Qatar in the Documents of the International Archives (Dec. 2018)

In the light of celebrating Qatar’s National Day, the center organized a seminar entitled Qatar in the Documents of International Archives, where the importance of archives for writing the history of Qatar was discussed. Dr. Jamal Hajar, professor of modern and contemporary heritage, discussed Qatar in the Documents of British Archives; he defined document and its types. He clarified that Man used recording in order to retain the information, ideas and previous experiences that exceed the capacity of the natural memory, and defined archives as the non-current documents that are kept for their lasting value. He pointed out that types of archiving vary from documents, records and archival units. He said that the British Archives contain documents of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colonial Office and Ministry of Aviation, documents of the Council of Ministers and documents of the Indian Office. He indicated that he began to deal with archives since the mid-seventies of the twentieth century making use of its documents in writing the history of the Arabian Gulf and Arabia, as the documents of the Indian Office include significant documents about the history of Qatar until 1947; when India gained its independence. The British Residency in the Gulf and its agencies used to send their letters and reports to the Indian Office, not to mention that documents oft of India Office and its departments are considered the most important documents in the British Archives for writing the history of Qatar.

Dr. Aly Afify Aly Ghazi, researcher of modern and contemporary history, reviewed the importance of the Egyptian Archives for writing the history of Qatar and the Arabian Gulf during the first half of the nineteenth century.  He made it clear that the history of Qatar in that early historical period (the period of formation) cannot be separated from its geographical context. He mentioned that he had worked on this archive for eight years in order to prepare his Master thesis. In the beginning, he highlighted the significance of documents for historians. He stressed   the importance of the documents of Muhammad Ali Pasha, which are kept at the Egyptian National Archives in Cairo, for the writing of the history of Qatar and the Arabian Gulf, for he established the Public Archives in 1828 because of his interest in documents. These have received the attention of his successors. He pointed out that the archival units (Bahir Barra, Saniyya,   Divan El Jihadia, Khedive Divan, Governor of Abdeen, Governor of Al-Sham, Governor of Hejaz, Governor: miscellaneous) contain many documents related to the history of Qatar in that early historical period. He added that efforts should be made by researches to shed light on these units. He referred to a number of persons who applied themselves to studying the Egyptian Archives and who defined and published collections of their contents.  

Dr. Sahibe Aam Nadwi, a researcher specialized in the history of India, talked about the endeavor made by Hassan Bin Mohamed Center for Historical Studies to obtain documents related to Qatar from the Indian archives. He reviewed the Archives in the States of Delhi, Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Kerala and others. He also gave information about some of the archival units related to Qatar and Arabian Gulf States in those archives, pointing out to the difficulties he had faced in searching for documents in the archives like Public Records, Oriental Records, and rare manuscripts written in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit and Balinese languages. These contain files entitled  Qatar: Political, Economic and Security Affairs ,  Qatar Relations with Neighboring States ,  Status of Indian Traders in Qatar ,  Status of Arab Tribes in Qatar , Attitude of Sheikh Jassim towards Ottoman authorities in Qatar  ,  Attitude of Great Britain  towards Sheikh Jassim  and so forth.

Mr. Mohammed Hammam Fekri, the general-supervisor of Hassan Bin Mohamed Center for Historical Studies, gave information about the importance of the Ottoman archives for writing the history of Qatar. He reviewed samples of those documents, particularly the incident of Qatar. He stressed that those documents, especially those related to the period from 1871 to 1913, cover many multiple aspects of the history of Qatar and illustrate the occurrences between Sheik Jassim and the Ottoman administration. He said that those documents spread in conservation units under the titles: papers of the Grand Vizierate, Kalam Mu’ahadat, Qalam Maktubi Al Sadara and Sultani Iradis. He concluded with refereeing to research works based on the documents of the Ottoman archives such as  Qatar under the Ottoman era  by zekeriya kurşun,  the Ottoman Gulf  by Frederick Anscombe and others.

At the end of the seminar, lectures gave been honored by Award certificates. The journalists  Said Dahri  head of the cultural department at Al- Arab Newspaper,  Abdul Ghani Bu Durra  and Abdul Fattah Maghawry from Qatar News Agency,  Mohamed Al-Rabia  from the cultural department in Al-Watan Newspaper and  Taha Abdul Rahman  from the cultural department in Al-Sharq Newspaper.


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