The Sultanate of Oman: The Question of Muscat


Le Sultanat d’Oman: La question de Mascate (The Sultanate of Oman: the question of Muscat) is an analysis of treaties and other agreements between France, Great Britain, and Oman concerning commerce in the Indian Ocean from the mid-19th century until the time of writing on the eve of World War I. The diplomatic study is preceded by a political history of the sultanate and a discussion of European influence in Oman from the 16th century onward. The author, Prince Firuz Kajari (1889‒1937), is better known in Iranian history as Firouz Nosrat-ed-Dowleh III, with variant names and spellings also used. The work is the author’s academic thesis at the University of Paris. For this survey, Kajari relies on the writings of European scholars and uses Arabic sources only when they are available in translation. He concentrates on the waxing and waning of French influence in the Indian Ocean along the east coast of Africa. The heart of his thesis is an analysis of successive negotiations and accords, beginning with the Franco-Muscat Treaty of 1844, which established a pattern for the future regulation of slavery and commerce and the flagging of Oman’s trading fleet. French diplomatic maneuverings took place against the backdrop of a British policy aimed at maximizing Britain’s influence and commercial advantages in the Indian Ocean. Despite British efforts, these years saw the incremental francisation des boutres (French control of Oman’s dhows). Besides its contribution to diplomatic history, Kajari’s thesis provides a glimpse into the educational background and intellectual formation of a future Iranian minister of foreign affairs and politician who served at a turbulent time in his country’s history. Although Kajari belonged to the deposed Qajar dynasty (1794‒1925), he nonetheless became a trusted advisor in the successor regime of Reza Khan (Reza Shah, 1878‒1944), who came to power in the coup of 1921. Kajari served in key positions under Reza Shah, but eventually attracted the ruler’s suspicion and was imprisoned and murdered.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

A. Pedone, Paris


Title in Original Language

Le Sultanat d’Oman : la question de Mascate

Type of Item

Physical Description

269 pages : map ; 25 centimeters


  1. Cyrus Mir and Encyclopaedia Iranica, “Farmānfarmā, ʿAbd-al- Ḥosayn Mīrzā,” in Encyclopaedia Iranica (New York: Bibliotheca Persica Press, 1999).
  2. Ellery Cory Stowell, “Nationality and Protection of Vessels; The Dhows of Muscat; France and Great Britain,” in International Cases, Arbitrations and Incidents Illustrative of International Law as Practised by Independent States. Volume 1. Reprint. (London: Forgotten Books, 2013).

Last updated: April 29, 2016