GCC States: National Development Records: Communications & Transport 1860–1960, The

ISBN:  (13) 978-1-85207-620-7      Extent: 9 volumes, 6,300 pages, including 1 map box
Editor: A.Burdett   Published: 19946
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available

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.
This collection traces the development of the modern network of communications which makes light of the great distances involved in traversing the Middle East. From the first schemes to link India to Europe via a submarine cable through Muscat and Bushire in 1859, the documents detail a slow blooming of infrastructure in all aspects of communications: the development of deep water ports, shipping routes and navigational data; the growth of telegraph, cable, wireless and finally telephone systems, the press and broadcasting; the spectacular success of the railways in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; the creation of a reliable postal service; the improvement of roads and the 20th century expansion of motor transport, all creating links between and within the Gulf states.


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.


Material for this study is drawn chiefly from Oriental and India Office Collections of the British Library, and from the Foreign Office, Colonial Office and War Office record classes at the Public Record Office, Richmond, Surrey.
The documents published in this collection are reproduced in facsimile from papers in government files, and are therefore mostly in English. A certain number of documents have been preserved in Arabic. In either case you will read the authentic texts conveying the ideas, arguments and decisions by which history is made.
While every effort was made to arrange the material by region or country, this was not always possible as some topics inevitably related to two or more areas: for instance, the planning of several routes from Kuwait through other territories, or Saudi Arabian postal services via Bahrain. Thus Volume 8, Inter-State Links, reflects these connections and interdependencies. Otherwise material is arranged firstly by the type of communication service, and then chronologically within each of the GCC states.


 Volume 1 : Bahrain and Qatar
Part One: Bahrain
  • The establishment of telegraph, wireless, cable, telephone, postal and shipping services, 1902-1960
  • Telegraph and Wireless Services, 1902-1960
  • Telephone services, 1909-1955
  • Postal services, 1928-1959
  • Roads, routes and motor transport, 1929-1940
  • Shipping and ports, 1914-1917
  • The press, 1954
Part Two: Qatar
  • The establishment of telegraph, wireless, cable, telephone, postal and shipping services, 1934-1961
  • Telegraph, wireless and telephone systems, 1935-1955
  • Postal services, 1961
  • Shipping and ports, 1937-1958
Volume 2: Kuwait
  • The establishment of telegraph, wireless, cable, telephone, broadcasting and postal services, 1901-1959
  • Telegraph, wireless and telephone services, 1904-1959
  • Broadcasting, 1952-1959
  • Postal services, 1901-1933
Volume 3: Kuwait
  • Establishment of postal services, railways, roads and shipping services, 1898-1961
  • Postal services, 1935-1959
  • Railway projects, 1898-1942
  • Road transport, 1939-1961
  • Ports, harbours and shipping, 1937-1960
 Volume 4: The UAE and Persian Gulf Waters
  • Telegraph, cable, wireless, telephone, broadcasting and postal services, 1859-1961
  • Cable, telegraph and telephone services, 1859-1959
  • Broadcasting, 1957-1959
  • Postal services relating chiefly to Dubai and Sharjah, 1932-1947
Volume 5 : The UAE, Oman and Persian Gulf Waters
Part One: The United Arab Emirates and Persian Gulf Waters

  • Postal services, routes, roads and shipping, 1906-1961
  • Postal services, 1947-1960
  • Roads and routes in the Trucial States, 1939-1961
  • Persian Gulf Waters: lighting and buoying, shipping and navigation, 1906-1961
 Part Two: Oman
  • Telegraph, cable, wireless, telephone, routes, roads and shipping in Oman, 1864- 1959
  • Telegraph, submarine cable and wireless transmission facilities, 1864-1955
  • Broadcasting, 1959
  • Telephone installations, 1945-1957
  • Postal services, 1921-1961
  • Shipping, navigation and port services, 1872-1947
  • Routes and roads, 1930-1940
 Volume 6: Saudi Arabia
  • Development of railways, routes, roads, ports and navigation, 1904-1961
  • Development of the Hedjaz Railway and other systems, 1920-1960
  • Routes, roads and motor transport, 1904-1950
 Volume 7: Saudi Arabia
  • Development of telegraph, wireless, broadcasting and postal services, 1961-1956
  • Telegraph, wireless, broadcasting and postal services, 1916-1956
  • Postal services, 1932-1939
Volume 8: Inter-State Links
  • Development of telegraph, wireless, postal services, motor transport, routes and roads, 1905-1960
  • Telegraph, wireless and postal services, 1905-1947
  • Motor transport, routes and roads, 1935-1960
Volume 9: Maps


01.   Map of Bahrain Harbour showing the diversion of the submarine cable, undertaken in the CS Lady Denison Pender, 2 December 1935
02.  Middle East Cable network, 1943. Diagram by No. 4 Company, 3 GHQ Signals depicting routes under construction and connected routes
03.   Chart of Kuwait Harbour, prepared by the Naval Staff (I.D.) as regards defences etc. Produced under the Superintendence of Rear-Admiral J.A. Edgell, C.B., O.B.E., Hydrographer
04.   Detailed map of Wadi Mushi depicting the cable routes to Bushire and to Bundar Abbas, soundings etc. Lieutenant G.H. Bevan and Captain J.B. Eustace of the HMS Fox, at Henjam, 1906
05.   Map depicting camel tracks in the northern Trucial Oman, Jebel Faiyah - Jebel Hafit. Map based on a triangulation by N.R. Fallon and a plane table reconnaissance by A. J. Young during the season 1946-1947
06-10.   Maps to accompany the Military Report and Route Book on the Persian Gulf, General Staff, India, 1940 :
06.   Overview of Northern Arabia (map no. 1)
07.   Kuwait (compiled from Lt.-Col. H.R.P. Dickson´s Map of Kuwait Hinterland and W.O. Sheets H. 38 and H. 39; map no. 2)
08.   Bahrain, Hasa and Qatar (map no. 3)
09.   Trucial Oman (map no. 4)
10.   Muscat and Oman (map no. 5)
11.   Arabic Map of the Imperial and Sacred Hejaz Railway showing the stations fixed upon
12.   Damascus - Mecca Railway. Plan made by Hajji Muklitar Bey, Technical Adviser of the Hejaz Railway, compiled by Captain (Artillery) Gumer Zekki and Lieutenant Hassan, 1902
13.   Map showing roads in Qatar Peninsula. Based on topography by Williamson and Pomvrol and triangulation by Sokol Offsky. Petroleum Development (Qatar) Ltd.
14.   Sketch Chart of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, showing the positions of the proposed lights, 1881, Letts, Son & Co. Limited, London