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'Gazetteer of Arabia Vol. II' [‎1091] (128/688)

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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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'Amudah in Sudah, besides the small plateaux of Ba'al in Sudah and Warai'ah near
Dhula'-al-Mi'aijil. The soil is generally gravelly in the districts to the north of Kuwait
Bay ; in the more southerly it is partly sand and partly clay, except in Summan, where
there seems to be little sand. In many places there are low outcrops of sandstone, and
in Summan these are a leading characteristic. Nowhere in Kuwait, it is said, is there
any flowing water or spring rising to the surface of the ground except Maqta' : the entire
water supply is from wells which are on the average about 20 feet deep and are frequently
saline. The only minerals known to exist are Juss or gypsum, in fields near Kuwait
Town, and elsewhere, and bitumen which exudes from the ground in a hollow near the
Burqan hills.
Flora and fauna. —Vegetation is exceedingly scanty and in winter becomes almost
invisible. The only trees are the date and the ber or Sidar and they, even, are not met with
except in the environs of villages. Shrubs found, especially in the northern districts,
and useful as grazing for camels are the 'Arfaj and the 'Ausaj ; the latter is a thorny bush
with small leaves and red berries. The colocynth, called Handhal, flourishes in the desert ;
and south of Kuwait Bav the grass called Thamam is obtainable, but is often of poor
quality. Nasi grass is also obtainable in places.
Animal and bird life are scarce, but the wild animals include the hare and a gazelle
resembling the Indian chinkara ; also the wolf : among land birds are the lesser bustaid and
the sandgrouse, the last being plentiful in the Batin in winter.
Communications. —From what has gone before it will be apparent that Kuwait, though
free as to its surface from physical obstacles, is not a country of easy travelling. At a
maximum distance of 20 to 25 miles from the town in any direction even the smallest
quantity of provisions ceases to be obtainable ; it is thus necessary to carry all the food
required for a journey. The case of forage is not so difficult, as in many localities camels
are able to support themselves by grazing on the road. Water is scarce, especially to the
north of Jarah, and routes are determined everywhere chiefly by the position and state
of the wells.
The principal routes are two leading to Basrah and four (of which two pass through
Hafar) to Najd : the details of the more important follow below. All these of course are
mere tracks ; there are no made roads :—-
Inhabitants. —The tribes of Kuwait are all Arabs or quasi-Arabs, belonging to the
Sunni sect of Islam. Non-Arabs and Shi'ahs are found only in the town of Kuwait.
The two tribes which compose the bulk of the population outside of Kuwait Town are tho
'Awazim and Rashaidah ; both are regarded as of socially inferior status, nevertheless they
differ but little from the ordinary Bedouin Arabs. To these we may a Id wandering
bands of the Saluba, between whom and the Arabs there is a more pronounced dilference.
Some of the friendly Dhafir and Mutair tribes of Najd enter Kuwait limits at certain
seasons ; indeed, the Kuwait portion of Summan is exclusively tenanted by the Mutair,
and a large number of the Mutair encamp every season at Jahrah. The people of Jahrah
are mostly of Najdi extraction. A few stray 'Ajman, Bani Hajir and Bani Khalid fioiu
the south are found in Kuwait limits, and Kuwait Town contains, in addition to^ repre
sentatives of most of the tribes already mentioned, 'Anizah, Dawasir, Jana'at, and
'Utiib. The only permanent villages in Kuwait are Jahrah at the head of Kuwait
Bay, Qasr-as-SabTyah on Khor-as- Sabiyah, Zor on Failakah island, Dimnah and Qasr-
as-Sirrah in the Qra'h district and FahaihTl, Fantas, Abu Halaifah and Shi aibah on
the coast of 'Adan, none of which are more than 25 miles in a direct line from Kuwait
Town. . . .
The fixed population of the principality, consisting of the inhabitants of the town and
villages may be estimated at 43,000 souls, of whom no ler,s than 40,000 are residents o
the capital; and the Bedouin population, if we reckon only the 'Awazim and Rashaidah
and a part of the Mutair (whose tribal headquarters are in the principality) and exclude
others such as the Dhafir (who are merely visitors), must amount apparently to about
13,000 souls. t ■ l • -u-
Agriculture and trade. —-A general description of such agriculture as exists in Kuwait
will be found in the article on Jahrah, and the article on Dimnah contains a description
of village dwellings int rmediate between the houses of Kuwait Town and the tents
of the Bedouins. Domestic animals are the camel, sheep, goat and donkey ana there are
some horned cattle and a few horses. Commerce is fully treated of in the article on
Kuwait Town. _ „

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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' [‎1091] (128/688), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/16/2/2, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 5 April 2020]

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