Mubarak Al-Sabah: The Foundation of Kuwait

by Souad M. Al Sabah

Amidst political upheaval and the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the State of Kuwait emerged as an independent country under British protection in 1899, with Sheikh Mubarak Al Sabah widely accredited as the instrument of its foundation. But the path to power for Mubarak was not a simple or smooth one. The author here presents an original perspective on the difficulties and controversies surrounding Mubarak’s ascension. With unparalleled insights and access to original sources she reveals the life, personality and politics of a man who, determined to secure a distinctive Kuwaiti state, helped to shape the modern Middle East. This biography provides a comprehensive overview of a time of significant political and social change in the Gulf when development, diplomacy, economics, finance and trade were both routes to political independence and the perpetuation of British domination. Remembered for his unyielding determination to boost the profile and wealth of Kuwait and establish his leadership at a turbulent time of regional war, Mubarak engineered major change for Kuwait.

From the negotiations of the 1899 Anglo-Kuwait Agreement, during which Mubarak sought to outfox Lord Curzon and other British officials, to his ambitions to tame tribal politics, the author here presents a unique portrait of the man who transformed Kuwait from an Ottoman sub-province to an independent state.