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Near & Middle East Titles:
Persian Gulf Précis, The
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ISBN: (13) 978-1-85207-000-7
Extent: 8 volumes, 3,200 pages

Editor: J.A. Saldanha
ISBN: (10) 1-85207-000-5
Published: 1986
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available

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Alongside Lorimer´s Gazetteer, Saldanha´s Persian Gulf Précis series stands as a separate and unique, but complementary, source of reference, indispensable for any serious study of the area. Over the period 1600 to 1853 each geographic area is dealt with separately, from Oman through the Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, parts of Saudi Arabia, Iraq and along the Persian coast to southern Iran. General subjects, including the arms trade, slave trade, commerce and communications, naval affairs and international rivalry, are included in supplementary volumes.
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Historical Overview

At the end of the nineteenth century Britain´s paramount position in the Persian Gulf was being challenged by other European colonial powers - France, Germany, Russia and Turkey. The British governments in London and Calcutta responded with policies designed to strengthen their influence in an area long regarded as the key to the defence of the empire in India: the Persian Gulf.

As a preparatory step, background documentation on the area was to be prepared to ensure British officials were better informed. The brief was to produce ´a book of reference in which the history of every political question or relationship affecting this region can be traced from the beginning´. The outcome of this formidable instruction was J. G. Lorimer´s classic work, the Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia. But the intermediate stage, and the groundwork for Lorimer, was Saldanha´s series of summaries known as the Persian Gulf Précis.  Important original documents, including treaties, reports, letters and memoranda, are reproduced sometimes in their entirety, sometimes in summary form; accompanied by Saldanha´s own synopses and explanations of events.
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Documentary Importance

The government officials who in 1903 commissioned Saldanha´s Précis and Lorimer´s Gazetteer could hardly have imagined how rapidly the world, and the Gulf, were to change - nor how valuable their reference works would still prove, in different conditions, to scholars, journalists, policy-makers and business people. Today, the Gulf´s vital position in international relations renews the demand for background material.

The relationship between Lorimer´s Gazetteer and Saldanha´s Précis

In 1903 the Government of India appointed Lorimer to compile his Gazetteer. Jerome Antony Saldanha, a judge in the Bombay Provincial Civil Service, was nominated to assist him; as was Lieutenant C. H. Gabriel, a young Indian Army Officer responsible for the Précis on arms trade.
Saldanha´s task was to work through government archives in Bombay and Calcutta and summarise the papers relating to the Gulf. In less than two years, evidently having a taste for hard work and an enthusiasm for detail, Saldanha summarised the records dating back to 1600 and produced a mass, in Lorimer´s own words, of ´valuable and minute information´.

The Précis were printed and circulated to officials. Lorimer relied heavily on their contents for his Historical volume, although he in turn summarised the information provided. Thus Saldanha provides an authoritative classification and résumé of a 300-year span of British administration and activity in the Gulf.
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Arrangement of volumes

The eighteen volumes in the collection, which vary greatly in extent as well as in subject matter, have been consolidated into the following sequence, in the interests of compactness and uniformity. For the most part volumes have been bound together according to geographic and subject order. The foolscap page size of the original documents has been reduced to the more easily handled library format of 248mm x 160mm in the republished edition.

Volume I: Selections from State Papers, Bombay.
Volume II: Correspondence regarding the Affairs of the Persian Gulf.
Volume III: Maskat Affairs - Slave Trade - Correspondence regarding Trucial Chiefs.
Volume IV: Bahrein Affairs - Katar Affairs.
Volume V: Nejd Affairs - Koweit Affairs - Turkish Expansion. . .and Hasa and Katif Affairs.
Volume VI: Turkish Arabian Affairs.
Volume VII: Persian Arabistan Affairs - Affairs of the Persian Coast and Islands.
Volume VIII: Commerce and Communication - Naval Arrangements - International
Rivalry and British Policy - Arms Trade.
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Contents Outline

The 18 volumes of Saldanha´s Précis contain a convenient and comprehensive summary of British records relating to the Gulf from the earliest East India Company ventures to the beginning of the twentieth century. Two general summaries cover the period 1600 to 1853. Each geographic area is dealt with separately, from Oman through the Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, parts of Saudi Arabia, Iraq and along the coast to southern Iran. General subjects, including the arms trade, slave trade, commerce and communications, naval affairs and international rivalry, are included in supplementary volumes. Each volume contains extensive quotations from the records and references to historic sources which provide points of departure for further research. The publication of the Précis for the first time makes available to scholars and collectors material which previously was accessible only in record offices in India and London.
The original seventeen Précis by J. A. Saldahna, including the Selections from the State Papers, Bombay, and an additional Précis on the arms trade by C.H. Gabriel are as follows:

Summary volumes
Subject volumes
Regional volumes

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Key documents


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Editor's Introduction

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Related Titles:
Arab Gulf Cities
Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia
History of the Indian Navy 1613–1863
Kuwait Political Agency: Arabic Documents 1899–1949
Middle East Intelligence Handbooks 1943–1946
Military Handbooks of Arabia 1913–1917
Persian Gulf Administration Reports 1873–1957
Persian Gulf Gazette and Supplements 1953–1972
Persian Gulf Historical Summaries 1907–1953, The
Persian Gulf Trade Reports 1905–1940, The
Political Diaries of the Arab World: Persian Gulf 1904–1965
Slave Trade Into Arabia 1820–1973, The
Survey of the Shores and Islands of the Persian Gulf 1820–1829
Treaties and Engagements Relating to Arabia and the Persian Gulf