Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia

John Gordon Lorimer’s Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia (1908 and 1915)

John Gordon Lorimer’s monumental Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia – often simply referred to as ‘Lorimer’ by many researchers - has been digitised and is now accessible for free through the Qatar Digital Library.

The Gazetteer’s first volume, the historical section, is divided into three parts:

·         Part I (IOR/L/PS/20/C91/1), the ‘Arabian portion’, covers the general history of the Persian Gulf, with histories of the Arab littoral, Central Arabia, Oman and Turkish Arabia (Iraq);
·         Part II (IOR/L/PS/20/C91/2), ‘the Persian section’, covers the history of the Persian littoral, including Arabistan and Makran. In addition, nineteen appendices cover subjects from pearl fisheries to the slave trade. Of note is Appendix P, ‘Cruise of His Excellency Lord Curzon, Viceroy and Governor-General of India’, an official account of the 1903 vice regal tour of Persian Gulf ports;
·         Part III (IOR/L/PS/20/C91/3) consists of twenty-one genealogical tables for the ruling families of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia.

The Gazetteer’s second volume (IOR/L/PS/20/C91/4) is the ‘Geographical and Statistical’ section and includes alphabetical entries for tribes, towns and regions, from ‘Abdalilah to Zubārah. It also contains fifty-six reproductions of photographs taken by British colonial officers, but also German explorer, Hermann Burchardt, and Raja Deen Dayal and Sons, official photographers to the Viceroy of India.

The Gazetteer includes two maps: a chart of pearl banks on the Arabian littoral of the Persian Gulf included with the genealogical tables; and a large ‘Map of the Persian Gulf, ’Omān and Central Arabia’ (IOR/L/PS/20/C91/6) produced by Lieutenant Frederick Fraser Hunter in consultation with Lorimer.

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