In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Arabia is Number 61 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Chapter I discusses physical and political geography. Chapter II covers the political history of the 12 autonomous states, which at that time occupied the Arabian Peninsula: the Sherifate of Mecca, also known as the Kingdom of Hejaz; the Idrisi Principality of Sabia in Asir; the Imamate of Sana in Yemen; the Emirate of Hail in Jebel Shammar; the Emirate of Riad in south Nejd; the Emirate of Koweit; the Sheikdom of the Bahrein Islands; the Sheikdom of El-Katr; the domain of the five “Trucial Chiefs” and their dependents; the Sultanate of Muscat in Oman; the Sultanate of Kishn and Sokotra, the Kaati Sultanate of Makalla and western Hadhramaut, and the Kathiri of eastern Hadhramaut; and the land of the autonomous chiefs under treaty with Aden. Chapter III discusses political conditions, with particular emphasis on Turkey’s entry into World War I as an ally of Germany and Austria-Hungary, and the alliance between Great Britain and the forces of Arab nationalism against the Turks. Chapter IV is devoted to economic conditions. In looking to the postwar period, the study predicted that “the peninsula is likely to remain parceled out internally among a number of autonomous States as it is at this day.”

Last updated: January 4, 2016