Istanbul: Harbiye Nezareti, 1909. Item #408
Large folding lithographed map ca. 159,5x54,5 cm, dissected into 24 compartments and linen backed, borders outlined in colour. With a lithographed title, legend, seals and signatures of the Ottoman Border Commission in the right lower corner. Paper slightly age toned, minor small tears or chipping on the extremities of several compartments slightly affecting the image, but overall a very good map.
Historically important large detailed map of the OttomanIranian border based on the survey of the special commission of the Ottoman Ministry of War. The process of demarcation of the border between the Ottoman Empire and the Sublime State of Persia was an ongoing issue from the 16th century, and a subject of three international boundary commissions in the 19 - early 20th centuries (1843-47, 1848-65, 1907-13). The process was largely influenced by Great Britain, Russia, and Germany whose interests concerned the oil exploitation (AngloPersian Oil Company on the Qasr-e Šīrīn-Mandalī plateau), railway construction (German-built Baghdad Railway) and general political influence in the region (the echoes of the Great Game). The major outcome of the protocol signed in Constantinople in 1913 was the placement of most of the Shatt al-Arab River under Ottoman control, apart from two anchorages left for Persia, which laid the groundwork for continuous friction over the border.
The map is oriented to the east, with Persia occupying its upper part and the Ottoman Empire – the lower part. The border is outlined from the Aras River in the north (where both the Ottoman Empire and Persia bordered Russia) to the Persian Gulf in the south, going through the ridges of the Zagros Mountains in the centre. The map is very detailed, marking all main cities and towns, border forts, rivers, lakes and estuaries, including Lake Van, the Erzurumvilayet (province) and Doğubayazıt city of the Ottoman Empire, Persian province of Khuzestan, cities of Tabriz, Marand, Sufyan, Lake Urumiyah, Kermanshah, Meragha, Jarahi River, Buneh Island (Persian Gulf). The lower right corner marks Khorasan, Hawr ad-Dalmaj district, cities of Baakuba, Madein, Baghdad with adjacent regions of Dijlah (Tigris) River and the Shatt al-Arab River running to the Persian Gulf through the contemporary Iraq and Iran.
‘‘The boundary separating the Ottoman and Iranian empires was shaped by conflict over an ill-defined strip of territory with constantly shifting outlines extending from the Caucasus to the Persian Gulf. The consolidation of expansionist Ottoman power and the establishment of the Safavids in Iran in the first half of the 11th/16th century opened a phase in which the two powers continually advanced and retreated across this strip. <…> The deep dissatisfaction of the Iranian government with the arrangements imposed on it in 1331/1913 laid the groundwork for continuing friction over the border along the Šatt al-’Arab” (Encyclopedia Iranica online).