H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Saqr of Sharjah,
with his ten-year old Son, Abdul, and Mr. Jasim, the Residency Agent

 

 

THE SAND KINGS
 
of  OMAN

Being Experience of an
R.A.F. Officer in the Little Known Regions
of

 Trucial Oman Arabia


 

By:
 RAYMOND O'SHEA
 

 

LONDON:     First Edition  1947

 

 

Publisher/ Year: LONDON, Methuen & Co., First Edition, 1947
Binding/Size: Cloth Hardcover, in DUST WRAPPER, 22x14.5 cm.
Pages:  209 pages
Illustrations: 16 Photo Illustrations, 2 Map.
жжж    Please see book CONDITION at end    жжж


Raymond O´Shea
Royal Air Force in Oman in 1944 and 1945

Arabia, land of vast deserts, frankincense and myrrh, has always been a source of inspiration and attraction to travellers. Where the intrepid Doughty led the path of desert exploration, St. John Philby, Freya Stark, and Bertram Thomas followed. Now in their wake comes another, with an absorbing record of his experiences among the sheikhs and the Bedouin tribes of this fascinating country.
    Raymond O'Shea, who, during the war, commanded a lonely desert post in a remote corner of south-eastern Arabia known as the Trucial Oman Coast, gives a detailed account in The Sand Kings of Oman of the lives and social traditions of the Arabs. Nearly every aspect of desert life is covered, from a description of the pearl diving industry, to slavery, tribal wars, gazelle hunting, and an account of native craftsmen in the towns and villages. One of the most arresting chapters deals with a trip which the author made into an unexplored corner of the mysterious Rub-al-Khali desert, where he and his companions discovered the ruins of a Lost City.

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

VERY SCARCE

Original 1947 First Edition

in DUST WRAPPER

United Arab Emirate and Oman

DUBAI RAS-AL-KHAIMAH SHARJAH

Rub-al-Khali & Baraimi Problem

With Many
Fascinating Photograph Illustrations
 


From Preface ...

THIS book, which is factual account of my experience whilst serving on the Trucial Oman coast of Arabia in 1944 and 1945, is not intended to be geographical, historical or ethnological treaties. It is simply a travel book, or, perhaps more accurately, a diary of my day-to-day life written in a narrative form.
    My interest in the Arab was stimulated by the extensive literature on the subject which I had read, and also because to any student of world affairs the political events of the Middle East have assumed an importance which it would be foolish to deny. As far as possible I have avoided discussion of political matters, confining myself to a description of the topography, races, customs and industries of the Persian Gulf; but the question of British influence and interests in the region are so predominant and so closely interwoven with other aspects of life that it has been difficult to avoid occasional reference to the subject.

From Introduction ...

THE name 'Trucial' was first suggested by a naval officer, Captain Prideaux, in the l9th century. Formerly this part of the coast was known in English official literature as 'The Pirate Coast', on account of the prevalence of piracy in these waters, although the Arabs call it Sahil 'Oman (Oman Coast) or Shamal, after the hot north wind which blows across the Gulf.
    Upon the coast, Trucial Oman extends in the Gulf of Oman from Khor Kalba to Dubai, and in the Persian Gulf from Sha'am to Khor-al-Odaid. Inland its frontiers are more difficult to define, but they cover a considerable portion of the interior of the Oman promontory. Beyond Abu Dhabi, as far as Khor-al-Odaid, the coast is almost unkown; it is barren and generally low, but has some bluff head-lands. The only eminence and conspicuous landmark on the coast of Trucial Oman, Dhafrah being excluded, is Jabal-al-Ali, in Dubai territory. West of Sharjah the coast is a labyrinth of islands, shoals and reefs, imperfectly surveyed and so intricate that even Arab vessels, if large than pearl boat, avoid these waters. The most important islands off the Trucial Coast are Bu Musa, which contains a red ochre mine; Tunb; Sir Bu Na'sir; Yas, where there is an R.A.F. emergency landing ground, and Dalmah. ...


Sheikh Mahomed Bin Ali, eighty-year Old Ruler of the Beni Qitab Tribe


Contents ...
 

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

BOOK ONE

RAS-AL-KHAIMAH

Chapter I
The unknown kingdom. By flying-boat to Dubai. Arrival at Sharjah Fort. Poverty of the Arabs.

Chapter II
Master of the Fort. A call on Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr. A feast of honour. Transport difficulties.

Chapter III
We visit Ras-al-Khaimah. The valley of Hadaithah. A breakdown. Ali the tale-teller.

Chapter IV
Sheikh Sultan bin Salem. The pai dog. Shi'hou tribes. Ambushed in the mountains. Saved by Dakhil.


BOOK TWO

DESERT WARFARE

Chapter V
Tribal wars. A raid on the medical stores. Desert detectives. Slave-traffic in Oman. The Fort is attacked.

Chapter VI
The Qasimi feuds. Intrigues and rivalries. Our Askhari guards. Power of the Wahabis. Abdur bin Razzak.

Chapter VII
Sand-storms. The sheikh's income. Sharjah's future as an air-base. Strategic importance of Oman. The discovery of petroleum.

Chapter VIII
Malaria and dysentery. 'Round the bend.' Trials of continence. Arab women. My duties at the Fort.
 

BOOK THREE

THE PIRATE COAST

Chapter IX
An aerial graveyard. Native watch-towers. Flora and fauna. The Locust menace. Gardening in the Gulf. Hassan the pearl merchant.


Chapter X
Khan and Sharjah. A shopping expedition. The Street of the Silversmiths. Arab love songs.

Chapter XI
History of the Pirates. Engagement at Ras-al-Khaimah. Recent attacks on shipping. Fishing and pearling boats.

Chapter XII
Projected visit to Riyadh. A month of incidents. Trouble in the Indian camp. Sheikh Raschid bin Hamid. A visit to al 'Ajman. Arab horses. A gazelle hunt.

Chapter XIII
Hassan bin Ahmidfa. The pearling industry. Rare shapes and colours. Dealers and divers. Sea-devils and sharks. Taboo on foreign diving.
 

BOOK FOUR

THE RUB-AL-KHALI

Chapter XIV
An attack of fever. Abdul the ex-slave. A visit to Dubai. Racial types. Basil Lernutte. An Arab wedding. Yashidi devil-worshippers.

Chapter XV
Captain Bird. Sheikh Mahommed bin Ali. The Beni Qitab tribe. Date plantations at Djaidh. Bedouin raiders. A night in the desert.

Chapter XVI
Sir Geoffrey Prior. Conference of the Trucial sheikhs. The slave trade. We visit Baraimi. Unfriendly Bedouins.

Chapter XVII
An ambition of T. E. Lawrence. Legends of King 'Ad. The `lost city'. A journey into the Rub-al-Khali. Hamid the poet. We find a deserted town. Nimairiyah.

Chapter XVIII
L'envoi. Farewell visits. I am offered a sheikhdom. Departure from Dubai. The political future of the Middle East. A`Holy War' and its prevention. Arab independence.

 

APPENDIX

I. Bibliography of Arabia and the Persian Gulf

II. Abbreviations

 


Hussein, Wazir of Al 'Ajman, With Two of the Sheikh's Horses and their Grooms


Illustrations ...

  • Sheikh Mahomed Bin Ali, Ruler of the Beni Qitab Tribe

  • The Fort at Sharjah, During Flood

  • Four of the Askhari Guards Who Watch Over the Fort at Sharjah

  •  A Fine Clump of Acacia, or Neam Trees, at Umm-Al-Quwain

  • A Close-Up of The Fort Garden, Showing My Bearer, Haider, with Two Prize Cabbages

  • H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Saqr of Sharjah, with his Son, Abdul, and Mr. Jasim, the Residency Agent

  • One of the Falcon-Hawks Kept by the Sheikh of Al 'Ajman

  • Hussein, Wazir of Al 'Ajman, With Two of the Sheikh's Horses and their Grooms

  • Hussein, Wazir to the Sheikh of Al Ajman

  • The Khan Bahadur Bin Razzak, British Residency Agent, Trucial Oman

  • The Harbour at Ras-Al-Khaimah. The Sheikh's Palace is in the Foreground

  • A Reservoir at Djaidh

  • Ruins of the Deserted Town of Wahaida

  • Ruins of the 'Lost City' Built on a Hill-Top at Umm-Al-'Amad, in the Rubal-Khali Desert

  • Hamid Bin Rahman, a Guide Employed by the Sheikh of Al Ajman

  • An Ancient Fortress in the Western Hajar Mountains
     

Maps ...

-OMAN, SHOWING AUTHOR'S ROUTE

-ARABIA
 


The Fort at Sharjah, During Flood
 

Hamid Bin Rahman, a Guide Employed by the Sheikh of Al Ajman
 

An Ancient Fortress in the Western Hajar Mountains
once the home of the Sheikh of Kalba

 

Hussein, Wazir to the Sheikh of Al Ajman,
wearing the Gold State Dagger in his Girdle

 

Ruins of the 'Lost City' Built on a Hill-Top at Umm-Al-'Amad, in the Rubal-Khali Desert
 

The Khan Bahadur Bin Razzak, British Residency Agent, Trucial Oman,
standing in front of the Magnificent Persian Doorway of his House in Sharjah

 

Ruins of the Deserted Town of Wahaida, on the Caravan Route to the Rub-al-Khali
 

Four of the Askhari Guards Who Watch Over the Fort at Sharjah
 

One of the Falcon-Hawks Kept by the Sheikh of Al 'Ajman
 and used for Hunting Wild Bustard
 

The Harbour at Ras-Al-Khaimah.
The Sheikh's Palace is in the Foreground

 

Map shown Author's Route

 

Map of Arabia


Condition ...

New binding, dust wrapper worn at top edge with cuts and small loss, otherwise book in very good condition. Very Scarce Work.


 

               

 


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