Sheikh Mubarak Al-Kabeer ... founder of modern Kuwait
100th death anniversary of the 7th Amir being marked
KUWAIT CITY, Nov 27, (KUNA): Sheikh Mubarak Sabah Al-Jaber AlSabah, or Mubarak Al-Kabeer as he’s commonly known, is always associated with Kuwait’s modern development and progression.
As the 100th anniversary of the seventh Amir’s death is celebrated tomorrow, Kuwaitis remember Sheikh Mubarak, who ruled Kuwait from 1896 to 1915, as the person who founded and protected the foundation of the modern Kuwaiti state.
Sheikh Mubarak was known for his bravery and diligence which earned him the title of “Peninsula Lion”. Sheikh Mubarak’s legacy was the subject of interest for many documentaries and researches.
In his book (Mubarak Al-Sabah: founder of modern Kuwait), Dutch Authory B. J. Slot said that the Kuwaiti ruler managed to steer Kuwait clear from colonialism plans.
Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah managed to keep Kuwait independent from the Ottoman Empire’s rule and his policies also led to the protection treaty with the British Empire on Jan 23rd, 1899 which many historians say was signed in secrecy.
Part of the deal involved Sheikh Mubarak’s agreement on not offering land belonging to Kuwait to any other nation or empire without the consent of the British. By 1902 and after the WWI, Kuwait was considered as British protectorate.
As the new century began, Sheikh Mubarak ordered Kuwaiti troops to fend off several attacks from tribal groups threatening the country, sending armies led by Al-Sabah family members to defend the country from invaders.
In 1901, Sheikh Mubarak accompanied Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman AlSaud, soon to be the first Monarch of Saudi Arabia in 1932, on a campaign against Al Rashid on March 17th; however, their forces were defeated.
In 1910, the battle of Hadiya occurred between the Kuwaiti troops led by Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak who was also aided by Abdulaziz Al-Saud. The Kuwaiti army faced the Ibn Sadoun army, losing in the process of the war; however, Sheikh Mubarak was triumphant in another campaign against Al-Dhufair tribe.
Acting in defiance to the Ottoman Empire, Sheikh Mubarak asserted Kuwait’s unique independent status by issuing orders for a national flag in 1914. The first design consisted of a red flag with Kuwait written in Arabic in the middle with various versions of this flag used till 1961.
Speaking about Sheikh Mubarak’s vital inputs, history teacher at the Kuwait University’s (KU) College of Arts Hayat Al-Hajj said that the ruler had laid the cornerstones for the modern state of Kuwait, stressing that during his reign Kuwait rapidly developed within the commercial, economic, healthcare, and economic domains.
During his rule, the first public school (Al-Mubarakiya), named after his namesake, was opened in 1912 and continued to operate till 1985, said AlHajji, adding that the American missionary hospital was also built in Kuwait.
The importance of Sheikh Mubarak to the history of Kuwait is undeniable with several locations in Kuwait named after him such as the Mubarakiya market, Mubarak Hospital which was opened in 1982, and also Mubarak Al-Kabeer governorate which was established on Nov 27th, 1999.
Boubyan Island will also be home for the Mubarak Al-Kabeer seaport, which is currently under construction.
File photo of Sheikh Mubarak Al-Kabeer next to King Abdulaziz Al-Saud.