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'Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. Vol I. Historical. Part II. J G Lorimer. 1915' [‎2230] (747/1262)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (1165 pages). It was created in 1915. It was written in English and Arabic. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers Documents collected in a private capacity. .


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(singular, Mufliqah ) under the personal superintendence of the
Nakhuda, who takes charge of the pearls as they are extracted, and
registers their weights and descriptions at such intervals as he considers
necessary. Of the shells, only the best—that is to say some 3 or 4
percent, of the whole—are kept, and the remainder are returned to
the sea along with the juvenile oysters, ~ the latter unopened but unlikely,
it is believed, to survive a separation of 16 hours on the average from
their native element. The process of opening the oysters is unpleasant,
owing: to the smell and to the insects which it sometimes attracts.
The divers, before they commence operations for the day, are allowed
a light meal of half a pound of dates and a few cups of coffee each.
Once they have entered the water, work is continued without intermis- ;
sion until Dhuhr (in the pearling season about 1-30 or 2 p.m .) when it |
is suspended for prayers, a few cups of coffee, and an hour^s rest; nor is it
again interrupted, after being resumed in the afternoon, until the
approach of evening. Soon after Maghrib or evening prayers the
divers take a substantial meal of fish, rice and dates, and then, after a
little smoking and coffee-drinking, retire to rest for the night.
The Ghais, before entering the sea, strips off his clothes, places a pair
of horn pincers called Fatam (plural, Aftamah ) on his
nose to compress his nostrils, plugs his ears with cotton-wool, or bees'
wax, and puts on leather finger-stalls, called Khabat kxz. (singular, j
Khabatah ) to protect his fingers from abrasions; he also
attaches a small bag or Diyin (plural, Diyain co i r
matting to his person, by hanging it round his neck or fastening it to his
waist. To aid him in his descent he has a stone or lead sinker weighing
10 to 14 lbs.; this is fastened to a rope called Zaibal cfej (phM
Ziyabil ), having above the weight a noose, in which the diver :
places his foot and so is lowered to the bottom of the sea; a seeond
rope, called Ida )^J (plural Ayadi ), is fixed to
his girdle and is u«ed to raise him to the surface again. On reaching tn e
bottom the diver removes his foot from the noose in the Zaibal; which is
immediately hauled up by his attendant Saib.. and proceeds to grope his
way along the bottom with one hand and one foot, using the second foot j
to propel himself and the disengaged hand to collect oysters within his
reach, and place them in the Diyin. It is said that the oysters are gener
ally found open-mouthed, but close up when approached. Whe" ' ie
cannot hold_ his breath any longer, the diver signals to the Sain b}
jerking the Ida to which he clings, and is immediately pulled up to
surface and relieved of the shells he has brought. The shells gathere
by a Ghais in a single plunge or Tabbah (plural, Tabbat^ )
generally number from 5 to 20 ; sometimes however he returns e ^ re ^
empty-handed. The time occupied by the plunge is usually from 40
7 5 seconds, but only a few divers can remain below water for more an
one minute * In the intervals between plunges, the Ghais, unless the se^
is rough, rests in the water, supporting himself by an oar or by a r 0 l^
which hangs over the side of the boat. The same diver will make a
* In Ceylon it was observed that few divers remained more than Ig
below, and that none reached 2 minutes ; 15 oysters was apparently an ora
number for a diver to bring up with him.

About this item


This volume is Volume I, Part II (Historical) of the Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. , ’Omān and Central Arabia (Government of India: 1915), compiled by John Gordon Lorimer and completed for press by Captain L Birdwood.

Part II contains an 'Introduction' (pages i-iii) written by Birdwood in Simla, dated 10 October 1914, 'Table of Chapters, Annexures, Appendices and Genealogical Tables' (pags v-viii), and 'Detailed Table of Contents' (ix-cxxx). These are also found in Volume I, Part IA of the Gazetteer (IOR/L/PS/20/C91/1).

Part II consists of three chapters:

  • 'Chapter X. History of ’Arabistān' (pages 1625-1775);
  • 'Chapter XI. History of the Persian Coast and Islands' (pages 1776-2149);
  • 'Chapter XII. History of Persian Makrān' (pages 2150-2203).

The chapters are followed by nineteen appendices:

Extent and format
1 volume (1165 pages)

Volume I, Part II is arranged into chapters that are sub-divided into numbered periods covering, for example, the reign of a ruler or regime of a Viceroy, or are arbitrarily based on outstanding land-marks in the history of the region. Each period has been sub-divided into subject headings, each of which has been lettered. The appendices are sub-divided into lettered subject headings and also contain numbered annexures, as well as charts. Both the chapters and appendices have further subject headings that appear in the right and left margins of the page. Footnotes appear occasionally througout the volume at the bottom of the page which provide further details and references. A 'Detailed Table of Contents' for Part II and the Appendices is on pages cii-cxxx.

Physical characteristics

The foliation sequence is circled in pencil, in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. of each folio. It begins on the first folio with text, on number 879, and ends on the last folio with text, on number 1503.

Written in
English and Arabic in Latin and Arabic script
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'Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. Vol I. Historical. Part II. J G Lorimer. 1915' [‎2230] (747/1262), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/20/C91/2, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 4 December 2023]

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