The history of Qatar can be traced back 50,000 years. Throughout history various empires controlled the peninsular on which Doha stands .
Qatar is the purple bit which is a peninsular, not an island. Manama is the capital of Bahrain and not part of Qatar.
Qatar became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1872, and in 1893 the Ottoman administration imprisoned 16 Qatari leaders. Later a battle took place and the Ottomans lost.
It wasn’t until 1913 that the Ottoman Empire finally renounced sovereignty over Qatar and in 1916 the ruler of Qatar signed a treaty with the British under the Trucial States system. This treaty required the ending of gun running, slavery and piracy by Qatar.
Oil was found in 1938, but due to WW2 it was not exploited until 1949. Qatar suffered from constant unrest for some years and when the British decided to withdraw its military commitment to the area, Qatar became an independent State, it did not join the Trucial States which created the UAE.
We in the Juna arrived in early February 1968 and worked cargo – once again we anchored off and labour came out to us in dhows (see photo at the top of this blog) to unload into cargo dhows, shown below
Qatar has become the country with the highest per capita income in the world and is regarded as the most advanced Arab state for human development.
They have gone from this –
thanks to having the third largest natural gas reserves in the world.
We had one incident while at anchor, one of our engine room oil pumps blew-up and caused a problem for the engine room, which became covered in oil. One of the engineers was injured, but fortunately not seriously.
A short time later we sailed for Bahrain and this time we went alongside, which allowed us to at least walk around on solid ground that didn’t move all the time.
The one thing that sticks in my mind during our visit to Bahrain was that we could buy cold draught beer – called Red Barrel!
The only place in the Gulf where you could get a cold beer, other than private clubs such as the British Club in Basrah.
Bahrain has belonged to quite a few empires, from the Persian Empire to the Greeks (who used to call the island Tylos), to the Portuguese, the Omani and eventually the British in 1820 when Bahrain signed a treaty of friendship with the British.
Once again it was the advent of oil in 1932 that brought modernisation to Bahrain, and in 1935 the Royal Navy moved its entire Middle Eastern Command for Bushehr in Iran to Bahrain.
Bahrain in 1820 was the first of the Trucial States, but when the Trucial States became independent in 1971, and they created the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain did not join this creation.
Via a referendum, controlled by the UN, Bahrain voted to become an independent country.
After independence the British moved out and the Americans moved in, and they took over the British facilities, which later became the HQ for the US 5th Fleet.
From Bahrain we sailed a short distance to Al-Dammām, in Saudi Arabia, it is also spelt Damman with an ‘n’, one of my least favourite destinations.
When I tried to find information about Damman, which is what we used to call the port in the 60’s I failed, so I’ll stick with Dammam, which is the capital of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932, and the area around Dammam lived off pearls and fishing.
In 1936 oil wells were drilled to prove that there were commercial quantities in the Dammam area, and it was well #7 that proved the drillers correct that the area was sitting on a huge ‘lake’ of oil.
More wells were drilled all around Dammam in the 1940’s and 50’s that confirmed that that Dammam was sitting on top of about a quarter of the world’s oil.
A number of times a day one of the officers or a cadet would go on to the quay to check the draught of the Juna.
Each time I went the overpower smell of raw oil would fill my nostrils and take me back to my first, ship which was a tanker.
We carried oil from Mina a Ahmadi in Kuwait to Little Aden in Yemen, sometimes to Europe, and once in mid-winter across the Atlantic to Marcus Hook on the Delaware River near Philadelphia, followed by a back load from Venezuela to Germany.
It took years for me to be free of the taste of crude oil, particularly when I had a bad cough.
At that time the draught was measured in feet and inches – in the illustration below the top left picture shows 27 feet – each figure is six inches high and the gap between each number – 27 to 28 – is 6 inches, so the water level will tell you how much of the ship is underwater at the bow & stern (there were a set of markings at the bow and another set at the stern).
The above picture shows feet & inches
Since I left the sea the markings are now all metric.
Dammam was ‘dry’, as in the lack of rain & beer, but it was hot, sandy and dry all day and every day, so I doubt that it will ever be on anybody’s ‘bucket list’.
We were only there long enough to unload.
Our next stop would be Kuwait, and their flag is shown below.