January 14, 2013

"The Arab navigator, Ahmad Bin Majid, visited Bahrain in 1489..."

"... and gave a contemporary account of the country that the first Portuguese would have seen:"
"In Awal (Bahrain) there are 360 villages and fresh water can be found in a number of places. A most wonderful al-Qasasir, where a man can dive into the salt sea with a skin and can fill it with fresh water while he is submerged in the salt water. Around Bahrain are pearl fisheries and a number of islands all of which have pearl fisheries and connected with this trade are 1,000 ships."
Today's "History of" country is Bahrain. 

11 comments:

betamax3000 said...

As Milli Vanilli once said (or lip-synced): Blame it on Bahrain...

David said...

It's amazing how little we know about a place that is so important to us. I did not realize that we had just stepped into the British shoes in 1968 by taking over their bases.

I wonder how our female Jewish ambassador did. That rascal Bush has a droll sense of humor.

ricpic said...

Water, water, cool clear water.

David said...

Early explorers reported that In Port Royal Sound, here in South Carolina, they could get drinking water for their ships in the middle of the salt water sound. The artesian flow was so strong that there was fresh water all the time on the surface near the middle of the sound.

Depletion of the aquifer has ended this, but it was good while it lasted.

edutcher said...

Sweet water in the desert.

More precious than gold.

You'd think we'd have heard of it long before the places with all the oil.

John Burgess said...

Ummm David? The female Jewish ambassador is actually the one the Bahraini government sent to the US.

There is a Jewish community in Bahrain, primarily of Iranian immigrant origins, but they've been immigrating for better than a thousand years, along with other Iranians, Iraqis, etc.

Michael K said...

Bahrain is mentioned in histories of the Indus Valley civilization. The writing has not been deciphered but there are recognizable references. I think the name was Dilmun.

Darrell said...

I saved the life of a prince of Bahrain in Chicago in the 1980s. I had passed a guy walking with two gigantic guys in identical medium blue suits and was waiting to cross a street. The guy with the nice suit started to walk into the street and I held out my arm and stopped him. He was looking left as he stepped and it was a one-way street with traffic coming from our right, and a car that was trying to make the light gunned it. He was so busy being upset at what I had done that I don't know if he saw the car blowing past. One of the giants said something to him and he calmed down. He asked if I knew who he was and I told him that I didn't and said something like "sorry, if I should know you." He said my name and I was confused until I looked down and saw the luggage tag on my briefcase--it was turned out. One of the giants whispered to him again while pointing to his watch and they went off in another direction. I always thought that I would get a phone call in the future because of him saying my name, but that never happened. At the rate of speed the car was going, and given that the car was traveling in the lane closest to us, he would have steeped directly in front of the car. Too many variables to calculate, but I would guess that he would have been knocked down and the car would have rolled over him, perhaps dragging him along under. And the hot whips of panic would probably keep the driver from stopping. all kidding aside, I can say that "saving his life" is not stretching the truth too far in this instance.

If he or anyone in Bahrain reads this, they know where to find me. I can make a generous order using Ms Althouse's Amazon portal to thank her for making the connection. One can do that when they have the means.

kentuckyliz said...

Darrell, so did the prince stay mad at you? Or did the security goon explain to him what happened and how you saved his life?

I have a cousin who lived in Bahrain for many years, working for the Bank of London. Then he moved to HK.

Mitch H. said...

I had never heard of the Qarmatian Republic, which sounds like a truly hairy and wild time for Bahrain. The tenth century was a violent and strange one for the Dar-al-Islam in general, and as far as I understand it, one of the first in which we have semi-reliable primary sources for the Muslim world, as opposed to oral traditions of dubious historical provenance. Reading of the various Shi'a groups, mainstream and terroristic - the Quarmatians at one point murdered 20,000 hajji at a famous oasis on the pilgrimage route, and later sacked Mecca and Medina, stealing the Kaaba itself - I find myself marveling that the Sunni mainstream survived and eventually prevailed.

Crunchy Frog said...

In Awal (Bahrain) there are 360 villages and fresh water can be found in a number of places.

What number is that? 3?