that a permanent administrator should be found who would ensure some political continuity. Sheikh Hamad agreed to appoint a Personal Adviser employed by himself and not by the British Government, who would help him to modernise the state. There were no readily available candidates and the post was advertised in The Times in August 1925. Charles Dalrymple Belgrave was eventually appointed with an annual salary of £720. During the war he had served with the Frontiers Districts Administration Camel Corps and had spent two years in the oasis of Siwa. At the time of his appointment he was on leave after two years in the Colonial Service in Tanganyika. He brushed up his Arabic at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and arrived in Bahrain in March 1926. He became Advisor to the Government of Bahrain in 1933, a position which he held until 1949. He helped create the country's educational system, overseeing much modernisation and reforms of Bahrain's infrastructural development. When Emir Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa ascended the throne in 1942, he further capitalised on Bahrain's superior level of development to take advantage of the oil boom happening in Saudi Arabia and other neighbouring countries, making Bahrain the Gulf's main entrepôt.

Belgrave remained in Bahrain until 1957 when British involvement in Bahrain was under heavy criticism. At this point, British troops had been brought into the country as part of the Suez crisis of 1956. Britain announced its intention to leave the Gulf 15 years later, prompting Bahrain to proclaim its independence on 14 August 1971.

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Published by: ba7raini on Jun 08, 2009
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10/13/2012

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Belgrave Diaries
Papers of Charles Dalrymple-Belgrave, 1926-1957
Charles Dalrymple-Belgrave (b 1894) took up the post as Personal and Financial Advisor toShaikh Hamad of Bahrain in 1926, as an experienced British colonial officer. The island wasthought by the British to be particularly politically unstable in the early 1920s, a period whenIran had claims on ownership of the country. During the 1830s, Bahrain had signed the firstof many treaties with Britain, who offered Bahrain naval protection from Ottoman Turkey inexchange for unfettered access to the Gulf. This arrangement kept the British out of Bahrain'sinternal affairs until a series of internecine battles prompted the British to install their ownchoice for emir in 1869, the Al-Khalifa ruler Sheikh Isa bin Ali, ending a period of fiefdomrule and inter-tribal feuding. In 1923, Britain intervened to replace Sheikh Isa bin Ali with hisson Sheikh Isa Hamad bin Isa.After a succession of Political Agents it became apparent that a permanent administrator should be found who would ensure some political continuity. SheikhHamad agreed to appoint a Personal Adviser employed by himself and not by the BritishGovernment, who would help him to modernise the state. There were no readily availablecandidates and the post was advertised in The Times in August 1925. Charles DalrympleBelgrave was eventually appointed with an annual salary of £720. During the war he hadserved with the Frontiers Districts Administration Camel Corps and had spent two years inthe oasis of Siwa. At the time of his appointment he was on leave after two years in theColonial Service in Tanganyika. He brushed up his Arabic at the School of Oriental andAfrican Studies in London and arrived in Bahrain in March 1926. He became Advisor to theGovernment of Bahrain in 1933, a position which he held until 1949. He helped create thecountry's educational system, overseeing much modernisation and reforms of Bahrain'sinfrastructural development. When Emir Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa ascended the throne in1942, he further capitalised on Bahrain's superior level of development to take advantage of the oil boom happening in Saudi Arabia and other neighbouring countries, making Bahrainthe Gulf's main entrepôt.Belgrave remained in Bahrain until 1957 when British involvementin Bahrain was under heavy criticism. At this point, British troops had been brought into thecountry as part of the Suez crisis of 1956. Britain announced its intention to leave the Gulf 15years later, prompting Bahrain to proclaim its independence on 14 August 1971.
 
 
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MARCH 31st 1926 BAHRAINThe Patrick Stewart, cable boat, which brought us from Bushire, sighted Bahrain about breakfasttime. A long low island with thick palm groves coming right down to the sea. One big town close tothe shore, & another town on a small island. Lots of sailing dhows off the coast, and water, near theshore, which was coloured every shade of blue and green & purple. Altogether quite a pleasantlooking place. Fairly calm, but M had a bad time in the night. The engines vibrate more than on anyboat I have ever been on. After breakfast all the party went ashore. Mr & Mrs Gunter, Inspector of telegraphs, & their niece Miss Brodie, from the Isle of Wight, & the captain's wife, children,governess, & various of the ship's officers. The launch took us within some distance of the quay thenwe got into the dingey. Met by Daly with two cars in which we motored up to the Residency. Itappears to be a huge house, owing to the great wide verandas, close to the sea. Well built & quite apretty drawing room. Mrs D met us here. Lunch, & then the others went back to the boat. M didn'tfeel well so went early to bed. Very seedy, & seems to be a continuation of sea effects. Had a longtalk with D. The jobs sound really crammed with interest, so much intrigue & politics that one needsto be awfully careful. Went early to bed. M very seedy. Mrs D is very pleasant, short, plump & dark,& one very nice little boy the others being at home. Rather disappointed to find that they arebuilding a new house for us which will take several months & so meanwhile we are to be pro tem ina house next door. Gorgeous night, a nearly full moon over the sea.
The town, what I saw of it,looked wonderfully clean & tidy & rather like a big town in upper Egypt.
Found a letter from AuntLily. We shall have to stay with the D's till our house is built - rather tiresome as I'd like to settle in atonce. One lives entirely on the upper floor in the houses here, & the downstairs is for servants &