http://Few%20things%20can%20alter%20a%20society%20as%20radically%20as%20the%20discovery%20of%20oil,%20and%20few%20places%20prove%20this%20as%20vividly%20as%20the%20Gulf%20states.%20The%20economy%20of%20Kuwait,%20for%20example,%20depended%20historically%20on%20its%20natural%20harbor%20in%20the%20Persian%20Gulf,%20which%20linked%20it%20to%20the%20thriving%20pearl%20trade%20and%20allowed%20for%20the%20flourishing%20of%20other%20maritime%20enterprises.%20But%20that%20was%20before%20oil%20was%20discovered%20in%20the%20region%20in%201938.%20After%20the%20interruption%20of%20World%20War%20II,%20Kuwait's%20economy%20underwent%20a%20massive%20transformation.%20Oil%20revenue%20flowing%20into%20Kuwait%20City%20tripled%20from%201951%20to%201952,%20and%20then%20tripled%20again%20from%201952%20to%201953.%20%20%20%20%20%20%20A%20leading%20player%20in%20the%20rush%20to%20develop%20the%20oil%20fields%20of%20Kuwait%20was%20the%20U.S.%20company%20Bechtel,%20an%20engineering%20firm%20now%20ranked%20as%20the%20fifth-largest%20privately%20owned%20company%20in%20the%20world.%20In%20the%201940s%20and%20'50s,%20Bechtel%20was%20responsible%20for%20many%20of%20the%20construction%20projects%20throughout%20the%20Gulf%20region.%20One%20employee%20of%20the%20company,%20Francis%20Hadden%20Andrus,%20kept%20an%20album%20of%20photographs%20he%20took%20in%20Kuwait%20around%20195o,%20which%20were%20digitzed%20by%20David%20C.%20Foster.%20The%20following%20photos%20-- %20all%20taken%20from%20Andrus's%20beautiful%20collection%20of%20images%20--%20show%20a%20society%20on%20the%20brink%20of%20change, %20in%20which%20Studebakers%20shared%20the%20roads%20with%20camels.%20%20%20%20%20%20%20Above,%20Yousef%20Ahmad%20al-Ghanim,%20a%20prominent%20Kuwaiti%20businessman%20who%20went%20on%20to%20found%20many%20businesses, %20and%20Tom%20Mohney,%20a%20Bechtel%20employee%20standing%20to%20his%20right,%20pose%20in%20front%20of%20an%20Oldsmobile%20in%20the%20Persian%20Gulf%20in%201950.

Once Upon a Time in Kuwait

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http://Few%20things%20can%20alter%20a%20society%20as%20radically%20as%20the%20discovery%20of%20oil,%20and%20few%20places%20prove%20this%20as%20vividly%20as%20the%20Gulf%20states.%20The%20economy%20of%20Kuwait,%20for%20example,%20depended%20historically%20on%20its%20natural%20harbor%20in%20the%20Persian%20Gulf,%20which%20linked%20it%20to%20the%20thriving%20pearl%20trade%20and%20allowed%20for%20the%20flourishing%20of%20other%20maritime%20enterprises.%20But%20that%20was%20before%20oil%20was%20discovered%20in%20the%20region%20in%201938.%20After%20the%20interruption%20of%20World%20War%20II,%20Kuwait's%20economy%20underwent%20a%20massive%20transformation.%20Oil%20revenue%20flowing%20into%20Kuwait%20City%20tripled%20from%201951%20to%201952,%20and%20then%20tripled%20again%20from%201952%20to%201953.%20%20%20%20%20%20%20A%20leading%20player%20in%20the%20rush%20to%20develop%20the%20oil%20fields%20of%20Kuwait%20was%20the%20U.S.%20company%20Bechtel,%20an%20engineering%20firm%20now%20ranked%20as%20the%20fifth-largest%20privately%20owned%20company%20in%20the%20world.%20In%20the%201940s%20and%20'50s,%20Bechtel%20was%20responsible%20for%20many%20of%20the%20construction%20projects%20throughout%20the%20Gulf%20region.%20One%20employee%20of%20the%20company,%20Francis%20Hadden%20Andrus,%20kept%20an%20album%20of%20photographs%20he%20took%20in%20Kuwait%20around%20195o,%20which%20were%20digitzed%20by%20David%20C.%20Foster.%20The%20following%20photos%20-- %20all%20taken%20from%20Andrus's%20beautiful%20collection%20of%20images%20--%20show%20a%20society%20on%20the%20brink%20of%20change, %20in%20which%20Studebakers%20shared%20the%20roads%20with%20camels.%20%20%20%20%20%20%20Above,%20Yousef%20Ahmad%20al-Ghanim,%20a%20prominent%20Kuwaiti%20businessman%20who%20went%20on%20to%20found%20many%20businesses, %20and%20Tom%20Mohney,%20a%20Bechtel%20employee%20standing%20to%20his%20right,%20pose%20in%20front%20of%20an%20Oldsmobile%20in%20the%20Persian%20Gulf%20in%201950.

Few things can alter a society as radically as the discovery of oil, and few places prove this as vividly as the Gulf states. The economy of Kuwait, for example, depended historically on its natural harbor in the Persian Gulf, which linked it to the thriving pearl trade and allowed for the flourishing of other maritime enterprises. But that was before oil was discovered in the region in 1938. After the interruption of World War II, Kuwait's economy underwent a massive transformation. Oil revenue flowing into Kuwait City tripled from 1951 to 1952, and then tripled again from 1952 to 1953.

A leading player in the rush to develop the oil fields of Kuwait was the U.S. company Bechtel, an engineering firm now ranked as the fifth-largest privately owned company in the world. In the 1940s and '50s, Bechtel was responsible for many of the construction projects throughout the Gulf region. One employee of the company, Francis Hadden Andrus, kept an album of photographs he took in Kuwait around 195o, which were digitzed by David C. Foster. The following photos --  all taken from Andrus's beautiful collection of images -- show a society on the brink of change,  in which Studebakers shared the roads with camels.

Above, Yousef Ahmad al-Ghanim, a prominent Kuwaiti businessman who went on to found many businesses,  and Tom Mohney, a Bechtel employee standing to his right, pose in front of an Oldsmobile in the Persian Gulf in 1950.

http://According%20to%20Professor%20Kristin%20Diwan%20of%20American%20University,%20the%201950s%20were%20when%20life%20in%20Kuwait%20began%20its%20rapid%20change.%20Imported%20goods%20quadrupled%20over%20the%20decade%20as%20oil%20wealth%20spread,%20and%20it%20wasn't%20only%20goods%20that%20began%20to%20flow%20into%20Kuwait.%20"It%20is%20also%20the%20first%20time%20foreign%20laborers%20are%20being%20imported,"%20says%20Diwan.%20From%20about%201946-1957,%20the%20population%20tripled,%20mostly%20due%20to%20an%20influx%20of%20Palestinians%20and%20other%20Arabs%20working%20as%20laborers.%20%20%20%20%20%20Above,%20an%20unidentified%20man%20poses%20in%20Kuwait%20in%201950.

According to Professor Kristin Diwan of American University, the 1950s were when life in Kuwait began its rapid change. Imported goods quadrupled over the decade as oil wealth spread, and it wasn't only goods that began to flow into Kuwait. "It is also the first time foreign laborers are being imported," says Diwan. From about 1946-1957, the population tripled, mostly due to an influx of Palestinians and other Arabs working as laborers.

Above, an unidentified man poses in Kuwait in 1950.

http://One%20reason%20Kuwait's%20infrastructure%20development%20lagged%20before%20oil%20was%20discovered%20was%20the%20lack%20of%20potable%20water.%20The%20city-state%20was%20completely%20dependent%20on%20imported%20water%20until%20the%20first%20desalination%20plant%20was%20built%20in%20the%201950s.%20Kuwaitis%20have%20told%20Diwan%20that%20before%20the%20plant%20was%20built,%20dhows%20would%20travel%20to%20the%20Shatt%20al-Arab%20in%20Iraq%20to%20collect%20water%20for%20the%20city,%20a%20labor-intensive%20and%20time-consuming%20feat.%20%20%20%20%20%20%20Above,%20fishing%20boats%20are%20anchored%20in%20the%20Kuwait%20City%20harbor%20in%201950.

One reason Kuwait's infrastructure development lagged before oil was discovered was the lack of potable water. The city-state was completely dependent on imported water until the first desalination plant was built in the 1950s. Kuwaitis have told Diwan that before the plant was built, dhows would travel to the Shatt al-Arab in Iraq to collect water for the city, a labor-intensive and time-consuming feat.

Above, fishing boats are anchored in the Kuwait City harbor in 1950.

http://A%20man%20carries%20water%20in%20Kuwait%20City%20in%201950.

A man carries water in Kuwait City in 1950.

http:// %20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20Even%20before%20the%20oil%20wealth,%20Kuwait%20had%20developed%20a%20social%20hierarchy%20%20%20centered%20around%20the%20merchant%20class%20that%20grew%20out%20of%20the%20pearl%20industry. %20During%20the%20oil%20era,%20wealthy%20Kuwaitis%20sent%20their%20children%20to%20study%20abroad%20and%20invested%20in%20cultural%20development%20at%20home.%20As%20a%20result,%20says%20Diwan,%20"They%20quickly%20become%20the%20most%20advanced%20culture%20in%20the%20Gulf.%20They%20become%20known%20for%20their%20culture%20and%20their%20music."%20%20%20%20Here,%20young%20girls%20pose%20in%20front%20of%20a%20car.

 

Even before the oil wealth, Kuwait had developed a social hierarchy centered around the merchant class that grew out of the pearl industry.  During the oil era, wealthy Kuwaitis sent their children to study abroad and invested in cultural development at home. As a result, says Diwan, "They quickly become the most advanced culture in the Gulf. They become known for their culture and their music."

Here, young girls pose in front of a car.

http://Women%20walk%20through%20the%20city%20market%20in%201950.

Women walk through the city market in 1950.

http://To%20distribute%20oil%20wealth%20throughout%20its%20small%20population,%20the%20Kuwaiti%20government%20began%20buying%20real%20estate%20in%20the%20city%20center%20from%20locals%20at%20vastly%20inflated%20prices,%20then%20moved%20inhabitants%20to%20newly%20built%20suburban%20developments.%20Ambitious%20development%20projects%20were%20then%20begun%20along%20the%20harbor.%20%20%20%20%20%20Above,%20a%20man%20transports%20dates%20in%20a%20large%20basket.

To distribute oil wealth throughout its small population, the Kuwaiti government began buying real estate in the city center from locals at vastly inflated prices, then moved inhabitants to newly built suburban developments. Ambitious development projects were then begun along the harbor.

Above, a man transports dates in a large basket.

http://Above,%20a%20busy%20scene%20in%20the%20market%20in%20Kuwait%20City%20in%201950.%20The%20buildings%20shown%20here%20are%20made%20of%20mud%20with%20palm%20fronds;%20Diwan%20notes%20that%20all%20such%20buildings%20were%20destroyed%20in%20Kuwait%20during%20the%20push%20toward%20modernization.%20"They%20flattened%20the%20old%20city.%20It%20was%20part%20of%20their%20plan%20to%20erase%20this%20old%20past%20and%20to%20move%20quickly%20into%20development."

Above, a busy scene in the market in Kuwait City in 1950. The buildings shown here are made of mud with palm fronds; Diwan notes that all such buildings were destroyed in Kuwait during the push toward modernization. "They flattened the old city. It was part of their plan to erase this old past and to move quickly into development."

http:// %20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20Americans%20flooded%20into%20the%20area%20to%20work%20on%20ambitious%20construction%20projects%20such%20as%20the%20ones%20spearheaded%20by%20Bechtel.%20These%20American%20workers%20made%20a%20mark%20on%20the%20nascent%20city%20planning%20being%20undertaken%20by%20the%20local%20government.%20"It's%20an%20American%20sort%20of%20layout%20because%20a%20lot%20of%20Americans%20came%20in%20early%20and%20made%20a%20lasting%20impression,"%20says%20Diwan,%20who%20has%20traveled%20in%20Kuwait%20and%20throughout%20the%20Gulf%20region.%20"They%20also%20left%20a%20strong%20cultural%20mark,"%20she%20notes.%20"You%20can%20still%20get%20%5Bthe%20popular%20Texas%20brand%5D%20Bluebell%20ice%20cream%20in%20Kuwait."%20%20%20%20%20%20Above,%20three%20unidentified%20Bechtel%20International%20employees%20pose%20in%20Kuwait%20City%20in%201950.

 

Americans flooded into the area to work on ambitious construction projects such as the ones spearheaded by Bechtel. These American workers made a mark on the nascent city planning being undertaken by the local government. "It's an American sort of layout because a lot of Americans came in early and made a lasting impression," says Diwan, who has traveled in Kuwait and throughout the Gulf region. "They also left a strong cultural mark," she notes. "You can still get [the popular Texas brand] Bluebell ice cream in Kuwait."

Above, three unidentified Bechtel International employees pose in Kuwait City in 1950.

http://Men%20smoke%20tobacco%20in%20a%20local%20coffee%20shop.

Men smoke tobacco in a local coffee shop.

http://While%20the%20influx%20of%20foreign%20workers%20had%20not%20yet%20fully%20begun%20in%20Kuwait%20in%201950,%20it%20would%20soon%20prove%20to%20be%20an%20important%20force%20in%20the%20growing%20petro-state.%20According%20to%20Diwan,%20in%20the%20late%201950s%20and%2060s,%20"you%20see%20a%20big%20Arab%20nationalist%20push%20--%20a%20lot%20of%20that%20comes%20from%20the%20Palestinians%20they%20brought%20to%20the%20country%20[to%20work],%20along%20with%20the%20rise%20of%20[President%20Gamal%20Abdel]%20Nasser%20in%20Egypt."%20%20%20%20%20%20Above,%20a%20contract%20worker%20for%20Bechtel%20International%20enjoys%20a%20snack.

While the influx of foreign workers had not yet fully begun in Kuwait in 1950, it would soon prove to be an important force in the growing petro-state. According to Diwan, in the late 1950s and 60s, "you see a big Arab nationalist push -- a lot of that comes from the Palestinians they brought to the country [to work], along with the rise of [President Gamal Abdel] Nasser in Egypt."

Above, a contract worker for Bechtel International enjoys a snack.

http://Men%20make%20bricks%20in%201950%20using%20traditional%20%20methods.

Men make bricks in 1950 using traditional methods.

http://After%20oil%20was%20discovered%20in%20Kuwait%20in%201938,%20Britain%20seized%20the%20%20%20area%20for%20itself.%20Throughout%20the%20booming%201950s,%20the%20British%20remained%20technically%20in%20charge,%20although%20the%20merchant%20class%20the%20local%20%20%20merchant%20class%20had%20some%20success%20in%20maintaining%20some%20political%20control.%20%20%20When%20Kuwait%20finally%20achieved%20independence%20in%201961,%20this%20merchant%20class%20was%20%20%20able%20to%20help%20shepard%20the%20increasingly%20wealthy%20society%20into%20becoming%20one%20%20%20of%20the%20more%20successful%20Gulf%20states.%20%20%20%20Here,%20Kuwaiti%20policemen%20wear%20British-style%20winter%20coats%20in%201950.

After oil was discovered in Kuwait in 1938, Britain seized the area for itself. Throughout the booming 1950s, the British remained technically in charge, although the merchant class the local merchant class had some success in maintaining some political control. When Kuwait finally achieved independence in 1961, this merchant class was able to help shepard the increasingly wealthy society into becoming one of the more successful Gulf states.

Here, Kuwaiti policemen wear British-style winter coats in 1950.

http:// %20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20A%20man%20smiles%20while%20riding%20a%20camel%20in%201950.

 


A man smiles while riding a camel in 1950.

http://Above,%20people%20throng%20a%20central%20square%20in%20crowded%20Kuwait%20City.%20At%20this%20time,%20Kuwait%20was%20mostly%20comprised%20of%20Kuwait%20City,%20with%20another%20portion%20of%20the%20population%20still%20living%20a%20nomadic%20lifestyle%20in%20the%20surrounding%20desert%20areas.



Above, people throng a central square in crowded Kuwait City. At this time, Kuwait was mostly comprised of Kuwait City, with another portion of the population still living a nomadic lifestyle in the surrounding desert areas.

http://Rural%20workers%20balance%20containers%20on%20their%20heads%20during%20a%20project. 

Rural workers balance containers on their heads during a project. 

http://A%20man%20walks%20behind%20donkeys.



A man walks behind donkeys.

http://An%20unknown%20man%20sits%20in%20a%20first-generation%20Pontiac%20Eight.%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20 

An unknown man sits in a first-generation Pontiac Eight.

 

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