Imperial Crossroads: The Great Powers and the Persian Gulf
In the Great Powers' comings and goings since the 1400s, several consistent broad interests emerged. For the majority of this time, for example, the superpowers entered the Gulf region not to colonize, as the Europeans did in other places, but rather to further trade, which in the 20th century increasingly included oil. They also sought a military presence in the Gulf to protect seaborne flanks to colonial possessions further east on the Indian sub-continent and beyond (India, in fact, has long cast a shadow over the Gulf, given its historic trade and cultural ties to the Gulf region, strong ties that continue today). In their geo-political jockeying, furthermore, the Great Powers sought to deprive their rivals access to the states bordering the Gulf region. In tending to these enduring interests inside the Strait of Hormuz, the Great Powers through history concentrated their trade, political, and military presence along the littorals. Not surprisingly, their navies have played a substantive role.
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