ME802c - The Arabian coastline. Central sheet
This historic chart of part of the coast of the UAE was produced from a number of smaller surveys covering the entire length of the coastline of Arabia stretching from what is now Kuwait to the northeast and Oman to the southwest.
- Lieutenants J. M. Guy & G. B. Bucks
- h31.5" x w28.4"
The surveys that led to the production of this, and two other charts in the same series (see A702a & A702c) were the primary work of Lieutenants J. M. Guy, G. B. Brooks and R. Cogan. The survey was conducted in 1824, on behalf of the Honourable East India Company Marine Service and published in 1826.
This chart maps the coastline from the small island of Zaboot to Ras Luffan. One of the most interesting features of this chart relates to the names given to certain places. An indication of the extent of British interest, and the might and degree of Empirical self-importance in the region at this time is the naming of the islands as 'East India Company Islands'. Nevertheless, the British clearly attempted to capture the names of some of the places, though there were obvious problems translating what they heard into the written word. Some of the given names are still recognizable, such as Abothubbee (Abu Dhabi) which lies to the west of Ras Luffan; others provide a greater challenge, or have long been lost in time and translation.
A close inspection of Abothubbee is worth undertaking. The chart provides further information in regard to the number of towers/forts that were built on this stretch of land. There was one major settlement (surrounding Qasr Al Hosn), one tower (Al Maqtar) and, interestingly, one tower and village (which appear to be close to the area now known as Al Bateen). Also of note is the abundance of vegetation and trees along the coast, east of what is now known as Abu Al Abyadh Island (labelled 'Jezeerat Biliyard': jezeerat meaning 'island') and towards Abothubbee.
A comparison of this coastline to that on modern maps illustrates that, with time, the shape of the coastline has changed with the natural process of shifting sands and modern development. Although no key is provided with the chart, the surveyors and the engraver, John Bateman, all stick firmly to the traditions of British map and chart-making; utilising standardized symbols, and noting: rocks along the coast-line; significant hill formations (Jibbal) that would be recognizable from the sea; cliff formations and headlands (Ras); water-holes, water ravines and bays (Core - present day 'Khor'); sandbanks/ shoals (depicted by the dotted line both along the coast and out at sea); marsh land; and the few settlements.
The numbers (soundings) depict the water depths measured in both fathoms and, where circled, feet. This was an important part of the survey as this informed future voyagers as to where it was safe to sail, and where to anchor.  (see heritage Charts ME100, ME101, ME102a, ME102b & ME102d)
- The Arabian coastline showing part of the United Arab Emirates. Central sheet