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The commerce and navigation of the ancients in the Indian Ocean online

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cast, under the name of Guebres, Abbas endeavoured to exter-
minate, when the residue was dispersed over India, and a
numerous tribe of them are now settled at Bombay, where they
build those celebrated ships which, in construction and dura-
bility, prove the service they might have rendered their own
country. Never, since the world began, did any government
•gain by persecution.


In conducting the fleet from its entrance into the gulph, it
has been no difficult task to ascertain every station at which it
anchored ; the assistance I have derived from d'Anville, and the
correctness of our English charts, I have acknowledged at every

*^' See infra^ Indcrabia.

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P E R a I & 375

step, and it ia a pleasure to add, that the more correct tjbej are^
the more clear is the correspondence of the journal with the
actual state of the coast at the present day. We are now to
enter upon the province of Persis, and though I cannot promise
equal perspicuity in regard to some stations of little importance,
the general description of the coast is perfect, and the principal
harbours as fully ascertained as they are in modern geography^
One instance of this will be more particularly apparent in the
station which immediately succeeds.

The fleet weighing from Kataia arrived, after a course of

^ .T Ti 1 1 , , ^^^ Port.

twenty-five miles, at lla, an anchorage on the coast covered by Kaikam-
the island Kaikandros, The name which M^Cluer gives to a Is'^l'and.
place very nearly correspondent is Gillam '^% from which if we ^l^^clrfi.

subtract the initial letter, which is the representative of an as-

pirate, we find Illam sufiiciently allied to lla ; and if the anti-
quity of Gillam could be ascertained, the identity would be
complete* In Kaik-ANDRos also the modem name of Andar-
via may be discovered, which is one out of a multiplicity of
titles bestowed upon an island in this situation, styled Inderabia
by M'Cluer, Inderabi '^'^ by Niebuhr, Angarvia, Indernea, and
Indernore, by the other charts : and perhaps when we reflect
that the Greeks have no sh, we may be induced to suspect that
the Kaik-Andros of Nearchus is equivalent to '^' Keish- Andar-

'^ It is the same as Lieutenant Cant's in its neighbourhoody p. i2o.
Gclla, which approaches nearer to lUa, or '•* Kill Kiavus is likewise mentioned by

lla; but Cant's Gella is ill placed. Ilia be- Otter, vol. ii. p. 213. but fabulous,
comes Hilla and Gvllai like Han, Khan^ Ctiwn. After makibg this conjecture, I found in

Hendoo Gentoo. Golius, that Caicavus is divus Cavus^ who

*•* Anderipe, Inderuca, Hinderabi, &c. obtained water and milk in this island or

It is possibly also the Lameth of Al-Edrisi, as Keish. GoL ad Alfrag. 117.
he mentions Siraf and Tsafac^ i. t. Tsjarack,

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via^^*; an additional title this island might have obtained from
its proximity to Keish, or its dependence on it. From the
eastern point of Keish to Andarvia, says d'Anville, it is nearly
six leagues ; stnd he assumes ""V the eastern point as a spot where
the fleet might have anchored, in order to acquire a distance
approaching to the twenty-five miles of Arrian : but d'Anville
would have been better pleased to find that M'Cluer, in his
second chart, has extended the distance from twelve to twenty
geographical miles between Keish and Inderabia, and twenty
geographical miles supplying upwards of twenty-three '** miles
, British, make an agreement with Arrian sufficiently correct.
jVPCluer writes to Mn Dalrymple '" : " I have altered the situ-
" ation of Inderabia, as I found it too near Kenn'®^/* And in
this testimony we have a satisfaction in observing, that the more
correct the modern chart is, the better it corresponds with
Arrian. M'Cluer has rendered a second service in laying down
this isle nearer to the main than it appears in most of the other
charts, for so Arrian describes it, as covering the road and mak-
ing the anchorage secure. Inderabia, according to Lieutenant
Cant'®', is a low island, not inhabited, but affording fresh

*^^ I have been the more confirmed in this
opinion l3y observing in Golius, p. 117. which
I bavc been enabled to interpret by the assist-
ance of my friend Dr. R ussel, that Keis is the
proper name of a man ; and that the Arabs,
fabulously perhaps, lilcc the Greeks, derive the
name of the island Keis from Keis ebn Amce-
rat, Keis the son of Ameerat. In this man-
ner, Keis might be easily made an accessary
to Andarvia also. Andarvia, written so many
ways, approaches t!»e Greek more nearly in
Portuguese, Anderoya ; for so it appears in

''^ This licence is justifiable wherever a
coincidence can be obtained by it ; and I use
it freely when occasion requires, because the
point of anchorage is never ascertained by the
journal in the several islands.

*^* This distance is taken from the two ex-
treme points nearest ; «o that by taking an '
anchorage in Kenn, you may have twenty-five
miles exact.

•^5 P. 13. Pref. to Dali7mple'8 Collection.

"* Keish, written Kenn in several chartSj
but I believe always improperly.

"^ P. 44.

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P E R 5 I S. 577

water ; *^ the channel between it and the main is about a mile
" broad, with water from seven to fifteen fathoms, nearest the
«* island ;'' its mean latitude is 26' 49' 37^

From Kaikandros to a second island, no distance is giveUf r

^ Okhus

and only two miles and a half to an anchorage on the coast ; MouMTAiit.
from this anchorage again, to a harbour under a mountain called a Port, *
Okhus, no measure is specified. The island, Mr. d'Anville i^y^7r98.

complains, was laid down incorrectly ; but he read in the old

Portuguese charts, Ilha de UAra, or Lara, and so I find it in
Ressende and Thevenot "*. We have now, however, two islands
accurately placed in M'Cluer s second chart, which agrees better-
with Arrian than his first, and by the position of these we must
determine the course. Taking, therefore, a measure propor-
tionate to the correctness of the journal for some days past, I
allow, firom the centre of Inderabia to Mount Okhus, about
three hundred or three hundred and fifty stadia, that is, from
eighteen to twenty-one miles, and I.include the whole course in
one day. The two islands are called Schitwar ''^ and Busheab,
and the latter is written Schecb-Schaib by Niebuhr, equivalent
to Abu-Schaib or Bu-Sheab; for Schech is o/d, and Abu,
father^ and both are titles of respect, as we use Seigneur, or
Sir, in Europe. Schitwar, the smaller of the two, and the one
directly in the course of the fleet, is the island which Arrian
means, and which he says was inhabited, and possessed of a
fishery for pearl ; a circumstance not unworthy of remark, as

^ Thevenot taw the two islands at a dis- Thevenot mentions likewise that it is veiy Bear

tance, and therefore brought them into one ; the coast, and a passage within. It is poi«

and so M^luer says the trees on Schitwar seem sihly the Araka of Ptolemy.
to be on Busheab.. It is seventy leagues firom ^ Capper writes this name Shudwaa.
Karak, according to Thevenot, Part ii. p. 1 73.

3 c

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several travellers inform us, that pearU '** were formerly taken
at Karak "• and other places on the eastern side of the gulph^
as well as on the celebrated bank of Bahr^^n. If I am right,
therefore, in assuming Schitwar for Arrian's nameless island, the
remainder of this day^s course is clear ; for the forty stadia he
allots for crossing from hence to the main, is nearly equal to the
breadth of the channel between Schitwar and the eastern point
of the river Darabin, where I suppose the first anchorage to be ;
and the second, only by crossing the river to the western point,
or some convenient bay adjoining. This is the apparent reason
why no distance is mentioned liere, while the measure between
Inderabia and Schitwar is an omission. M^Cluer marks an
anchorage in a bay, and a town called Schitwar '^j just to the
westward of the mouth; bere'*^ I conclude the station of the
fleet was, and here we can find a mountain to correspond with
Okhus. That the town on the main should bear the sarpe title
as the island is a circumstance similar to that which takes place
at Ormuz, and is founded probably on the practice recorded by
Niebuhr, already noticed, of the inhabitants on the coast flying
to the islands, in their nei^bourhood, or the island receiving
its name from a town on the main. This is the second instance,
and two more will occur, with a third,, that possibly may be
accounted for upon the same principle^

»«• Pearls arc now frequently taken at Car- wuttas j but it adhered to the shell, and con-
rack ; but the depth of water is too great, and sequently was of very inferior value to what it
the pearls found, though ?ery large, adhere to otherwise would have been. Mr. H. Jones,
the shell : two cjrcumstances which will, in my '*' Thevenot, ibid,
opinion, ever prevent its being a valuable ''^ Chetwar.

fishery. The year before 1 came to England, ■« Harvey's chart places Schitwar point ob

I was necessitated to pass some days on Car- the eastward of the river, but marks a small

rack by myself; and on inquiry I Sound a town where M'Clucr's Schitwar or Chetwar is*

pearl that year had been taken, weighing 40 Harvey 1778,

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P E R S 1 S. 379

The mountain Okhus '^* is nothing more than the termination
of an high range of coast extending from Cape Nabon to the
river Darabin, called Dahhr-Asbdn by Niebuhr, as already
noticed, and distinctly specified in M^Cluei'^s first chart ; I have
not been able to trace the connexion of this range inland with
the great chain^ which runs parallel to the coast ; but there can
be little doubt of the fact, as the two rivers Darabin and Nabon
at the two extremities ought to be the produce of this mountain,
throwing off its waters on both sides, and forming two streams^
which appear to have some pre-eminence above the torrents td
the westward. In Dahhr-Asbdn **' we have the Dar-abin of
our charts, and the Dara of Ptolemy, which he places indeed
in latitude 28*" 40'; but as he has given a more northerly
direction to the gulph than it really has, this is readily ac-
counted for.

At the mouth of this river, and on the westward side then I
fix the station under Mount Okhus '^^ ; and I must observe that
M'Cluer's second, or corrected chart, coincides with the several
circumstances in Arrian more nearly than any of tlie others, or
even than that which is inserted in the present work.

Of the two islands, Schitwar lies nearer to the coast on the
south-east of Busheab, and the channel between Schitwar and
the main was not passed either by Cant or M*Cluer ; but they
both intimate, from the information of their pilots, that the pas-
sage is clear, as well as the other between this isle and Bnsheab,
which is less than a mile broad. Busheab is the largest island

•*♦ Sec M«Clucr»8 first chart. Two of '»• Ochus is the name of a river which falls

Claude Russel. Ksempfer. Van Keulcn. into the Oxus, and I doubt not contains «ome

D'Aprcs 1776. Harvey 1778. relation to a river here. See Salinas. Pliiu

'»* Sec Niebuhr, vol. ii. p. 192. French Ex, p. 216.

3c 2

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in the gulpfi except Kishmis *^^ ; it is low ai well ft$ Schit\far,
but has some high land at the back ; it is well planted and in-»
habited, four leagues long, and four or five niiles broad, and
lies in latitude 27° 1' 30". Schitwar is said to be still more
fruitful, which is a sufficient reason why it was found inhabited
by NearchuS) and possibly why a pearl-fishery was established
in its neiglilx>uiiiood. The narrowness of the channel reduced
to less than three miles by Arrian^ makes me adhere to M*Cluer
rather than any other authority ; and as he lessens **• the usivatl
distance specified between Busheab and the main, there is
great reason to believe that he is liear the truth in laying down
Schitwar> though he was not through the channel himself.

Niebuhr places Nachdo, the residence of a Sheik, in the

river Darabin; and if I had found any resemblance in this

name '** to Okhus, I should have looked to this place for a sta*

tion ; but in the position taken there can be no error of conse*

quence to the journal, except that an addition to the distance

Arrian gives between the Darabin and Cape Nabon would be

convenient, as his account is at present somewhat in excess.

. From Okhus to Ap6staHi the course was twenty-eight miles^

AP08TANI, ^i^j^^j^ carries the anchorage rather more than half way from the

^amuT^'s^* Darabin to Nabon ; and here we are to find a roady as several

Day 8, or 99. vcsscls wcrc sccu at auchor, and there was said to be a village

allowed, at the distance of near four miles up the country. A more

" hopeless cause for research has not yet occurred, for the high

land upon the coast promises little for the site of a village, and

the nature of the shore presents no appearance of shelter.

B'Anville finds a bay called Estoraadi at the foot of the moun*

'^ And I suppose Bahrein. ;» Okhm, N'*Okhe4o?

^ Memoirj p. 20.

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P S R S I S. - 381

tain, from what authority docs not appear, and from want of
good charta has no river either at Darabin ot Nabon. He
places Asselo •"** and Ap6stano9 "" in the same place, which is
evidently incorrect, as Asselo"* or Aslo is fixed by all the best
charts to the north-westward of Nabon, while Ap6stani is evi*
dently twenty-five miles to the east. But before we can deter-
mine upon a site, we must dispose of a town called Chewra,
Chetow, or Sherouw, which takes a variety of positions from the
Eastward of the Darabin, almost to Cape Nabon.

The resemblance of these n&mes, however written, would
induce a supposition that they all relate to the same place ; but
Sherouw, ot Sherouve, in the Dutdi charts placed eastward of
the Darabin, is the Shirav, or Siraf, of the Eastern geographers,
opposite to Keish, and formeriy a place of great commerce ; and
Chetow is the place written Chetwar by M'Cluer evidently re-
lated to the island Schitwar, ahd placed by him with an an-
chorage just to the westward of the Darabin. The same site is
given to Assetow, in Lieutenant Harvey's •"* chart 1778, and
As-Setow is Setowar and Chetwar In another form. This same
chart, which marks a village here, marks a second without a
name half way between the Darabin and Cape Nabon ; and this
second is the place called Shevoo by Captain Simmons*"**
" About half way from hence [the Darabin] to Cape Nabon is
« Shevoo*"', where good water may be got." These are his

"* Ha« he not confonnded AmcIo with the "» In a chart comparing Harvey with

Atsetow of our charU i Cant, and C. Russell by Dalrymple.

**' So d'AnviHe writes, and Aoamin, Han, "^ Ives, p. 305. mentions Shewee previous

lee. from the Latin authorities, he follows. to Naboo, as a snudl fishing-town. Hit ac*

**' See Niebuhr. M'Cluer writes Aitola, count is not distinct,
like the island oa the cOMt of CuadcL ^> See DiJrymple'* Pre£Me, p. i j, now.

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owti words, and here, unless Shevoo **** is misapplied, we get a
situation from Harvey, and a name from Simmons. The posi-
tion of this village, be its name what it may, answers to the
Ap6stani of Arrian, and the facility of obtaining good water
here, is a sufficient reason for finding it frequented by the
country vessels in the age of Nearchus, or at the present hour.
The general distance given from Mount Okhus to Nabon by the
journal is fifty-three miles divided into two courses, one of four
bundred and fifty •'*\ the other of four hundred stadia, and
agrees with M*Cluer's corrected chart within three miles ;
we cannot, therefore, commit any error that affects the series,
in placing Ap6stani by the measure given, or reducing it to the
Shevoo of Captain Simmons. The name itself has a Greek ap-
pearance, but is undoubtedly not Greek; nothing, therefore,
forbids us to suppose it may be Abu-stan *"*, like Abu-schaib,
Abu-sh^hhr, and other similar compounds on the coast ; or to
assume a conniption justified by its locality, and derive it from
Asbdn. My own opinion incKnes to the latter; and if this
should meet with the approbation of Oriental readers, we are
obliged to Mr. Niebuhr for first producing the name of this
range, which solves three problems at once ; the Dara of Pto-
lemy, the Darabin of modem geography, and the Ap6stani of
Arrian, all from Dahhr-Asbdn*''^

•^ The reason for tuppoBing Shevoo may mountain, in the Ethiopic and several other

be misapplied is its resemblance to Shcrouw Oriental languages. Dahr Asban is therefore

and Chetow. At Sherouw below Darabin, Mount Asban. Sec Ludolphus. Abyssinia,

Van Kcul<?n vrrites, — hier Is water van kuylen, book i. c. 4. book iii. c. 4. And Bruce passim.

in pits or tank«. May not the primary meaning of Dahr be

*^ Twenty -eight and twenty-five miles. beadi like our British Pen f and thence Rab.

"'^ The Sheihs* country, Abu and Sheck art dahr, Choob-dahr^ Ser*dahr, bead or chief

equivalent in Abu-Schaib, Schech-Schaib. officers respec^vely I ^

^ Dahr> Daber, and Dabra, signifies a

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P £ R S I S. 383

From Ap6stani the fleet weighed at night, and proceeded ^^^^ ' ^ ^
twenty-five miles to a bay, on the borders of which were seen Cafi
scattered villages, adorned with palm-trees, and others yielding January 9.
fruits*'* similar to those of Greece. Here Nearchus anchored, ^^ foo!
under the projection of a cape which rose to a considerable "

height. The cape is manifestly Nabon, and the bay is formed
by the mouth of the river which bears the same title. The point
of this cape*" is very remarkable, being flat table land, which
extends a considerable way, and then breaks off to a sharp
sloping point, wliich makes the table land appear lower than it
is ; the river which comes in here runs parallel with the coast,
and is at present the residence of an Arab Sheik, who is master
of a few small vessels, which he employs in piracy. Thevenot *■*
mentions it as a place still abounding in palm-trees, with a vil-
lage on a low bank of the river ; and the high land commencing
near the cape extends far inland. The term used by Arrian
expresses the anchorage of the fleet under cover of the table
land at the foot of the mountain ; whichj with the circum-
stances of a bay, villages, and fruit-trees *'^ makes the cor-
respondence exact. It has been observed already, that here is
the Bdgrada of Ptolemy, which he places in latitude 21** 54',
and the head of it in 35"* 15', but by its course at the cape it

"^ uK^^^va, Salmasias says^ only nott, extent of the moantains. Ives notices the

almonds, and such as have a shell without and same circumstance, p. 205. Here Providence

fruit within, p. 108, et seq. But see Thco- seems to have allotted a spot of ground amidst

phrastus : oufxvtXy; xa2 raXXa ix^i^vmf ibid. inhospitable rocks and deserts, capable of

*" Lieutenant M*Cluer, p. 21. Liente- affording the kind produccion of vegetables,

nant Cant, p. 22. In Mr. Dairy mple's Col- &c. &c, Ives, p. 205. In the river, a ship

lection. of nine hundred tons may ride. The Porta-

*" D'AnviUe ; but I have not found the gucse had once a settlement here. Ibid,
passage in Thevenot. Shaw says, Nabon or Bagrada signiBes a

"J Mr. Jones mentiout the Nabon as a pondi but I cannot recoter the passage,
large river j and such it ought to, be from the

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- ought to incline in the contrary direction, though I can find no
information either in traveller* or voyagers to give its tendency
correctly. That the coast is little frequented appears by the dis-
cordance of the charts, and the routes inland tend to Bendereek,
Lar, or Gomeroon, either on the east or west, with little attrac-
tion even for merchants either to Nachelo *'* or Nabon. The
latitude of Nabon is fixed by Dalrymple for 27^ 27' 26^
Upon departing from Nabon, the fleet proceeded upwards of

January lo. thirty-scven miles to G6gana, a distance which answers within
or*^oi? a mile to the position of the modem Konkdn or Congoon, re-

D ay aUow cd. marked by M^Cluer for a high ground over it called Bam-hill
from its appearance, and as being the northernmost town in the
bay •"*, which curves to Verdistan. Between Nabon and Kon-
kftn lie Asselo aud Talirie ; whence, he says, this bay runs deep
up to Konkdin. The whole of this day's course is sheltered from
the north-west blasts by the projection of Cape Verdistan, and
the foul ground in its neighbourhood. Tliis ground is noticed
by the journal, as lying round the anchorage in a circle, and
discovering itself with a dangerous appearance at low water.
Gdgana is described as a place inhabited upon the side of a
winter torrent called A'reon, in the mouth of which the fleet
anchored with great difficulty, both on account of the narrow -
ness of the entrance, and the dangerous shoals^ which almost
preclude an approach to it. This torrent does not appear in
any chart or map, except d'Anville's, in which it is doubtless
placed from the authority of the journal, and probably exists in
reality, though, from the little knowledge we have of this

"^ Pietro della ValU mcfitions some Arme- falls into tbe ancient road to SirafT. Nub.
nians who intended to land at Nachelo in order Geo. p. 12^.
to go to Shiraz. VoL viii. p. 20, This route ?»* Astobj Taurie^ M'Quer, p. 22.

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tract***, or the insignificance of the stream, it has not drawn
the attention of our Enghsh navigators. It is some satisfac-
tion, however, to find a name resembling KonkCkn so nearly
as Gogana ; and as Niebuhr makes it the residence of an Arab
Sheik, it is perhaps of more estimation with the natives than with
those who frequent the gulph, aod whose only object is commerce.

The course of the following day was fifty miles to the Sitakus, sttak^m
which it would be well if the loumal had increased considerablr^ ^ Rive*.

•^ •'^ January 11.

for the coast itself measures that distance, without allowing for Day u.

or I02,

the circle that must be taken round the shoal oflf Cape Verdistan, Day aiiowi
It is not probable that an English vessel should ever determine ~~^
whether there is a passage within the breakers ; but within, un-
doubtedly, Nearchus must have sailed, to make the stadia con-
sistent : and though M^Cluer makes an anchorage almost in the
centre of them, a passage close to shore must be dubious, unless
it could be proved that it is still practicable for native vessels.
There is an island called Mongella, lying. to the eastward of
Verdistan, only three miles from the main, within which if there
be a passage, it must have been seen by the fleet : but that it is
passed in silence, or the cape itself, is no proof that Nearchus
stood out to sea ; for omissions of this sort are frequent. It is
only meant to argue, that if there is a passage within "' the
shoal, the measure of Arrian is correct ; if there is no passage,
it is the first on this coast which has been deficient. Mongella
is the Palmeira*'* of the Portuguese, the Om-en-chdle "Vof

»•• « A vc9»t\ must be cautious of atandlng <« vessel." M'Cluer, p. z^.
♦< up too far in this bay." M*Cluer, p. 22. "• So named possibly from finding the pal-

See Niebahr also, who says it is the most dan- meira or toddy palm tree on it.
gerous part of the gulph. ^'^ Rather an island. Om-enMrhaky an*

S17 « From MongelUi northward to the bay, sweriog to an Om-cB-obale on the continent.

<< in by Kenn, I neyer have exanuncd in any Nieb. voL ii« ^. i68. French edit.


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386 G U L P H O F P E R S 1 A.

Niebuhr, though he marks no island, and his Ras-^l-chAn, or
Cape Ch^n, is the Kenn of our English charts, the Kaneh-Sitan
of d'Anville, remarkable for the hummocks over it, wliich form
a landmark to' vessels upon their approath to Verdistan : here is
the anchorage of the journal at the Sitakus, a stream whick
d'Anville calls Sita-Reghian ; and I shall conclude my observa-
tions on. the course with noticing, that as the tide rises"** ten
feet here, it is possible that Nearchus found his way through the
breakers*", shoals, and oozy channels, he so graphically de-
scribes : such, he says,' was the nature of the coast, and such it

Online LibraryWilliam VincentThe commerce and navigation of the ancients in the Indian Ocean → online text (page 33 of 49)