Before the Dubai incident, the state was a commercial and trading hub (Facts on File, Incorporated, 2008). The Dubai incident of 1910 was caused by the culmination of the growing feeling of hostility towards the measures enacted to suppress the traffic of arms and riffles from Muscat through the Persian Gulf to India (Facts on File, Incorporated, 2008). The immediate factor was the resentment at the attempt to search the two houses to find the buried rifles. The incident was triggered by British sub-imperialism and the offences linked to trafficking of arms (Facts on File, Incorporated, 2008). J. D. Dick, the captain of the ship Hyacinth, informed Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Butti that he intended to search two houses in town; hence, the latter had to show up for the search.
One can also argue that the cause of the Dubai incident of 1910 was a case of cultural misunderstanding (Darra & Puller, 2009). Being a powerful nation, Great Britain never thought it can receive a ‘no’ from other nations. Hence, it initiated the search of the houses in the streets of Dubai in the absence of Sheikh Butti. Besides, both parties misunderstood the importance of guns to either party. The misunderstanding further provoked a hostile attitude.
What happened is that Butti did not appear and Dick decided to make the search irrespectively of this. Dick and his group conducted the search in the first house where they found three rifles (Darra & Puller, 2009). This made them more suspicious and half the group decided to proceed to the other house. Long before the operation, gunshots were heard, and armed Arab men were all over the streets.
A serious firing of arms followed, resulting into the deaths of five British landing party members and twelve Arabs. When the British landing party was preparing to withdraw, Hyacinth opened fire to provide cover. The guns fired six-inch shells further leading to the deaths of twenty-five more Arab men.
British officers reported that Sheikh Butti allowed the fight to start either by indifference or intentionally. However, when he saw that the fight was uncontrollable, he came forward to stop it and show his rivals that he had the power to control the fight. The incident made the two British officials, Lieutenant-Colonel Percy Cox and Rear Admiral Edmond Slade, rush to Dubai and issue Sheikh with an ultimatum (Darra & Puller, 2009).
The two officials demanded Sheikh to deliver four hundred rifles collected from the Dubai citizens, establish a telegraph station, pay a fine of 50,000 rupees and accept a British agent who would be treated in a friendly way (Facts on File, Incorporated, 2008). Butti agreed to return as many riffles as he could find and pay the fine, but he did not accept the agent. The British Government of India reported that the move by Dick to conduct the search in the absence of the Sheikh was hardly prudent and it would lead to reprisals.
Though the incident ended without causing more harm, it had a long-term effect on the parties involved. The Dubai incident of 1910 provoked immense hatred between Indian traders and British firms. Besides, Sheikhs of the Trucial Coast now viewed Great Britain as an oppressor and not as an ally (Darra & Puller, 2009). Additionally, the immediate aftermath of trying to impose punitive demands on Sheikh created tensions and resulted in serious criticisms of the British government in India. Further, it destroyed the long-term relations with the inhabitants of the Trucial Coast.
In conclusion, the incident damaged the morale of the Arabs and the alliance between the British government and the Sheikhdoms. The two parties lost their trust in one another.
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