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The Persian (Arabian) Gulf

Muscat and Oman

FIRST STAMPS India 1864.

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED inscribed MUSCAT & OMAN 30 April 1966.


1944, Indian to 1966.
1966, 64 baizas = 1 rupee.
1970, 1000 baizas = 1 Saidi rial.

The powerful sultanate of Muscat and Oman became fully independent of Persia in 1744 and signed a treaty of friendship with the East India Company in 1798. A political agency was established in Muscat in 1800 and the friendliest relations established during the rule of Seyyid Sa'id (1807-56). In 1854 the Kuria Muria Islands were presented to the British Crown (see Aden). On the death of Seyyid Sa'id in 1856, Zanzibar (occupied from Muscat since 1720) became a separate sultanate.

In 1970 the territory was renamed the Sultanate of Oman (see below).

Postal History
PO was opened in the port of Muscat on 1 May 1864 under the Bombay circle. After transfer to the Sind circle (Karachi) in April 1869, it returned to Bombay in 1879. There was only one PO until 1970. On the partition of India, postal control passed for a time to Pakistan and then to Britain. The Sultan's government took over the posts on 30 April 1966.

Used stamps of India 1 May 1864 - 19 December 1947 (initial oblit. 309 in diamond of bars; after c. 1873 named datestamps were used). Special stamps were issued in 1944 to mark 200 years of the Al bu-Said dynasty.

Used stamps of Pakistan 20 December 1947 - 31 March 1948.

Used stamps of British PAs in Eastern Arabia 1 April 1948 - 29 April 1966.




1971, 1000 diazas = 1 rial Saidi.

The former Muscat and Oman under a new sultan. Britain supplies financial aid, officers the Oman levies, and has by treaty an RAF staging post on Masirah Island.


A dependency of Muscat on the Mekran coast of Baluchistan from 1792 until 8 September 1958 when it was sold to Pakistan. A port-of-call of the British India Steam Navigation Co. from 1862, it became an important telegraph station (with an undersea cable to the Persian Gulf) in 1865.

An experimental Indian P0, opened from Bombay 12 April 1868, became permanent on 30 January 1869. Transferred to Sind in April 1869. It was never controlled postally by Muscat.

Used stamps of India 1868-1947 (distinguishable by cancellation).

Has used stamps of Pakistan since October 1947 (not, as might be expected, those used in Muscat in 1948-58).


FIRST STAMPS India 1 August 1883.



1933, as India.
Indian to 1966.
1966, 1000 fils = 1 Bahrain dinar.

An island sheikhdom with dependent islets in the Arabian Gulf, protected by treaty of 1861 with Britain until its independence 15 August 1971. Exclusive agreements were signed in 1880 and 1892, and a British Political Agent was appointed in 1902.

Postal History
Sub-PO of Bushire under the Indian postal administration was opened in the island capital, Manama, on 1 August 1884. A. second PO at Muarraq was opened in 1946. After the independence of India, a British postal administration operated from 1 April 1948 until the Bahrain post department took over on 1 January 1966.

Used stamps of India 1 August 1884-1933 (distinguishable by named datestamps).


FIRST STAMPS India 1909.

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED (inscribed TRUCIAL STATES) 7 January 1961 (these were on sale only in Dubai).


1963, 100 naye paise = 1 rupee.
1966, 100 dirhams = 1 riyal.
Indian external rupees to 1966.
1966, 100 dirhams = 1 Gulf riyal.

The sheikh of Dubai, one of the parties to the 1820 peace treaty, renounced allegiance to Abu Dhabi in 1833. In 1853 Dubai became one of the Trucial States.

Indian P0 under Karachi was opened on 19 August 1909.

Used stamps of India 1909 - 47 (cancellations 'Dubai Persian Gulf).

Used stamps of Pakistan October 1947 - 31 March 1948.

Used stamps of British PAs in Eastern Arabia 1948-61. Now part of the U.A.E.





Indian to 1961.
1961, 1000 fils = 1 Kuwait dinar.

An independent Arab sheikhdom, having a dynasty founded in 1756. Fearing Turkish attack, it sought a treaty of protection with Britain in 1899, reaffirmed in 1914 and again by treaty in 1961. It is the richest oil state in the Gulf.

Postal service of the East India Company operated in 1775-95 when a desert express camel service was maintained to Aleppo and Constantinople. A PO was planned in 1904 under Indian administration but not opened until 21 January 1915 (postal business was previously done in the Consul's office, using stamps obtained from Bushire, letters being sent via Bushire or put direct on to steamers). PO was administered from Iraq (sub-office of Basra) 1. August 1921 - April 1941 when, owing to the Franco-British invasion of Iraq, it was closed. Mail was sent by diplomatic bag via London 1 April - mid-May until the PO could be re-opened under Indian administration. It was under Pakistan administration 1947-8, under British from 1 April 1948 and under Kuwaiti from 31 January 1959.

Used stamps of India without overprint May 1941-5.

Following a dispute with Iraq over oil resources and particularly with regard to the claimed pumping of oil from reservoirs within Iraqi boundries, its northern neighbour invaded Kuwait without warning on 1 August 1190. A week later the President of Iraq announced the unification of Kuwaite with Iraq. On 29 August, Kuwait was designated the 19th Governance of Iraq.

The United Kingdom had had an exclusive agreement to protect and assist Kuwait since 1899. This was finally abrogated on 19 June 1961. Despite this an alliance of Allied forces, mainly US, British and French were landed in Saudi Arabia with the sanction of the United Nations to liberate Kuwait from the unwarranted occuptaion.

A build up period for the forces took until 16 January 1991 when the first Allied air strikes began. These were followed by the start of the land war on 24 February and by the 28th a ceasefire came into effect. During this short period the Iraqis lost 150,000 as Prisoners of War and suffered severe damage to its infrastructure.


FIRST STAMPS Bahrain 1950.



1957, 100 naye paise.
1966, 100 dirhams = 1 riyal.

Arab sheikhdom under Turkish suzerainty in 1871-1915. Doha, the capital, fell to the British navy in August 1915 and the sheikh signed an exclusive agreement with Britain on 3 November 1916. Oil was found in 1940. A British Political Officer was appointed to Doha in August 1949. Qatar chose full independence on 3 September 1971.

The small amount of mail prior to 1950 was fed privately into the PO at Bahrain. A British postal administration set up in Doha (May 1950) was extended to Umm Said (1 February 1956) and Dukhan (3 January 1960); it was transferred to Qatar post department on 23 May 1963.

Used stamps of British PAs in Eastern Arabia August 1950-7 (these continued to be valid but were not on sale after 1957).

Abu Dhabi

FIRST STAMPS British PAs in Eastern Arabia 1963.



1964, 100 naye paise = 1 rupee.
1966, 100 fils = 1 dinar.

The largest and - in the 19th century - most influential of the Trucial States. The town, on an offshore island, was first settled in 1761. After lapsing into obscurity, its fortunes soared with the successful prospecting for oil off Das Island in 1956-60.

Mail from Das Island construction workers before 1963 was channelled through the office of the British Postal Superintendent Bahrain; after 1960 stamps of British PAs in Eastern Arabia were supplied to the island. Das Island PO remained in Bahrain until removed to the island itself on 6 January 1966. It was then administered as agency by the oil company until taken over by Abu Dhabi on 1 January 1967.

The first British Agency PO was opened in Abu Dhabi on 30 March 1963. The service was taken over locally on 1 January 1967.

Used stamps of British PAs in Eastern Arabia 30 March 1963 - 29 March 1964.

British PAs in Eastern Arabia

After the partition of India, the British postal administrations in independent states of the Persian Gulf were organized from Britain. Some had particular stamps. Stamps of Britain were also surcharged in Indian currency (with no other distinguishing marks) for general use in:

Muscat 1 April 1948 - 29 April 1966.
Dubai 1 April 1948 - 6 January 1961.
Qatar August 1950-7.

Abu Dhabi (incl. Das Island) December 1960 - 29 March 1964. They were also sold in Kuwait during shortages in 1951 and 1953 and are known used from Bahrain.

Sharjah and Dependencies



1963, 100 naye paise = 1 rupee.
1966, 100 dirhams = 1 riyal.

Former Trucial State dependencies Dibbah, Khor Fakkan and Khor alKalba, to the east on the Gulf of Oman). Although the office of the Political Officer for the Trucial Coast was here 1948-54 and the airport, Sharjah had no PO nearer than Dubai until 1963.

Stamps unnecessarily inscribed or overprinted KHOR FAKKAN were doubtfully used postally.

Ras al Khaima

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 21 December 1964.


1964, 100 naye paise = 1 rupee.
1966, 100 dirhams = 1 riyal.

Former Trucial State with a tiny population recognized as a separate sheikhdom.


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 22 September 1964.


1964, 100 naye paise = 1 rupee.
1968, 100 dirhams = 1 riyal.

Former Trucial State relying mainly on its fishing industry. Its independence was recognized in 1952.




1964, 100 naye paise = 1 rupee.
1967, 100 dirhams = 1 riyal.

Former tiny Trucial State. Some stamps were unnecessarily overprinted MANAMA supposedly for an even smaller enclave.

Umm al Qiwain



1964, 100 naye paise = 1 rupee.
1967, 100 dirhams = 1 riyal.

Former Trucial State with a tiny population.

Most of the stamp issues made by agencies on behalf of Sharjah, Ras al Khaima, Umm al Qiwain, Fujeira, and Aiman were inappropriate and speculative; few were used postally. All used stamps of United Arab Emirates from 1 January 1973.

United Arab Emirates



1973, 100 fils = 1 dirham.

Six of the former Trucial States formed a union on 2 December 1971: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujeira, Sharjah, and Umm al Qiwain. Ras al Khaima joined in February 1972. All continued to use their own stamps until after the adoption of a common currency and postal administration on 1 August 1972.

Some stamps inscribed UAE.

Persian Gulf (Trucial States)
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