'Gazetteer of Arabia Vol. II'  (119/688)
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.
This transcription is created automatically. It may contain errors.
KUWAIT BAY AND TOWN
they take their drinking water with them and are absent from Kuwait for about a
week, not landing on Bubiyan island except to collect fuel.
Pearl fisheries. —The lower and middle classes of Kuwait town almost all live by sea
faring occupations, such as fishing, pearl diving and the coasting trade; the town
posseses about 400—500 pearl boats carrying 9,000 men ; but of the crews in the
pearling season, some 1,500 or 2,000 are Persian subjects. A large number of Kuwait
pearl fisheries—in 1905 no less than 3,000—flow visit the Ceylon pearl banks in winter
instead of remaining at home to prosecute the cold weather sea fisheries which have been
Carrying trade. —The carrying trade of Kuwait is chiefly confined to the upper and
western part 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. and to the Shatt-al-'Arab; its ordinary limits are
Qatif on the south and Basrah on the north, and the boats engaged in it are seldom
absent from Kuwait for more than two months at a time. Sea-going cargo vessels
number 36, viz., 11 Baghlahs, 20 Bums-and 5 Shu'ais ; the Baghlahs have an average
carrying capacity of 2,000, and the Bums arH Shu'ais one of 1,200 date packages each.
Coasters are about 50 Bums with an average carrying capacity of 700 date packages
each. Besides these cargo vessels, wlvich though owned at Kuwait are quite distinct
from the pearl boats, about 50 strange boats—chiefly Ballams—visit the port with wood
and vegetables from the Shatt-al-'Arab; and occasional calls are made by vessels from
Kharag island and from Sur in the Sultanate of 'Oman.
Boat-building. —Except boat-building there are no local manufactures. About 20 or
25 vessels are turned out annually, the timber, coir rope and fibre required being brought
from Calicut, and the ribs from Karachi: the nails used are also from India. About
300 carpenters gain a livelihood by boat-building ; their earnings range from ^ of a Riyal
to 4 Riyal? a day.
Miscellaneous occupations. —The other occupations and industries of the town are
directed to the satisfaction of local requirements : an enumeration of them as they
were in 1904 will help to elucidate the character of Kuwait. There were then 36 dealers
in piece goods. 21 goldsmiths, 11 blacksmiths, 12 tinsmiths, 7 gunsmiths, 11 lamp
makers, 132 dealers in Bedouin requisites (such as carpets, cheap 'Abas or cloaks, nails,
horseshoes, lead and shot), 13 leather workers, 17 quilt makers, 23 haberdashers, 21
tailors, 37 cloak embroiders, 7 gold and silk braid workers, 12 makers of'Aqals or Arab
head fillets, 13 barbers, 11 confectioners, 8 bakers, 3 professional cooks, 11 fishmongers,
36 butchers, 14 tobacconists, 9 ghi sellers, 32 date merchants, 16 druggists, 28 fruiters,
24 rice merchants, 15 wheat dealers, 2 oil pressors, 147 grocers and druggists, 9 grass
sellers and, lastly, 35 male and 32 female brokers of private goods on commission who
had fixed places of business. There were at the same time 12 tea shops, 7 cafes, 70
business offices, 250 warehouses for the storage of grain, and 6 stores for the material
used in pressing oil.
Weights, measures and currency. —The weights and measures by means of which
the tradesmen of Kuwait conduct their business with one another and with the general
piibhc deserve a brief notice. Small weights are the Habbah of 3 gr. English, the Mith-
K f ^ 54 grains, the Mithqal Shirazi of 72 grains, and the Tolah of 120 grains ;
u these are only in use for weighing such commodities as the precious metals, pre
cious stones, gold and silver thread or lace, raw silk, silk thread and drugs. The or-
oinaiy unit of weight in retail transactions is a Waqiyah equal to 4 lbs. 10 oz. 1 dr.
xmglish; there is also a retail Mann of 30 Waqiyahs or 138 lbs. 13^ oz. English.
o unit o weight in the wholesale trade is also a Waqiyah, but one heavier
, in 10 c ^ se ^ ie Mann of 30 Waqiyahs when it is the same) than the
Waqiyah of retail trade and equal to about 4 lbs. 14 oz. 3 dr. English. The larger
who esale weights are a Qiyas (pronounced Jiyas) of 6 Waqiyahs or 29 lbs. 5 oz. | dr.
English, used for wool; a Mann of 12 Waqiyahs or 58 lbs. 10 oz. 1 dr. English, used for
o if f? 1 , 1 cloth 1 f / om and Bahrain ; a Mann of 24 Waqiyahs or 117 lbs 4 oz.
?. ' gllS J^ " sed tallow and mortar; and a Mann of 27 Waqiyahs or 137
j i ^ , , , r ' 4 / n fi ' used ^ or other commodities except cereals and dates
wXhn nf u ? nn , 30 (retaiI) Wa q ! y ahs or 138 lbs, 13 oz. II dr. English.
wXfcn V" J. W t 0 f aIe trade are a11 made with steel yards by professional
hvtZ . I ge a fnn nna per Mann for their services. • The license fees paid
JcownnTv! 8 n Wer V^ 19 ? 4a the Shaikh's mother, but she died in
' and the y are now taken by the Shaikh himself.
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)
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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.
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- English in Latin script View the complete information for this record
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