Persian Gulf, a name inscribed on the heart of history

February 15, 2012 - 14:21
altThe Persian Gulf is a crescent-shape groove which has demonstrated the encroachment of the Indian Ocean waters in a span of 900 km long and 240 km wide in the inferior folds of southern Zagros Mountains. The Persian Gulf and its neighboring countries constitute almost one ninth of the 44 million square km span of the Asian continent. 

The Persian Gulf has been a valuable waterway since the beginning of history and as the venue of the collision of great civilizations of the ancient East, it has a background of several millenniums. 
Since centuries ago, the Elamites used the Port of Bushehr and the Kharg Island for dwelling, shipping and ruling over the coasts of the Persian Gulf as well as transaction with the West Indies and the Nile Valley. In the Latin American geography books the Persian Gulf has been referred to as the Sea of Persia. The Latin term "Sinus Persicus" is equivalent to "Persischer Golf" in German, 'Golf Persique', in French, 'Golfo Persico' in Italian, that all mean the same.
Prior to the coming of the Aryan Iranians to Iranian Plateau around 1000 to 1500 BCE, the Assyrians named the sea in their inscriptions as the "bitter sea" and this is the oldest name that was used for the Persian Gulf.
An inscription of Darius the Great with a mention of 'Sea of Pars' was found in the Suez Canal which points to the same Persian Gulf.
The Greek historian Herodotus in his book has repeatedly referred to the Red Sea as the "Arabian Gulf", and Straben, the Greek historian of the second half of the first century BCE and the first half of the first century CE wrote: "Arabs are living between the Arabian Gulf and the Persian Gulf." 
Ptolemy, another renowned Greek geographer of the 2nd century has referred to the Red Sea as the "Arabicus Sinus", i.e. the Arabian Gulf.  In the book `the world boundaries from the East to the West' which was written in the 4th century Hegira, the Red Sea was dubbed as the Arabian Gulf.
Today, the most common Arabic works refer to the sea in south Iran as the "Persian Gulf", including the world famous Arabic encyclopedia `Al-Monjad' which is the most reliable source in this respect.
There are undeniable legal evidences and documents in confirmation of the genuineness of the term Persian Gulf.  From 1507 to 1560 in all the agreements that Portuguese, Spanish, British, Dutch, French and Germans concluded with the Iranian government or in any other political event everywhere there is a mention of the name Persian Gulf.
Even in agreements with the participation of Arabs there is a mention of "Al-Khalij al-Farsi" in the Arabic texts and "Persian Gulf" in English texts, such as the document for the independence of Kuwait which was signed between the emir of Kuwait and representatives of the British government in the Persian Gulf.
The document, which was signed on June 19, 1961 by Abdullah As-Salem As-Sabah, has been registered in the Secretariat of the United Nations according to article 102 of the U.N. Charter and can be invoked at any U.N. office.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the name "Persian Gulf" has been used in geography and history books with less reference to the "Kalij-e Fars". Such a change has suggested the idea that the "Khalij-e Fars" had been an old name substituted by a new term "Persian Gulf."
The beginning of 1930s was a turning point in the history of efforts for changing the name of Persian Gulf when Sir Charles Bellgrave, the British diplomatic envoy in Iranian island of Mishmahig, which today known as Bahrain opened a file for the change in the name of the Persian Gulf and proposed the issue to the British Foreign Office. Even before the response of the British Foreign Office he used the fake name. This was an attempt to occupy Bahrain, the Tunbs, Abu Musa, Sirri, Qeshm, Hengam and other islands belonging to Iran and to disclose and thwart the plot of disintegration of Khuzestan.
Besides all the disputes that have been made over the name of the Persian Gulf, the United Nations with its twenty two Arab member countries has on two occasions officially declared the unalterable name of the sea between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula as the Persian Gulf.
The first announcement was made through the document UNAD, 311/Qen on March 5, 1971 and the second was UNLA 45.8.2 (C) on August 10, 1984. Moreover, the annual U.N. conference for coordination on the geographical names has emphatically repeated the name "Persian Gulf" each year.

Although using the manufactured "Arabian Gulf" instead of the "Persian Gulf" has no basis and will not be accepted in any culture or language, however, it will not diminish our responsibility in expressing the reality and eliminating ambiguities as the main and oldest inhabitants of the region.
(Source: Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies)