Letter of Marque: the Gwadar Enclave of Ibadi Sultans of Oman and its interconnections with Asia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Two main distinct political realities were destined to co-exist along the coasts of South West Asia, in the desert region of Makran, Balochistan and in Oman: the multicultural societies of the coasts, and the tribal, pastoral societies of the interior where, from time to time, the former succeeded in prevailing and imposing its laws. The powers of the coasts thus created flourishing markets between the ports of South-Western Asia and the Arabian coasts. From the nineteenth century onwards, it was believed that it was the red flag of Omani that formed commercial, political and religious ties between the Omani enclave of the port of Gwadar in Makran-Balochistan, the principal ports of Oman itself, through the movement of peoples, ideas, and merchandise. Within Asian routes - both maritime and land ones - the port of Gwadar (25° 6’ N. 62° 19’ E.) represented one of the main routes of communication between the Middle East, the Indian Sub-continent and China, together with a strategic role within people and trade from East Africa and from the Arabian Peninsula, directed to Central Asia and vice versa . In 1863 Reverend George Percy Badger (1815-1888) was put in charge of the Boundary Commission to investigating about the question of the political borders in this area ; he considered politically advisable that Gwadar remained within Omani hands, with an armed fleet strong enough to defend it, rejecting the hypothesis of restoration to the Khanate of Kalat, that was considered unable to protect this important port against Persian claims.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Silk Roads between China and Oman. Networks of Communication and Transmission of Ibadi Knowledge
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Indian Ocean


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