‘Report on the administration of the Persian Gulf Political Residency and Muscat Political Agency for 1884-85.’ [13v] (22/130)
The record is made up of 1 volume (63 folios). It was created in 1885. It was written in English. 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.
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ADMINISTEATION EEPOET OF THE PERSIAN GULF Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. POLITICAL
shelves, they rig out poles by means of which they fish for sharks ; but it is a dan 0 eio P
tion, and several are said to perish annually by falling* off into the sea beiOW.
At night the fires lighted in the caves by the natives give the promontory a smgulai
appearance, and it is the only indication of the face of the cliff being inhabited, as t e ei
and caves are invisible from the sea during the day-time.
At Nishton, where the Dragon next anchored, one of the headmen was found to be
Salim-bin-Barukeyn, the Mahra who had succoured the Knight of the Bath's crew in June
1883 near Ras Sankireh. The old man expressed himself as being grateful for the liberal
treatment he had received from the owners of that vessel and the attention shown him in
Bombay, and observed that from being a poor fisherman he had become a merchant and a
headman of his village. The fame of Salim -bin-Barukeyn s good fortune has spread ever}
where along the coast, and has had an excellent effect; it is believed that the Aiabs will e
more inclined in future, after observing the liberality shown in these two instances^ to succoui
any Europeans who may happen to be wrecked on the shores of Southern Arabia.
The Jiry appears to have struck on a bank or reef off the point of Nishton Bay in
about two fathoms, and to have subsequently rolled off into deeper water; the crew, having
suffered from drinking the brackish water at Nishton, were carried on by the Arabs aftei a
few days to Dhaboot, 9 miles further to the north, where they remained until they embaiked
in the bugla for Muscat. The Makaddam of Dhaboot, Sheikh Awadth, is a fine-looking old
man, and seemed much gratified at the recognition by Government of his kindness to the
sailors. Two of the headmen of Nishton, Sheikhs Muhammad and Moosa, who happened to
be here, received their presents at the same time as Sheikh Awadth.
A few miles further up the Bay of El Kamar is Gheither, a small village of 30 houses,
but where a good deal of trade is done, as it is the terminus and depot of an impoitant icad
leading to the interior of Hadhramant. From Gheiter to Tereem passing through Ainat is
counted fifteen days'* journey, and the chief halting-place is Minar, about 6(J miles from the
sea. The road is level all the way.
Damkot, the next place visited by the Dragon, is a small Mahra town of about 100
houses built at the foot of a ravine at the bottom of this bay. There are about 300 inhabit
ants, and there is some little trade, but the people seemed very poor ; they have no dates or
corn, and possess only a few camels, goats, and cattle. The exports are frankincense, ghi, and
sardine oil. The Makaddam, a decrepit old man, said he remembered the boats of the Palinurus
being engaged in surveying the coast half a century ago. and had seen no ship here since then.
None of the people had ever seen a steamer before, and they had in fact shown evident signs of
alarm at the Dragon's approach, some clustering together, and others scampering away up
the hills at the back; but they were soon reassured. The ravine or gorge which is named
Showeyta divides the town into two parts and forms below a long lagoon or creek, the upper
part of which is sweet, becoming salt as it nears the sea. The ancient burial-ground lies
between the town and the sea ; it is very extensive and believed to be pre-Islamitic. The graves
are nearly circular and 10 or 13 feet in diameter.
Passing Has Sajar, which marks the southern limit of the territories of the Sultan of
Muscat, the Dragon arrived at Sallala and anchored off there on the 19th December. The
district of Dhofar, according to some, includes the whole tract lying between Ras Eesoot and
Ras Noos, consisting of a maritime plain 85 miles long, enclosed by the lofty range of Jebel
Samhan, which touches the sea at these points. But the application of the name is more usually
restricted to the rich alluvial plain between Resoot and Thakah. This plain, which is of half-
moon shape, is 30 miles in length, with an extreme breadth of about 14, and is formed by
the curvature of the hill range ; the coast-lines subtending this arc lying due east and west and
having a sharp turn or bay at Resoot and Merbat, which form sheltered harbours for vessels in
the south-west and north-east monsoons respectively. It is one of the most fertile and
favoured districts on the southern coast of Arabia, and its chequered history shows that it has
ever been a coveted possession. Extensive ruins of towns and forts scattered over its surface
are an attestation of a former populousness and importance that have long since passed away.
Dhofar contains at present five separate towns, all of them near the sea—Okad, Sallala, El
Hafah, El Dahareez, and Thakah. The Governor and his garrison reside at Sallala. Numer
ous wadies or water-courses intersect the plain, some of which, are well wooded and grassy
while others form small fresh-water lakes. The range about Merbat rises to an elevation of
3,000 or 4,000 feet, and is thickly wooded to the summit with tamarind and acacia, frankin
cense and bdellium, dragon's-blood and other gum-resinous trees, and affords pasturage to herds
About this item
Administration Report on the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. Residency A diplomatic office of the British Government established in the provinces and regions considered part of, or under the influence of, British India. and Muscat Political Agency An office of the British Government and, earlier, of the East India Company. for the year 1884-85, published by Authority by the Superintendent of Government Printing, Calcutta [Kolkata]. A copy of a letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Charles Ross, Political Resident A senior ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul General) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Residency. in the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. , to Henry Mortimer Durand, Secretary to the Government of India (Foreign Department), dated 18 May 1885, is included in the report (folio 5), the original of which submitted the report to Government, under the following headings:
Part 1 ( General Summary ), written by Ross, dated 30 April 1885 (folios 6-11), containing summaries of local political affairs, and incidents or events of particular note for: Oman and the Pirate Coast; Bahrain; Nejd, El-Hasa [Al-Hasa] and El-Katr [Qatar]; Fars; Persian Arabistan; Persian Baluchistan; and Bassidore. The report also records a marked increase in the slave trade to the Gulf from Africa; summaries of changes in official personnel; British naval movements in the Gulf; and a summary of meteorological events observed at the Bushire observatory. Appendix A contains tabulated and graphical meteorological data for the year, supplied by the Bushire observatory.
Part 2 ( Administration Report of the Muscat Political Agency An office of the British Government and, earlier, of the East India Company. for the year 1884-85 ), submitted by Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Barrett Miles, Her Britannic Majesty’s Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. and Consul at Muscat (folios 12-23), containing a summary of affairs at Muscat, and an additional short report on the revival of the slave trade between Muscat and Zanzibar, a likely result, suggests Miles, of the departure of HMS London from Zanzibar. Appendix A is a report of Miles’s visit to Ras Fartak. Appendix B is an historical sketch, also written by Miles, on the Portuguese in Eastern Arabia.
Part 3 ( Report on Trade for the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. for 1884 ), written by Ross and dated April 1885 (folios 24-59), comprising a short summary of the year’s trade, with notes on: grain; opium; cotton; tobacco; imported goods; the increase in piece goods; sugar; the activities of European firms in the Gulf; steamers; the Dutch Commercial Treaty; trade routes; naphtha springs; and pearl fishing. Appendix A comprises tabulated data on import, exports and revenue, in the Gulf ports of Bushire, Lingah [Bandar-e Lengeh], Bunder Abbass [Bandar-e ʻAbbās], Bahrain and the Arab (Oman) coast. An index to the trade tables can be found at folios 25-26.
Part 4 (Trade [at Muscat]), submitted by Miles (folios 59-66), comprising a short summary of the year’s trade at Muscat, and an appendix containing tabulated data on imports and exports at Muscat (listed by commodity), and the nationality and average tonnage of vessels visiting Muscat.
- Extent and format
- 1 volume (63 folios)
The report is arranged into four numbered parts, with lettered appendices containing further reports and statistical data after each part.
- Physical characteristics
Condition: Some tears and holes in the paper, but not sufficient to impair legibility. Fold-out at f 10.
Foliation: There is a foliation sequence, which 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, on number 4, and ends on the last folio, on number 66.
Pagination: The volume contains an original typed pagination sequence.
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- IOR/V/23/47, No 207
- ‘Report on the administration of the Persian Gulf Political Residency and Muscat Political Agency for 1884-85.’
- front, 3v:67r, back
- East India Company, the Board of Control, the India Office, or other British Government Department
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