Persian Gulf and Red Sea Naval Reports 1820–1960

 (13) 978-1-85207-450-0  Extent:  15 volumes, 11,000 pages
Editor: A. Burdett   Published: 1993
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available

The aim in publishing the Persian Gulf & Red Sea Naval Reports is to draw together material previously scattered through two government archives into a concise and convenient format. Most of the documents are found scattered through the vast expanses of the British Admiralty files (one record class alone, ADM 1, runs from 1648 to 1960 and contains over 900,000 pieces).
Some material is also found within the British Library´s Oriental & India Office Collections, specifically in the Persian Gulf Residency files, the Aden records and the Proceedings of the Bombay Marine. There are only minor gaps in the 140-year sequence where reports for certain years are no longer found on the files. The detailed bibliographic listing of the documents, giving file references, provides a valuable service for researchers.


The Naval Reports cover the activities both of the Royal Navy and of the Indian Navy until its dissolution in 1863. The three original functions of British maritime policy in Arabian waters are made manifest in the Reports: while avoiding commitments on land among disputing tribal factions, the Navy sought the suppression of maritime aggression, the expansion of peaceful trading and the exclusion of competition. The Reports make clear both the benevolent and the harsher aspects of British naval intervention in past times. During the two World Wars detailed operations reports are submitted. In the 1950s the changing circumstances of the modern period are reflected in successive assessments, including the re-organisation of the Arabian Peninsular Command in 1960.


This publication establishes for the first time a virtually complete series of reports of British naval activity in the waters around the Arabian peninsula during some 140 years. Extensive and painstaking research was required to locate and organise this mass of information, much of it scarcely known hitherto, on maritime and coastal aspects of Arab history. The Naval Reports form a superb and henceforth indispensable source work for research on difficult subjects such as piracy and the slave trade. They also provide a wealth of information on shipping movements, tribal conflict, naval engagements and local maritime conditions.


Scheme of volumes:

Volume 1: 1820-1839
Volume 2: 1840-1857
Volume 3: 1857-1874
Volume 4: 1875-1881
Volume 5: 1881-1885
Volume 6: 1886-1897
Volume 7: 1898-1906
Volume 8: 1907-1912
Volume 9: 1913-1916
Volume 10: 1917-1929
Volume 11: 1929-1930
Volume 12: 1930-1933
Volume 13:1934-1936
Volume 14: 1936-1941
Volume 15: 1941-1960