Persian Gulf
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The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of Fars, ), sometimes called the ( ar, اَلْخَلِيْجُ ٱلْعَرَبِيُّ, Al-Khalīj al-ˁArabī), is a
mediterranean sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the e ...
in
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...
. The body of water is an extension of the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five oceanic divisions, covering or ~19.8% of the water on Earth's surface. It is bounded by Asia to the north, Africa to the west and Australia (continent), Australia to the east. To the so ...
located between
Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
and the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula, (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") or Arabia, is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa Africa is t ...
.United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Name
Working Paper No. 61
, 23rd Session, Vienna, 28 March – 4 April 2006. accessed October 9, 2010
It is connected to the
Gulf of Oman The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman ( ar, خليج عمان ''khalīj ʿumān''; fa, دریای عمان ''daryâ-ye omân''), also known as Gulf of Makran or Sea of Makran ( ar, خلیج مکران ''khalīj makrān''; fa, دریای مکرا ...
in the east by the
Strait of Hormuz The Strait of Hormuz ( fa, تنگه هرمز ''Tangeh-ye Hormoz'' ar, مَضيق هُرمُز ''Maḍīq Hurmuz'') is a strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the o ...
. The
Shatt al-Arab The Shatt al-Arab ( ar, شط العرب, lit=River of the Arabs; fa, اروندرود, Arvand Rud, lit=Swift River) is a river of some in length that is formed at the confluence of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, Euphrates and Tigris riv ...
river delta A river delta is a landform shaped like a triangle, created by deposition (geology), deposition of sediment that is carried by a river and enters slower-moving or stagnant water. This occurs where a river enters an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, res ...
forms the northwest shoreline. The Persian Gulf has many fishing grounds, extensive
reef A reef is a ridge or shoal of rock, coral or similar relatively stable material, lying beneath the surface of a natural body of water. Many reefs result from natural, abiotic component, abiotic processes—deposition (geology), deposition of ...
s (mostly rocky, but also
coral Corals are marine invertebrates within the class (biology), class Anthozoa of the phylum Cnidaria. They typically form compact Colony (biology), colonies of many identical individual polyp (zoology), polyps. Coral species include the important C ...
), and abundant
pearl oyster ''Pinctada'' is a genus of saltwater oysters, Marine (ocean), marine bivalve mollusks in the family (biology), family Pteriidae. These pearl oysters have a strong inner shell layer composed of nacre, also known as "mother of pearl". Pearl oyste ...
s, however its
ecology Ecology () is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their biophysical environment, physical environment. Ecology considers organisms at the individual, population, community (ecology), community, ecosy ...
has been damaged by industrialization and
oil spill An oil spill is the release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment, especially the marine ecosystem, due to human activity, and is a form of pollution. The term is usually given to marine oil spills, where oil is released into th ...
s. The Persian Gulf is in the
Persian Gulf Basin The Persian Gulf Basin (Persian language, Persian: آبخیز خلیج فارس, Arabic language, Arabic: حوض الخليج العربي) is found between the Eurasian and the Arabian Plate. The Persian Gulf is described as a shallow marginal sea ...
, which is of
Cenozoic The Cenozoic ( ; ) is Earth's current geological era, representing the last 66million years of Earth's history. It is characterised by the dominance of mammal Mammals () are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class Mamm ...
origin and related to the
subduction Subduction is a geological process in which the oceanic lithosphere is Geochemical cycle, recycled into the Earth's mantle at convergent boundary, convergent boundaries. Where the oceanic lithosphere of a tectonic plate converges with the less d ...
of the
Arabian Plate The Arabian Plate is a List of tectonic plates#Minor plates, minor tectonic plate in the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern Hemispheres. It is one of the three continental plates (along with the African Plate, African ...
under the
Zagros Mountains The Zagros Mountains ( ar, جبال زاغروس, translit=Jibal Zaghrus; fa, کوه‌های زاگرس, Kuh hā-ye Zāgros; ku, چیاکانی زاگرۆس, translit=Çiyakani Zagros; Turkish language, Turkish: ''Zagros Dağları''; Luri Lan ...
. The current flooding of the basin started 15,000 years ago due to
rising sea levels Rising may refer to: * Rising, a stage in baking - see Proofing (baking technique) *Elevation * Short for Uprising, a rebellion Film and TV * Rising (Stargate Atlantis), "Rising" (''Stargate Atlantis''), the series premiere of the science fiction ...
of the
Holocene glacial retreat The Holocene glacial retreat is a geographical phenomenon that involved the global retreat of glaciers (deglaciation) that previously had advanced during the Last Glacial Maximum. Ice sheet retreat initiated ca. 19,000 years ago and accelerated ...
.


Geography

The
International Hydrographic Organization The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) is an intergovernmental organisation representing hydrography. , the IHO comprised 98 Member States. A principal aim of the IHO is to ensure that the world's seas, oceans and navigable waters a ...
defines the Persian Gulf's southern limit as "The Northwestern limit of Gulf of Oman". This limit is defined as "A line joining Ràs Limah (25°57'N) on the coast of
Arabia The Arabian Peninsula, (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") or Arabia, is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. ...
and Ràs al Kuh (25°48'N) on the coast of Iran (Persia)". This inland sea of some is connected to the
Gulf of Oman The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman ( ar, خليج عمان ''khalīj ʿumān''; fa, دریای عمان ''daryâ-ye omân''), also known as Gulf of Makran or Sea of Makran ( ar, خلیج مکران ''khalīj makrān''; fa, دریای مکرا ...
in the east by the
Strait of Hormuz The Strait of Hormuz ( fa, تنگه هرمز ''Tangeh-ye Hormoz'' ar, مَضيق هُرمُز ''Maḍīq Hurmuz'') is a strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the o ...
; and its western end is marked by the major
river delta A river delta is a landform shaped like a triangle, created by deposition (geology), deposition of sediment that is carried by a river and enters slower-moving or stagnant water. This occurs where a river enters an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, res ...
of the
Shatt al-Arab The Shatt al-Arab ( ar, شط العرب, lit=River of the Arabs; fa, اروندرود, Arvand Rud, lit=Swift River) is a river of some in length that is formed at the confluence of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, Euphrates and Tigris riv ...
, which carries the waters of the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia ( ''the land between the rivers'') ...
and the
Tigris The Tigris () is the easternmost of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western A ...
. In
Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
, this is called "Arvand Rood", where "Rood" means "river". Its length is , with Iran covering most of the northern coast and
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia, officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), is a country in Western Asia. It covers the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and has a land area of about , making it the List of Asian countries by area, fifth-largest country in Asia ...
most of the southern coast. The Persian Gulf is about wide at its narrowest, in the Strait of Hormuz. Overall, the waters are very shallow, with a maximum depth of and an average depth of . Countries with a coastline on the Persian Gulf are (clockwise, from north): Iran;
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is an Arabian country located in southwestern Asia. It is situated on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and spans the mouth of t ...
's Musandam exclave; the
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, اَلْإِمَارَات الْعَرَبِيَة الْمُتَحِدَة ), or simply the Emirates ( ar, الِْإمَارَات ), is a country in Western Asia (Middle East, The Middle East). It is ...
; Saudi Arabia;
Qatar Qatar (, ; ar, قطر, Qaṭar ; local vernacular pronunciation: ), officially the State of Qatar,) is a country in Western Asia. It occupies the Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East; it sha ...
, on a
peninsula A peninsula (; ) is a landform that extends from a mainland and is surrounded by water on most, but not all of its borders. A peninsula is also sometimes defined as a piece of land bordered by water on three of its sides. Peninsulas exist on all ...
off the Saudi coast;
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ; ar, البحرين, al-Bahrayn, locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, ' is an island country in Western Asia. It is situated on the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf, and comprises a small archipelago made u ...
, an island nation;
Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf, bordering Iraq to Iraq–Ku ...
; and
Iraq Iraq,; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq officially the Republic of Iraq, '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Turkey to Iraq–Turkey border, the north, Iran to Iran–Iraq ...
in the northwest. Various small islands also lie within the Persian Gulf, some of which are the subject of territorial disputes between the states in the region.


Exclusive economic zone

Exclusive economic zones in the Persian Gulf:


Coastlines

Countries by coastline length:


Islands

The Persian Gulf is home to many islands such as Bahrain, an Arab state. Geographically, the biggest island in the Persian Gulf is Qeshm island, belonging to Iran and located in the
Strait of Hormuz The Strait of Hormuz ( fa, تنگه هرمز ''Tangeh-ye Hormoz'' ar, مَضيق هُرمُز ''Maḍīq Hurmuz'') is a strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the o ...
. Other significant islands in the Persian Gulf include Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Kish administered by Iran, Bubiyan administered by Kuwait, Tarout administered by Saudi Arabia, and Dalma administered by UAE. In recent years, there has also been the addition of
artificial island An artificial island is an island that has been constructed by people rather than formed by natural means. Artificial islands may vary in size from small islets reclaimed solely to support a single pillar of a building or structure to those tha ...
s for
tourist attraction A tourist attraction is a place of interest that tourists visit, typically for its inherent or an exhibited natural or cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty, offering leisure and amusement. Types Places of natural ...
s, such as The World Islands in
Dubai Dubai (, ; ar, wikt:دبي, دبي, translit=Dubayy, , ) is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates#Major cities, most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, the most populated of the 7 ...
and
The Pearl-Qatar The Pearl Island ( ar, جزيرة اللؤلؤة, jazirat alluwlua) in Doha, Qatar, is an artificial island spanning nearly four square kilometers. It is the first land in Qatar to be available for Freehold (law), freehold ownership by foreign n ...
in
Doha Doha ( ar, الدوحة, ad-Dawḥa or ''ad-Dōḥa'') is the capital city and main financial hub of Qatar. Located on the Persian Gulf coast in the east of the country, north of Al Wakrah and south of Al Khor, it is home to most of the cou ...
. Persian Gulf islands are often also historically significant, having been used in the past by colonial powers such as the Portuguese and the British in their trade or as acquisitions for their empires.


Oceanography

The Persian Gulf is connected to the Indian Ocean through the Strait of Hormuz. Writing the water balance budget for the Persian Gulf, the inputs are river discharges from Iran and Iraq (estimated to be per second), as well as precipitation over the sea which is around /year in Qeshm Island. The evaporation of the sea is high, so that after considering river discharge and rain contributions, there is still a deficit of per year. This difference is supplied by currents at the
Strait of Hormuz The Strait of Hormuz ( fa, تنگه هرمز ''Tangeh-ye Hormoz'' ar, مَضيق هُرمُز ''Maḍīq Hurmuz'') is a strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the o ...
. The water from the Persian Gulf has a higher salinity, and therefore exits from the bottom of the Strait, while ocean water with less salinity flows in through the top. Another study revealed the following numbers for water exchanges for the Persian Gulf: evaporation = –/year, precipitation = /year, inflow from the Strait = /year, outflow from the Strait = -/year, and the balance is 0 m (0 ft)/year. Data from different 3D computational fluid mechanics models, typically with spatial resolution of and depth each element equal to are predominantly used in computer models.


Name

Before being given its present name, the Persian Gulf was called many different names. In Babylonian texts, it was known as "the sea above Akkad." The Assyrians called it the "Bitter Sea". In 550 BC, the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...
established the first ancient empire in
Persis Persis ( grc-gre, , ''Persís''), better known in English as Persia (Old Persian language, Old Persian: :Wikt:𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿, 𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿, ''Parsa''; fa, پارس, ''Pârs''), or Persia proper, is the Fars Province, Fars region, loca ...
(''Pars'', or modern '' Fars''), in the southwestern region of the
Iranian plateau The Iranian plateau or Persian plateau is a geology, geological feature in Western Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia. It comprises part of the Eurasian Plate and is wedged between the Arabian Plate and the Indian Plate; situated between th ...
. Consequently, in the Greek sources, the body of water that bordered this province came to be known as the "Persian Gulf". In the book of
Nearchus Nearchus or Nearchos ( el, Νέαρχος; – 300 BC) was one of the Greeks, Greek officers, a navarch, in the army of Alexander the Great. He is known for his celebrated expeditionary voyage starting from the Indus river, Indus River, through t ...
known as ''Indikê'' (300 BC), the word "Persikon kolpos" is mentioned for multiple times meaning "Persian gulf". During the years 550 to 330 BC, coinciding with the sovereignty of the Achaemenid Persian Empire over the Middle East area, especially the whole part of the Persian Gulf and some parts of the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula, (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") or Arabia, is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa Africa is t ...
, the name of "Persian (''Pars'') Sea" is widely found in the compiled written texts. At the same period, there is the inscription and engraving of Darius the Great, which belongs to the fifth century BC: King Darius says: Considering the historical background of the name Persian Gulf, Arnold Wilson mentions in a book published in 1928 that "no water channel has been so significant as the Persian Gulf to the geologists, archaeologists, geographers, merchants, politicians, excursionists, and scholars whether in past or in present. This water channel which separates the Iran Plateau from the Arabia Plate, has enjoyed an Iranian Identity since at least 2200 years ago." Among historians, travellers and geographers of the Islamic era, many of them writing in Arabic from the 9th to the 17th century,
Ibn Khordadbeh Abu'l-Qasim Ubaydallah ibn Abdallah ibn Khordadbeh ( ar, ابوالقاسم عبیدالله ابن خرداذبه; 820/825–913), commonly known as Ibn Khordadbeh (also spelled Ibn Khurradadhbih; ), was a high-ranking Persian bureaucrat and ...
,
Ibn al-Faqih Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Faqih al-Hamadani ( fa, احمد بن محمد ابن الفقيه الهمذانی) ( fl. 902) was a 10th-century Persian historian and geographer, famous for his ''Mukhtasar Kitab al-Buldan'' ("Concise Book of L ...
,
Ibn Rustah Ahmad ibn Rustah Isfahani ( fa, احمد ابن رسته اصفهانی ''Aḥmad ibn Rusta Iṣfahānī''), more commonly known as Ibn Rustah (, also spelled ''Ibn Rusta'' and ''Ibn Ruste''), was a tenth-century Persians, Persian explorer and g ...
, Sohrab, Ramhormozi, Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al-Farisi al Istakhri, Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Ali al-Mas'udi, Al-Mutahhar ibn Tahir al-Maqdisi (d. 966), Ibn Hawqal,
Al-Muqaddasi Shams al-Dīn Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Abī Bakr al-Maqdisī ( ar, شَمْس ٱلدِّيْن أَبُو عَبْد ٱلله مُحَمَّد ابْن أَحْمَد ابْن أَبِي بَكْر ٱلْمَقْدِسِي), ...
,
Ibn Khaldun Ibn Khaldun (; ar, أبو زيد عبد الرحمن بن محمد بن خلدون الحضرمي, ; 27 May 1332 – 17 March 1406, 732-808 Hijri year, AH) was an Arabs, Arab The Historical Muhammad', Irving M. Zeitlin, (Polity Press, 2007), ...
, Mohammad ibn Najub Bekiran,
Abu Rayhan Biruni Abu Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Biruni (973 – after 1050) commonly known as al-Biruni, was a Khwarazm Khwarazm (; Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan languag ...
,
Muhammad al-Idrisi Abu Abdullah Muhammad al-Idrisi al-Qurtubi al-Hasani as-Sabti, or simply al-Idrisi ( ar, أبو عبد الله محمد الإدريسي القرطبي الحسني السبتي; la, Dreses; 1100 – 1165), was a Islamic geography, Muslim geo ...
,
Yaqut al-Hamawi Yāqūt Shihāb al-Dīn ibn-ʿAbdullāh al-Rūmī al-Ḥamawī (1179–1229) ( ar, ياقوت الحموي الرومي) was a Muslim scholar of Byzantine Greeks, Byzantine Greek ancestry active during the late Abbasid Caliphate, Abbasid period ( ...
, Zakariya al-Qazwini,
Abu'l-Fida Ismāʿīl b. ʿAlī b. Maḥmūd b. Muḥammad b. ʿUmar b. Shāhanshāh b. Ayyūb b. Shādī b. Marwān ( ar, إسماعيل بن علي بن محمود بن محمد بن عمر بن شاهنشاه بن أيوب بن شادي بن مروان ...
,
Al-Dimashqi The Arabic language, Arabic ''Nisba (onomastics), nisbah'' (attributive title) Al-Dimashqi ( ar, الدمشقي) denotes an origin from Damascus, Syria. Al-Dimashqi may refer to: * Al-Dimashqi (geographer): a medieval Arab geographer. * Abu al-Fad ...
, Hamdollah Mostowfi,
Ibn al-Wardi Abū Ḥafs Zayn al-Dīn ʻUmar ibn al-Muẓaffar Ibn al-Wardī ( ar, عمر ابن مظفر ابن الوردي), known as Ibn al-Wardi, was an Arab historian -, the author of ''Kharīdat al-ʿAjā'ib wa farīdat al-gha'rāib'' ("The Pearl of wond ...
,
Al-Nuwayri Al-Nuwayrī, full name Shihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad bin ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Nuwayrī ( ar, شهاب الدين أحمد بن عبد الوهاب النويري, born April 5, 1279 in Akhmim, present-day Egypt – died June 5, 1333 in Cairo) was an Eg ...
, Ibn Batutta, Katip Çelebi and other sources have used the terms "Bahr-i-Fars", "Daryaye-i-Fars", "Khalij al-'Ajami" and "Khalij-i Fars" (all of which translate into "Persian Gulf" or "Persian Sea").


Naming dispute

The body of water is historically and internationally known as the Persian Gulf. Arab governments refer to it as the Arabian Gulf or The Gulf,Niusha Boghrati
''Omission of 'Persian Gulf' Name Angers Iran''
, World Press.com, December 28, 2006
and other countries and organizations have begun using Arabian Gulf. The name Gulf of Iran (Persian Gulf) is used by the
International Hydrographic Organization The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) is an intergovernmental organisation representing hydrography. , the IHO comprised 98 Member States. A principal aim of the IHO is to ensure that the world's seas, oceans and navigable waters a ...
. The dispute in naming has become especially prevalent since the 1960s. Rivalry between Iran and some Arab states, along with the emergence of
pan-Arabism Pan-Arabism ( ar, الوحدة العربية or ) is an ideology that espouses the unification of the countries of North Africa and Western Asia from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea, which is referred to as the Arab world. It is closely c ...
and
Arab nationalism Arab nationalism ( ar, القومية العربية, al-Qawmīya al-ʿArabīya) is a Nationalism, nationalist ideology that asserts the Arabs are a nation and promotes the unity of Arab people, celebrating the glories of Arab civilization, the ...
, has seen the name "Arabian Gulf" become predominant in most Arab countries. Names beyond these two have also been applied to or proposed for this body of water.


History


Ancient history

Earliest evidence of human presence on Persian Gulf islands dates back to Middle
Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek: παλαιός ''wikt:παλαιός, palaios'', "old" and λίθος ''wikt:λίθος, lithos'', "stone"), is a period in human prehistory that is distinguished by ...
and consist of stone tools discovered at Qeshm Island. The world's oldest known civilization (
Sumer Sumer () is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (south-central Iraq), emerging during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is one of ...
) developed along the Persian Gulf and southern
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
. The shallow basin that now underlies the Persian Gulf was an extensive region of river valley and wetlands during the transition between the end of the
Last Glacial Maximum The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), also referred to as the Late Glacial Maximum, was the most recent time during the Last Glacial Period that ice sheets were at their greatest extent. Ice sheets covered much of Northern North America, Northern Eu ...
and the start of the
Holocene The Holocene ( ) is the current geological epoch. It began approximately 11,650 cal years Before Present Before Present (BP) years, or "years before present", is a geologic time scale, time scale used mainly in archaeology, geology and othe ...
, which, according to University of Birmingham archaeologist Jeffrey Rose, served as an environmental refuge for early humans during periodic hyperarid climate oscillations, laying the foundations for the legend of
Dilmun Dilmun, or Telmun, (Sumerian language, Sumerian: , later 𒉌𒌇(𒆠), ni.tukki = DILMUNki; ar, دلمون) was an ancient East Semitic-speaking civilization in Eastern Arabia mentioned from the 3rd millennium BC onwards. Based on contextual ...
. The oldest evidence in the world for seagoing vessels has been found at H3 in Kuwait, dating to the mid-sixth millennium BC, when the Gulf was part of an extensive trade network that involved the Ubaid settlements in Mesopotamia and communities along the entire Gulf coast. For most of the early history of the settlements in the Persian Gulf, the southern shores were ruled by a series of nomadic tribes. During the end of the
fourth millennium BC The 4th millennium BC spanned the years 4000 BC to 3001 BC. Some of the major changes in human culture during this time included the beginning of the Bronze Age and the invention of writing, which played a major role in starting recorded history. ...
, the southern part of the Persian Gulf was dominated by the
Dilmun Dilmun, or Telmun, (Sumerian language, Sumerian: , later 𒉌𒌇(𒆠), ni.tukki = DILMUNki; ar, دلمون) was an ancient East Semitic-speaking civilization in Eastern Arabia mentioned from the 3rd millennium BC onwards. Based on contextual ...
civilization. For a long time the most important settlement on the southern coast of the Persian Gulf was Gerrha. In the second century the Lakhum tribe, who lived in what is now Yemen, migrated north and founded the
Lakhmid Kingdom The Lakhmids ( ar, اللخميون, translit=al-Laḫmiyyūn) referred to in Arabic as al-Manādhirah (, romanized as: ) or Banu Lakhm (, romanized as: ) was an Arab The Arabs (singular: Arab; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, DIN 316 ...
along the southern coast. Occasional ancient battles took place along the Persian Gulf coastlines, between the Sassanid Persian empire and the Lakhmid Kingdom, the most prominent of which was the invasion led by
Shapur II Shapur II ( pal, 𐭱𐭧𐭯𐭥𐭧𐭥𐭩 ; New Persian: , ''Šāpur'', 309 – 379), also known as Shapur the Great, was the tenth Sasanian Empire, Sasanian King of Kings (Shahanshah) of Iran. The List of longest-reigning monarchs, longest ...
against the Lakhmids, leading to Lakhmids' defeat, and advancement into Arabia, along the southern shore lines. During the seventh century the Sassanid Persian empire conquered the whole of the Persian Gulf, including southern and northern shores. Between 625 BC and 226 AD, the northern side was dominated by a succession of Persian empires including the
Median In statistics and probability theory, the median is the value separating the higher half from the lower half of a Sample (statistics), data sample, a statistical population, population, or a probability distribution. For a data set, it may be th ...
,
Achaemenid The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...
,
Seleucid The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Ancient Greece, Greek state in West Asia that existed during the Hellenistic period from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Seleucid Empire was ...
and Parthian empires. Under the leadership of the Achaemenid king
Darius the Great Darius I ( peo, wiktionary:𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁, 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁 ; grc-gre, Δαρεῖος ; – 486 BCE), commonly known as Darius the Great, was a List of monarchs of Persia, Persian ruler who served as the third King o ...
(Darius I), Persian ships found their way to the Persian Gulf. Persian naval forces laid the foundation for a strong Persian maritime presence in Persian Gulf, that started with Darius I and existed until the arrival of the
British East India Company The East India Company (EIC) was an English, and later British, joint-stock company founded in 1600 and dissolved in 1874. It was formed to Indian Ocean trade, trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with the East Indies (the Indian subco ...
, and the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by Kingdom of England, English and Kingdom of Scotland, Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were foug ...
by mid-19th century AD. Persians were not only stationed on islands of the Persian Gulf, but also had ships often of 100 to 200 capacity patrolling empire's various rivers including Shatt-al-Arab,
Tigris The Tigris () is the easternmost of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western A ...
, and the
Nile The Nile, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin language, Nobiin: Áman Dawū is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa. It flows into the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile is the longest river in Africa and has historically been considered ...
in the west, as well as Sind waterway, in India. The Achaemenid high naval command had established major naval bases located along Shatt al-Arab river, Bahrain, Oman, and Yemen. The Persian fleet would soon not only be used for peacekeeping purposes along the Shatt al-Arab but would also open the door to trade with India via Persian Gulf. Following the fall of Achaemenid Empire, and after the fall of the
Parthian Empire The Parthian Empire (), also known as the Arsacid Empire (), was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran from 247 BC to 224 AD. Its latter name comes from its founder, Arsaces I, who led the Parni tribe in conq ...
, the
Sassanid Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ) and also referred to by historians as the Neo-Persian Empire, was the History of Iran, last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests of the 7th-8th cen ...
ruled the northern half and at times the southern half of the Persian Gulf. The Persian Gulf, along with the
Silk Road The Silk Road () was a network of Eurasia Eurasia (, ) is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it spans from the British Isles a ...
, were important trade routes in the Sassanid Empire. Many of the trading ports of the Persian empires were located in or around Persian Gulf.
Siraf Bandar Siraf ( fa, بندر سیراف), also Romanized as Bandar-e Sīraf; also known as Sīraf, Ṭāherī, and Tāhiri; as well as Bandar-e Ṭāherī and Bandar-i Ṭāhirī ( fa, بندر طاهری, Bandar-e Ṭāherī), is a city in the Cen ...
, an ancient Sassanid port that was located on the northern shore of the Persian gulf, located in what is now the Iranian province of
Bushehr Bushehr, Booshehr or Bushire ( fa, بوشهر ; also romanised as ''Būshehr'', ''Bouchehr'', ''Buschir'' and ''Busehr''), also known as Bandar Bushehr ( fa, ; also romanised as ''Bandar Būshehr'' and ''Bandar-e Būshehr''), previously Antioc ...
, is an example of such commercial port. Siraf, was also significant in that it had a flourishing commercial trade with China by the fourth century, having first established connection with the far east in 185 AD.


Colonial era

Portuguese influence in the Persian Gulf lasted for 250 years; however, since the beginning of the 16th century, Portuguese dominance contended with the local powers and the Ottoman Empire. Following the arrival of the English and the Dutch, the Safavid Empire allied with the newcomers to contest Portuguese dominance of the seas in the 17th century. Portuguese expansion into the Indian Ocean in the early 16th century following
Vasco da Gama Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira (; ; c. 1460s – 24 December 1524), was a Portugal in the Age of Discovery, Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea. His initial voyage to India by way of Cape of Good Hope (14 ...
's voyages of exploration saw them battle the
Ottomans The Ottoman Turks ( tr, Osmanlı Türkleri), were the Turkic founding and sociopolitically the most dominant ethnic group of the Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire, * ; is an archaic version. The definite article forms and were synony ...
up the coast of the Persian Gulf. In 1521, a Portuguese force led by commander Antonio Correia invaded Bahrain to take control of the wealth created by its pearl industry. On April 29, 1602, Shāh Abbās, the Persian emperor of the Safavid Persian Empire, expelled the Portuguese from Bahrain, and that date is commemorated as National Persian Gulf day in
Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
. With the support of the British fleet, in 1622 'Abbās took the island of Hormuz from the Portuguese; much of the trade was diverted to the town of Bandar 'Abbās, which he had taken from the Portuguese in 1615 and had named after himself. The Persian Gulf was therefore opened to a flourishing commerce with the Portuguese, Dutch, French, Spanish and the British merchants, who were granted particular privileges. The
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire, * ; is an archaic version. The definite article forms and were synonymous * and el, Оθωμανική Αυτοκρατορία, Othōmanikē Avtokratoria, label=none * info page on book at Martin Luther University) ...
reasserted itself into Eastern Arabia in 1871. Under military and political pressure from the governor of the Ottoman
Vilayet of Baghdad ota, ولايت بغداد''Vilâyet-i Bagdad'' , conventional_long_name = Baghdad Vilayet , common_name = Baghdad Vilayet , subdivision = Vilayet , nation = Ottoman Empire , year_start = 18 ...
,
Midhat Pasha Ahmed Şefik Midhat Pasha ( ota , احمد شفيق مدحت پاشا, 18 October 1822 – 26 April 1883) was an Ottoman democrat, kingmaker and one of the leading statesmen during the late Tanzimat The Tanzimat (; ota, تنظيمات, tr ...
, the ruling
Al Thani The House of Thani ( ar, الثاني , translit=Al Thani) is the ruling family of Qatar, with origins tracing back to the Banu Tamim tribal confederation. History and structure The Al Thanis can be traced back to Mudar bin Nizar. The tribe w ...
tribe submitted peacefully to Ottoman rule. The Ottomans were forced to withdraw from the area with the start of
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
and the need for troops in various other frontiers. In
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, the Western Allies used Iran as a conduit to transport military and industrial supply to the USSR, through a pathway known historically as the "
Persian Corridor The Persian Corridor was a supply route through Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and ...
". Britain utilized the Persian Gulf as the entry point for the supply chain in order to make use of the Trans-Iranian Railway. The Persian Gulf therefore became a critical maritime path through which the Allies transported equipment to Soviet Union against the Nazi invasion. The piracy in the Persian Gulf was prevalent until the 19th century. Many of the most notable historical instances of piracy were perpetrated by the
Al Qasimi The Al Qasimi ( ar, القواسم, spelled sometimes as Al Qassimi or Al Qassemi; plural: Al Qawasem ar, القواسم and, archaically, Joasmee) is an Arab dynasty in the Persian Gulf that rules Emirate of Sharjah, Sharjah and Emirate of Ras ...
tribe. This led to the British mounting the Persian Gulf campaign of 1819. The campaign led to the signing of the
General Maritime Treaty of 1820 The General Maritime Treaty of 1820 was a treaty initially signed between the rulers of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah (emirate), Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Great Britain in ...
between the British and the Sheikhs of what was then known as the ' Pirate Coast'. From 1763 until 1971, the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. I ...
maintained varying degrees of political control over some of the Persian Gulf states, including the United Arab Emirates (originally called the
Trucial States The Trucial States ( '), also known as the Trucial Coast ( '), the Trucial Sheikhdoms ( '), Trucial Arabia or Trucial Oman, was the name the British government gave to a group of tribal confederations in southeastern Arabian Peninsula, Arabia ...
) and at various times Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar through the British Residency of the Persian Gulf.


Modern history

The Persian Gulf was a battlefield of the 1980–1988
Iran–Iraq War The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between Iran and Ba'athist Iraq, Iraq that lasted from September 1980 to August 1988. It began with the Iraqi invasion of Iran and lasted for almost eight years, until the acceptance of United Nations Secu ...
, in which each side attacked the other's
oil tanker An oil tanker, also known as a petroleum tanker, is a ship designed for the bulk cargo, bulk transport of petroleum, oil or its products. There are two basic types of oil tankers: crude tankers and product tankers. Crude tankers move large quant ...
s. It is the namesake of the 1991
Gulf War The Gulf War was a 1990–1991 armed campaign waged by a Coalition of the Gulf War, 35-country military coalition in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Spearheaded by the United States, the coalition's efforts against Ba'athist Iraq, ...
, the largely air- and land-based conflict that followed
Iraq Iraq,; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq officially the Republic of Iraq, '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Turkey to Iraq–Turkey border, the north, Iran to Iran–Iraq ...
's invasion of
Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf, bordering Iraq to Iraq–Ku ...
. The United States' role in the Persian Gulf grew in the second half of the Twentieth Century. On July 3, 1988,
Iran Air Flight 655 Iran Air Flight 655 was a scheduled passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai via Bandar Abbas that was shot down on 3July 1988 by two SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles fired by the , a Cruiser#US cruiser development, guided-missile cruiser of the Unit ...
was shot down by the U.S. military (which had mistaken the
Airbus A300 The Airbus A300 is a Wide-body aircraft, wide-body airliner developed and manufactured by Airbus. In September 1967, aircraft manufacturers in the United Kingdom, France, and West Germany signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a lar ...
operating the flight for an Iranian
F-14 Tomcat The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is an American carrier-capable supersonic aircraft, supersonic, twinjet, twin-engine, two-seat, twin-tail, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. The Tomcat was developed for the United States Navy's Naval Fighter Experi ...
) while it was flying over the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 people on board. The United Kingdom maintains a profile in the region; in 2006 alone, over 1 million British nationals visited
Dubai Dubai (, ; ar, wikt:دبي, دبي, translit=Dubayy, , ) is the List of cities in the United Arab Emirates#Major cities, most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, the most populated of the 7 ...
. In 2018, the UK opened a permanent military base, , in the Persian Gulf, the first since it withdrew from East of Suez in 1971 and is developing a support facility in Oman.


Cities and population

Eight nations have coasts along the Persian Gulf:
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ; ar, البحرين, al-Bahrayn, locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, ' is an island country in Western Asia. It is situated on the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf, and comprises a small archipelago made u ...
,
Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
,
Iraq Iraq,; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq officially the Republic of Iraq, '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Turkey to Iraq–Turkey border, the north, Iran to Iran–Iraq ...
,
Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf, bordering Iraq to Iraq–Ku ...
,
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is an Arabian country located in southwestern Asia. It is situated on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and spans the mouth of t ...
,
Qatar Qatar (, ; ar, قطر, Qaṭar ; local vernacular pronunciation: ), officially the State of Qatar,) is a country in Western Asia. It occupies the Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East; it sha ...
,
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia, officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), is a country in Western Asia. It covers the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and has a land area of about , making it the List of Asian countries by area, fifth-largest country in Asia ...
, and the
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, اَلْإِمَارَات الْعَرَبِيَة الْمُتَحِدَة ), or simply the Emirates ( ar, الِْإمَارَات ), is a country in Western Asia (Middle East, The Middle East). It is ...
. The Persian gulf's strategic location has made it an ideal place for human development over time. Today, many major cities of the Middle East are located in this region.


Wildlife

The wildlife of the Persian Gulf is diverse, and entirely unique because of the Persian Gulf's geographic distribution and its isolation from the international waters only breached by the narrow
Strait of Hormuz The Strait of Hormuz ( fa, تنگه هرمز ''Tangeh-ye Hormoz'' ar, مَضيق هُرمُز ''Maḍīq Hurmuz'') is a strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the o ...
. The Persian Gulf has hosted some of the most magnificent marine fauna and flora, some of which are near extirpation or at serious environmental risk. From corals, to
dugong The dugong (; ''Dugong dugon'') is a marine mammal. It is one of four living species of the order Sirenia, which also includes three species of manatees. It is the only living representative of the once-diverse family Dugongidae; its closest m ...
s, Persian Gulf is a diverse cradle for many species who depend on each other for survival. However, the Persian Gulf is not as biologically diverse as the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر - بحر القلزم, translit=Modern: al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar, Medieval: Baḥr al-Qulzum; or ; Coptic language, Coptic: ⲫⲓⲟⲙ ⲛ̀ϩⲁϩ ''Phiom Enhah'' or ⲫⲓⲟⲙ ⲛ̀ϣⲁⲣⲓ ''P ...
. Overall, the wild life of the Persian Gulf is endangered from both global factors, and regional, local negligence. Most pollution is from ships; land generated pollution counts as the second most common source of pollution.


Aquatic mammals

Along the mediterranean regions of the Arabian Sea, including the Persian Gulf, the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر - بحر القلزم, translit=Modern: al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar, Medieval: Baḥr al-Qulzum; or ; Coptic language, Coptic: ⲫⲓⲟⲙ ⲛ̀ϩⲁϩ ''Phiom Enhah'' or ⲫⲓⲟⲙ ⲛ̀ϣⲁⲣⲓ ''P ...
, the
Gulf of Kutch The Gulf of Kutch is located between the peninsula regions of Kutch district, Kutch and Saurashtra (region), Saurashtra, bounded in the state of Gujarat that borders Pakistan. It opens towards the Arabian Sea facing the Osman Gulf. It is about ...
, the
Gulf of Suez The Gulf of Suez ( ar, خليج السويس, khalīǧ as-suwais; formerly , ', "Sea of Calm") is a gulf at the northern end of the Red Sea, to the west of the Sinai Peninsula. Situated to the east of the Sinai Peninsula is the smaller Gulf of ...
, the
Gulf of Aqaba The Gulf of Aqaba ( ar, خَلِيجُ ٱلْعَقَبَةِ, Khalīj al-ʿAqabah) or Gulf of Eilat ( he, מפרץ אילת, Mifrátz Eilát) is a large gulf at the northern tip of the Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر - ...
, the
Gulf of Aden The Gulf of Aden ( ar, خليج عدن, so, Gacanka Cadmeed 𐒅𐒖𐒐𐒕𐒌 𐒋𐒖𐒆𐒗𐒒) is a deepwater gulf of the Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five oceanic divisions, covering or ~19.8% o ...
, and the
Gulf of Oman The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman ( ar, خليج عمان ''khalīj ʿumān''; fa, دریای عمان ''daryâ-ye omân''), also known as Gulf of Makran or Sea of Makran ( ar, خلیج مکران ''khalīj makrān''; fa, دریای مکرا ...
,
dolphin A dolphin is an aquatic mammal within the infraorder Cetacea. Dolphin species belong to the families Delphinidae (the oceanic dolphins), Platanistidae (the Indian river dolphins), Iniidae (the New World river dolphins), Pontoporiidae (the br ...
s and finless porpoises are the most common marine mammals in the waters, while larger
whale Whales are a widely distributed and diverse group of fully Aquatic ecosystem, aquatic placental mammal, placental marine mammals. As an informal and Colloquialism, colloquial grouping, they correspond to large members of the infraorder Ce ...
s and
orca The orca or killer whale (''Orcinus orca'') is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family, of which it is the largest member. It is the only Extant taxon, extant species in the genus ''Orcinus'' and is recognizable by its black ...
s are rarer today. Historically, whales had been abundant in the Persian Gulf before commercial hunts wiped them out. Whales were reduced even further by illegal mass hunts by the Soviet Union and Japan in the 1960s and 1970s. Along with
Bryde's whale Bryde's whale ( Brooder's), or the Bryde's whale complex, putatively comprises three species of rorqual and maybe four. The "complex" means the number and classification remains unclear because of a lack of definitive information and research. ...
s, these once common residents can still can be seen in deeper marginal seas such as Gulf of Aden, Israel coasts, and in the
Strait of Hormuz The Strait of Hormuz ( fa, تنگه هرمز ''Tangeh-ye Hormoz'' ar, مَضيق هُرمُز ''Maḍīq Hurmuz'') is a strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the o ...
. Other species such as the critically endangered Arabian
humpback whale The humpback whale (''Megaptera novaeangliae'') is a species of baleen whale. It is a rorqual (a member of the family Balaenopteridae) and is the monotypic taxon, only species in the genus ''Megaptera''. Adults range in length from and weigh u ...
, (also historically common in Gulf of Aden and increasingly sighted in the Red Sea since 2006, including in the Gulf of Aqaba),
omura's whale Omura's whale or the dwarf fin whale (''Balaenoptera omurai'') is a species of rorqual about which very little is known. Before its formal description, it was referred to as a small, dwarf or pygmy form of Bryde's whale by various sources. The c ...
, minke whale, and
orca The orca or killer whale (''Orcinus orca'') is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family, of which it is the largest member. It is the only Extant taxon, extant species in the genus ''Orcinus'' and is recognizable by its black ...
also swim into the Persian Gulf, while many other large species such as
blue whale The blue whale (''Balaenoptera musculus'') is a marine mammal and a baleen whale. Reaching a maximum confirmed length of and weighing up to , it is the largest animal known to have ever existed. The blue whale's long and slender body can b ...
, sei, and
sperm whale The sperm whale or cachalot (''Physeter macrocephalus'') is the largest of the toothed whales and the largest toothed predator. It is the only living member of the Genus (biology), genus ''Physeter'' and one of three extant species in the s ...
s were once migrants into the
Gulf of Oman The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman ( ar, خليج عمان ''khalīj ʿumān''; fa, دریای عمان ''daryâ-ye omân''), also known as Gulf of Makran or Sea of Makran ( ar, خلیج مکران ''khalīj makrān''; fa, دریای مکرا ...
and off the coasts in deeper waters, and still migrate into the Red Sea, but mainly in deeper waters of outer seas. In 2017, waters of the Persian Gulf along
Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi (, ; ar, أَبُو ظَبِي ' ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in the United Arab Emirates, second-most populous city (after Dubai) of the United Arab Emirates. It is also the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi ...
were revealed to hold the world's largest population of
Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin The Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (''Sousa chinensis'') is a species of humpback dolphin inhabiting coastal waters of the eastern Indian and western Pacific Oceans. This species is often referred to as the Chinese white dolphin in mainland Chi ...
s. One of the more unusual marine mammals living in the Persian Gulf is the
dugong The dugong (; ''Dugong dugon'') is a marine mammal. It is one of four living species of the order Sirenia, which also includes three species of manatees. It is the only living representative of the once-diverse family Dugongidae; its closest m ...
(''Dugong dugon''). Also called "sea cows", for their grazing habits and mild manner resembling livestock, dugongs have a life expectancy similar to that of humans and they can grow up to in length. These gentle mammals feed on sea grass and are closer relatives of certain land mammals than are
dolphins A dolphin is an aquatic mammal within the infraorder Cetacea. Dolphin species belong to the families Delphinidae (the oceanic dolphins), Platanistidae (the Indian river dolphins), Iniidae (the New World river dolphins), Pontoporiidae (the br ...
and
whales Whales are a widely distributed and diverse group of fully Aquatic ecosystem, aquatic placental mammal, placental marine mammals. As an informal and Colloquialism, colloquial grouping, they correspond to large members of the infraorder Ce ...
. Their simple grass diet is negatively affected by new developments along the Persian Gulf coastline, particularly the construction of artificial islands by Arab states and pollution from oil spills caused during the "Persian Gulf war" and various other natural and artificial causes. Uncontrolled hunting has also had a negative impact on the survival of dugongs. After Australian waters, which are estimated to contain some 80,000 dugong inhabitants, the waters off Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, and Saudi Arabia make the Persian Gulf the second most important habitat for the species, hosting some 7,500 remaining dugongs. However, the current number of dugongs is dwindling and it is not clear how many are currently alive or what their reproductive trend is. Unfortunately, ambitious and uncalculated construction schemes, political unrest, ever-present international conflict, the most lucrative world supply of oil, and the lack of cooperation between Arab states and Iran, have had a negative impact on the survival of many marine species, including dugongs.


Birds

The Persian Gulf is also home to many migratory and local birds. There is great variation in color, size, and type of the bird species that call the Persian Gulf home. Concerns regarding the endangerment of the ''kalbaensis'' subspecies of the collared kingfishers were raised by conservationists over real estate development by the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Estimates from 2006 showed that only three viable nesting sites were available for this ancient bird, one located from Dubai, and two smaller sites in Oman. Such real estate expansion could prove devastating to this subspecies. A UN plan to protect the mangroves as a biological reserve was ignored by the emirate of Sharjah, which allowed the dredging of a channel that bisects the wetland and construction of an adjacent concrete walkway. Environmental watchdogs in Arabia are few, and those that do advocate the wildlife are often silenced or ignored by developers of real estate many of whom have governmental connections. Real estate development in the Persian Gulf by the United Arab Emirates and Oman also raised concerns that habitats of species such as the
hawksbill turtle The hawksbill sea turtle (''Eretmochelys imbricata'') is a critically endangered sea turtle Sea turtles (superfamily Chelonioidea), sometimes called marine turtles, are reptiles of the order Testudines and of the suborder Cryptodira. The s ...
,
greater flamingo The greater flamingo (''Phoenicopterus roseus'') is the most widespread and largest species In biology, a species is the basic unit of Taxonomy (biology), classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity ...
, and booted warbler may be destroyed. The dolphins that frequent the Persian Gulf in northern waters around Iran are also at risk. Recent statistics and observations show that dolphins are at danger of entrapment in purse
seine fishing Seine fishing (or seine-haul fishing; ) is a method of fishing that employs a surrounding net, called a seine, that hangs vertically in the water with its bottom edge held down by weights and its top edge buoyed by floats. Seine nets can be dep ...
nets and exposure to chemical pollutants; perhaps the most alarming sign is the "mass suicides" committed by dolphins off Iran's Hormozgan province, which are not well understood, but are suspected to be linked with a deteriorating marine environment from water pollution from oil, sewage, and industrial run offs.


Fish and reefs

The Persian Gulf is home to over 700 species of fish, most of which are native. Of these 700 species, more than 80% are reef associated. These reefs are primarily rocky, but there are also a few
coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of Colony (biology), colonies of coral polyp (zoology), polyps held together by calcium carbonate. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, wh ...
s. Compared to the Red Sea, the coral reefs in the Persian Gulf are relatively few and far between. This is primarily connected to the influx of major rivers, especially the
Shatt al-Arab The Shatt al-Arab ( ar, شط العرب, lit=River of the Arabs; fa, اروندرود, Arvand Rud, lit=Swift River) is a river of some in length that is formed at the confluence of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, Euphrates and Tigris riv ...
(Euphrates and Tigris), which carry large amounts of sediment (most reef-building corals require strong light) and causes relatively large variations in temperature and salinity (corals in general are poorly suited to large variations). Nevertheless, coral reefs have been found along sections of coast of all countries in the Persian Gulf. Corals are vital ecosystems that support multitude of marine species, and whose health directly reflects the health of the Persian Gulf. Recent years have seen a drastic decline in the coral population in the Persian Gulf, partially owing to
global warming In common usage, climate change describes global warming—the ongoing increase in global average temperature—and its effects on Earth's climate system. Climate variability and change, Climate change in a broader sense also includes ...
but mostly to irresponsible dumping by Arab states like the UAE and Bahrain. Construction garbage such as tires, cement, and chemical by products have found their way to the Persian Gulf in recent years. Aside from direct damage to the coral, the
construction waste Construction waste or debris is any kind of debris from the construction process. Different government agencies have clear definitions. For example, the United States Environmental Protection Agency United States Environmental Protection Agency, ...
creates "traps" for marine life in which they are trapped and die. The result has been a dwindling population of the coral, and as a result a decrease in number of species that rely on the corals for their survival.


Flora

A great example of this
symbiosis Symbiosis (from Ancient Greek, Greek , , "living together", from , , "together", and , bíōsis, "living") is any type of a close and long-term biological interaction between two different Organism, biological organisms, be it Mutualism (biolog ...
are the
mangroves A mangrove is a shrub or tree that grows in coastal saline water, saline or brackish water. The term is also used for tropical coastal vegetation consisting of such species. Mangroves are taxonomically diverse, as a result of convergent evoluti ...
in the Persian Gulf, which require tidal flow and a combination of fresh and salt water for growth, and act as nurseries for many crabs, small fish, and insects; these fish and insects are the source of food for many of the marine birds that feed on them. Mangroves are a diverse group of shrubs and trees belonging to the genus '' Avicennia'' or ''
Rhizophora ''Rhizophora'' is a genus of tropical mangrove trees, sometimes collectively called true mangroves. The most notable species is the red mangrove (''Rhizophora mangle'') but some other species and a few natural hybrid (biology), hybrids are known. ...
'' that flourish in the salt water shallows of the Persian Gulf, and are the most important habitats for small crustaceans that dwell in them. They are as crucial an indicator of biological health on the surface of the water, as the corals are to biological health of the Persian Gulf in deeper waters. Mangroves' ability to survive the salt water through intricate molecular mechanisms, their unique reproductive cycle, and their ability to grow in the most oxygen-deprived waters have allowed them extensive growth in hostile areas of the Persian Gulf. However, with the advent of artificial island development, most of their habitat is destroyed, or occupied by man-made structures. This has had a negative impact on the crustaceans that rely on the mangrove, and in turn on the species that feed on them.


Gallery

File:Dugong.jpg,
Dugong The dugong (; ''Dugong dugon'') is a marine mammal. It is one of four living species of the order Sirenia, which also includes three species of manatees. It is the only living representative of the once-diverse family Dugongidae; its closest m ...
mother and her offspring in shallow water File:HengamDolphins.jpg,
Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin The Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (''Tursiops aduncus'') is a species of bottlenose dolphin. This dolphin grows to long, and weighs up to . It lives in the waters around India, northern Australia, South China, the Red Sea, and the eastern co ...
s off the southern shore of Iran, around Hengam Island File:Dolphins Oman.JPG, Spinner dolphins leaping in the Persian Gulf File:The-Worlds-Most-Isolated-and-Distinct-Whale-Population-Humpback-Whales-of-the-Arabian-Sea-pone.0114162.s001.tif, Critically endangered Arabian
humpback whale The humpback whale (''Megaptera novaeangliae'') is a species of baleen whale. It is a rorqual (a member of the family Balaenopteridae) and is the monotypic taxon, only species in the genus ''Megaptera''. Adults range in length from and weigh u ...
s (being the most isolated, and the only resident population in the world) off
Dhofar The Dhofar Governorate ( ar, مُحَافَظَة ظُفَار, Muḥāfaẓat Ẓufār) is the largest of the 11 Governorates in the Sultanate of Oman in terms of area. It lies in Southern Oman, on the eastern border with Yemen Yemen ( ...
, Oman File:Nakhl-Minoo.jpg,
Palm Palm most commonly refers to: * Palm of the hand, the central region of the front of the hand * Palm plants, of family Arecaceae **List of Arecaceae genera * Several Arecaceae#Other plants, other plants known as "palm" Palm or Palms may also refer ...
and
sunset Sunset, also known as sundown, is the daily disappearance of the Sun below the horizon due to Earth's rotation. As viewed from everywhere on Earth (except the North and South poles), the equinox Sun sets due west at the moment of both the sp ...
in Minoo Island


Oil and gas

The Persian Gulf and its coastal areas are the world's largest single source of petroleum, and related industries dominate the region. Safaniya Oil Field, the world's largest offshore
oilfield A petroleum reservoir or oil and gas reservoir is a subsurface accumulation of hydrocarbon In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons are examples of group 14 hydrides. ...
, is located in the Persian Gulf. Large gas finds have also been made, with Qatar and Iran sharing a giant field across the territorial median line (North Field in the Qatari sector; South Pars Field in the Iranian sector). Using this gas, Qatar has built up a substantial
liquefied natural gas Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas (predominantly methane, CH4, with some mixture of ethane, C2H6) that has been cooled down to liquid form for ease and safety of non-pressurized storage or transport. It takes up about 1/600th the volu ...
(LNG) and petrochemical industry. In 2002, the Persian Gulf nations of Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE produced about 25% of the world's oil, held nearly two-thirds of the world's crude oil reserves, and about 35% of the world's
natural gas Natural gas (also called fossil gas or simply gas) is a naturally occurring mixture of gaseous hydrocarbons consisting primarily of methane in addition to various smaller amounts of other higher alkanes. Low levels of trace gases like carbon di ...
reserves. The oil-rich countries (excluding
Iraq Iraq,; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq officially the Republic of Iraq, '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Turkey to Iraq–Turkey border, the north, Iran to Iran–Iraq ...
) that have a coastline on the Persian Gulf are referred to as the '' Persian Gulf States''. Iraq's egress to the Persian gulf is narrow and easily blockaded consisting of the marshy river delta of the
Shatt al-Arab The Shatt al-Arab ( ar, شط العرب, lit=River of the Arabs; fa, اروندرود, Arvand Rud, lit=Swift River) is a river of some in length that is formed at the confluence of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, Euphrates and Tigris riv ...
, which carries the waters of the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia ( ''the land between the rivers'') ...
and the
Tigris The Tigris () is the easternmost of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western A ...
rivers, where the east bank is held by Iran.


See also

*
Eastern Arabia Eastern Arabia, historically known as al-Baḥrayn ( ar, البحرين) until the 18th century, is a region stretched from Basra to Khasab along the Persian Gulf coast and included parts of modern-day Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ; ar, البح ...
* Eastern Arabian cuisine *
Cradle of civilization A cradle of civilization is a location and a culture where civilization was created by mankind independent of other civilizations in other locations. The formation of urban settlements (cities) is the primary characteristic of a society that ...
* Deluge (prehistoric) *
Musandam Peninsula The Musandam Peninsula ( ar, جَزِيْرَة مُسَنْدَم \ رَأْس مُسَنْدَم, Jazīrat Musandam / Raʾs Musandam), locally known as Ruus Al Jibal ( ar, رُؤُوْس ٱلْجِبَال, ''Ruʾūs al-Jibāl'' Heads of the Mou ...
* History of the United Arab Emirates#The pearling industry and the Portuguese empire: 16th - 18th century * Saeed bin Butti#Perpetual Maritime Truce *
Trucial States The Trucial States ( '), also known as the Trucial Coast ( '), the Trucial Sheikhdoms ( '), Trucial Arabia or Trucial Oman, was the name the British government gave to a group of tribal confederations in southeastern Arabian Peninsula, Arabia ...
* Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi#Perpetual Maritime Truce of 1853 * Persian Gulf campaign of 1809 * Persian Gulf campaign of 1819 *
General Maritime Treaty of 1820 The General Maritime Treaty of 1820 was a treaty initially signed between the rulers of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah (emirate), Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Great Britain in ...
* Geography of Iran * Geography of Saudi Arabia *
Geography of Oman Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, ...
* Geography of United Arab Emirates *
Geography of Qatar Qatar is a peninsula in the east of Arabia, bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia, in a strategic location near major petroleum deposits. The Qatar, State of Qatar occupies on a peninsula that extends approximately to north into the Pers ...
*
Geography of Bahrain The Kingdom of Bahrain consists of Bahrain Island Bahrain Island ( ar, جزيرة البحرين ''Jazīrah al-Baḥrayn''), also known as al-Awal Island and formerly as Bahrein, is the largest island within the archipelago of Bahrain ...
* Geography of Kuwait *
Geography of Iraq The geography of Iraq is diverse and falls into five main regions: the desert (west of the Euphrates), Upper Mesopotamia (between the upper Tigris and Euphrates rivers), the northern highlands of Iraq, Lower Mesopotamia, and the alluvial plain ...


References


External links


Qatar Digital Library
– an online portal providing access to previously undigitised British Library archive materials relating to Gulf history and Arabic science
''Persian Gulf'', Encyclopædia Iranica


* ttps://www.flickr.com/photos/54272266@N06/6863021370/in/photostream/ 32 historical map of Persian gulf at flickr.com
Persian Gulf
from 1920
Sharks in the Gulf
; Videos
Documents on the Persian Gulf's name the eternal heritage ancient time by Dr.Mohammad Ajam
{{Authority control Bahrain–Saudi Arabia border Bahrain–Qatar border Bodies of water of Bahrain Bodies of water of Iraq Bodies of water of Kuwait Geography of the Middle East Geography of Western Asia Seas of Asia Seas of Iran Bodies of water of Saudi Arabia Bodies of water of Qatar Iran–Iraq border Iraq–Kuwait border Kuwait–Saudi Arabia border Marginal seas of the Indian Ocean Qatar–Saudi Arabia border Saudi Arabia–United Arab Emirates border Western Indo-Pacific