The Pirate Coast by Sir Charles Belgrave
New York : Roy Publishers, 1966. Hardcover. 200 pages ; illustrated, map ; 22 cm. $6.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
THE PIRATE COAST by Sir Charles Belgrave
The straits of Hormuz, which divide the Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman, are thirty-five miles wide. Reaching to the borders of Oman, is the 'Pirate Coast', studded with little islands, indented with narrow, twisting creeks, protected by treacherous sand banks and jagged coral reefs—an ideal place for sea robbers.
Sir Charles Belgrave has based his readable history of the infamous coast on the diary of Francis Erskine Loch. This fourth and youngest son of a family of great antiquity from Edinburgh, chose the sea as a career.
The early nineteenth century was a time when the sea wolves of the Pirate Coast not only preyed on the ships of their Arab neighbours. They attacked British men-o-war, and threatened the shipping on the west coast of India almost as far as Bombay. The pirate vessels had many advantages over the heavier, slower European-built men-of-war and merchant ships. They were faster and more easily handled, and there was nothing about the weather or the seas which the men who sailed them did not know.
On 9 June 1818, H.M.S. Eden, commanded by Captain Francis E. Loch, set sail for India, to search out the pillaging bands who robbed and murdered on the seas. Loch's first encounter with pirates was early on Christmas morning, 1818. Two days later, the Eden had subdued the pirates and taken their vessels in tow.
The Eden had a long and successful career in these exciting waters. The flares which now light the night sky above the oil fields are caused by burning off gas. At one time, conflagrations such as these would have signified the destruction of villages by pirate hordes.
In 1820 a treaty was concluded between the British and the Sheiks of the costal states, renaming this sea-robbers' haven the 'Trucial Coast'.
Its history is dramatic and colorful. Reading THE PIRATE COAST is high adventure in itself.
Illustrated with plates
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