Survey of the Shores and Islands of the Persian Gulf 1820–1829

ISBN:  (13) 978-1-85207-190-5        Extent:   5 volumes, including 4 map boxes

Editor:  Prepared for publication and with an introduction by Andrew S. Cook, Map Archivist, British Library (Oriental and India Office Collection)    Published: 1990
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available

The Survey of the Shores and Islands of the Persian Gulf is published from original materials in the India Office Library and Records, London, by agreement with the British Library. The collection has been prepared for publication, and the introduction written, by Andrew S. Cook, Map Archivist, India Office Library and Records.
This publication represents a remarkable collection of the first complete survey of the Gulf coast by the Bombay Marine. The collection comprises contemporary textual descriptions, maritime charts, harbour maps and hand-painted watercolour coastal views. The text and the harbour plans provide the first British portrayal of coastal settlements including Muscat, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm al-Qaiwain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Bahrain, Kuwait, etc. The collection includes 20 paintings in watercolour of the Coast of Oman and the Trucial States painted by Lt. Houghton from on board ship during the survey.


This series of charts gave the first complete cover of all the coast line of the Gulf. Previous surveys were incomplete, omitting much of the Arabian coast; later surveys in the nineteenth century were partial revisions.
The immediate stimulus for the survey of the Persian Gulf coasts begun by Captain Philip Maughan and Lieutenant John Guy of the Bombay Marine in 1820 was the desire of the Bombay Government to combat the maritime warfare on the Arabian coast, where local sailors could outwit the East India Company´s ships with a detailed knowledge of the shallows and channels.
Maughan and Guy retired in turn through ill-health in 1821 and 1825, after surveying part of the Arabian coast southwestward from the Strait of Hormuz. The direction of the survey, on board the East India Company ships Discovery and Psyche, was taken over by Lieutenant George Brucks assisted by Lieutenant Stafford Haines. Brucks and Haines are the names to appear on the majority of the charts completed in the period 1823 to 1827. The whole of the Arabian coast had been completed by April 1825, and the survey of the Persian coast continued until April 1828.

The accurate survey of the Gulf coasts was no easy business: ´In order to form some idea of the difficulties encountered in these operations, as well as the energy and perseverance of the gentlemen employed, it may be observed that, in the course of a fortnight, in spite of all obstacles they met with from the extensive sand-flats running sometimes nearly eight miles off shore, through which the officers and men had to wade middle deep, they were enabled to complete a distance of seventy-nine miles.´ Throughout the survey the draughtsman, Lieutenant Houghton, was composing and laying down the results, as well as taking a series of water-colour coastal profiles to aid future navigation.
The historic texts reprinted in Volume 1 include a contemporary account of the survey; a plan for conductingthe survey; sailing directions for the Gulf, 1836; and other contemporary descriptions of navigation, the islands and coast, and coastal settlements.


The contents consist of 1 volume of text plus a collection of 54 charts and views. Text and charts have been printed on acid-free paper. The charts have been reprinted as faithfully as possible to their original sizes and colours. The text volume is bound in best book cloth with gilt blocking and page tops. Presented in five volumes comprising one volume text plus four map boxes in volume format. The charts are folded to fit within the volume size of 248 x 160mm.


The following is a summary of the detailed bibliographic and cartographic description which will accompany the publication. The charts vary in size but are for the most part around 30 x 20 ins. Note: Contemporary (i.e. 1820s/1830s) rendering of the proper names in English is retained for the most part.
The watercolour paintings
1. Lieutenant Houghton´s album title page
2. Musseldom [Musandam] from the westward
3. & 4. Coast from Ras Moosendum to Perforated Rock [Makhbak]
5. Northern entrance to Discovery Strait [Khor al-Quwai]
6. Coast from Jezeerat Gunnum [Ghanam] to Ras Sheik Munsood
7. Coast from Ras Sheik Munsood [Mas´ud] to Shaum
8. Coast between Bookh and Shaum
9. & 10. Coast from Raumps to Ras-al-Khyma
11. Ul Umrah [Al-Hamra] from the anchorage
12. Aymaun [Ajman] in five fathoms
13. Sharga in 61/2 fathoms
14. Debay in 61/2 fathoms
15. Zircooa [Zarqa] Island from the Eastward
16. Jirnain [Qarnayn] Island from the Westward
17. Seer Beni Yass distant 61/4 miles
18. Coast of Arabia
19. Arabian Coast in 5 fathoms
20. Jibbul Barrarkah [Jabal Baraka]
There are two further outline views of the Arabian Coast in pen-and-ink.

The charts and harbour plans
1. Survey of the Harbours of Muttra and Muscat
2. Battnah or Burka Coast
3. The entrance to the Gulf of Persia

4. Ras Goberhindee to Rass Soaote
5. & 6. Chart of the Gulf of Persia, east and west sheets
7. Ras Musandam to Abu Dhabi

8. Abu Dhabi to Sir Bani Yas
9. Jazirat Dalma to Hawar
10. Ras Rakan to Ras al Ghar
11. Khor Abd Allah to Ras al Ghar
12. Plan of the Island and Harbour of Bahrain
13. Plan of the Anchorage off the town of El Katiff
14. Plan of the Harbour of Grane or Quade [Kuwait]
15. Survey of the entrances to the Rivers at the Head of the Persian Gulf
16. Ras Tuloop to Bushire
17. Plan of Bushire roads
18. Bushire to Bassadore
19. & 20. Survey of Clarence´s Strait, two sheets
21. Plan of the back-water at Ras al Khyma
22. Plan of the back-water at Ul Umrah [Al-Hamra]
23. Plan of the back-water at Amulgawein
24. Plan of the entrance of the back-water at Aymaun
25. Plan of the back-water at Sharja
26. Plan of the back-water at Debai
27. Survey...of the entrance to Abothubee back-water
28. Plan of the Island & Harbour of Beni Yass
29. Survey of Core Alladeid [Khor Al-Udaid]
30. Plan of the Harbour of El Biddah [Doha]
31. Plan of Core Shedeitch [Al-Khor]
There is also a table of Arabic characters to accompany the Chart of the Persian Gulf.