Portuguese in the Gulf: A distant history documented in Sharjah

Heba Abdelsattar, Friday 17 Nov 2023

An exhibition titled 'The Portuguese in the Gulf, 1507-1650: An Interlinked History' was held during the 42nd Sharjah International Book Fair (1-12 November) showcasing relations between the two regions during the 15th and 16th centuries.


The exhibition showcased manuscripts, maps, engravings, and nautical instruments such as a mariner’s compass and astrolabe, threading a narrative through the centuries-long history of Portugal-Gulf relations.

The exhibition provided a broad perspective, presenting the historical connections between the Portuguese empire in Asia on the one hand, and the importance of the Gulf for the Portuguese and Europe, on the other.

While doing so, the organizers avoided a Eurocentric perspective, instead providing multiple points of view to show the Gulf region as a plural space.

The exhibition was organized through cooperation between the University of Coimbra in Portugal and the Emirate of Sharjah with academic support from the university’s Centre for History of Society and Culture.

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