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‘Military report on south-west Persia, including the provinces of Khúzistán (Arabistan), Luristán and part of Fars.’ [‎9v] (23/470)

The record is made up of 1 volume (231 folios). It was created in 1885. 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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Besides the above (intended for presents and to he carried hy the party),
a small stock of presents and medicines was laid in (xee page 112).
I received from the firm of Messrs. Mackinnon, Mackenzie and Company,
Bombay, Agents of the above mentioned Steamship Company, the gieatest
courtesy; not only did they arrange for money remittances, but they also
gave me letters of introduction to their various agents in the Cull, letteis
which were of the utmost service, as they were the means or procuring for
me others to the Ilkhani and Ilbegi of the Bakhtians whose friendship for
Mr, Mackenzie is of long standing—
Karachi was reached on the
Muscat „ „
Bandar Abbas „ „
Linga ,, ,,
7th March 1884;
11th March 1884;
12th March 1884;
13th March 1884;
14th March 1884;
loth March 1884;
short delays being made at each port or roadstead to ship and discharge
cargo. The steamer anchoring at Bushire for 24 hours enabled all necessary
business to be transacted.
Basra, on the right bank of the Shatt-al-Arab, a Turkish town, a few
miles above Muhammerah, was reached on the 18th March after undergoing
the one day's quarantine imposed by the Turkish authorities as a means of
extorting fees.
I remained at Basra till the 22nd March, making final preparations for
the land journey from Muhammerah to Kum.
From the firm of Messrs. Gray, Mackenzie and Company, barats or
monev orders were obtained on well-known merchants at Shustar, Dizful,
Burujird and Isfahan, as well as letters to them to furnish me with others
on Sultanabad, Kum, and Gulpaigan.
Muhammerah to Kum (53o miles).
On the 23rd March Mr. Robertson, Acting Consul at Basra, accompanied
. , , r , , me to Muhammerah in the steam yacht belonging
to the firm of Gray, Mackenzie and Company, my
hosts, and introduced me to Shaikh Mizal, the Chief of the Ka'b Arabs, and
from him I obtained the services of a mounted guide as far as Wais, on the
Karun river above Ahwaz, the limit of his jurisdiction.
Shaikh Mizal. Shaikh Mizal is a middle aged man of fine figure but
sad countenance. He has no children and may not feel
altogether secui'e in his position [see page 178) ; his elder brother, Muhammad,
who lives at Isfahan, intrigues against him, and the difficulty of collecting the
annual tribute is considerable; his darbar is conducted with great decorum and
ceremony. The aba and kaba are here worn together with an ample puggerie.
I had heard that a short time previously to my arrival some French
commercial and military travellers had been displaying" considerable activity
in the vicinity of the mouth of this, to us, most important river, the Karun,
and had been denied a safe conduct; and I had been informed that it
was useless to apply for it, the Shaikh being unable to guarantee a safe passage
through the territory over which he exercises a patriarchal authority. Shaikh

About this item


Report marked strictly confidential, prepared in the Intelligence Branch of the Quarter Master General’s Department in India, by the Assistant Quarter Master General, Major and Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Mark Sever Bell, Royal Engineers. The volume was published by the Government Central Branch Press, Simla, 1885.

The contents of the volume are as follows:

  • part I, a narrative description of a journey from India to Muhammerah [Khorramshahr], through to the Luristán [Lorestān] hills, to Kúm [Qom]; from Kúm to Gulpaigán [Golpāyegān ], Chaman-i-Sultán [Chaman Solţān], Ali-Gúdar [Alīgūdarz], Imámzádá-Ishmail [Emāmzādeh Esmā‘īl], and the Zaindarúd River [Zāyandeh Rūd] to Isfahán; from Isfahán through the Kúhgehlú [Kohgīlūyeh] hills to Behbahán and Bandar-Dilám [Bandar-e Deylam]; from Bandar-Dilám to Bushire
  • part II, a detailed account of southwest Persia, compiled from Sever’s own observations and other available sources
  • part III, commercial considerations. A further section in this chapter on strategic observations, which is mentioned on the contents page and marked as secret, is not present in the volume
  • part IV, detailed road reports
  • appendix A, road reports, Isfahan to Shústar [Shūshtar], Shústar to Shíráz [Shīrāz], compiled in 1881 by Captain Henry Lake Wells, Assistant Director of Persian Telegraphs, with additional annotations by Bell
  • appendix B, a list of plant specimens collected in Luristán during April and May 1884
  • appendix C, extracts of a paper on the geology of the Turko-Persian frontier, written by William Kennett Loftus, June 1854
  • appendix D, meteorological observations at Bushire, from 20 March to 20 June 1885

The volume includes eight maps, two photographic plates, and illustrations throughout (topographical, architectural, anthropological). The two photographic plates and some of the maps are of an earlier date than the volume’s publication date of 1885.

Extent and format
1 volume (231 folios)

A contents page (f 7) and index (ff 222-226) refer to the volume’s original printed pagination.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front cover with 1, and terminates at the inside back cover with 233; 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 south-west Persia, including the provinces of Khúzistán (Arabistan), Luristán and part of Fars.’ [‎9v] (23/470), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/15/9, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 13 December 2019]

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