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The Kings of Hormuz: From the Beginning until the Arrival of the Portuguese

  • Mohammad Bagher Vosoughi

Abstract

The history of the kings of Hormuz1 (muluk-i Hurmuz) is closely related to the history of Iranian maritime trade. For five hundred years, from the twelfth to the seventeenth century c.e., the island of Hormuz played an important role as the major base and focal center of economic exchanges and marine trade in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. Its history is one of seafaring and marine transportation. Shedding light on the political and economic life of the Hormuz region during the reign of its local amirs will greatly help to assess the Iranian role in the region’s marine trade. In addition, it will present a better picture of the extent of the economic exchanges and of the operational mechanism of the merchants of the Persian Gulf region.

Keywords

Indian Ocean Sixteenth Century Fourteenth Century Religious Freedom Eleventh Century 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    The earliest inscription found about the kings of Hormuz belongs to the fourteenth century and is located in Khunj, one of the hinterland cities of the Persian Gulf. The correct spelling of the name has been recorded here as well as in the offi cial correspondence of the kings of Hormuz. For more information about this inscription, see Muhammad Baqir Vusuqi, Khunj: Guzargah-i Bastani [Khunj: The Ancient Passageway] (Qom, Iran: Khurram, 1374/1995), 51–52.Google Scholar
  2. Also, Allah-Quli Islami, “Khunj,” Majalla-yi Hunar va Mardum 128 (1352/1973): 77–83.Google Scholar
  3. For information regarding the text of the administrative letters of the kings of Hormuz, refer to: Jahangir Qa’im Maghami, “Asnad-i Arabi, Farsi va Turki dar arshiv-i milli-yi Purtighal” [Arabic, Persian, and Turkish Documents in the Portuguese National Archive], in Maqalat-i Khalij-i Fars [Persian Gulf Articles] (Tehran: Center for Persian Gulf Studies, 1369/1990), 633–907.Google Scholar
  4. Also, Jean Aubin, “Letters of Cojeatar,” Mare Luso-Indicum 2 (1973): 192–201. In the manuscript of Tabaqat-i Mahmud Shahi, it has also been recorded as “Hormuz”: Ghazi Abd al-Aziz Nimdihi, Tabaqat-i Mahmud Shahi, manuscript, Windsor Library, vol. 160, no. 271.Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    Muhammad Shabankara’i, Majmaʿal-ansab, ed. Mir Hashim Muhaddis (Tehran: Amir Kabir, 1363/1985), Aubin has published extracts concerning Hormuz from the Majmaʿal-ansab which have some differences with the text published by Mr. Muhaddis.215.Google Scholar
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  8. Other historical sources that offer trivial information, just mentioning the names of the early amirs of Hormuz, include: Muntakhab al-tavarikh, written by Muʿin al-Din Natanzi in 1413 c.e. (Extraits du Muntakhab al-Tavarikh-i Muʿini (Anonyme d’Iskandar), ed. Jean Aubin (Tehran: Khayyam, 1957); Haft Iqlim [The Seven Realms], written by Amin Ahmad Razi in 1602 (Haft Iqlim, ed. Javad Fazil (Tehran: Ilmi, n.d.) and Jarun Nama composed by Qadri in 1632 (Manuscript, British Museum no. 7801).Google Scholar
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  12. Teixeira has mentioned eleven early amirs of Hormuz by name without indicating the date of their reign. In describing the rule of the twelfth amir, Rukn al-Din Mahmud b. Ahmad, he has mentioned 676/1277 as the date of his death (page 159). He has named Muhammad Diramku, Sulaiman, Isa, Lashkari, Kaiqubad b. Isa, Isa b. Kaiqubad, Mahmud, Shahanshah b. Mahmud, Mir Shahab al-Din Malang, Amir Saif al-Din Nusrat, Shahab al-Din Mahmud Isa, Amir Rukn al-Din Mahmud b. Ahmad respectively. Rukn al-Din Mahmud b. Ahmad surnamed Qalhati or Qalati is one of the most famous amirs of Hormuz. Teixeira has mentioned his death in 1277 while Natanzi (page 12) and Shabankara’i (page 216) have said it was in 1286. Besides the difference of opinion among the historians, it can be estimated that he ruled between 641 and 685/1243–86. He was the twelfth amir of Hormuz, and if we consider the reign of three amirs in one century as likely, it can be reckoned that the reign of Muhammad Diramku was during the eleventh century between 1058 and 1107. Sinclair and Wilson have mentioned 494/1101 as the beginning of Muhammad Diramku’s rule. (Also Sinclair, Travels of Pedro Teixeira, 155; Arnold Wilson, The Persian Gulf (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1928; repr. 1959), 104.Google Scholar
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  28. 21.
    To improve relations with the amirs of Kish, Amir Shahab al-Din Mahmud accepted a political marriage (Sinclair, Travels of Pedro Teixeira, 158) and befriended the rulers of Kirman. (Afzal al-Din Kirmani, Al-muzaf ila badayiʿ al-zaman, ed. Abbas Iqbal (Tehran: Chapkhana-yi Majlis, 1331/1953), 49.Google Scholar
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    There is not much information concerning the Bani Qaisar kings that ruled Kish from the second half of the eleventh century until 1229. The island’s economic situation improved as a result of the policy of Malik Turan Shah I of Kirman (r. 1085–97), according to Vassaf (Tarikh-i Vassaf, 170) and Ibn al-Mujawir (Sifat-i Bilad al-Yaman wa Makka, 287). The military power of the Bani Qaisar was also notable; for example, they mounted an expedition against Oman (S. D. Gotein, “Two eyewitness reports on an expedition of the king of Kish (Qais) against Aden,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 16, no 2 (1954): 247–57). The nature of the contention between the amirs of Hormuz and Kish has been described in the following sources: Shabankara’i, Majmaʿ al-ansab, 134–35; Natanzi, Muntakhab al-tavarikh, 17; and Sinclair, Travels of Pedro Teixeira, 172. Newly found sources indicate that the Sufi clerics of the Qattali sect in southern Iran supported the amir of Hormuz. For the fi rst time, this issue has been discussed in Vusughi, Tarikh-i muhajirat-i aqvam dar Khalij-i Fars, 191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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© Lawrence G. Potter 2009

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  • Mohammad Bagher Vosoughi

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