Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)

Degree Level





Joel Gordon

Committee Member

Nikolay Antov

Second Committee Member

Robert Brubaker


Ahl a-Hadra - al-Hadrat, al-'Uqaylat, History of al-Qasim, Qasimi Merchants, The Arabian Gulf History, The Indian Ocean History


This dissertation is a history of the economic, social, and political life in Arabia, the Arabian Gulf, and the Indian Subcontinent from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. It draws on materials from al-Qasim, Kuwait, Bahrain, Karachi, Bombay, Calcutta, and London, in addition to travelers’ accounts. These materials and accounts are used to explore the extent and significance of al-Qasim’s international trade between Arabia and India through the Arabian Gulf. It further examines how Qasimi merchants mobilized commodities and traded in the port cities of the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, taking advantage of changing regional and global political trends to create vast commercial enterprises that dominated regional trade.

Hence, the dissertation traces the economic, political, social, and cultural effects of Qusman’s commercial travels both in their home country and trading centers where they resided. It argues that because of these travels, al-Qasim became the wealthiest district in Najd. Politically, the dissertation argues that these Qusman played a crucial economic role during the formation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Also, the connection of Qasimi traders to the outside world made al-Qasim different socially and culturally from the rest of Najd and more connected than other areas to global economics and cultures.