A portrait of Mubarak Al-Kabeer is displayed at the event. A portrait of Mubarak Al-Kabeer is displayed at the event.

KUWAIT: The memory of Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, or 'Mubarak Al-Kabeer,' will remain forever in the hearts and minds of the Kuwaiti people, honorable Arabs and the world at large, Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah said.

History will never forget Mubarak Al-Kabeer's achievements for the renaissance of Kuwait, the Minister said on Sunday in his address to a ceremony on the 100th anniversary of the death of Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, held at the National Library of Kuwait.

The late Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, may God bless his soul, was known for his effective political role, and his efforts for enhancing Kuwait's foreign relations, securing the country a prominent place on the world map, Sheikh Salman said.

During the era of Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, who ruled the country from 1896 to 1915, Kuwait flourished, as the first government school was opened, Al-Mubarakiya in 1912, in addition to the Seif Palace, seat of government, together with drawing Kuwait's first official map.

In addition, Mubarak Al-Kabeer laid the basis for Kuwait's political and diplomatic ties with the world, when an office was opened for the British Commission in Kuwait, and the country received the first British official representative, a consul.

Other achievements of the era include the foundation of the American Mission Hospital, opening Kuwaiti trade offices abroad, raising the first Kuwaiti flag, establishing the first customs system and the first post office and concluding a protectorate agreement with Britain.

Strong leader

Meanwhile, Sheikh Mubarak Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah addressed the ceremony, saying that Mubarak Al-Kabeer was a strong leader who enjoyed wise political leadership at a time when the Europeans eyed Kuwait, amid a feverish competition then on seizing parts of the Ottoman Empire.

He cited a British leading politician as saying in 1911 that Kuwait under the strong first fist of Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah is the safest and best-ruled in the Gulf. At the time, Mubarak Al-Kabeer was awarded the title of 'Lion of the Peninsula.'

Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah carried the first torch for Kuwait's renaissance toward modernization, director of the National Library Kamel Suleiman Al-Abduljaleel said. Historical documents demonstrate that the late Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah was a skilled shipmaster and a wise leader who led Kuwait at a time of storm and greed by the super powers of the time, Abduljaleel said. Moreover, he laid the basis of a balanced policy that guaranteed Kuwait security, stability and revival.

Digital system

Meanwhile, Abduljaleel said that the National Library had started a project to turn the old books of Kuwait's history into a digital system to maintain them for future generations. Kuwait under Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah flourished and achieved prosperity and stability, researcher Bassim Al-Loughani said.

Mubarak Al-Kabeer left a priceless historical legacy, he added. He also left such valuable documents and messages kept at the British, Ottoman and French archives. The forum of the centenary of Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah's death runs as far as 3 December, including a host of activities, seminars, lectures and a photo and a document gallery. - KUNA