Threats to British "Protectionism" in Colonial Bahrain: Beyond the Sunni / Shia Divide
Kaiksow, Sarah E. A.
This paper draws upon British colonial archives to chart the Saud-Wahabi challenge to British "protectionism" of Bahrain in the pre-statehood period of 1830 to 1930. Historical narratives tend to stress the twentieth-century Persian challenge to Bahrain over others, a trend with pernicious consequences for collective memory and social consciousness. This study aims to complicate the dominant narrative by taking a longer view and by pointing to the more complex political history of the islands, highlighting when power was contested between Sunnis and Sunnis and when social identities were less polarized by sectarian identity. Attention to the early colonial period of roughly 1830 to 1930 paints a relatively nuanced picture of power, politics and sect in Bahrain.
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