Persian Gulf Historical Summaries 1907–1953, The

  (13) 978-1-85207-105-9  Extent:   4 volumes, 920 pages, including 1 map box
Editor: Archive Editions  Published: 1987
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available


Once known familiarly as "PG 4", "PG 13" and "PG 53", these summaries of incoming reports to the British government were the indispensable companions of British Foreign Office specialists and diplomatic personnel concerned with Persian Gulf affairs. This series was originally intended to update Lorimer´s Gazetteer, the later Historical Summaries provide records of events and political assessments of their significance. Archive Editions here presents the series in four volumes with accompanying treaties, maps and ruling family trees, and including the early volume ´Memorandum respecting British interests in the Persian Gulf, 1908’.


The Summaries were issued in 1908, 1928 and 1954 for confidential use within the British Government and were described as follows. Informally the summaries were known by their numbers as "PG 4", "PG 13" and "PG 53".
("PG 4"): Memorandum respecting British interests in the Persian Gulf. Printed for the use of the Foreign Office. February 1908.
("PG 13"): Historical Summary of Events in Territories of the Ottoman Empire, Persia and Arabia affecting the British Position in the Persian Gulf, 1907-1928. Printed for the Committee of Imperial Defence. October 1928.
("PG 53"): Historical Summary of Events in the Persian Gulf Shaikhdoms and the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman 1928-1953. Accompanied by a Collection of Oil Agreements and Connected Documents relating to the Persian Gulf Shaikhdoms and the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman. Confidential. Foreign Office, June 30, 1954.


The Persian Gulf Historical Summaries provide, for the first half of the 20th century, an indication of British policy and attitudes towards the events and personalities of the Gulf. "PG 4" provides a summary of the political status quo and of British policy in the Persian Gulf at the start of the 20th century, including a review of key 19th century events. "PG 13" begins its survey at 1907 and gives both an historical account and a political assessment of the complex developments in the Gulf during and as a consequence of the First World War.
"PG 53" comprises two volumes, one of text and appendices with a further volume of prevailing treaties; agreements and oil concession agreements between HM Government and the Gulf Rulers. The narrative is brought down to the end of 1953. The object of the compilation, states the Foreword, ´is to provide the background of current problems in the Gulf States, and precedents which, it is hoped, may be of use in dealing with future problems...´.
The lapse of years between 1908 and 1953 and the great historical events of that period are reflected in the change of position between the earlier and the later Summaries. The writer of "PG 53" recalls the British administration of 1928, when the Political Resident was Consul-General at Bushire and reported in part to the Foreign Office and in part to the Government of India. By 1953 the instructions to the new Political Resident at Bahrain referred to the advancement of internal independence, to good relations with Saudi Arabia, to harmonising policy with the USA ´without sacrificing the paramount British position.´ The Historical Summary of 1953 hints not only at the unification of the Trucial Shaikhdoms, but at the increasing independence of the other States from direct British influence.


The accompanying maps and genealogical tables are supplied in a map box made and bound in a similar form to the text volumes. The Summaries are published in the following sequence:
Volume I: Historical Summary 1907- 1928. Memorandum respecting British interests in the Persian Gulf, 1908.
Volume II:  Historical Summary 1928-1953 vols. I & II: text plus appendices.
Volume III:  Accompanying compilation of treaties, agreements and oil concession agreements.
Volume IV: Map box, containing 13 maps


Structure and contents: PG 4 (1908)
I           General summary.
II         Political: Muscat - Trucial Chiefs - Bahrein - El Katr - the Wahabees - Turkey and Koweit - Mohammerah - Persia - Basidu - Abu Musa, Tamb and Sirri.
III       Commerce: the Pearl Fisheries - Trade Statistics and German Competition - Lighthouses - British Cables.
IV       Conclusion, Appendices, Bibliography.

Structure and contents: PG 13 (1928)
Historical chapters
Part I - Period before the War (1907-14): The Ottoman Empire - Persia - Nejd.
Part II - Period of the War (1914-19).
Part III - Post-war period (1918-28): Iraq - Persia - Arabia - Mohammerah. Political control in the Gulf: Arrangements prior to and since 1921.

Regional chapters
Muscat, 1908-28: Administration - History - Internal history - The Oman Rebellion - Foreign relations - Miscellaneous questions - Oil.
Bahrain, 1908-28: Administration - Internal history - Oil - External relations - Relations with Persia; with Ibn Saud - Summary.
Kuwait, 1908-28; Administration - Kuwait affairs - Internal questions - Oil - External questions - Boundary questions with Nejd and Iraq - Summary.
The Trucial Chiefs, 1908-28: Internal history - Oil - External developments - Relations with Ibn Saud; with Persia - Summary.
El Katr, 1908-16: History and status of islands and territories, including Tamb, Little Tamb, Abu Musa, Sirri, Henjam, Basidu.

General chapters
Review of other matters, including: Wireless stations in the Gulf - Air communications - Slavery - Lighting and buoying - Quarantine control - Arms traffic - Smuggling- Oil interests - Trade - Persian coasting trade.
Appendix and maps
Appendix: Precis of Treaties and Engagements - Maps of Persia and Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf and Islands.
Structure and contents: PG 53 (1953)
Chapter sequence
General introduction dealing with: the British Political Residency - General policy in the area - Miscellaneous matters including the Persian Gulf Lighting Service- Currency - Slavery - Arms - Protocol.
Chapters are then organised by state: Bahrain - Kuwait - Qatar - The Trucial States - Muscat.

Coverage of each state
General introduction - Internal affairs - Contentious subjects, e.g. Zubara, the Neutral Zone - Land boundaries - Islands and sea-bed - Oil and minerals - Relations with other States, including other Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Persia (Iran).
USA - Miscellaneous, including jurisdiction,* armed forces, banks, communications, medical matters. [*Legislative Orders in Council in force at the end of 1953 are recorded not in these Summaries but in the Supplement to the Persian Gulf Gazette for October 1, 1953.]

Supporting documents are both of a general nature, including details of Rulers, and protocol and general regulations and specific to each state, including: Agreements and undertakings between H.M. Government and the States - Definitions of boundaries - Claims to boundaries - Proclamations abolishing slavery and arms traffic - Nationality and passport laws - Commercial concessions.

Maps and family trees


A general map of the Persian Gulf Shaikhdoms and the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman is provided as well as genealogical tables, updated to 1953, of the ruling families of:
  • Bahrain
  • Kuwait
  • Qatar
  • Abu Dhabi
  • Dubai
  • Qasimi I (Sharjah)
  • Qasimi II (Ras al Khaimah)
  • Ajman
  • Umm al Qaiwain
  • Fujairah
  • Muscat