General Treaty for the Cessation of Plunder and Piracy by Land and Sea

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Dated 5 February 1820

In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate! Praise be to God, who hath ordained peace to be a blessing to his creatures. There is established a lasting peace between the British government and the Arab tribes, who are parties to this contract, on the following conditions:

Article 1[edit]

There shall be a cessation of plunder and piracy by land and sea on the part of the Arabs, who are parties to this contract, for ever.

Article 2[edit]

If any individual of the people of the Arabs contracting shall attack any that pass by land or sea of any nation whatsoever, in the way of plunder and piracy and not of acknowledged war, he shall be accounted an enemy of all mankind and shall be held to have forfeited both life and goods. An acknowledged war is that which is proclaimed, avowed, and ordered by government against government; and the killing of men and taking of goods without proclamation, avowal, and the order of a government, is plunder and piracy.

Article 3[edit]

The friendly (literally the pacificated) Arabs shall carry by land and sea a red flag, with or without letters in it, at their option, and this shall be in a border of white, the breadth of the white in the border being equal to the breadth of the red, as represented in the margin (the whole forming the flag known in the British Navy by the title of white pierced red), this shall be the flag of the friendly Arabs, and they shall use it and no other.

Article 4[edit]

The pacificated tribes shall all of them continue in their former relations, with the exception that they shall be at peace with the British Government, and shall not fight with each other, and the flag shall be a symbol of this only and of nothing further.

Article 5[edit]

The vessels of the friendly Arabs shall all of them have in their possession a paper (Register) signed with the signature of their Chief, in which shall be the name of the vessel, its length, its breadth, and how many Karahs it holds. And they shall also have in their possession another writing (Port Clearance) signed with the signature of their Chief, in which shall be the name of the owner, the name of the^Nacodah, the number of men, the number of arms, from whence sailed, at what time, and to what port bound. And if a British or other vessel meet them, they shall produce the Register and the clearance.

Article 6[edit]

The friendly Arabs, if they choose, shall send an envoy to the British Residency in the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. with the necessary accompaniments, and he shall remain there for the transaction of their business with the Residency ; and the British Government if it chooses, shall send an envoy also to them in like manner; and the envoy shall add his signature to the signature of the Chief in the paper (Register) of their vessels, which contains the length of the vessel, its breadth, and tonnage; the signature of the envoy to be renewed every year. Also all such envoy shall be at the expense of their own party.

Article 7[edit]

If any tribes, or others, shall not desist from plunder and piracy, the friendly Arabs shall act against them according to their ability and circumstances, and an arrangement for this purpose shall take place between the friendly Arabs and the British at the time when plunder and piracy shall occur.

Article 8[edit]

The putting men to death after they have given up their arms is an act of piracy and not of acknowledged war; and if any tribe shall put to death any persons, either Muhammadans or others, after they have given up their arms, such tribe shall be held to have broken the peace; and the friendly Arabs shall act against them in conjunction with the British, and, God willing, the war against them shall not cease until the surrender of those who performed the act and of those who ordered it.

Article 9[edit]

The carrying off of slaves, men, women, or children from the coasts of Africa or elsewhere, and the transporting them in vessels, is plunder and piracy, and the friendly Arabs shall do nothing of this nature.

Article 10[edit]

The vessels of the friendly Arabs, bearing their flag above described, shall enter into all the British ports and into the ports of the allies of the British so far as they shall be able to effect it; and they shall buy and sell therein, and if any shall attack them the British Government shall take notice of it.

Article 11[edit]

These conditions aforesaid shall be common to all tribes and persons, who shall hereafter adhere thereto in the same manner as to those who adhere to them at the time present. End of the Articles.

Signatories[edit]

Signed at Ras-ool-Kheimah at the time of issue by W. Grant Keir, Major-General. Hassun bin Rahmah, Sheikh of Hatt and Falna, formerly of Ras-ool-Kheimah. Rajib bin Ahmed, Sheikh of Jourat al Kamra. (An exact translation.) J. P. Thompson, Captain, 17th Light Dragoons, and Interpreter.

Signed at Ras-ool-Kheimah on Tuesday, the twenty-fifth of the month of Rabee-ul-Awul, in the year of the Hegira one thousand two hundred and thirty- five, corresponding to the eleventh of January 1820.

SHAKBOUT Sheikh of Aboo Dhebbee.

Signed at Ras-ool-Kheimah at midday, on Saturday, the twenty-ninth of the month of Rabee-ul-Awul, in the year of the Hegira one thousand two hundred and thirty-five, corresponding to the fifteenth of January 1820.

Hussun bin Ali, Sheikh of Zyah.

Source[edit]

  • 'A Collection of Treaties and Engagements relating to the Persian Gulf Shaikhdoms and the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman in force up to the End of 1953' [‎19v] (40/92), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/1/738, in Qatar Digital Library http://www.qdl.qa/en/archive/81055/vdc_100023550810.0x000029 [accessed 27 June 2015]