Histories of the UAE often begin in the late 18th or early 19th century, emphasizing the role of the maritime tribes, British efforts to suppress piracy, treaty obligations of the sheikhs, and the emergence of a holding pattern of sorts until the exploitation of oil and the foundation of a new nation-state in 1971. This lecture argues that this kind of truncated perspective ignores the deeper historical patterns of cross-Gulf and intra-Gulf social, political, and economic interaction that have characterized the region since prehistory, and that have a particular bearing on the evolution of the region since the Medieval era. The lecture also aims to frame the history of the Trucial States in the context of the entire Gulf system, rather than divorcing it from its neighbors.
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