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"A mine of information on the development of the modern Gulf"

[Gulf Administration Reports] - Ross, E[dward] C[harles] / Prideaux, W[illiam] F[rancis] (eds.). Report on the Administration of the Persian Gulf Political Residency and Muscat Political Agency for the Year 1875-76 (1876-77; 1877-78; 1878-79; 1879-80; 1880-81; 1881-82). [Series title at head: Selections From the Records of the Government of India, Foreign Department. No. CXXVIII, CXXXVIII, CLII, CLXV, CLIX, CLXXXI, CXC].

Calcutta, Foreign Department Press / Superintendent of Government Printing, 1876-1882.

Large 8vo. 7 volumes bound in two. 1875-76: (2), III, (1), 91, (1) pp.; 1876-77: (2), III, (1), 109, (1) pp.; 1877-78: (2), III, (1), 142 pp. (incl. an oversized folding table); 1878-79: V, (1), 134 pp., with a folding diagram; 1879-80: (2), III, (1), 148 pp., with a folding diagram; 1880-81: (2), III, (1), 215, (1) pp., with a folding diagram and 3 lithogr. genealogical tables of the Al Bu Sa'idi dynasty, one printed in red and black; 1881-82: (2), 154 pp. (incl. an oversized folding table). Lower-cover cloth pouches contain two folding lithographed diagrams and two folding lithographed maps: "Sketch Map of Fars / Persia" (1876) in two separate, consecutive sheets and "Sketch Map of a Portion of Fars Shewing the Course of the Principal Rivers and Route From Bushire to Lár" (1877-78). Period-style half calf with double giltstamped black spine labels.

A consecutive set of seven annual "Administration Reports" on the Gulf region which the British Political Residents submitted to the Indian Viceroy and Governor. The bland official title belies the true value of the series, which has been called "a mine of information on the development of the modern Gulf" (Cambridge Archive Editions). Regularly the reports contain political details of the local sheikhdoms, naming their various rulers and commenting on their compliance with the maritime truce they struck earlier with the British (here citing Salim bin Sultan bin Saqr of the Al-Qasimi in Sharjah, Hashar bin Maktoum of the Al Bu Falasah in Dubai, Zaeed bin Khalifah of the Bani Yas in Abu Dhabi, Hameyd bin Abdullah of the Al-Qasimi in Ras al-Khaimah, Ahmed bin Abdullah of the Al Bu Ali in Umm al-Quwain, Rashid bin Hameyd of the Al Bu Ali in Ajman, as well as Sheikh Baty bin Khadim of the Bani Yas in Qatar). There are extensive lists of villages on the sea coast, including a "List of Guttur El-Katr [Qatar] ports and the names of Chiefs and main tribes" (1879-80, p. 8: "Jasim bin Mohamed bin Thani" is shown as chief of "Dohat-el-Bida'a"). New treaties entered into by the "Trucial Chiefs" and the British Government are inserted in full (e.g., a mutual agreement regarding the surrender of fraudulent absconders, signed by all the Gulf sheikhs on 24 June 1879). Differences between local and British points of view are couched in careful tones: "In October 1876 the Shargah Chief disregarded the advice of the British authority in sending troops and munitions of war by sea to the aid of his partizans at Dibba, apparently acting under the impression that the various divisions of the Joasmee tribe possessed the privilege of affording mutual assistance to one another either by land or sea. This question is now under the consideration of Government" (1876-77, p. 2). As British officials appointed to the area in the 19th c. were often scholars of high repute, many of their appended monographs have since become vital sources for historians of the region. They range from Ross's "Memoir on Nejd" (1879-80, p. 36ff.), E. L. Durand's "Description of the Bahrain Islands" (1878-79, p. 15ff.), an account of the "Medical Topography of Muscat" (1876-77, p. 96ff.), and S. B. Miles's sketches of the tribes of Oman (1880-81, p. 19ff., with genealogies) to extensive discussions of the pearl industry, fishing in the Gulf, diseases, and invaluable tabular trade information still sought after by regional planners.

In 1873, in recognition of the increasingly important position occupied by the Gulf in international affairs, the British transferred supervision of their Political Residency at Bushire from the local government of Bombay to the supreme Indian administration - the Government of India at Calcutta. From this date the Resident, along with other British officials both within and outside India, was required to produce regular printed administration reports summarizing political, diplomatic and economic developments in the area. These reports continued to be produced without interruption until Indian independence in 1947, when the conduct of British interests in the Gulf was taken on by the Foreign Office in London. The present early reports were compiled jointly by the Resident at Bushire and the British Agent at Muscat. They all consist of general summaries of events, occasional articles on subjects of special interest and detailed statistics on trade. The reports present not just a continuous picture of the progress of British interests in the area, nor do they confine themselves to the activities of rulers and officials: their importance lies ultimately in their wealth of information on the changing experiences of the people of the Gulf states during a crucial period of the region's history.

Occasional slight edge chipping due to paper; occasional loss of the odd corner (not affecting text). Stamps of the "Secretary of State for India - Library" and the "Government of India, Library - Foreign Office". An outstandingly well-preserved set, almost unobtainable in the original, never seen in the trade.

Macro, p. xii (s.v. "RAPA"). OCLC 231784299. Cf. the 1989 Cambridge Archive Editions reprint.