‘Report on the administration of the Persian Gulf Political Residency and Muscat Political Agency for 1884-85.’ [21r] (37/130)
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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EESIDENCY AND MUSCAT POLITICAL
An office of the British Government and, earlier, of the East India Company.
The Turks could now no longer conceal from themselves the evident superiority of the
Portuo-uese at sea; their efforts against them hitherto, so far from breaking up the Portuguese
power, had had, on the contrary, the effect of extending its prestige. Had the Turks been
able to foresee more clearly the dire results in the future to their empire from the change in
the course of trade effected by the Portuguese they would doubtless have put forth the utmost
of their strength in the East and combined with the Asiatics to expel their rivals from
Being then in the plenitude of their strength, they might thus possibly have kept
Europeans out of the Indian Ocean for many a year to come. The battle of Lepanto had not
yet been fought, and the Turks were still supposed to be invincible at sea in Europe; but not
even the genius of Suliman the Great, who now reigned at Stamboul, seems to have grasped
the vital importance to himself of crushing the Portuguese enterprise in the East. He struck
one final blow at them, however, before relinquishing the contest and leaving the Portuguese
to enjoy the fruits of their discoveries and monopoly. It so happened that this final struggle
was also the most hardly contested and decisive sea fights in which the Turks had till then
been engaged. It foreshadowed the disasters of Lepanto, and is descubed by the Turkish
historian as a greater affair than the battle between Barbarossa and the allied fleet under the
Spanish Admiral Andrea Doria, fought off Prevesa in the Mediterranean in 1538.
The remainder of Moorad's ill-fated squadron formed the nucleus of the new fleet, the
organization and command of which were entrusted by Sultan Suliman to the Capudan of
Egypt, Sidi Ali-bin-Hoosain. At the close of the year 1553, having arrived at Basra by way of
Aleppo and Mosul, Sidi Ali at once commenced his preparations, and in July 1554 set sail from
Basra. The Grovernor of this city, Mustapha Pasha, who had been despatched by the Porte with
a frigate to Hormuz, had informed the Capudan Sidi Ali that the infidels had only four ships,
and the Capudan, expecting an easy conquest, pressed on in eager search through the Straits of
Mussendom. The Portuguese fleet was first sighted by him off the port of Khor Eakan; but
it was much larger than he had been led to anticipate, for it consisted of three galleons, four
barges, six guard-ships, and twelve golletas. The story of the fight that ensued is thus told
by Mitchell from the Turkish of Hajji Khalifa :—
" The Moslems immediately hoisted their colours, weighed anchor, and got in readiness all their warlike
machines. With flags hoisted and sails spread, and looking in confidence to the Supreme Being, they set up
Muhammadan shouts and commenced an attack the fierceness of which baffles description. By the favour of God
their fire struck one of the Portuguese galleons, which was wrecked on the Island of Fak-al-Asad. They fought
bravely till nightfall, when the Capudan hoisted the lights. The infidels, however, fired a gun as the signal of
" retreat and fled to Hormuz. Thus by the favour of God the victory was left to the Moslems, who, favoured by
the winds, departed next day for the city of Khor Fakan, where the troops took in a supply of fresh water, and
after 17 days' sailing arrived in the neighbourhood of Muscat and Kilhat.
" On the morning of the 26th Ramzan (26th August 1554) the Captain of Goa, the son of the Governor, left
the harbour of Muscat, and with his barges, guard-ships, and galleon, with their mainsails spread and colours
flying, sailed against the Moslems, who, still trusting in God, remained near the shore prepared for battle. The
enemy's barges first came up and attacked the galleys, when a sharp fire was opened on both sides and a furious
engagement ensued. The infidels then began to shower down their hand-grenades from the maintops upon the
galleys, one of which and a barge which was near it they burnt by throwing a bomb into the galley: five
-alleys and as many barges were driven ashore and lost. Another barge was driven ashore by the violence with
which the wind beat against it and was lost. At length the sailors and the troops on both sides were exhausted,
the former being unable to pull at the oars and the latter to work the guns any longer : they were obliged there-
fore to cast anchor ; but even in this position they fought for some time with springs to the cables. They were
finallv obliged to abandon their boats. Elmshah Reis Kara Mustaffa and Kalfat Mumi, the commanders of the
lost galleys, and Durzi Mustaffa Beg, the commander of the volunteers, with about 200 Egyptian soldiers, reached
the shore in safety and afterwards returned to the fleet, bringing with them many Arabs to the assistance of
the Moslems The infidels also recovered their men who were in the barges which had been driven ashore.
This battle was even greater than that between Khair-ud-Deen and Andrea Doria. Few soldiers are known to
have ever been engaged in such a fight. At last, when night approached, a strong gale began to Wow and each
of the barges threw out two stream anchors; but the men on board were so overcome with fatigue that they were
obliged to stand out from the shore and sail before the wind. In this way they came to the coast of Bar Jask,
w here, finding plenty of sea, they succeeded in reaching Bander Shahbar in Mekran. Here they took in water,
and by the direction of a pilot reached Bunder Gwadur."
The Turks, in short, were completely defeated, and there was no mincing matters. The
decisive effect of the victory is shown by the fact that they never more confronted the
Portuguese Navy in the Indian Ocean.
Sidi Ali, after some adventures, w^as wrecked in a storm and had to abandon his vessels at
Surat, from whence he returned to Constantinople overland four years afterwards.
This notable sea-fight took place off Fahil, a rocky islet about 6 miles from Muscat, which
was henceforth called by the Portuguese the ff Island of Victory."
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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