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Coll 6/83 'Saudi Arabia: Exemption of Saudi nationals from Koshan tax.' [‎11r] (21/34)

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The record is made up of 1 file (15 folios). It was created in 1 Jun 1937-12 May 1939. 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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(E 3364/1022/25)
~ r o. 109.
.1 .
• SL
J c§)
/British Legation,
J edda.
1st June, 1937.
In the ’’Umm al Qura” of May 11th there appeared a
notice by the Ministry of Finance stating that a Royal
Command had authorised the exemption of Saudi nationals,
during a period of four lunar months every year, from the
16th of Safar to the 15th of Jumadi al Thani, from the tax
known as koshan which is levied on journeys from Jedda
to Mecca or Medina. This period is the slack season from
the time when the return rush of pilgrims is over until
about the date when pilgrims for the next season begin to
2. I bring this regulation to your notice because
it involves discrimination against foreigners. As is usual
in this country figures are not easy to obtain, but the
position appears to be that whereas during the four months
in question Saudi subjects will pay no koshan , foreigners
will have to pay koshan at the rate of two gold pounds per
head (about £3.8.0.) for a journey to Medina and back, and
eight riyals (about fourteen shillings) per head for a
journey to Mecca and back. It is to be noted that although
total exemption for Saudi nationals is quite a new thing,
discrimination to some extent existed before; for in the
last pilgrimage season non—Saudis paid kosha n at the rate
of 5% gold pounds per head for a journey to Medina and back
The Right Honourable
Anthony Eden, M.C. , M.P. ,
&c. , &c. , &c.

About this item


This file documents the British response to a recent Saudi royal command exempting Saudi nationals from paying a tax known as koshan (a tax levied on journeys from Jedda to Mecca or Medina) during the off-season, i.e. the four-month period of the year when pilgrims are not travelling to or returning from Mecca or Medina.

The correspondence discusses British concerns that British subjects in Saudi Arabia (who along with other foreigners would still have to pay the tax) are being discriminated against; it also records the outcome of a request made to the Saudi Government by His Majesty's Minister at Jedda (Sir Reader William Bullard) for the tax exemption to be extended to foreign residents.

The file includes a divider which gives a list of correspondence references contained in the file by year. This is placed at the back of the correspondence (folios 2).

Extent and format
1 file (15 folios)

The papers are arranged in approximate chronological order from the rear to the front of the file.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front cover with 1, and terminates at the inside back cover with 17; 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.

Written in
English in Latin script
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Coll 6/83 'Saudi Arabia: Exemption of Saudi nationals from Koshan tax.' [‎11r] (21/34), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2156, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 17 November 2019]

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