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Pakistan's Islamic history began with the arrival of Muslim traders in the 8th century in Sindh.

The collapse of the Mughal Empire in the 18th century provided an opportunity to the English East India Company to extend its control over much of the subcontinent.

Persia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan. 1850.

Map of Persia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan. 1850.

In the west in the territory of modern Pakistan, the Sikh adventurer Ranjit Singh, founder of the Sikh Empire, carved out a dominion that extended from Kabul to Srinagar and Lahore.

British rule replaced the Sikhs in the first half of the 19th century. In a decision that had far-reaching consequences, the British permitted the Hindu Maharaja of Kashmir, a Sikh appointee, to continue in power.

Pakistan's coast line borders the Arabian Sea - a mid sea which joins the strategic oil line of Persian Gulf with the Indian Ocean.


The area of Karachi has been known to the ancient Greeks by many names:

  • Krokola, the place where Alexander the Great camped to prepare a fleet for Babylonia after his campaign in the Indus valley;
  • 'Morontobara' port (probably the modern Manora Island near the Karachi harbor), from where Alexander's admiral Nearchus sailed for back home;
  • Barbarikon, a sea port of the Indo-Greek Bactrian kingdom. It was also known as the port of Debal to the Arabs, from where Muhammad bin Qasim led his conquering force into South Asia in 712 AD.

Narasimha. The Supreme God. Artist: Kailash Raj.

According to the British historian Eliot, parts of city of Karachi and the island of Manora constituted the city of Debal.

The present city started its life as a fishing settlement where a Sindhi fisherwoman by the name of Mai Kolachi took up residence and started a family. The village that later grew out of this settlement was known as Kolachi-jo-Goth (The Village of Kolachi in Sindhi).

By the late 1700s this village started trading across the sea with Muscat and the Persian Gulf region which led to its gaining importance. A small fort was constructed for its protection, armed with cannons imported from Muscat. The fort had two main gateways: one facing the sea, known as Khara Darwaaza (Brackish Gate) and the other facing the adjoining Lyari river known as the Meetha Darwaaza (Sweet Gate). The location of these gates corresponds to the present-day city localities of Khaaradar and Meethadar respectively.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh Worshipping Devi.
Kailash Raj, Artist.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh Worshipping Devi. Artist, Kailash Raj.

In 1795, the village became a domain of the Balochi Talpur rulers of Sindh. A small factory was opened by the British in September 1799, but was closed down within a year. After sending a couple of exploratory missions to the area, the British East India Company conquered the town on February 3, 1839. The village was later annexed to the British Indian Empire when the province of Sindh was conquered by Charles Napier in 1843. Kolachi was added along with the rest of Sindh to the jurisdiction of the Bombay Presidency.

May 13, 1843, Weekly Chronicle, London, Middlesex, United Kingdom

News from India and China.


The overland mail from India, of the 1st of April, has arrived, and brings an official confirmation of the brilliant victory obtained by Sir Charles Napier over the Ameers of Scinde, and the capture at Hyderabad of jewels and treasure, estimated at a million and a half sterling. This treasure, or at least a considerable portion of it, will, it is believed, be considered as prize money, Lord Ellenborough being so inclined to regard it. Sir Charles Napier. The matter can, however, only be decided by her Majesty in council. Scinde has been declared a British province, of which Sir Charles Napier has been appointed governor; and the Indus is now open to the ships of all nations. A column, composed of the damaged cannon taken at Hyderabad, is to be erected at Meeanee, in commemoration of the gallantry of the troops engaged in this battle. The position of Sir Charles Napier at Hyderabad will require strengthening, as the population of the neighbouring districts, led on by some of the discomfited Ameers, are preparing to renew the struggle. We gather from the official dispatch that the loss of the Beloochea is estimated at 5,000 men. We are glad to find that a great drawback on the success of our Indian troops, the scantiness of their officers, has been prominently alluded to by Sir Charles Napier, and is likely to be remedied. A rumour, said to have been brought by the Semiramis steamer, prevailed at Bombay, that the Sukkur brigade, which was on its way to join Sir Charles Napier at Hyderabad, had been attacked near that place by the Belooches, on the 24th March, and that Sir Charles had not only hastened to their relief, but had succeeded in repulsing the enemy with considerable loss. It was also reported that Lieut. Scott, of the 17th native infantry, with the mail from Kurrachee to Hyderabad, had been attacked by the enemy, whom he defeated and scattered. The governor-general was at Agra.


(From the Bombay Times, April 1.) SCINDE. The news from Scinde contained in our issue of the 1st of March, extended from the 15th of January to the 22d of February. Our present issue brings down the narrative of events to the 24th of March. General Napier's dispatch, sent home by last nail, though not published in India till the 5th of March, will, long ere now, have given English readers the particulars in an official, which we formerly laid before them in an unofficial form. A considerable number of facts have in the course of the month transpired, all redounding to the honour of the array, and tending to enhance our estimation of the glory of he victory. An illustration of the determination with which the Belooches fought is furnished by the conduct of a single tribe which came into the field 600 strong. Twelve of them, all severely wounded, alone survived the battle. On the 5th of March Lord Ellenborough, in directing the publication of the dispatch, issued a notification intimating that Scinde, with the exception of the possessions of Meer Ali Moorad of Shyrpore, would be annexed to the territories of the East India company. The Ameers, seeing that Sir C. Napier continued to advance on Hyderabad, determined that their capital should at all events not fall without a struggle. Major Outram remained in the residency to the last. Shortly after the occupation of Hyderabad by our troops a search was made for treasure, and specie and jewels to the value of upwards of a million sterling were discovered and taken possession of. The diamond mounting of a single dagger is said to have cost 20,000! The governor-general is desirous that his should become prize property, but certain difficulties laving occurred in the way, the matter had been referred to the Queen in council. Captain Ennis and Parsee merchant, on their way down the river, were attacked, robbed, and murdered. Their murderers have been executed. Capt. Godfrey very narrowly escaped. General Napier, finding himself too weak to keep the field in open camp, entrenched himself at he residency by the river side, employing the 12th N.I. to garrison the city, four miles off. Three regiments, with artillery, were ordered from Sukkur, about 180 miles higher up the river. The 21st N.I. left by boat on the 1st March, and reached the camp without molestation. The 8th N.I., 3d Bombay cavalry, and 1st troop of horse artillery, started from Ruree across the river from Sukknr, and commenced their march by Khyrpore on the 3d.

A rumour of their having been compelled to fall back on Sukkur proves unfounded. Fresh troops were requested from Bombay, a supply of ammunition and reinforcement of artillerymen being ordered without a moment's delay. So unexpected was the occurrence of the conflict with the Ameers, that the army of reserve, with the their forces at Ferozepore, five weeks before 35,000 strong, had been dispersed. Her Majesty's 41st, which had just descended the Indus, embarked for Europe on the 22d February; and her Majesty's 40th, till of late a Bombay regiment, though within a year of its return to England, was marched eastward to Meerut, instead of proceeding through Scinde to Bombay. On the 7th, the wounded officers and men left camp, and descending the river reached Bombay in safety by steam, though many of their injuries were severe, they were in excellent spirits; two or three only have died, and this from aversion to amputation. Many of them have in a great measure recovered; all of them have continued to do well. A notice has been published of a very gallant defence made at Vikkur by a small party of sepoys, believed at one time to have been cut to pieces, but who in reality have made their way to Kurracheee. They defended themselves for thee days against the enemy in a boat drifting up and down the river with the tide. The party formerly detailed as having been surrounded and attacked at Tatta, made good their retreat with great gallantry and perseverance, and also arrived in safety at Kurrachee.

General View of the Town in Baluchistan, Pakistan

General View of the Town, Baluchistan, Pakistan.

The British realized its importance as a military cantonment and a port for exporting the produce of the Indus basin, and rapidly developed its harbour for shipping. The foundations of a city municipal government were laid down and infrastructure development was undertaken. New businesses started opening up and the population of the town started rising rapidly. Karachi quickly turned into a city, making true the famous quote by Napier who is known to have said: Would that I could come again to see you in your grandeur!


Ormara is a old small port town located on the Makran coastline along the Arabian Sea in Baluchistan province of Pakistan. It is located west of Karachi, and east of coastal village Pasni. Its historical routes are linked with Alexander the Great, who stayed in the village with his army for a few days on his way back from Indus region after conquering the lands of Sindh, Panjab and the NWFP regions of modern day Pakistan which he joined to his expanding Hellenic empire, in 325-27 BC. One of his generals -- Ormoz -- died there; the present day Ormara was named after him.

Village in Baluchistan, Iran/Pakistan.

Village in Baluchistan, Iran/Pakistan.

For a few centuries, Ormara remained a battle field between the Baloch Sardar (local feudal lord) and foreign aggressors. Before it gained independence, it was part of the state of Las Bela and afterward it became part of Makran Division.

Being an isolated town, it remained undeveloped for many years. Most residents made their livelihood from fishing.

East India Company Ad June 21 1854.

The idea of a separate Muslim state emerged in the 1930s. On March 23, 1940, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, leader of the Muslim League, formally endorsed the "Lahore Resolution," calling for the creation of an independent state in regions where Muslims constituted a majority.

At the end of World War II, the United Kingdom moved with increasing urgency to grant India independence. The Congress Party and the Muslim League, however, could not agree on the terms for a Constitution or establishing an interim government. In June 1947, the British Government declared that it would bestow full dominion status upon two successor states -- India and Pakistan, formed from areas in the subcontinent in which Muslims were the majority population. The Great Partition.Pakistan.Accordingly, on August 14, 1947 Pakistan, comprising West Pakistan with the provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), and East Pakistan with the province of Bengal, became independent. East Pakistan later became the independent nation of Bangladesh.

A third war between these countries in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan seceding and becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh.

The Markour: Pakistan's National Animal


A member of the goat family, the markour (Capra falconeri) roams sparsely wooded regions in the Himalayas.

The name comes from the Persian words for “snake” and “eating”, even though the animals primarily chow down on leaves and grasses. The name might instead have been inspired by the distinctive corkscrew-shaped horns, which can reach up to 63 inches long. ~ SmithsonianSmithsonian Magazine.

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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