ME709 - An early French chart of he Arabian Gulf
A previously unpublished French map and chart of the Arabian Gulf; from the Gulf of Oman through to modern day Basrah in Iraq. The river Euphrates and the city of Basrah are depicted as an inset.
- h22.9" x w33.7"
Of particular interest is the absence of marked settlements or ports anywhere along the southern or Arabian, side of the Gulf and the coast-line is strikingly inaccurate as it progresses north east, indicating no intent to visit. Indeed a large section of the coast is marked as inaccessible.
Also marked on the chart are two relief sketches of mountain ranges clearly visible from the sea. The first is on the northern shore of the gulf west of the entrance to the River Euphrates (marked ‘A’) at the end northern end of the gulf and the other is on the Oman coastline south of Muscat (roughly marked ‘B’). Notations that show the location of passes through the hills accompany the two sketches. Various rivers, including the river ‘Zazarie’ to the north of Abu Dhabi, seem wildly out of proportion.
During this time the French made at least 20 voyages from India to Basra ‘The famous town of Bassora’ and occasionally to Bandar Abbas. By 1741 their efforts had been thoroughly thwarted; in part by British control of the straits of Hormuz, which included a permanent military presence and strenuous tax levies set by the British controlled Customs Houses in Bandar Abbas.
French trade was further affected by the recurring political uncertainty in the region, which was even beginning to affect the British and Dutch by this point. From the moment the Portuguese had taken control over Hormuz region in 1507, built a fort on Sahru Island, and established Bandar Abbas as the principle port and centre of commerce for the Hormuz region, the city effectively dominated the narrow (85km wide) Straits of Hormuz. All of the European powers, such as Britain, Portugal, Holland and France, who were vying for control of the trade routes to Asia, which included the main over-land roads to the Irano-Afghan hinterland, with passes through the Zagros Mountains were subject to the city and its port.
The Afghan invasion of Iran in 1722 had set-off a period of uncertainty to the region; although British and Dutch fortified factories and other interests remained un-touched, even during the subsequent 1727 sacking of Bandar Abbas by 4,000 Afgan horsemen. National order was restored under Nader Shah Afsar, but the British and Dutch came under increasing pressure from the ruler, and, in 1736, the British East India Company suffered confiscation of the Honourable East India Company’s caravan animals loaded with Kerman wool.
By 1746 Nader Shah had effectively put an end to the port's vitality by levying punitive taxes on commerce and by designating the port of Bušehr, which was much closer to Shiraz and Isfahan, as the principal port on the Gulf. The fortunes of Bandar Abbas rapidly declined and it was reported by Bartholomew Plaisted (in his 1758 Journal from Calcutta, London, p.11), that by 1750, only one out of ten of the port's homes were still occupied.
The effective end of British and Dutch influence in the region came on the morning of October 13, 1759 when, as part of what was known as the Seven Years War between the two countries (1756 -1763) a French naval squadron, flying Dutch colours, attacked the port and seized the British factory. 1762 saw the withdrawal of all British interests in Bandar Abbas, followed shortly by the Dutch.
 Šahru, which then came to be known by a variety of names: Gomru, Kombru, Gombaru in Oriental sources; Cambarão and Comorão in Portuguese writings; Combru and Gombroon, Gambron, Camoron, Comoros, and so on, in other European sources.
- An early French chart of he Arabian Gulf