The Persian Gulf is an arm of the Arabian Sea between the mountainous coast of southwestern Iran and the rather flat coast of Arabian Peninsula. The gulf is approximately 1000 km long and 200 to 300 km wide, with an area of about 250,000 km². The inland sea is connected to the Gulf of Oman in the east by the Strait of Hormuz.
Persian Gulf Countries
Eight countries border the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman (Musandam exclave) and Iran.
The gulf is fed by the Shatt al-Arab in the northwest, a major river formed by the confluence of the Euphrates and the Tigris. Some minor Iranian rivers such as the Mond River, the Zohreh and the Helleh River, also empty into the Persian Gulf.
The Persian Gulf is an important transportation route since antiquity and therefore a contested region. Arabs, Persians, Turks, the Portuguese and later the British fought to control of the sea. Before oil was discovered in the gulf in 1908, people made their living from fishing, pearl diving, trade, and piracy.
Oil production in the Persian Gulf on industrial-scale began only in the 1930s. Today the Arab states of the Persian Gulf provide approximately 20% of the world oil production.
Strait of Hormuz
The Strait of Hormuz is situated between Qeshm Island and the Iranian coast in the north and the Musandam Peninsula of the Arabian Peninsula in the south. The strait is recognized as an international trade route. It links the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman.
The waterway is of strategic and economic significance, all ocean transport to and from the oil-rich countries must pass through the strait. About one-fifth of the world’s seaborne oil is transported via the Strait of Hormuz.