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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Nothing was exported from Bandar Abbas to Russia


to statistics furnished by the British Vice-Consul, the exports of 1900 were half those of 1899, the exact figures being L202,232 for 1899; L102,671 for 1900. Opium, which had had the lead by far in previous years, fell from L48,367 to L4,440. Raw cotton, however, not only held its own but rose to a value of L18,692 from L6,159 the previous year. In the years 1888, 1889, 1890, and 1891 the exports of raw cotton were abnormal, and rose to about L35,000 in 1890, the highest record during the decade from 1888 to 1897.

Large quantities of henna and opium are also exported from this spot, as it is the principal outlet of the Kerman and Yezd districts, but the trade may be said to be almost entirely in British hands at present, and Russian influence so far is infinitesimal.

We find that, next to opium, fruit and vegetables, especially dates, constitute a large part of the export, then wool, drugs and spices, salt, carpets and woollen fabrics, piece goods, silk (woven), seeds, skins and tanned leather, wheat and cereals, and cotton raw and manufactured. Perfumery--rose-water--was largely exported from 1891 to 1896. The exportation of tobacco seems to decrease, although it is now beginning to look up again a little. Dyes and colouring substances are also exported.

The value of imports is very nearly double that of the exports. Cotton goods have the lead by a long way, then come tea,

and piece goods, loaf-sugar, powdered sugar, indigo, metals, wheat and cereals, spices, drugs, wool and woollen fabrics, jute fabrics, cheap cutlery, coffee, tobacco, mules, horses, donkeys, etc., in the succession enumerated.

It is pleasant to find that the shipping increases yearly at Bandar Abbas, and that, second only to Persian vessels, the number of British sailing vessels entering Bandar Abbas in 1900 was nearly double (48) of the previous year (28). Steamers were in the proportion of 101 to 64. Although in number of sailing vessels the Persians have the priority, because of the great number of small crafts, the total tonnage of the Persian vessels was 5,320 tons against 75,440 tons in 1899, and 139,164 tons in 1900 British.

Turkish steamers occasionally ply to Bandar Abbas and Muscat and also Arab small sailing crafts.

It is rather curious to note that in 1899 the imports into Bandar Abbas came entirely from India, Great Britain and France, and in a small measure from Muscat, Zanzibar, the Arab Coast, Bahrain and Persian ports, whereas the following year, 1900, the imports from India fell to less than half their previous value, from L435,261 to L204,306, and from the United Kingdom there was a diminution from L86,197 to L69,597; whereas France doubled hers in 1900 and other countries entered into competition. The Chinese Empire, curiously enough, was the strongest, to the value of L18,419, presumably with teas, and Austria-Hungary L10,509. Germany and Turkey imported to the value of some L2,174 and L2,147 respectively. Belgium L2,254, Java L7,819, Mauritius L3,564, Muscat L692, the Canaries L637, America L600, and Arabia L494. Japan contributed to the amount of L305, Sweden L273, Italy L82, and Switzerland the modest sum of L8.

A most significant point is that Russia, with all her alleged aims and designs, only contributed to the small amount of L572. Nothing was exported from Bandar Abbas to Russia. It would appear from this that at least commercially Russia's position at Bandar Abbas was not much to be feared as late as 1900. Since then a Russian line of steamers has been established from the Black Sea to the Persian Gulf ports, but I have no accurate statistics at hand. It is said not to be a financial success.

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