50s to 90s Interesting Mags & Books

Kuwait back in 1831

Over the weekend I was reading passages from a book by a British journalist who was describing Kuwait after visiting it back in 1831. The book written by Joachim Stocqueler is called “Fifteen Months’ Pilgrimage Through Untrodden Tracts of Khuzistan and Persia, in a Journey from India to England.” It’s two volumes but the passages I was reading were from volume 1. I thought it was interesting and wanted to share two page from one chapter which you can read below:

Koete, or Grane as it is called in the maps, is in extent about a mile long, and a quarter of a mile broad. It consists of houses built of mud and stone, occasionally faced with coarse chunam, and may contain about four thousand inhabitants. The houses being for the most part square in form, with a courtyard in the centre, (having the windows looking into the yard,) present but a very bare and uniform exterior, like, indeed, all the houses in the Persian Gulph. They have flat roofs, composed of the trunk of the date tree. The streets of Koete are wider than those of Muscat or Bushire, with a gutter running down the centre. A wall surrounds the town on the desert face, but it is more for show than protection, as it is not a foot thick. To keep up the farce, however, a trench has been dug around the wall, and two honeycombed pieces of ordnance protect each of the three gates. Beyond the wall, nothing is to be seen but a vast sandy plain, extending to a distance of more than sixty miles. Not a tree, not a shrub affords the eye a momentary relief.

Koete within the walls is equally sterile, it literally yields nothing; and when to this is added the fact of the water being far from sweet, it is difficult to conjecture how such a site could have been chosen for the establishment of four hundred families. I was informed that the Arabs had only been in possession of the place about one hundred and
fifty years, and that previously to that period it was occupied by Englishmen and their forces, who received or conquered it from the Portuguese, in whose hands it enjoyed some notoriety during the plenitude of their importance in India.

It certainly is a commodious harbour for small craft, and may probably have been occupied by the Portuguese, (the English could have had nothing to do with it, ) on account of the command it gives over the mouth of the river of the Arabs, and the power it thus conferred of interrupting the Turkish and Venetian trade with India.

If you want to read more, the full book is available to download in PDF format. Passages above start at page 18. Here is the link.

Also an original copy of volume 1 is available on eBay if you want to buy it. Seller is asking for $3,000 but I was able to negotiate down to $1,350. Here is the link to the book on eBay.

Photo on the very top is unrelated and from 1903. Source

10 replies on “Kuwait back in 1831”

“Not a tree, not a shrub affords the eye a momentary relief.

Koete within the walls is equally sterile, it literally yields nothing”

😭 😭 😭

191 years and we’ve really come a long way

Interesting to know that you persuaded the seller to bring down the price. Perhaps I should just reach out to you before I acquire a pricey book and split the discount!!:)- Unfortunately, as it is only volume 1, it is incomplete and less desirable. The two volume first edition set is very scarce and in the last two decades of collecting books, I have only seen less than half a dozen such copies come up for sale or action – that too at exorbitant prices. Wonder if there are any private collectors in Kuwait who have this title in it’s original edition.

P.S. The photograph shown above is taken during the visit of Lord Curzon (Viceroy of India) in 1903. You will find it in the book “Tales of Travel” ~ by Lord Curzon

Lol I just messaged him and offered him how much I could pay which was $1,000, he went down initially to 2, then 1.5 then 1.35.

This guy has the two volumes

and yes, good eye regarding the photo, if you click the link I’ve sourced the photo to you’ll also find the album with all the photographs.

Thanks. I have seen Fahad Abduljaleel’s collection and must have missed it. He certainly has an impressive collection of both rare books on Kuwait in English and Arabic. We exchange notes on rare books now and then. I would encourage you to check it out.

Also some interesting info, when I posted about it on my instagram, a follower messaged me the following:


Hi Mark, Stocqueler visited Kuwait by boarding my great great grandfather’s bghala ship Alnasri. His name is Abdulmohsen Bin Naser and the trip started in February and ended in April 1831

Unfortunately, Stocqueler butchered his name in the book. This bghala ship was the first of its kind in Kuwait. Its maiden voyage was in 1780.


He’s now putting together some more info so he could share it with me and I could then publish it on the blog. I’m super excited to get the view of a local on Stocqueler’s visit.

Wow, super interesting. Thanks for sharing Mark!

I flipped through a bit of the book but I couldn’t find a part where he might have passed through Lebanon, did you find anything about it?

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