Shipping and Trading in the Persian Gulf: Gray Paul & Co. and Gray Mackenzie & Co., c.1870–1939
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The economic and political significance of the Persian/Arabian Gulf has increased dramatically since the Second World War. Yet in the midnineteenth century, before the discovery of oil, the region was comparatively unknown and unexplored by Europeans, a backwater in the expanding network of world trade. Why then did Sir William Mackin-non, the founder of the British India Steam Navigation company [BI], in 1862 extend his established service between Calcutta, Bombay and Karachi to Basra and intermediate ports?2 What impact did the BI steamers have on the development of the Gulf until 1939? The representatives of the BI at the principal Gulf ports were originally Gray Paul & Co. and Gray Mackenzie & Co., two merchant partnerships who, after an interlude of acting jointly with others as the Mesopotamia Persia Corporation Ltd from 1919 to 1936, formed Gray Mackenzie & Co. Limited.
KeywordsShipping Line Suez Canal European Firm Mail Service Shipping Agent
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