As part of the three set series on the development of the GCC states this set contains documented evidence for the origins and expansion of communications services within the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia in the formative years of the 20th century.
The Inauguration of Communications Services
... can be said to begin with schemes to link India to Europe via a submarine cable connected to Muscat and onwards to Bushire in 1859. Following the failure of the first Red Sea Telegraph in 1860, a new line was proposed from Egypt to Aden, up the coast to Muscat and to Cape Mussandam (the Gwadur-Jask line) and was agreed in 1868. The second half of the nineteenth century brought about the establishment of wireless stations in the Mussandam peninsula (Oman) and later cable connections involved other sites, notably Bahrain and Kuwait.
The Early Roads
Routes and motor transport became a development matter in the 1930s. In the earlier part of the century the British had extensively surveyed the routes across the peninsula, as the World War I military handbooks betoken. From the mid-1930s, under pressure from oil development and broader political factors, there is a cumulative increase in planning and construction for motor transport. The Desert Locust Survey provided useful information on local routes connecting Saudi Arabia with the Gulf States at the end of World War II. Road building is well documented for Bahrain (the searoad or causeway scheme from 1929-48) and the Jedda-Mecca-Medina road in 1939-40.
The Roles Of Cable & Wireless Ltd, Marconi & Other Companies
Records concerning the telegraph, wireless and telephone services demonstrate
the extensive involvement of European and British firms, such as Cable and Wireless Limited from 1934-47 (formerly Eastern Telegraph Company, formed 1872) and Marconi, which stemmed from Imperial and International Communications. An additional theme in the records is the vested interest and persistent efforts of the various oil companies in developing and expanding reliable telecommunications from the Gulf states to the outside world from the 1930s on.
Postal Services at Muscat, Bahrain etc.
The evolution of local postal services is traced in some regions in great detail; for instance Ibn Sa´ud´s desire that the al Hasa region should avail itself of the Bahrain postal delivery is a sizeable topic, as is the prolonged attempt to establish a post office at either Sharjah or Dubai. However, despite the early beginning to services (Muscat had a Government of India post office in 1864) the records are strangely silent on most aspects of postal services. The nationalisation of postal services from 1947 is an important aspect of local development and is especially evident in records for Kuwait, Bahrain and the Trucial States.