1838 Travels in Arabia (Oman) by Wellsted

1838 Travels in Arabia by Wellsted


1838 Travels in Arabia by Wellsted (First detailed description of the interior of Oman) First volume (describing Oman) only.

Author / Publisher J.R. Wellsted / John Murray



Antique map Oman wellsted 1838

 First 1838 detailed map of the interior of Oman,


Map Oman Wellsted 1838

including the route that Wellsted took

Book details:

The most important early book on Oman! Rare first edition. Only the first volume present. Original cloth stamped in blind ;  vol. I (only) : pps.XVI , 446 , 4 plates : 2 maps (one large folding map "Oman" , another folding "Map &c of Nakab el Hajar") and 2 views (Valley of Oman , Arab and Bishyrean Camel) ; The missing volume II : (pps. X , 472 , 8 plates : 3 maps (Peninsula of Sinai , Red Sea , Island of Dhalac) , 3 views (Mount Sinai , Jebel Narkous , Berenice) , 2 plates of inscriptions " ) As second lieutenant on the East India Company's ship Palinarus, under Captain Moresby, Wellsted took part in the detailed survey of the Gulf of 'Aqabah and the northern part of the Red Sea in 1830. He then returned to Bombay in 1833 and was reassigned under the command of Captain Haines to survey the southern coast of Arabia.

In January 1834 she crossed over to Socotra and Wellsted spent two months on the island. He published the results of his journey as Memoir on the island of Socotra. During his travels to the Red Sea and the Siyal Islands, Wellsted documented the existence of peoples known as the Huteimi. They are described by Wellsted to be "found on the Arabian and Nubian coasts" and that they are "cowardly in disposition, squalid and misshapen in form, and filthy in their habits" According to various accounts, they are further described as a race of fishermen, found in various parts of the Hejaz, with "large encampments near Leyt to the southward of Jiddah."

In November 1835 Wellsted gained permission from the Imam to travel in Oman with Lieutenant F Whitelock. The two reached areas previously unseen by Europeans and Wellsted published his early account of the journey in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society. The following winter he returned but succumbed to fever and 'in a fit of delirium he discharged both barrels of his gun into his mouth, but the balls passing upwards only inflicted two ghastly wounds in the upper jaw'. He was taken to Bombay and from there returned to London on leave.  He retired from the service in 1839, living part of the time on his navy pension in Blacklands House, a mental health facility of gentlemen. He died in 1842 at his family's home, 12/13 Molyneux Street, Marylebone.

Wellsted's papers were read at the Royal Geographical Society and he was immediately recognized by the scientific world. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 6 April 1837 and was also a fellow of the Astronomical Society. In particular his unbiased accounts of geography and culture in Oman, continue as a unique description of the area at that early date. English Heritage are currently considering the erection of a blue memorial plaque at his family home in Molyneux Street

  1. Gay 3603; Brunet 20587;
  2. Journal of the Royal Geographical Society,13 (1842) xliii
  3. The Times (12 November 1842)
  4. C R Markham, A Memoir on the Indian Surveys, 2nd edition(1878) 2nd series, 20 (1843)
  5. J B Kelly, Britain and the Persian Gulf, 1795 - 1880 (1968)
  6. Journal of the Royal Geographical Society (7, 1837, 102)
  7. Journal of the Royal Geographical Society (5, 1835, 129)
  8.  Travels to the City of the Caliphs along the shores of the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean (published 1840)
  9. Fred Scholz Reproduction J.R. Wellsted Travels in Arabia printed by Akademische druck u verlagsanstalt Graz Austria 1978;
  10. Howgego, II, W20