1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bander Abbāsi

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BANDER ABBĀSI (also Bender Abbas, and other forms), a town of Persia, on the northern shore of the Persian Gulf in 27° 11′ N., and 56° 17′ E., forming part of the administrative division of the "Persian Gulf ports," whose governor resides at Bushire. It has a population of about 10,000, an insalubrious climate and bad water.

Bander Abbāsi was called Gombrun (Gombroon, Gamaroon; Cambarão, Comorão of Portuguese writers) until 1622, when it received its present name (the "port of Abbas") in honour of the reigning shah, Abbas I., who had expelled the Portuguese in 1614, and destroyed the fort built by them in 1612. The English, however, were permitted to build a factory there, and about 1620 the Dutch obtained the same privilege. On the capture of the island of Hormuz (Ormus) in 1622 by the English and Persians a large portion of its trade was transferred to Bander Abbāsi. During the remainder of the 17th century the traffic was considerable, but in the 18th prosperity declined and most of the trade was removed to Bushire. In 1759 the English factory was destroyed by the French, and though afterwards re-established it has long been abandoned. The ruins of the factory and other buildings lie west of the present town. About 1740 Nadir Shah granted the town and district with the fort of Shamil and the town of Mināb, together with the islands of Kishm, Hormuz (Ormus) and Lārak, to the Arab tribe of the Beni Ma‛īni in return for a payment of a yearly rent or tribute. About 40 years later Sultan bin Ahmad, the ruler of Muscat, having been appealed to for aid by the Arab inhabitants of the place against Persian misrule, occupied the town, and obtained a firman from the Persian government confirming him in his possession on the condition of his paying a yearly rent of a few thousand tomans. The islands were considered to be the property of Muscat. In 1852 the Persians expelled the Muscat authorities from Bander Abbāsi and its district, but retired when Muscat agreed to pay an increased rent. By a treaty concluded between Persia and Muscat in 1856 it was stipulated that Bander Abbāsi town and district and the islands were to be considered Persian territory and leased to Muscat at an annual rent of 14,000 tomans (£6000). The treaty was to have been in force for twenty years, but in 1866 the Persians took advantage of the assassination of Seyed Thuweini, the sultan of Muscat, to instal as governor of Bander Abbāsi and district a nominee of their own who agreed to pay a rent of 20,000 tomans per annum. Further difficulties arising between Persia and Muscat, and the ruler of the latter, then in possession of a powerful fleet, threatening to blockade Bander Abbāsi, the Persian government solicited the good offices of the British government, and the lease was renewed for another eight years upon payment of 30,000 tomans per annum (then about £12,000). This was in 1868. In the same year, however, the sultan of Muscat was expelled by a successful revolt, and the Persian government, in virtue of a clause in the lease allowing them to cancel the contract if a conqueror obtained possession of Muscat, installed their own governor at Bander Abbāsi and have retained possession of the place ever since (see Curzon, Persia, ii. 424).

Bander Abbāsi has a lively trade, exporting much of the produce of central and south-eastern Persia and supplying imports to those districts and Khorasan. It has telegraph and post offices, and the mail steamers of the British India Steam Navigation Company call at the port weekly. Great Britain and Russia are represented there by consuls. From 1890-1905 the total value of the exports and imports from and into Bander Abbāsi averaged about £660,000 per annum, £260,000 (£155,000 British) being for exports, £400,000 (£340,000 British) imports. Of the 255,000 tons of shipping which in 1905 entered Bander Abbāsi 237,000 were British.

(A. H.-S.)