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631 - Jean Baptiste Tavernier

Vessels leaving Hormuz steer for Muscat, on the coast of Arabia, in order not to approach too near to that of Persia, and to give it a wide berth. Those which are coming from Surat do the same, in order to find the entrance to the gulf, but neither the one nor the other ever touch at Muscat, because custom dues have to be paid to the Arabian Prince who took this place from the Portuguese.
   Muscat is a town on the sea-coast, opposite to three rocks, which render the approach to it very difficult, and it lies at the foot of a mountain upon which the Portuguese had three or four forts. It may be remarked that Muscat, Hormuz, and Bassora are the three places in the East where the heat is most unbearable. Formerly the English and Dutch monopolised this navigation; but for some years past the Armenians, Muhammadans of India, and Banians also have vessels, upon which, however, one does not feel so safe as on those of the Franks, because necessarily the Indians do not understand the sea so well, and have not such good pilots.

.... Muscat, which was also one with a considerable income. For all the vessels coming to India from the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, and the coasts of Melinda have to make the point of Muscat, and generally take in water there. If any vessels did not come to anchor, the Governor sent to claim the custom, which was 4 per cent, and if they made any resistance they ran the risk of being sent to the bottom by his galeasses.

Ball, V. (Ed.)
Travels in India by Jean Baptiste Tavernier
Translated from the Original French Edition of 1676
Vol I, London 1889

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