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The Past

2,000 - 200 years ago
Kingdom of Hormuz

In 1272, when Marco Polo travelled to China, he crossed Iran and visited Old Hormuz, near modern Minab, of which he wrote, 'Merchants came from India with ships loaded with spicery and precious stones, pearls, cloths of silk and gold, elephants' teeth, and many other wares, which they sell to the merchants of Hormuz'. Shortly after this was written, the city was shifted to Jarun, an island which afforded greater security for the princes of Hormuz and of which Abdur Razzak, writing in 1442, wrote that it 'has not its equal on the surface of the globe'. Ludovico di Varthema, who visited Hormuz in 1504, called it 'the noble city of Hormuz, which is extremely beautiful', while a Persian proverb runs, 'If the world were a ring, Hormuz would be the jewel in it'.

Hormuz was attacked by the Portuguese under Affonso D'Albuquerque in 1507, after which it became tributary to the Portuguese. In 1622 the kingdom of Hormuz was absorbed into the Safavid kingdom.

By the time the Portuguese arrived in the Gulf the port of Julfar, in the northern Emirates, was tributary to the kingdom of Hormuz, and Duarte Barbosa, the Portuguese chronicler, says that 'The trade of this place [Julfar] brings in a great revenue to the king of Ormuz'. Little wonder then that the Portuguese subjugation of Hormuz was followed swiftly by that of Julfar.

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