اسناد سازمان ملل متحد

 

 

 

 

 

UNITED NATIONS Working Paper

GROUP OF EXPERTS ON No. 61

GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES

 

Twenty-third Session

Vienna, 28 March – 4 April 2006

Item 14 of the Provisional Agenda:

Activities relating to the Working Group

on Exonyms

Historical, Geographical and Legal Validity of the Name: PERSIAN GULF

Prepared Working Group on Exonyms, Iran

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Historical, Geographical and Legal Validity of the Name :

PERSIAN GULF

Introduction

Geography, as the most ancient human knowledge is an applied science which has different

aspects. It studies the reciprocal relation of man and nature and provides the results to the

users in the form of documents in writing, books and maps.

The names of features and phenomena including natural or man made ones have been

considered by geographers for a long time, therefore similar features are distinguished by it.

The name of a feature can not be observed on the land like the feature itself. Thus, by

mentioning the case on maps, Atlases, and books, it will be protected during different eras as

a part of historical, cultural identity and saved as mans heritage.

For the same reason, any change, destruction, or alteration of the names registered in

historical deeds and maps is like the destruction of ancient works and is considered as an

improper action. Therefore, the names of geographical features profiting from a unique

historical identity, should not be utilized as political instruments in reaching a political, tribal,

and racial objective, or in any clash with national interests and other's values.

This paper provides a short study of the historical background of the name PERSIAN GULF

so that it might cast light on realities.

Geographical Specifications of PERSIAN GULF

The Persian Gulf is located in the southwest of the Asian Continent at 23 to 30 degrees

northern latitude and 48 to 56 degrees longitude on the south side of the vast country of Iran,

with a length of 1259 kilometer.

Karoun, Zohreh, Jarrahi Mond, Dalki, Hendijan, Kol and Minab are the largest and the most

watery rivers that flow into the PERSIAN GULF from the Iranian Plateau. The PERSIAN

GULF is a projection of water from the Indian Ocean into a part of the Iranian Plateau. The

whole northern part of it is covered by the Fars Province in Iran. T hus, if we were to presume

that the sea did not have a name during history and those geographers and specialists were to

select a name for this gulf, doubtlessly, they would find no better name than PERSIAN

GULF, because Iran (PERSIA) is the largest country adjacent to this water body which

possesses the longest coast. Besides, with a population of more than 70 million it is larger

than any country located at the south margin of Fars.

Name of PERSIAN GULF

The researchers, who have researched about the name of Persian Gulf, became unanimous

considering the name of Persian Gulf. During all the centuries, and at least during the past

2500 years, i.e. as of the time of the powerful Pars Empire there has never been seen such a

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unanimity in the Middle East among writers and historians on one name during history.

Considering the historical background of the name Persian Gulf, Sir Arnold Wilson mentions

in a book, published in 1928 that:

"No water channel has been so significant as 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.

Name of PERSIAN GULF in Historical Documents

No written deed has remained since the era before the Pars Empire, but in the oral history and

culture, the Iranians have called the southern waters: Jam Sea, Iran Sea, Pars Sea.

During the years: 559 to 330 B.C. coinciding with sovereignty of the Pars Empire on the

Middle East area, especially the whole part of Persian Gulf and some parts of the Arabian

Peninsula, the name of Pars Sea has been widely written in the compiled texts.

In the travel account of Pythagoras, several chapters are related to description of his travels

accompanied by Darioush, a king of Achaemenid, to Shoush and Perspolis, and the area is

described. From among the writings of others in the same period, there is the inscription and

engraving of Darioush the great, installed at junction of waters of Arabian Gulf (Ahmar Sea)

and Nile river and Rome river (current Mediterranean) which belongs to the 5th century BC

where, Darioush, the king of Pars Empire has named the PERSIAN GULF Water Channel:

PARS SEA. From among the other significant deeds written in this field, the world map:

Hecataeus (472 to 509 B.C.) can be stated where PERSIAN GULF and Arabian Gulf (Red

Sea) have been clearly shown. Also a map has remained from Herodotus, the great historian

of Greece (425-484 B.C.) which introduces Red Sea as the Arabian Gulf.

In the world map of Diseark (285-347 B.C.) too, Persian Gulf and Arabian Gulf have been

clearly distinct. At the same time, many maps and deeds prepared up to the 8th century by the

scientists and geographical researchers such as Hecataeus, Herodotus (father of Science of

Geography), Hiparek, Claudius Batlamious, Krats Malous,…… and in the Islamic period,

Mohammad Ibn Mousa Kharazmi, Abou Yousef Eshagh Kandi, Ibn Khardazabeh, Harrani

(Batani), Masoudi, Abou Zeyd Balkhi, Estakhri, Ibn Houghal, Aboureyhan Birouni and

others, mention that there is a wide sea at south of Iran named Pars Sea, Pars Gulf, Fars Sea,

Fars Gulf, Bahre Fars, Sinus Persicus and Mare Persicum and so on.

In a book, named Persilus Aryateria, the Greek tourist of the 1st century A.D. has called the

Red Sea as Arabian gulf; the Indian ocean has been named Aryateria Sea; the waters at Oman

Coast is called Pars Sea; Barbarus region (between Oman and Yemen coast are called

belonging to Pars, and the Gulf located at south side of Iran is named: PERSIAN GULF. By

describing the water body, the life of Persians living at both sides have also been confirmed.

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Islamic Period

Before Christ, the Arabs were living more in Hejaz, Yemen, and coasts of Red Sea (Arabian

Gulf) and were not that much familiar with Persian Gulf. After Ardeshir, king of Iran during

Sassanid era campaigned to Yemen upon request of Seif Ibn Ziyazan, governor of Yemen to

suppress Abyssinian, the event lead to traffic of Arabs at the coasts of Persian Gulf. With the

emergence of Islam and expans

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