Iran to celebrate Persian Gulf National Day

April 30, 2019 - 1:15

TEHRAN – Today, Iranians from all walks of life are to celebrate Persian Gulf National Day, an occasion to commemorate the exit of colonial and foreign forces from the strategic waterway.

Tenth of Ordibehesht month (April 30) in the Iranian calendar marks the anniversary of Shah Abbas I of Persia’s successful military campaign when the Portuguese navy was forced out of the Strait of Hormuz in the Capture of Ormuz (1622).

The modern strategic importance of the Persian Gulf dates from the mid-19th century, when three great empires confronted each other there: British India, Tsarist Russia and Ottoman Turkey. The British established political control over much of the Persian Gulf in the early 1800s and kept it for 150 years, establishing a tradition of outside involvement that persists today. Britain did not establish formal protectorates (as in the case, for example, of Egypt), but did enter into treaties with local sheikhs offering them protection in return for control over their foreign policy. In 1899, Kuwait, then considered a dependency of the Ottomans, was brought into this system.

After World War I, the political map of much of the Middle East was redrawn as the Ottoman Empire was replaced by modern states, including Turkey, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The small Arab sheikhdoms on the western shore of the Persian Gulf were under British protection until 1971 (in the case of Kuwait, 1961). Iran (Persia) was never a colony, and for much of the 19th and 20th century Britain competed with Russia for influence there.

Map by Abraham Ortelius, dated 1580 using the term “Persicus” (MAR MESENDIN formerly Sinus Persicus).

Spanning some 250,000 square kilometers, the Persian Gulf is bounded by the Shatt al-Arab waterway in the north, which forms the frontier between Iran and Iraq, and the Strait of Hormuz in the south, which connects the sea to the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean.

It shares boundaries with littoral states Iran (Persia), Oman, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates. The Strait of Hormuz, connects the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman.

The Persian Gulf is also important as an international trade route connecting the Middle East to Africa, India and China. It has historically been an integrated region characterized by constant interchange of people, commerce and religious movements.


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