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'Gazetteer of Arabia Vol. II' [‎1430] (491/688)

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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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Limits. —Upon the coast, Trucial 'Oman extends in the Gulf of 'Oman from Khor
Kalba to Dibah, and in 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. , from Sha'am to Khor-al-'Odaid, the places
named being all included in it; in other words, its boundary between these two sets of
points is the sea. Inland, its frontiers are more difficult to define; but it covers a consider
able portion of the interior of the'Oman Promontory. On one side there it is bound-
ed by a line of uncertain course which runs from a spot between the contiguous villages
ol Dibah and P>ai'ah on the east coast to Ras Sha'am on the west coast, and so divides
it from the Ruus-al-Tibal district of the 'Oman Sultanate to the north ; on another by
a line, even more indeterminate, which leaves the Gulf between Khor Kalba and Murair
and, after partially crossing the promontory in such a way as to exclude the Mahadhah
and Jau districts to the south, is eventually lost in Khatam. Westwards of Khatam
the inland limit of Trucial 'Oman is at the commencement of the Ruba-'al-Khali and
Jafurah deserts.
Physical Leaving out of consideration for the present the artifical political
divisions of Trucial 'Oman, we find that it consists of a maritime belt (or Taff) and islands •
of inland plains ; and of a mountain system ; these we now proceed to describe.
Maritime features and islands of Trucial 'Oman.—The eastern coast—that washed by
the Gulf of 'Oman—is bold, somewhat resembling the coast of Ruus-al-Jibal, and the
hills in places come down to the water's edge. The western coast—that within the
Persian Gulf— is low and monotonous. In the north the latter is diversified # by occa-
sional date groves, especially by those of the Sir tract between Rams and Ras-al-Khai-
mah Town, but as the coast trends away to south and west trees languish, and at Abu
Dhabi they cease altogether. The hills, too, which near Ras-al-Khaimah Town form a
pleasing, background, rapidlv recede inland and are soon lost to view from seaward as the
coast is followed to the south-west. Salt-water creeks abound on this coast, and the
lagoons at Ras-al-Khaimah Town and near the town of Abu Dhabi have a considerable
superficies ; yet there are no inlets of real importance. The creeks sometimes unite
inland to form backwaters and mangrove swamps, which are separated by a short
distance only from the cost; and quasi-islands, sometimes inhabited and sometimes not
are created in this manner. The best known instances of such islands are Qurmah
between Rams and Ras-al-Khaimah ; Jazirat-al-Hamra ; the Siniyah island, formed
by Khor-al-Baidhah near Umm-al-Qaiwain ; Zora ; the not altogether insulated site
common to the village of Khan and to the Laiyah suburb of Sharjah Town ; and, last
but not least, the tract of country in which stands the town of Abu Dhabi. Beyond
Abu Dhabi, as far as Khor-al- Odaid, the coast is almost unknown ; it is barren and
generally low, but has some bluff headlands.
The only eminence and conspicuous landmark on the coast of Trucial 'Oman, Dhafrah
being excluded, is Jabal-al-'Ali in Dibai territory.
In the Gulf of 'Oman the sea is deep at no great distance from shore. In the Persian
Gulf, from Sha am to Abu Dhabi it is open and free from dangers but rather shallow;
here the coast lies open to the full fury of the Shamal, there are no harbours or sheltered
anchorages except for boats, and landing is often difficult. From Abu Dhabi to Khor-al-
'Odaid the coast is adjoined by a labyrinth of islands, shoals and reefs, imperfectly
surveyed and so intricate that even Arab vessels, if larger than pearl boats, avoid these
waters. In this direction most of the space between the coast and the 20 fathom line,
—which runs approximately from opposite Sharjah Town to the tip of the Qatar
peninsula, is occupied by pearl banks. Full details of these banks are given in the
Appendix on the Pearl Fisheries.
A number of islands are associated with the coast of Trueial 'Oman, the most import
ant being Bu Musa, Tunb, Sir Bu Na'air, Yus and Dalmah ; the last of these is adjoined
by a number ot others which are enumerated in the article on the Abu Dhabi Principality,
and by Shura awah.
Inland plain of Trucial 'Oman.-The interior of a country so extensive naturally varies
in character from one part to another, but, attention being for the moment confined to the
non-mountamous portions, the variations are found to be less considerable than might
have been expected. Almost the whole consists of sandy desert; uncultivable but not
altogether destitute of natural vegetation or even of wood ; the principal exceptions to
the general infertility are the Jin plain, the plain of Dhaid and the Liwah division of the
Dhafrah tract, in aU of which some cultivation, at least of dates, is carried on. These
relatively small districts are fully described in the articles under the names indicated,

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' [‎1430] (491/688), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/16/2/2, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 27 February 2020]

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