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‘Military Report on Southern Persia’ [‎16v] (37/154)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (73 folios). It was created in 1900. 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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There is a rise an ! fall of tide of about 9 feet, and the water throughout ilfH
course is rumoured to be growing shallower. Between 10 and 12 miles above
the Bahmishir is a third, dried up, bed of the Karun, the Karun-el-Amieh.
The Kaban or Gobban canal runs from the Karun-el-Amieh to Falahiah, on the
Jarahi river. This canal is said to be still navigable for small native boats, at
seasons, up to Falahia.
The Karkhah rises in 3 branches, all east of Karmanshah. The three
united streams, under the name of the Gamasiab river, wind in a general
westerly direction to Besatun, where the Ab-i-Dinawar joins in from the north.
It then flows south, south-west and eventually south-east through Luristan,
being fed in its course by many streams of more or less volume, including the
Kara Su, the Karind river and the Ab-i-Shirwan from the west and the
Kashghan or Madian Bud and the Ab-i-Zal from the east. Eight miles
above its junction with the latter stream it flows through a chasm 150 feet
deep and so narrow that a Kurd leaped across it in the presence of Major
Bawlinson. There is a bridge here known as the Pul-i-Tang. In Luristan
the Karkhah is known as the Saidmarra river.
It leaves the mountains west of Dizful within TO miles of the
Ab-i-Diz. At this spot it is a rapid mountain stream, and, at its entrance
into the plain, was formerly crossed by a bridge, the remains of which are
Pa-i-Pul. The road from Zorbatia to Dizful crosses the river here. The
fords are dangerous and constantly changing, the safest point varying accord
ing to the season of the year. The river is lowest from June to October.
The Karkhah now quits the direction of Dizful, and takes a more southerly
course for about 40 miles to the ruins of Karkhah-i-Aiwan. At this
point it divides itself into four branches, and is easily fordable in summer
and autumn. A little south of this spot, it bends west of south, and con
tinues in this direction through the rich plain of Arabistan, becoming
lost eventually in the marshes which surround Hawizeh. Formerly the
Karkhah had two outlets into the Tigris, one by the A1 Khud bed at Amara,
the other a little below Kurnah into the Shatt-al-Arab ; but these appear
now, as a rule, to be dry. The water of the Karkhah in the upper part of its
course is celebrated for its purity.
The Jarahi, Gerahi, or Jalahi, rises under the name of the Kurdistan
river, at Sadat in the Kubgehlu hills. Thence it flows south, and passes the
ruins of Kurdistan (where it already has a breadth of about 350 feet), and
the village of Deb Dasht, through Tang-i-Tekab (Tang-i-Teka), a narrow
defile, into the plain of Behbahan, through which it winds about 4 miles from
the town.* Thence it flows north-west, as far as Kbalifahabad, south of
Bam Hormuz, where it is joined by the Ab-i-Ala, or Alai river (Ab-i-Ram
Hormuz ? ) and shortly after by the Tazang river.
From this point it takes the name of Jarahi, and becomes a broad deep
stream, not at any period of the year fordable,* flowing between steep and
high mud banks to the south-west. It now divides into two branches—one
of which, generally termed the Nahr Busi, runs into the sea at Khor Musa,
near Bandar Mashur; the second continuing its course through Falahia (or
Dorak) is eventually lost in irrigation, except a small artificial channel, the
Dorak canal, which finds its way into the Karun, at Sablah, 10 miles above
Muhammera. The upper portion of this river, as far as the junction
* Between Belibaban and Javzun it is fordable in several places.

About this item


Confidential military report compiled in the Intelligence Branch, Department of the Quarter Master General of India, by Captain George Samuel Frederick Napier, 2nd Battalion, Oxfordshire Light Infantry, Staff Captain. The report was printed in Simla at the Government Central Printing Office, 1900.

The volume begins with a preface, written by Lieutenant-Colonel A Barrow, Assistant Quartermaster General, Intelligence Branch, Simla, on 12 April 1900 (folio 8).

Part one of the volume comprises ten chapters (I-X) covering:

  • geography (general description, coastline, land frontiers, mountain systems, rivers and lakes)
  • harbours
  • communications (roads, maritime, inland water, and telegraphs)
  • climate (general description, rainfall, winds 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. , pathology of Southern Persia)
  • resources (agricultural, commercial, industrial, labour, production, animals, and transport)
  • ethnography (races and religions, and languages)
  • history (early history, Russo-Persian wars, Anglo-Persian wars up to 1856, the Anglo-Persian War of 1856-57, the subsequent history of Southern Persia, and commercial history)
  • administration (systems, administrative divisions, financial system, money, weights and measures)
  • naval and military (navy, army, fighting material, and arms)
  • political (internal and external relations, British representatives in Southern Persia, and representatives of other powers in Southern Persia)

Part two of the volume comprises four appendices (A-D) covering:

  • climate (an abstract of Fahrenheit thermometer readings)
  • resources (bazaar prices, average rates of transport, rates of freight, pack transport rates, labour, animal and crop resources in some of Southern Persia’s principal towns and villages);
  • ethnography (list of the principal tribes of Arabistan, and lists of tribes of other regions)
  • a ‘gazetteer of some of the more important towns and villages of Southern Persia, on or near lines of communication’

Four maps are also included in the volume’s front pocket (folios 2-5).

Extent and format
1 volume (73 folios)

There is a contents page at the front of the volume (ff 9-10), and an alphabetical cross index of roads (ff 10-13). Both refer to the volume’s original pagination, with the cross index referring specifically to content in the section on roads under chapter II, Communications (ff 22-30).

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front cover with 1, and terminates at the inside back cover with 75; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio.

Pagination: the file also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English in Latin script
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‘Military Report on Southern Persia’ [‎16v] (37/154), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/15/8, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 12 December 2019]

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