This book offers new insight into the end of the British Empire in the Middle East. It takes a fresh look at the relationship between Britain and the Gulf rulers at the height of the British Empire, and how its effects are still felt internationally today. Over the last four decades, the Persian Gulf region has gone through oil shocks, wars and political changes, and yet the basic entities of the southern Gulf states have remained largely in place. How did this resilient system come about for such seemingly contested societies? Drawing on extensive multi-archival research in the British, American and Gulf archives, this book illuminates a series of negotiations between British diplomats and the Gulf rulers that inadvertently led Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE to take their current shapes. The story addresses the crucial question of self-determination versus 'better together', a dilemma pertinent to anyone interested in the transformation of the modern world.