Kishm, Or Tawilah
KISHM, or TAWILAH (i.e., Long Island), an island at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, separated from the coast of the Persian province of Kirmdn by Clarence Strait, which at its narrowest point has a breadth of less than 2 miles. The island has a length of about 55 miles, its main axis running north-east and south-west ; and the area is estimated at 640 square miles. A range of hills from 300 to GOO feet in height, and with strongly marked escarpments, runs nearly parallel to the southern coast ; they are largely composed, like those of Hormuz and the neighbouring mainland, of rock salt, which is regularly excavated in one or two places, and forms one of the chief products of the island, finding its way first to Muscat and thence to India and Africa, The rest of the island consists of sandstones and marls. In its general aspect it is parched and barren-looking, like the south of Persia, but it contains fertile portions which produce grain, dates, grapes, melons, dr,c. Naphtha springs exist near the village of Saluk on the south coast. Kishm, the largest of the towns, lies at the eastern extremity of the island ; Bassidore, the next in importance, at the western extremity ; and Ldfit (Luft, Leit) about midway along the northern coast. The town of Leit was reduced by a British fleet in 1809. Politically the island belongs to Persia, but the shah has long farmed it to the sultan of Muscat. The inhabitants are reckoned at 5000 or 6000.
Kishm is the ancient Oaracta, or Uorochtha, a name said to survive in a village called Brokt. The old Arabic word is I3arkawan or Bany-Kawitn. Mas'udy (ch. x.), who mentions its capture by 'Auer ibis el'As., says that it also bore the name of Lafit.
See Wellsted's Travels to the City of the Caliphs, 1840, vol. i. p. 65 sq. ; Pelly, in fount. Roy. Oeog. Soc., 1864 ; Sprenger, Alte (keg. Arabiens, p. 119 sq. ; and Ouseley's Travels, i. 162.