This is the first mention of the Emirates in a Western travel journal
1 November 2018| Last updated on 1 November 2018
New findings about the UAE’s history are found in this rare book
The UAE, a relatively new country, wasn’t always the United Arab Emirates – prior to 1972, the UAE consisted of independent and autonomous areas separate to one another.
It wasn’t until then that the country, with the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, did the seven emirates come together to form the confederation as we know it today.
And now new findings are being portrayed at the Sharjah International Book Fair that show the UAE under the light during the first few years prior to emirates joining together.
The book fair has books that hold the world’s first mentions of the Emirates in Western literature and journals – and they are up for sale!
Found at the Forum and Inlibris, both of which are Netherlands and Austria-based book stands respectively. They hold the key to some of the UAE’s unknown recorded history.
Their collection which dates back to as late as 1841, which includes a journal by a French ship captain that was handwritten and titled “the very first French diplomatic mission to the Arabian Gulf” – this book is bringing in an estimate of AED1.45 million.
But in reality, this book is actually priceless.
In the book, the UAE territory is actually mentioned by various other names, including the “trucial states” and “shaikdoms.”
The hand-written journal
Amazingly, this hand-written journal, was a 192-page manuscript of the French ship captain, Theogene Francois Page who led the French Ship of La Favorit.
And it mentions the trucial shaikdoms – not only of the UAE, but of the Bahrain islands and Muscat.
La Favorit also holds the drawings of Theogene, which depict various key aspects of architecture and life in the Gulf region.
For those interested in buying this one-of-a-kind book, keep in mind that the entire book is written in French and was sought out in very well preserved manners from a private collector in Europe.
Other historic books
Two other books are available for sale at the book fair in Sharjah – ‘Cherizan and Dibei’ and ‘First Army.’
The first book, Cherizan and Dibei, tells the story of a 16th century Venetian jeweller, Gasparo Balbi, who recounted aspects of the Arabian Peninsula during his 9-year voyage.
Cherizan mentions the following emirates in the book and is priced at AED624,000:
- Sharjah – Cherizan
- Dubai – Dibei
- Ajman – Agiman
- Ras Al Khaimah - Rafaelchime
While the second book, called “First Army,” talks about the collections of a British military officer called Graham A. Hill.
He serves as the first major in the Trucial states parliamentary unit of Britain and Arab officers in the region in the late 1950s and is priced at around AED104,000.
It also includes photographs of UAE daily life, UAE posters and mugshots of wanted men.