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Records of the Persian Gulf Pearl Fisheries 1857–1962

Records of the Persian Gulf Pearl Fisheries 1857–1962
4 Volume Hardback Set Including Boxed Maps

$1,860.00 (R)

Cambridge Archive Editions
  • Date Published: September 1995
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • format: Mixed media product
  • isbn: 9781852076054

$1,860.00 (R)
Mixed media product

Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
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  • In these four volumes Archive Editions presents documentary evidence of the history, development and decline of the great traditional industry of the Persian Gulf. The geographical coverage of pearling activities, though not evenly spread, extends to Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the former Trucial States and Muscat, and the early trade in the Red Sea. This collection of documents includes and map box containing tables, lists of pearl banks and maps from Kuwait to Ras Tanura and Ras Tanura to Dubai. These volumes bring together in a single research collection all relevant documents from British government records relating to the primary economic activity in the Persian Gulf before the oil era: the pearl fisheries. The material - virtually all now published for the first time - provides information on the economic, geographic, political and social aspects of the pearl trade as well as details on technical and operating aspects, including the terms and conditions of divers and their Nakhudas (pearling captains).

    • Facsimile collections of key documents from archive sources
    • Previously unknown or fragmented material now available in a coherent collection
    • Carefully selected and edited for maximum value to researchers and scholars
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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 1995
    • Format: Mixed media product
    • Isbn: 9781852076054
    • Length: 2000 pages
    • Dimensions: 318 x 248 x 246 mm
    • Weight: 5.5kg
    • Availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
    • Paper: Printed on acid free paper
    • Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
    • Resume

      In these three volumes Archive Editions presents documentary evidence of the history, development and decline of the great traditional industry of the Persian Gulf. The geographical coverage of pearling activities, though not evenly spread, extends to Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the former Trucial States and Muscat, and the early trade in the Red Sea. This collection of documents includes and map box containing tables, lists of pearl banks and maps from Kuwait to Ras Tanura and Ras Tanura to Dubai

    • Documentary Importance

      These volumes bring together in a single research collection all relevant documents from British government records relating to the primary economic activity in the Persian Gulf before the oil era: the pearl fisheries. The material - virtually all now published for the first time - provides information on the economic, geographic, political and social aspects of the pearl trade as well as details on technical and operating aspects, including the terms and conditions of divers and their Nakhudas (pearling captains).
       
      The collection focuses on the hundred years between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries, when the traditional pearling industry reached its peak and began its abrupt decline. The documents show clearly the impact of the 20th century on pearling: the more lucrative arms traffic, the introduction of cultured pearls, the threat of mechanised diving, a Government of India ban on pearl imports in 1947-1948, and, from the late 1940s, alternative work in the oil industry.
      Geographically, the collection reports on pearling activities primarily along the Arab side of the Persian Gulf, including material relating to Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the Trucial States and Muscat, with some references to Saudi Arabia. The main pearl banks were mapped in two sections, from Kuwait to Ras Tanura, and from Ras Tanura to Dubai. There were smaller banks off Muscat. The season ran from April to September. The trade also involved mother-of-pearl and sponge fishery, which are referred to in this study.
       
      One of the most important themes in the records is the economic exploitation of divers and sailors by the Nakhudas. This virtual slavery system led to the Bahrain reforms in 1924-1925, providing for diving rules, accounting methods, registration of vessels and the creation of a hospital ship. By popular demand a diving Court was created in 1928; the records for the Barwas Court from 1928 to 1934 are given in volume 3. The pearl divers' riot of 1932 in Bahrain and its aftermath are also documented.
       
      By 1948-1949 one report alleged that as few as 50 boats participated in the season. However, outside commercial interest persisted into the 1950s, and as late as 1955 there were vain attempts to impose controls on diving, although the days of the large pearling fleets and inter-tribal clashes had long passed.

    • Arrangement of Volumes

      CONTENTS OUTLINE
      Details from the documents:
      Fishing rights on the pearl banks, 1857, 1862
      Remarks on the pearl oyster beds in the Persian Gulf, 1866
      Measures to prevent pearl divers from abandoning their debts, 1868- 1886
      Weights and measures employed in the pearl trade, 1886
      The problem of piracy, 1876, 1887
      Legal status of pearl banks, 1912
      International commercial interests and competition in the Persian Gulf pearl trade, 1905-1918
      Effect on pearl fisheries of concessions granted to Sponge Exploration Syndicate by Sultan of Muscat and Shah of Persia, 1906-1907
      Use of apparatus and divers from Bombay, 1912
      British naval patrols defend pearling fleets, 1909
      Central role of pearl industry in Bahrain trade, 1909
      Accounting system used by Nakhudas: accounts of 23 divers and pearlers, 1923 (in Arabic)
      The pearl market at Kuwait, 1918, 1924
      The threat from cultured and artificial pearls, 1924, 1934
      Report on diving conditions, 1930
      Attempts to introduce deep sea diving suits, 1930
      The pearl divers' riots at Bahrain, 1932
      Petitions from divers, certificates of manumission, 1928-1934
      Naval patrols of the pearl banks, 1931-1932
      Trial of merchants trading in cultured pearls, 1935
      Divers' work conditions at Kuwait, 1934
      Pearling concessions from Saudi Arabia, 1934
      Effect of pearl diving debts, 1935
      The Trucial Shaikhs' territorial rights over pearl banks, 1938
      Indian embargo on pearl imports, 1947
      New marketing initiatives for Persian Gulf pearls
      Economic significance of pearl trade, 1951
      Adverse effect of middlemen for Bahrain pearl merchants, 1962

  • Editor

    A. Burdett

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