Historic Maps of Bahrain 1817–1970

ISBN:  (13) 978-1-85207-675-7      Extent:    69 maps with historical commentary
Editor: R. Jarman, former Advisor to the Bahrain National Museum    Published: 1996
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available

This collection comprises 69 surveys, charts and plans of Bahrain, many in colour, including the complete island and surrounding waters and islands. The publication makes valuable maps available which were previously unknown or inaccessible. It begins in 1817 with the first ever mention of Muharraq City on a map and finishes in 1970 with the last maps made before independence. It includes the first ever town plans of Manama and Muharraq to be compiled by the Government of Bahrain, and the first ever accurate land survey of the Hawar islands. There is also a detailed commentary on each map


The name ´Bahrain´ has been used over the years to describe two separate entities - the region of Bahrain which covered the whole of Eastern Arabia (including the modern Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, the Qatar peninsula, and parts of the United Arab Emirates), and the main island of the modern State of Bahrain. The region of Bahrain has always been described as ´Bahrain´. The island(s) of Bahrain have been given many different names over the centuries: in the early Arab maps of the Gulf dating back to the 10th century, the island was called ´Awal´; in the mediaeval Chinese maps of the world, the island was called ´Pailien´; in the 15th century maps based on Ptolemy´s geography, the old Hellenic names of ´Tylos´ and ´Arados´ reappeared; and it was not until the Portuguese and French maps of the 16th and 17th centuries that the name ´Baharem´ (or its shorter form ´Barem´) begins to resemble the modern name Bahrain.
Although the islands of Bahrain appeared on maps dating back to the 10th century, these were maps of the Gulf or Arabia as a whole; there were no maps which concentrated on the island of Bahrain only until a Portuguese map of 1538; this was followed by several other Portuguese maps, and by two French maps, both by Andre Thevet dated 1575 (one published in his Cosmographie Universelle, and one as yet unpublished and at present in a private collection in Capetown). But none of these maps were accurate surveys of the islands or of the waters round them; accurate surveys had to wait until the arrival of the British in the Gulf in the early years of the 19th century.
The purpose of this collection of maps and surveys is to bring together these accurate British maps and surveys of the islands and waters of Bahrain, from the very first one in 1817 to the last ones produced in 1970 just before independence, after which the Government of the State of Bahrain through its own Survey Directorate began publishing maps on a frequent and regular basis.
Naval surveys
The first maps were the result of naval surveys. Although their main purpose was to survey the waters round Bahrain, the surveyors were interested in the shoreline and in prominent features on land which could be a help to navigation - thus, cities, prominent geographical features such as hills and clumps of trees, and prominent buildings were featured on these charts. The originals of these maps can be found in the India Office Records (now part of the British Library Oriental and India Office Collections) in London or in the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office archives in Taunton.
The series of charts produced as a result of the survey of the shores and islands of the Persian Gulf by the Bombay Marine (the naval arm of the British East India Company) between 1820 and 1829 are well known, and the two charts relating to Bahrain have been reproduced in this collection. Less well known are the earlier surveys conducted by the Bombay Marine or by the Royal Navy - the first survey was by the East India Company Cruiser Mercury in 1817, and this resulted in a map of Bahrain and Arad Islands (with the first mention on any map of the towns of Manama and the recently-built Muharraq); another survey by HMS Challenger, also in 1817, produced a panorama of the shoreline of the two main islands (with the first ever views of various buildings in Bahrain); and another survey by the East India Company Cruiser Benares in March 1818 resulted in a chart of the north-western anchorage of Bahrain by Captain Eatwell. These early surveys resulted in the following charts: A Plan of the Islands of Bahrain and Arad, 1817; A Sketch of the Islands of Bahrain and Arad, with a plan of the anchorage, 1817;The north-western anchorage of Bahrain, by Captain Eatwell, March 1818 (incorporated in the Chart of the Gulf of Persia, 1820); Trigonometrical Plan of the Island and Harbour of Bahrain on the Arabian side of the Gulf of Persia, by Lts Brucks and Rogers, 1828; Part of the Arabian Side of the Persian Gulf, from Core Abdulla to Ras Reccan sheet 2, or Trigonometrical Survey of the Arabian or Southern side of the Persian Gulf sheet 4, by Lts Guy and Brucks, 1829.
After the survey of the shores and islands of the Persian Gulf by the Bombay Marine in the 1820s, no further surveys of the waters round Bahrain were done for many years. The Bombay Marine, renamed the Indian Navy on 1st May 1830, did not make any more surveys in Bahrain waters until the late 1850s when Constable and Stiffe conducted surveying operations in the schooner Marie 1858-60 and Whish conducted his survey of Bahrain Harbour in 1859, and these were the basis for Admiralty Chart 20, issued in 1862. Further surveys were made in 1872-4 by the Royal Navy schooner Constance, by the Royal Indian Marine ship Investigator in 1901-2, by HMS Redbreast in 1904-5, and by HMS Ormonde in 1932. All these surveys resulted in the following charts: Chart 20 (with editions in 1862, 1875, 1903, and 1914); Chart 3380 (with editions in 1903 and 1916); Chart 3540 (with only one edition, in 1905); Chart 3792 (with an edition in 1936).
In the 1930s, the Naval Intelligence Division of the British Admiralty began producing memoranda and intelligence reports, with restricted circulation, for strategic government planning, and the Arabia Intelligence Reports are an example of these. The Arabia Intelligence Report of October 1941 has been traced, and maps from an earlier edition have also been located in the India Office Records in London. These maps were not the result of new surveys but merely a précis of existing information; the charts of the whole of Bahrain Island are on the scale of 1 inch to 1 mile, and are as follows: Bahrain Island, January 1933; Bahrain Island, January 1937. After 1937, the maps produced by the Geographical Section, General Staff, in Britain, by the Bahrain Petroleum Company, and by the Bahrain Government provided more than adequate cover of the land mass of Bahrain Island, and Admiralty charts ceased to have any relevance for a study of the topography of Bahrain.

Land Surveys by the British
Surveys of various land areas of Bahrain, that is by properly qualified surveyors working on the ground rather than from naval vessels, were produced for the Government of India, the Bahrain Petroleum Company, the British War Office, and the Bahrain Government (usually working with British companies).
The first land survey of Bahrain Island, on a scale of 1 inch to 1 mile, was produced by the Survey of India during the winter season of 1904/5. This was done as part of the preparatory work for Lorimer´s Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, and is the first comprehensive survey of the island giving all the towns and villages as well as tracks, roads, and contours. So good was this map that, according to the Bahrain Government Annual Report of AH 1372 (October 1952-September 1953), it could still be obtained from the Bahrain Government Land Department in that year.
The search for oil prompted the surveys of the Bahrain Petroleum Company of Bahrain Island in 1928 by Rhoades and his assistants, and of the Hawar Islands in 1939/40.
The Geographical Section, General Staff, (GSGS), of the British War Office, subsequently the Directorate of Military Survey, was responsible for two series of maps of Bahrain. The first was a survey of the whole of Bahrain Island on a scale of 1 inch to 1 mile; known initially as series GSGS 4035 and from 1961 onwards as series K761, it began in 1939 and had five different editions - in 1939, 1942, March 1956, May 1956, and 1962; a sixth edition was envisaged in 1966 but it was never produced; this series K761 was superseded by series K7610 on the metric scale of 1:50,000 which divided the State of Bahrain into 3 sheets - Bahrain North, Bahrain South, and the Hawar Islands.
The other series produced by the British War Office was a series of Town Maps, covering Manama and suburbs, Muharraq and suburbs, and Awali. These maps were on the scale of 1:5,000 and were known initially as series GSGS 4880 and from 1962 onwards as series K962.
Manama and suburbs was initially covered by three sheets: ´Manama´, covering the old town, in three editions (1957, 1963, 1969); ´Jufair West´ (later ´Al-Jufayr 1´) in two editions (1967, 1968); ´Jufair East´ (later ´Al-Jufayr 2´) in three editions (1967, 1968, 1969). These three separate maps were superseded in 1969/70 by a new title (´Al-Manamah and Al-Jufayr´) and this one map was divided into 5 sheets. Sheets 1-3 were described as the fourth edition (and would have been equivalent to a fourth edition of ´Manama´ and ´Jufair East´); sheets 4-5 were described as the first edition.
Muharraq and suburbs was produced in three editions. The first edition of January 1957 was entitled ´Muharraq´ and was produced in one sheet; the second edition of April 1967 was entitled ´Muharraq Island´ and was produced in four sheets; and the third edition of February 1970 was entitled ´Jazirat al-Muharraq´ and was produced in four sheets.
Awali was covered by one sheet only, and this was produced in two editions (January 1957 and February 1963).
Land Surveys by the Bahrain Government
The Land Registration Department of the Bahrain Government was started in 1925-6 and during the first 6 years of its existence was occupied in making a detailed survey of the villages and cultivated areas of Bahrain, mainly to establish ownership of property, and in making surveys and maps of Manama, Muharraq, Hedd, and East Rafaa. These early maps of Hedd and East Rafaa can no longer be found in the archives of the Land Registration Department (now part of the Ministry of Justice) but the first maps of Manama (April 1926) and of Muharraq (March 1931) have been located and are reproduced in this collection.
In AH 1357 (March 1938-February 1939) the Land Registration Department completed the survey of the whole of Rafaa, started the survey of Sitra Island, surveyed the main island of the Hawar group and produced a map of that island, and resurveyed Manama Town and suburbs. Most of these maps have been lost, but that of Hawar has been found and included in this collection. There is no evidence that the revised new map of Manama was made at the time - but maps were certainly made later for specific projects, such as the location of the new British Political Residency in 1946 and the new Water Scheme for Manama in 1948. The map made for the Manama Water Scheme is used for this collection.
The Second World War put an end to further survey work. In the late 1940s the need for new maps of Bahrain and its cities was realised, so a British company, Hunting Aerosurveys, was commissioned to make an aerial survey of Muharraq Island, Manama Town, and the area to the south of Manama, and this was done in December 1951; from these aerial photographs maps at different scales were produced of Manama and Muharraq.
In the 1960s another British company, Fairey Surveys, helped the Public Works Department of the Bahrain Government, and this company was responsible for the production of the last two maps produced for the Bahrain Government before independence in 1971 - the 1968 map in English of Bahrain at a scale of 1 inch to 1 mile, and the same map but in Arabic published in 1969. They are both included in this collection for their importance - the last non-metric maps of Bahrain, the last produced before the formation of the Survey Directorate in 1977, and the first map of Bahrain in Arabic


  In celebration of 25 years of Bahrain independence, Archive Editions present an impressive collection of previously scattered historic maps and charts of Bahrain island and the surrounding territories. The editor has compiled a comprehensive list of all the British surveyed maps of Bahrain, from the earliest survey of Bahrain and Arad islands in 1817 to the last maps just prior to Independence in 1971. Each ´first time´ map represents a new perception of Bahrain: in the early days, in terms of geographic accuracy; in recent years, in terms of features depicted and of the maps as a record of civic development.

The maps boxes contain all significant naval charts and land surveys which are reproduced in their original colours, including detailed town plans. Each map is accompanied by a commentary on its content and context written by the editor, Robert L. Jarman, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London.

Diversity of sources
The editor and publishers express their acknowledgement and thanks for assistance in making material available. This collection has been gathered together from the following sources: Ministry of Housing, Municipalities and Environment, Bahrain; Hydrographic Office, Taunton, UK; Ministry of Defence, Military Surveys, Directorate of Geographic Information, Tolworth, UK; British Library: Map room and Oriental and India Office collections, London, UK.


Naval surveys 1817-1937
01 A Plan of the Islands of Bahrain and Arad, 1817
02 A Sketch of the Islands of Bahrain and Arad, with a plan of the anchorage, December 1817
03 Chart of the Gulf of Persia, 1820
04 Trigonometrical Plan of the Island and Harbour of Bahrein on the Arabian side of the Gulf of Persia, 1828
05 Part of the Arabian Side of the Persian Gulf, from Core Abdulla to Ras Reccan sheet 2, or Trigonometrical Survey of the Arabian or Southern side of the Persian Gulf sheet 4, 1829
06 Bahrein Harbour, 1862
07 Bahreyn Harbour, c. 1872
08 Bahrain Harbour, 1875
09 Bahrain Harbour, 1875
10 Bahrein Harbour, 1903
11 Bahrein Harbour, 1914
12 Plans in the Persian Gulf: Bahrein Harbour, 1903
13 Plans in the Persian Gulf: Bahrein Harbour; Magam; Lingeh; Dibai, 1916
14 Khor Kaliya, 1905
15 Plans on the North East coast of Bahrain Island, 1936
16 Bahrain Island, 1933
17 Bahrain Island, 1937
Land surveys of Bahrain 1904-1969
18 Bahrain Island, 1904-5
19 Facility map of Bahrain Island, 1934
20 Bahrein Island, 1939
21 Bahrein Island, 1942
22 Bahrain Island, March 1956
23 Bahrain Island, May 1956
24 Bahrain Island, 1962
25 Bahrain Island, 1968
26 Bahrain Island (in Arabic), 1969
27 Hawar Islands, 1938/9
28 Hawar Islands, 1939/40
Town maps
Manama City and Suburbs 1926-1956
29 Manamah City, 1926
30 Manamah: Plan of Port and Town, 1933
31 Naval Base at Khor Kaliya [Jufair], 1937
32 Manama Town, 1357 (1938/9)
33 Manama sheet 1, 1951
34 Manama sheet 2, 1951
35 Manama sheet 3, 1951
36 Manama sheet 4, 1951
37 Manama sheet 5, 1951
38 Manama sheet 7, 1951
39 Manama sheet 8, 1951
40 Manama sheet 9, 1951
41 Manama sheet 3, 1956
Manama City and Suburbs 1957-1970
42 Bahrain Town Plans: Manama [City], 1957
43 Bahrain Town Plans: Manama [City], 1963
44 Bahrain Town Plans: Manama [City], 1969
45 Bahrain Town Plans: [Manama] Jufair West, 1967
46 Bahrain Town Plans: [Manama] Al-Jufayr 1, 1968
47 Bahrain Town Plans: [Manama] Jufair East, 1967
48 Bahrain Town Plans: [Manama] Al-Jufayr 2, 1968
49 Bahrain Town Plans: [Manama] Al-Jufayr 2, 1969
50 Bahrain Town Plans: Al-Manamah and Al-Jufayr 1, 1969
51 Bahrain Town Plans: Al-Manamah and Al-Jufayr 2, 1970
52 Bahrain Town Plans: Al-Manamah and Al-Jufayr 3, 1970
53 Bahrain Town Plans: Al-Manamah and Al-Jufayr 4, 1970
54 Bahrain Town Plans: Al-Manamah and Al-Jufayr 5, 1970
Muharraq Town and Island 1931-1970
55 Moharrak Town, 1931
56 Muharraq Island, 1951
57 Muharraq Town sheet 1, 1951
58 Muharraq Town sheet 2, 1951
59 Bahrain Town Plans: Muharraq [City], 1957
60 Bahrain Town Plans: Muharraq Island 1, 1967
61 Bahrain Town Plans: Muharraq Island 2, 1967
62 Bahrain Town Plans: Muharraq Island 3, 1967
63 Bahrain Town Plans: Muharraq Island 4, 1967
64 Bahrain Town Plans: Jazirat al-Muharraq 1, 1970
65 Bahrain Town Plans: Jazirat al-Muharraq 2, 1970
66 Bahrain Town Plans: Jazirat al-Muharraq 3, 1970
67 Bahrain Town Plans: Jazirat al-Muharraq 4, 1970
Awali 1957-1963
68 Bahrain Town Plans: Awali, 1957
69 Bahrain Town Plans: Awali, 1963