Hormuz, the red island that gives its name to the strait

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Hormuz, a small island that has been able to have its say in history, so much so that the famous strait still bears his name

The words of Ibn Battuta

“Large and very beautiful, Jarawan hosts markets full of people, as well as serving as an emporium for India and Sind and as a shipping point for goods to the two Iraqs, Fars and Khorasan. It is also the sultan’s residence. . “

Ibn Battuta

From the mainland to the sea

Originally Hormuz, known by the Greeks as Organa and by the Arabs as Jarwan, was a city on the Persian coast but, with the arrival of the Turks and Mongols, the citizens were forced to flee. The local ruler in fact feared both the tributes and the violence of the new invaders and for this reason he moved his residence to the nearby island. In a very short time a new settlement was formed, which took the same name as the city on the mainland, now more and more uninhabited.


The island, however, does not offer large reserves of water and / or food and this led the inhabitants to exploit its fundamental peculiarity: the position. The latter in fact led the inhabitants to specialize in trade and the sea, transforming that small atoll into a fearsome and decisive power for the passage of Indian goods.

The Portuguese and the decline

In 1505 he attracted the sights of the Portuguese Empire, determined more than ever to conquer a port that could ensure a solid defense of its trade; the latter sent the famous Afonso de Albuquerque, who in 1507 conquered it, transforming it into one of the most solid Lusitanian dominions of the East. Hormuz in fact maintained for 115 years, even resisting an assault by the legendary Ottoman admiral Piri Reis; however, in 1622 it rejoined the mainland thanks to the combined efforts of India and Persia.


Shah Abbas, however, was not particularly interested in developing its potential, also because the city of Bandar Abbas, on the coast, provided much more guarantees in terms of control and loyalty; consequently the island of Hormuz lost its importance very quickly, remaining a small export center in the strait to which it gives its name. In the 19th century it passed briefly under the administration of Oman, then returning to Iran, of which it is still a part today.

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