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QESHM ISLAND (Jazira-ye Qešm, Ar. Jazira-al-Ṭawila); the largest island (ca. 122 km long, 18 km wide on average, 1,445 sq km) in the Persian Gulf, about 22 km south of Bandar-e ʿAbbās (q.v.). Separated from the mainland by the straits of Ḵurān (Clarence Strait), Qeshm runs virtually parallel to the Persian coast between Bandar-e ʿAbbās in the east and Bandar-(e) Lenga in the west (Sailing directions for the Persian Gulf, p. 123; Handbuch des Persischen Golfs, p. 155).

The toponomy of the island has varied greatly over time. Nearchus referred to an island near the mouth of the Persian Gulf as Oaracta (e.g., Geog. 16.3.7; Pliny, Natural History 6.98), where, in Arrian’s account, Nearchus was shown the tomb of Erythras (Goukowsky, p. 120), after whom the Erythraean Sea was thought to have been named (Arrian, Indica 27; cf. Oracta, Ooracta, Doracta). Portuguese sources refer to the island as Queiximi/ Queixome /Queixume (Tomaschek, p. 48; cf. Quesomo in Jean de Thévenot, and the Kichmichs of Sir John Chardin [Curzon, II, p. 410]), in which we easily recognize Qeshm. They also mention Broco/Boroch/Beroho/Brocto (Tomaschek, p. 48), which scholars have long (e.g., d’Anville, p. 149; Stein) identified with Greek Oaracta. (Curzon, II, p. 410, noted a village called “Brukth/Urukth” on Qeshm).


The Aḵbār al-Ṣin wa’l-Hend (851 CE) mentions the island of Abarkāwān (see ABARKĀVĀN) in the eastern Persian Gulf, between Sirāf and Muscat (Sauvaget, p. 7). This is identical to the island of Bani Kāwān, assigned by Abu Esḥāq Eṣṭaḵri to the district of Ardašir-ḵorra (q.v.; Eṣṭaḵri, pp. 106-7), also known to Eṣṭaḵri, Masʿudi and Ebn Ḥawqal as Lāft, (Schwarz, p. 82, n. 13). For Yāqut (Schwarz, p. 83) the isles of Kāwān and Lāft (or Lāfet) were one and the same; and Lāft survives as the name of the second largest town, historically, on Qeshm (Curzon, II, p. 411). According to Balāḏori, Abarkāwān/Qeshm was reckoned part of Kermān, rather than Fārs, prior to the Islamic conquest, a point made plausible by the fact that when ʿOṯmān b. al-ʿAṣ landed there at the beginning of the Islamic conquest, he encountered a margrave of Kermān (Schwarz, p. 83). Later lexicographers explained Abarkāwān as a corruption of Jazira-ye gāvān, (cow island); this is a folk etymology, which is reflected in Ṭabari’s story of a commander in Khorasan who accused his soldiers of having ridden only cattle and donkeys on the isle of Banu Kāwān before he had turned them into competent cavalrymen (Schwarz, p. 83). Ebn Ḵordāḏbeh identified the island of Banu Kāwān as a station between Kish and Hormuz on the sea-route to India and China and described its inhabitants as belonging to the ʿEbādi sect (Sprenger, p. 79; Schwarz, p. 83).


In 1301, the ruler of Hormuz, Bahāʾ-al-Din Ayāz, moved his court and a large portion of his population to Qeshm following a Tartar attack (Piacentini, p. 112; Wilson, p. 104). From this period onward the island was an important dependency of the Kingdom of Hormuz, often providing drinking water to Hormuz itself (Steensgaard, pp. 195, 297). When the king of Hormuz, Qoṭb-al-Din Tahamtan III Firuz Shah, abdicated in favor of his son, Ṣaif-al-Din (1417-36) in 1417, he retired to Qeshm (Piacentini, p. 99). Qeshm’s status as a major Hormuzi mercantile center is shown by the fact that, in late September1552, the Turkish commander Piri Reʾis raided it, seizing “a great quantity of goods, of gold and silver, and of cash … the richest prize that could be found in all the world,” according to a contemporary account (Özbaran, p. 81; Ökte, p. 157).


In January 1619, Ruy Freire de Andrade left Lisbon for the Persian Gulf with orders to disperse the English, who had established a factory at Jāsk in 1616 (Boxer, p. 58), and to put pressure on the Persians, in part by dislodging the Persian garrison on Qeshm and building a Portuguese fort there (Boxer, p. 71; Slot, p. 107; Steensgaard, p. 312). Two thousand Portuguese soldiers, supported by 1,000 Hormuzi t
Facts about qeshm island
Dive types
dayboat

Marine Life
sharkswhalesdolphinsturtlescoralstinging

Diving facilities
air

Photo facilities
macrowideangle

by Hamid Sayyaran
moray Eel

by Hamid Shamsi
Geshm is the largest island in Persian Gulf with good diving sites.
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