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The first modern map of the Arabian Gulf, of the utmost rarity

Barnes Brucks, George. Chart of the Gulf of Persia Constructed from the Trigonometrical Surveys, Made by order of the [...] Court of Directors of the United English East India Company; and to whom it is Respectfully Dedicated by their most obedient Servant George Barnes Brucks, Commander H.C. Marine, 1830.

London, James Horsburgh, 1832.

Engraved chart, hand-coloured in outline, dissected and mounted on linen, edged in green silk, green cloth endpapers, with label. Two separate folded sheets, 645 x 755 mm each, together 750 x 1170 mm.

The first map of the Arabian Gulf ever printed to show all the settlements today forming the United Arab Emirates. Drawn with an astounding degree of detail, it also includes the first occurrence of many other local place names in print, reaching from Ash Sha'm ("Shaum") in the north to Khor Fakkan ("Khorefacawn") and Fujairah ("Fedgeerah") in the east, and westwards to Ras al-Khaimah ("Rasel Khyma"), Umm al-Quwain ("Amulgawein"), Ajman ("Aymaun"), Sharjah ("Sharja"), Dubai ("Debai") and Abu Dhabi ("Abothubbee"), then stretching to Qatar (with correct coastline, while Doha still labeled unter its old name "Al-Bidda"), Bahrein, and on to the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab.

In 1820, after the conclusion of the British expedition against piracy, a systematic survey of the Gulf was ordered by the Bombay Government. This important, decade-long survey that led to the production of the present map was republished in 1990 by the Cambridge University Press as a five-volume set, "Survey of the Shores and Islands of the Persian Gulf 1820-1829".

The accuracy of the coastline and the sheer mass of data offered here are all the more evident when compared with near-contemporary efforts such as Gosselin's "Golfe Persique" map of the 1820s, which shows almost no settlements (but a bizarre, entirely fictitious bay entitled the "Golfe d'Hadjar"): clearly, the British would have treated the fruits of their labour as classified military information. Even today, the map remains exceedingly scarce. OCLC and KVK list only the British Library copy, and no specimen is to be found in either the Khaled Al Ankary collection (The Arabian Peninsula in Old European Maps) nor in that of H.R.H. Sultan Bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi. So rare, indeed, is the map that the scholar G. R. Tibbetts, writing in 1978, still could claim that "even at the end of the nineteenth century very little material was available, and hardly any surveying had been carried out" (Arabia in Early Maps, p. 15).

No copy in the trade or in auction records of the last decades.

OCLC 556991031. pkpk