THE PIRATE COAST by Sir Charles Belgrave


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Belgrave bases his study of the pirates in the Straits of Hormuz (between the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman) upon the diaries of a British sea-captain who helped successfully subdue the buccaneers. They are the unpublished work of Captain Francis E. Loch, who had twenty years before the mast when, at thirty, he commanded H.M.S. Eden which was dispatched after the pirates in 1818. After a mere two years, Capt. Loch's mission had such success that a treaty with the Sheiks resulted in renaming the coast the Trucial Oman as it is still known today. Aside from his sea-adventures rounding up pirates, Loch sprinkles his book with dozens of vignettes about ports of call on the coast, natives and rulers, mores, vegetation and weather. One story is about the Ali Khan. Despite blindness, or because of it, Ali Khan became the most astute horse trader on the coast: in studying a horse with his hands, he often found qualities people missed with their eyes. Pearl diving is important to the area and descriptions of collections pique the imagination. Much of the information Loch wrote down will be of little interest to other than scholars, but the rest is on the general level of Horizon Magazine.

Pub Date: Jan. 30th, 1966
Publisher: Roy