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.