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'Gazetteer of Arabia Vol. II' [‎1081] (118/688)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (341 folios). It was created in 1917. 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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of the Muhammadan population consume secretly in dread of the Shaikh. Two of the
Jews are well-to-do merchants ; the rest are ajostly cloth-sellers and goldsmiths. The
Jana at are a small colony of 150 souls ; some are merchants, the others sailors and
boatmen. The negroes are a very conspicuous element in the population : thev
number about 4,000 altogether, and have social clubs of their own which are distin-
guished by peculiar sky-signs; about one-third are Ma'tuq or emancipated, while
two-thirds are Mamluk or enslaved.
The Muhammadans of Kuwait are nearly all Sunnis ; the exceptions are the Persians
Baharmah and some of the Hasawiyah, who are Shi'ahs, and some immigrants from
Aajd, who are Wahhabis. The pilgrimage to Makkah from Kuwait is never made by
land at present, and the annual number of pilgrims who go by sea is only from 20
to 40. J
The Arab population of Kuwait are not on the whole of a robust type ; they are
generally long-faced, slender and inclined to lankiness ; the Complexion of' many is
sickly. The men wear the ordinary garments of the sedentary Arab, while the women
dress in black veils and overmantles, but sometimes display beneath a bright-coloured
skirt which they allow to trail in the dust for some distance behind them. A
remarkable scene follows sunset, when the town suddenly becomes alive with mendi
cants, mostly children, who beset the doors of the houses and beg in melancholy voices
for a morsel from the evening meal; they are seldom repulsed from any gate. Mer
chants and other townsmen of Kuwait often resort for a change, before the pearling
season, to the small tillages in the adjacent Qra'ah and 'Adan districts.
Supplies and Neither Kuwait town nor its environs can boast of any
agricultural lesources. There are no date plantations, no fields, hardl3 ? even a kitchen
garden. Forage and vegetables are mostly brought fro n Jahrah or from abroad ; and
the Bedouins of the neighbourhood provide the town with dried curds or Yuqat, ghi
ot Saman and truffles or Paqa' both fresh and dried, besides camel-dung or Jillah
which is used as fuel to supplement the scanty supply of brushwood from the neigh
bourhood. 6
The drinking water of the town is mostly obtained from wells 4 miles to the south of
the town and it is passably good, but water of better quality is supplied to the Shaikh's
household from the wells of Qasr-as-Sirrah or those of Mishrif in Qra 'ah.
Sect fisheries.—The only truly local produce of Kuwait is that yielded by the har
bour fisheries ; these are a valuable asset. The principal fish is the Zubaidi, a deep thin
fish about 1 foot long, which is in season from December to April and, though found
all over the bay, is caught chiefly between the island of Failakah and its outlier An hah
in water from 2 to 12 fathoms deep ; the Zubaidi forms about one-third of the total
catch of the Kuwait boats. The Zubaidi is captured with float-aad-weight nets
2 to 2^ fathoms deep, which are set across the tide-way ; these nets are made in lengths
of 36 fathoms, and each boat carries 8 to 16 lengths which are connected when set so as
to form one long barrier of 300 to /00 fathoms in extent; sometimes as many as 70
boats go out. The nets are cast after sunset and are hauled three times in the night:
fish that are not disposed of on the hrst day, in consequence of not reaching the town
in time, are salted. The next most common kinds of fish are the Naqrur and the
Nawaibi, which each constitute about one-quarter of the yield of the fisheries. The
Naqrur, varying in length from 1 to 2 feet, is found all over the harbour, is in season
in March and April, and is caught with lines or Khuyut by about 40 boats, prawns
and small fish being used as bait. The Nawaibi is about the same size, is in season at
the same time, and is caught in the same manner. The Maid is a fish rather less than
a foot long which is caught along the beach in summer with hand-nets. Ribyan or
prawns, which are in season in March and April and again in October and Novem
ber are captured with fine triangular hand-nets. Many fish are taken also in stake-
nets or rather tidal weirs called Hadhrahs, constructed of reed-hurdles ; the fish enter
them with the flowing tide and are left behind at the ebb. These Hadhrahs are a
common sight along the coast near Kuwait and also at other places such as Bahrain.
The fishermen of Kuwait are mostly town Arabs, but there are a few Persians: the
boats used ^ are Shu ais, Baqarahs and Ballams. As a rule Kuwait fishermen do not
go outside 'Auhah near Failakah, but occasionally they visit the Khor 'Abdullah and
fish it, for Zubaidi only, between Pas-al-Qaid and Warbah island j at such times

About this item


Volume II of III of the Gazetteer of Arabia. The Gazetteer is alphabetically-arranged and this volume contains entries K through to R.

The Gazetteer is an alphabetically-arranged compendium of the tribes, clans and geographical features (including towns, villages, lakes, mountains and wells) of Arabia that is contained within three seperate bound volumes. The entries range from short descriptions of one or two sentences to longer entries of several pages for places such as Iraq and Yemen.

A brief introduction states that the gazetteer was originally intended to deal with the whole of Arabia, "south of a line drawn from the head of the Gulf of 'Aqabah, through Ma'an, to Abu Kamal on the Euphrates, and to include Baghdad and Basrah Wilayats" and notes that before the gazetteer could be completed its publication was postponed and that therefore the three volumes that now form this file simply contain "as much of the MSS. [manuscript] as was ready at the time". It further notes that the contents have not been checked.

Extent and format
1 volume (341 folios)
Physical characteristics

Foliation: This volume's foliation system 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.

Written in
English in Latin script
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'Gazetteer of Arabia Vol. II' [‎1081] (118/688), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/16/2/2, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 18 February 2020]

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