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Historical Description[]

With its strategic position in Oman commanding passages to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, the prosperous port of Muscat proved to be a key link in the Portuguese trading empire for nearly 150 years. Portugal was not an especially populous or wealthy nation, and thus faced the problem of how to control the sea trade routes to India. Their solution relied on the only distinct advantage they held over the African and Asian merchants they were displacing: Portugal’s superiority in naval and military technology.

On the sea, Portuguese fleets bombarded the coastlines of Africa, Arabia, and Persia. On land, Portuguese soldiers built heavily fortified bases called ‘factories’ at a number of strategic ports such as Muscat, Hormuz, and Malacca. Based out of these forts, their ships could blockade key straits and effectively control trade in the Indian Ocean. However, repeated incursions from the Ottoman Turks and Persians weakened Portugal’s grip on Muscat, and a local rebellion resulted in the permanent loss of Portuguese control in 1650.

History[]

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