Sites & cities that bear the name of Al Bidda

Al Bidda

Today in : Qatar
First trace of activity : 1681 C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 20th century C.E
Recorded names : Bedih, البدع‎

Description : Al Bidda (Arabic: البدع‎) is a neighborhood of Doha, Qatar. It was previously the largest town in Qatar in the 19th century, before Doha, an offshoot of Al Bidda, grew in prominence. Al Bidda was incorporated as a district in the Doha municipality in the late 20th century. Qatar's Amiri Diwan (Presidential Office) has been based in Al Bidda since 1915, after being converted from an abandoned Ottoman fort. The earliest documented mention of Al Bidda was made in 1681, by the Carmelite Convent, in an account which chronicles several settlements in Qatar. In the record, the ruler and a fort in the confines of Al Bidda are alluded to. Al Bidda became the most important town in the country after the decline of Zubarah in the early nineteenth century. Doha, the present-day capital, developed from Al Bidda. David Seaton, a British political resident in Muscat, detailed one of the earliest English accounts of Al Bidda in 1801: Bedih is Situated in 25.18 N. Lat. and is a large open bay full of Coral banks with very unequal soundings from twelve to three fathoms, the land is low and sandy, hardly to be seen at the distance of ten Miles, on a nearer approach, it seems gradually rising from both extremes towards the centre, where it forms a ridge at the distance of half a Mile from the Shore, under this ridge near the sea, are two hillocks and a Valley between them, off each of the hillocks runs a Shoal with half a fathom at high water and between them a Channel with one and a half fathoms, and at the distance of a Mile and a half three fathoms, on the Northern hillock is a fortified House with a Wall and Square tower, in the Valley a breast Work with two Guns, and on the southern hillock two large huts with some kind of defence, and half a Mile to the Southward near the ridge is another Square building with a flag staff, under the Northern hillock is a sandy beach on which two Buglas, one Dow & one Botella were drawn up with a breast work of Stones, the only direct landing place is in the mouth of the Valley, but it would be attended with great loss without ships to drive the Enemy away as it is flanked by the breast work and boats, in which were a number of Men and ten Guns, and fronted by the two Guns in the Valley, about two Miles to the South is a Sandy beach without cover for the Enemy's snipers, but the Square building with the flagstaff must be stormed before the hillocks can be got at. In January 1823, political resident John MacLeod visited Al Bidda to meet with the ruler and initial founder of Doha, Buhur bin Jubrun, who was also the chief of the Al-Buainain tribe. MacLeod noted that Al Bidda was the only substantial trading port in the peninsula during this time. Following the founding of Doha, written records often conflated Al Bidda and Doha due to the extremely close proximity of the two settlements. Later that year, Lt. Guy and Lt. Brucks mapped and wrote a description of the two settlements. Despite being mapped as two separate entities, they were referred to under the collective name of Al Bidda in the written description. In 1847, Al Bidda was demolished by the sheikh of Bahrain and its inhabitants were removed to Bahrain. The sheikh also placed economic blockade over the town in 1852. In 1867, a large number of ships and troops were sent from Bahrain to punish the people of Al Wakrah and Al Bidda. Abu Dhabi joined on Bahrain's behalf due to the conception that Al Wakrah served as a refuge for fugitives from Oman. Later that year, the combined forces sacked the two aforementioned Qatari cities with 2,000 men in what would come to be known as the Qatari–Bahraini War. A British record later stated "that the towns of Doha and Wakrah were, at the end of 1867 temporarily blotted out of existence, the houses being dismantled and the inhabitants deported".

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