…Sultan Al Qasimi: History is not written by fancies nor by force but by justice and truth
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah said that history is not written with fancies nor by force but with honesty, investigation, and relentless search for the truth.
His Highness The Ruler of Sharjah stressed that through his past works he always seeked to document the history of the UAE and the greater Gulf region, and its relationship with the rest of the world.
His Highness said: “Documenting the history of the UAE and Arabian Gulf was always based on evidence, historical manuscripts and testimonies of foreign historians who lived through the times of these historical events. This method is key to shape the future based on genuine understanding of our past and present civilisation and people. This helps build relationships based on facts and deep understanding of our roots and historical conflicts with the occupations which took place in our region during that period.”
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi’s remarks came during a session dedicated to discussing his book ‘A Momentous Journey’ at the Lisbon Academy of Sciences, whose membership was granted to him in 2013.
The session brought together Professor Artur Anselmo, President of the Lisbon Academy of Sciences; Professor Adriano Moreira, former President of the academy; Professor Antonio Farinha, Dean of the Faculty of History and Geography at the academy; and a number of academic members, professors, scholars and historians.
The session was also attended by HE Mousa Abdul Wahid Al Khaja, UAE Ambassador to Portugal; Adel Abdul Rahman Bakhsh, Saudi Ambassador; Othman Aba Hanini, Moroccan Ambassador to Portugal; Ali Al Bayati, Iraqi charge d’affaires in Portugal; Abdul Salam Mohammed Khamis, Libyan charge d’affaires in Portugal; and a number of Arab and foreign diplomats.
Participants highlighted the significant historical importance of the Gulf region natives and Portugal in the book ‘A Momentous Journey’.
Addressing the session, His Highness The Ruler of Sharjah said: “The book is based on highly important historical manuscripts of Duarte Barbosa, a Portuguese writer and officer. His manuscript contains accurate information and details of the region’s people and was lost for almost 100 years before it was found in 2012. Barbosa’s manuscript is part of my own collection and I included it in my book in Arabic, English and Portuguese.”
The manuscript describes Barbosa’s sightings during his trip, in which he escorted the leaders of the Portuguese occupation in the 16th century, from San Sebastián Bay to the Coastline of China through the Gulf region.
HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi affirmed that rewriting history according to evidence and views of its people is fairness to the truth that paves the way to establish strong and stable relations based on equality.
His Highness revealed that the secret of ‘A Momentous Journey’ lies in the messages that Barbosa sought to communicate between the lines. In his manuscript, Barbosa aligns himself with truth and honesty in documenting history and described events accurately, disregarding his ethnicity. Barbosa described the Arabian Gulf and the cultural and social status of Arabs and Muslims, as well as gave a detailed account of how the Arabs had lived in coexistence and harmony, maintaining good relationships with individuals from other religions, minorities and foreigners to their region, including traders, travellers and seafarers.
In the manuscript, Barbosa illustrated the progress achieved by the Arabs in various sciences and pointed out to the good treatment he received from the people of the Arabian Gulf. He even revealed the numerous violations committed by the Portuguese and Europeans, varying from destruction, devastation and killings in the region.
“These precise details make the book a historical piece of work that fairly depicts the people of the Gulf region and serves as a restoration of their right to highlight their significant status,” HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi said.
His Highness noted: “Without the high moral responsibility that manifested in Barbosa’s manuscript, we would neither understand this phase of history and its details nor apprehend facts as there was much confusion about several key facts before.”
He believes that Barbosa’s manuscript has also treated Portuguese’s present with justice as it treated the Arabs’ past fairly during the Portuguese occupation of the Arabian Gulf. At the end of the session, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi signed several copies of his book for the faculty of the academy, diplomats, professors and officials.
The Arabic version of the ‘A Momentous Journey’ was issued by Al Qasimi Publications in 2017. Historians and people interested in history considers his book as a historical re-exploration and rereading of the roots of Europe’s relationship with the Gulf region in the 16th century that led to decades of domination and shaped a stereotype of the region among the Europeans.
Introducing the first version of the book, Antonio Dias Farinha, Dean of Faculty of History and Geography at Lisbon Academy of Sciences, said: “In his manuscript, Barbosa recalled the details of the Gulf region’s geography, citing some names that are still present until today, like Sharjah, Julphar Bahrain, Muscat, and Qatif.
Farinha highlighted the importance of Barbosa’s book as a main source to know more about the Gulf region and its people’s history and civilisation. He praised the immense efforts of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qasimi to examine and search for historical facts and manuscripts that document history of the world.
He said: “Sheikh Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi has decided to release this important book after discovering Barbosa’s manuscript, which was missing for ever. This edition is very important for the history of the Arabian Gulf and its peoples and wealth. This edition was written at the beginning of the modern era, almost 15 years after the journey of Vasco da Gama from Lisbon to Calicut in India, leading to discover new worlds”.