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'Gazetteer of Arabia Vol. II' [‎1192] (241/688)

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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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Matrah. Despite these drawbacks Masqat continues to be the only steam-port of
'Oman, the Matrah anchorage being regarded as unsafe, and through it passes practically
the whole export and import trade of the country.
The only local manufactures are lungis, white skull-caps embroidered with silk'
matting of Makran reeds, and ornamental daggers called Khanajir.
Dates are the only export of any account. The principal articles of export in
1914-15 were,;—dates ; arms and ammunition ; specie; dried fish ; mother-of-pearl and
pearls ; dried limes ; and fresh fruit.
The Fard dates of Masqat all go to America, where they are much esteemed; other
sorts are exported to Kach, Calcutta and Rangoon, mostly in native vessels. Native
sailing boats from the Red Sea, mostly from Hodaidah, visit Masqat in September of
each year and some of them ship full cargoes of dates at Masqat; others, which have
previously visited Basrah, merely complete their cargoes ; both dispose of their purchases
along the east coast of Africa and in Madagascar. The date-trade with India is mostly
by Kutiyahs from Kach which come over at the beginning of August. The dates are
collected at Matrah by Hindu dealers, who sometimes advance money on an instrument
executed before the Qadhi to Arab brokers ; in these cases the dates are brought in at
harvest time by the broker Often a local commercial agent in the Gulf who regularly performed duties of intelligence gathering and political representation. , who subsequently receives commission at the rate of 2i to
5 per cent, on the price which the Hindu merchant is able to obtain. For the Indian
trade dried dates are preferred ; these are dates boiled in the Ratab or semi-ripe state and
then dried ; they are in request at native weddings in different parts of India.
The chief imports in 1914-15 were :—rice ; arms and ammunition ; cotton piece-
goods ; specie twist and yarn j silk and silk goods sugar; and coffee; and, cereals
other than rice.
The import of rice is chiefly form Calcutta ; the import of wheat, which is less
important, is from Karachi^Persia or 'Iraq according to the season and the prices r ulin g
in those countries.
In 1914-15, 101 steam vessels with a tonnage of 165,614 entered and left the port of
Masqat: of these 98, with a tonnage of 157,800, were British. The shipping of Masqat
port consists of 9 Baghlah and owned by Hindu and Musalman British subjects, of 32
large Horis for loading and unloading cargo, and of 130 small Horis for conveying passen
gers between Masqat and Matrah. Cargo and fishing boats are built, and larger boats
aro required, at Masqat. The boat building yard is at the mouth of Wadi-al-Kabir,
below Fort Mirani.
There are now no European firms at Masqat. Ten Hindu firms employ about
Rs. 10,00,000 in the Masqat trade and own house and other property, worth about
Rs. 5,00,000, at Masqat; altogether there are about 100 Hindu traders, all of whom are
under British protection. The Hindu merchants export dates and import piece-goods,
rice, sugar and coffee ; they also deal to some extent in pearls and shells. The Hindu
commercial community is smaller than it once was, but its prosperity is at present on the
increase in consequence of expanding trade.
CurrenrAj, weights and measures. —The currency of Masqat is described in the article
on the Oman Sultanate. We may add here that the usual means of payment in the
foreign trade is by Hundis, here called Kundis, or bills of exchange at 21 days' sight,
drawn against requirements ; these instruments are practically accommodation bills as
possession is not given of the bills of lading for the cargo against which they are drawn
and there is no relation between the value of the Hundi and the value of the consign
ment, a trade usage sufficient in itself to deter European firms from engaging in banking
business at Masqat.
The weights and measures of Masqat are the same as those of Matrah, but differ
somewhat from those of the Batinah coast and other parts of ' Oman. The ordinary
table of Masqat weights runs as follows :—
(1) Those use by the Sultan's customs are :—
1 Kiyas ..
1 Masqat maund
6 dol. or 5.9375 ozs.
144 dol. or 24 Kiyas or 8lbs.l4ioz3.
1 Frasilah.
1 Bahar.
10 Masqat maunds .. ,, .. =
200 Masqat maunds .. ,. ,. =
There is yet another weight also called Bahar and
weight is exclusively used for weighing salt.
is equal to 400 Masqat maunds. This

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' [‎1192] (241/688), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/16/2/2, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 23 February 2020]

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