Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf: Oman and Central Arabia. The Historical Section. Maps and Tables. Geographical and Statistical.

LORIMER John Gordon (1970.)


A complete reprint. 5 volumes and a map case (containing 17 tables, one chart and one folding map). Fine red cloth, slight bumping to corners, gilt titling to spine. [4], cxxx, 786; [2], 787-1624; [4], cxxx, 1625-2741, [1]; [4], iv, 1030; [2], 1031-1952 pp. Irish Universities Press,  

The historical section of the Gazetteer was completed by Lorimer shortly before his untimely death in 1914 (the result of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound) and published by the superintendent government printing office in Calcutta in 1915. It was designated as Volume One even though it was published several years after Volume Two, which appeared in 1908.

Lorimer used a number of official, semi-official and published sources to compile this extraordinary history of the Gulf. “It is difficult to see how the arrangement of the historical section could have been bettered. Firstly, the Gulf is treated as a unit and then the internal affairs of the riverain states are described in detail... Finally, there are appendices upon specific topics such as the slave trade, gun-running, epidemics, and missionary activities. Each section has its own bibliography. Despite the official nature of the work there are often human touches and pen portraits of splendid frankness.” (Bidwell, Geographical Journal, vol. 138, pp233-5).

Of course, being a Government Document, the political viewpoint of its author is obviously unwaveringly pro-British in every respect. As Bidwell [op cit] comments “there is a bland assumption of the eternal wisdom and benevolence of Imperial policy... in every clash it is the other side that is at fault.”

The Geographical section is an altogether much drier affair than the Historical although the data collected is extraordinarily detailed and inclusive. Furthermore, it is very well illustrated with 54 photographic illustrations (some of the very first photographs extant of the region), and a very large folding map entitled ‘Map of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia 1 inch=32 miles’ compiled by Lieut. Hunter. At the time of publication, it was the largest and most detailed map of Arabia and the Gulf ever published.

It seems that no more that 225 copies of the original edition of Lorimer were produced. It was a secret document until at least 1930 when it was reduced to the less restrictive ‘For Official Use Only’. Its classification was then changed back to Secret by 1944, before being declassified in 1955.

Though obviously not as scarce as the original two volumes, this reprint is difficult to find. COPAC lists 11 copies in UK institutions.

Stock Code: 216784

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