We have, of course, long had contact with the Gulf States, among them Bahrain. In the early days, one of our main priorities was combating sea raiders in the area. So in 1820 the East India Company got the sheikhs of Bahrain to sign an anti-piracy treaty. By 1861, we had also prevailed on Bahrain to sign a treaty which gave us control over its foreign affairs in return for protection.
But still we weren’t always entirely happy with the way everything was going here, and in 1868, after a conflict between Bahrain and Qatar, the gunboats Clyde and Huge Rose of Her Majesty’s Indian Navy destroyed the fort at al-Muharraq in Bahrain. In 1869, British gunboats were sailing into Bahrain to change rulers and put 21-year-old Sheikh Isa into power.
There were further treaties in the late nineteenth century between Britain and Bahrain. Bahrain became fully independent in 1971.