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‘Report on the administration of the Persian Gulf Political Residency and Muscat Political Agency for 1884-85.’ [‎23r] (41/130)

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 Documents collected in a private capacity. .

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RESIDENCY An office of the East India Company and, later, of the British Raj, established in the provinces and regions considered part of, or under the influence of, British India. AND MUSCAT POLITICAL AGENCY An office of the East India Company and, later, of the British Raj, headed by an agent. FOE 1884-85.
39
The siege was prosecuted vigorously by him, and Hormuz would no doubt soon have fallen
again into the hands of the Portuguese had not a fleet of ten English and Dutch ships arrived to
relieve it. This changed the aspect of affairs, and Iluy Frere was a second time compelled to
withdraw his hand when the fruit was almost within bis grasp. He retired first to Larek,
and from thence to Khor El-Shem, intending to wait for the expected main body of the flee
from Goa. He was doomed to disappointment. The European enemies of the Portuguese were
now too powerful in the Gulf to permit them to regain their old supremacy, and all hopes of
the re -conquest of Hormuz had to be abandoned.
But although Hormuz was lost, Muscat still remained, and no efforts were spared by the
Portuguese to force the trade of the Gulf to this place and to raise it to the same commercial
grandeur as Hormuz. It was all in vain; for their reputation was against them, and while
the native merchants feared to trust them, the English, who were rapidly gaining the ascend
ancy in the Gulf, did their best to concentrate the trade at Basra and Gombroon. The popu
lation of the town, however, became at once largely augmented, and the Arab tribes m the
vicinity, who had always been kept on good terms by the payment of subsidies, were further
propitiated. By the fall of Hormuz the connection existing between that island and the
Oman coast which had existed for three and a half centuries came to an end, though it is related
that Muhammad Shah, the nephew of the old King of Hormuz, was brought to Muscat by the
Portuguese who endeavoured to compel the coast Arabs to recognise him as their king.
Among the improvements undertaken at this time in Muscat were the rebuilding of the town
wall extending from Booma Salih to Bab Methaib, and the excavation of the fosse beyond; a
new customs house and a landing-place and dock at the creek. Further protection also was
afforded to the town by the erection of the towers at the passes of Kalboos, lliam, and Sedab.
In 162-3,^6 Governor of Muscat was Martino Alfonso deMello; this officer resided for the
most part of the year in the factory An East India Company trading post. or " Gareyza," but during the hot weather he occupied
Fort Capitan, which was at this time deemed of more importance than Fort Sam Joao (Jelali),
the former citadel. There were two churches, one of which was the see of the Vicar,
generally an Augustinian friar and dedicated to the Virgem del Rozario; and the other, called
Delia Gratia, was the property of the Augustinians, four of whom resided in it.
As Hormuz had been lost to Portugal during the vigorous reign of a great king. Shah
Abbass, so Muscat and the Oman coast were wrested from her grasp by the force of a national
impulse, engendered by the rise of a new dynasty.
After ten years of anarchy, Nasir-bin-Murshid-el-Yaareby, one of the strongest rulers
Oman ever had, was elected Imam in 1624. He soon made himself master of, and tranquillised,
the interior, and then set to work to expel the Christians. He first sent his troops against
Muscat, but was defeated and obliged to retire. Shortly after, the Portuguese assisted the
Chief of Lawa, Saif-bin-Muhammad, with troops and stores against the Imams foices. In
this affair the allies of the Portuguese were worsted and the Imam captured the fort. The
Imam then collected another army, in command of which he placed Mesood-bin-Ramzan,
whom he ordered to march against Muscat. The author of the annals of Oman states that
the Arabs captured and demolished the high towers of Muscat, and that the Portuguese sued
for peace and agreed to the conditions imposed on them. But it is clear that the Arabs were
in fact repulsed.
After driving the Persians and the Portuguese from Ras -el-Khyma, the ImSm ordered
Hafiz -bin-Saif to erect a fort at Sohar against that held by the Portuguese, which he v.gor-
ouslv besieged for some time with a force composed of the Bem Khahd, Bern Lam, and El
Amoor tribes, hut apparently without success, for the Kdzi, Kham.s-b.n-Saeed, soon after pro-
eeeded to Muttrah to treat for peace with the Portuguese Governor, and agreed to abandon the
siege of Sohar. This was in July 1633.
° In the same or following year the ImiJm attacked Soor and Kooriyat, and recovered both
those places by which he made himself master of the whole of Oman, except Muscat and
Sohar. Even the latter town, however, fell ultimately to the arms of tins energetic prince, and
at his death, in April 1649, Muscat alone remained in the hands of the Portuguese.
The Imam Nasir was succeeded by the Irnim Sultan-bin-Saif. who is said to have waged
war on the Christians in Muscat, and to have personally conducted the operations against them
until God gave him the victory. It seems, indeed, that he undertook the campaign immediately
on his accession, and that he was engaged in it for about two years The circumstances and
date of the struggle, however, do not appear to have been recorded by the Arab chronicler;
and as the Portuguese historians are also silent on the subject, they remain matters of

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Administration Report on the Persian Gulf The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Residency An office of the East India Company and, later, of the British Raj, established in the provinces and regions considered part of, or under the influence of, British India. and Muscat Political Agency An office of the East India Company and, later, of the British Raj, headed by an agent. 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 The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. , 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 East India Company and, later, of the British Raj, headed by an agent. 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 The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. 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)
Arrangement

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.

Written in
English in Latin script
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‘Report on the administration of the Persian Gulf Political Residency and Muscat Political Agency for 1884-85.’ [‎23r] (41/130), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/V/23/47, No 207, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100023600941.0x00002b> [accessed 17 April 2024]

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