The Persian Gulf is a relatively shallow sea which is an extension of the Indian Ocean and lies between the southwestern region of Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.
The countries that border the Persian Gulf are known as the Persian Gulf countries, and they include Iraq, Oman, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait. The Persian Gulf also has some smaller islands.
Geography Of The Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf covers an area of about 93,000 square miles and stretches for about 615 miles. The width of the gulf varies significantly. At its widest part, it is 210 miles wide. It is only 35 miles wide at the Strait of Hormuz, its narrowest part. The Persian Gulf has an average depth of 150 ft and a maximum depth of 270 ft. The waters of the Tigris-Euphrates river system drain into the Persian Gulf forming a massive river delta at the mouth.
Islands In The Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf has several islands, and one of them is the state of Bahrain. Qeshm in the Hormuz Strait is the largest island in the Persian Gulf. The island belongs to Iran. Other islands like Lesser Tunb, Kish, and Greater Tunb are also owned by Iran. The Persian Gulf also has the Bubiya Island of Kuwait, Tarout Island of Saudi Arabia, and Dalma Island of the UAE. Pearl-Qatar located in Doha and the World Islands in Dubai are some artificial islands in the Persian Gulf.
Economic Importance Of The Persian Gulf
The area in and around the Persian Gulf is a rich reservoir of oil and natural gas. The gulf also supports commercial fisheries. The coastal area around the Gulf is the largest source of crude oil in the world. Al-Safaniya, the world's biggest offshore oil field, is also located in the Persian Gulf. As such, the nations bordering the Persian Gulf derive massive economic benefits from it.
Wars And The Persian Gulf
Due to its rich reservoir of natural resources, many of the countries bordering the Persian Gulf, and those in other parts of the world, have fought each other to occupy territory in the region. Many times, the war has turned ugly resulting in hundreds to thousands of casualties. Two such deadly wars fought in the Persian Gulf region are the Iraq-Iran War (1980 to 1988) and the Gulf War (1990 to 1991).
A Name Dispute
People in the Arab world often refer to the Persian Gulf as the Arabian Gulf. However, the UN and several other international organizations do not recognize this name of the Persian Gulf. The named dispute has persisted since the 1960s as a result of the emergence of Arab nationalism and Pan-Arabism. The maps used before the 1960s, including documents in international treaties, have always identified the marine water body as the Persian Gulf, the traditional name of Iran. Some Arab states have, however, contested the name. Occasionally, the Persian Gulf is also called the Gulf of Basra.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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