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CONFERENCE: Portugal, the Persian Gulf and Safavid Persia

8-9 September 2007
Freer & Sackler Galleries, Independence Avenue, Washington DC

On the 500th anniversary of Afonso de Albuquerque's attempts to take Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, this conference will focus on the contacts of the Portuguese with Safavid Persia and various aspects of their activities in the Persian Gulf basin.

Al-Jalali Fort, Muscat, Oman. Image courtesy of the Ministry
of Heritage and Culture, Sultanate of Oman.

Organised by

Iran Heritage Foundation and the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Supported by

Julius Baer (Middle East) Ltd., and Targetfollow Group Limited


Prof. Jorge Flores and Prof. Rudi Matthee.

Conference committee

Prof. Jorge Flores, Dr. Ann Gunter and Prof. Rudi Matthee.


This year we are witnessing the 500th anniversary of contacts and relations between Portugal and the Persian Gulf region, most notably Safavid Persia, which began with the attempts by Afonso de Albuquerque to take Hormuz in 1507. As part of an exploration of the wider contacts of Portugal with Asia, Africa and South America, the Freer and Sackler Galleries (Smithsonian Institution) in Washington DC will commemorate this important historical moment with a series of exhibitions in the summer of 2007 entitled 'Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World from the Fifteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries.'

This quincentennial is also the occasion for a conference on Portuguese relations with the Persian Gulf and Safavid Persia between 1500 and 1700. The meeting is scheduled to take place on 8-9 September 2007 at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, coinciding with the last week of the exhibitions.

The meeting aims to examine various aspects of the activities of the Portuguese in the Persian Gulf basin and their interaction with other forces and powers in the region. These include Safavid Persia, the Ottoman Empire, Arab principalities around the Gulf's littoral, India, and rival European merchants active in the area. Topics to be discussed include sources and historiography, mutual perceptions, trade, diplomacy, politics and warfare, missionary activities, and cross-cultural exchange.


A reception and private viewing of the 'Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World from the Fifteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries' exhibition will take place on 7 September from 18.30 to 20.30 hours in the Sackler Gallery of Art. The registration fee for the conference includes admission to this event.

Additional Information
- Click on 'programme' in the left column of this page for the conference programme
- Click on 'abstracts and biographies' in the left column of this page for abstracts of the papers that will be presented at the conference plus short biographies of the speakers
- Click on 'registration' in the left column of this page to register for the conference (the conference registration fee of 30 GBP (approx. 60 US Dollars) [full price] and 15 GBP (approx. 30 US Dollars) [full time students], and includes admission to reception / private viewing described above; no other catering will be provided at the conference
- Click on 'accommodation' in the left column of this page for contact details of suitable accommodations close to the conference venue.
Publication of proceedings

A selection of the papers presented in the conference will be published in a volume of proceedings, edited by Prof. Jorge Flores and Prof. Rudi Matthee.


The Iran Heritage Foundation, 5 Stanhope Gate, London W1K 1AH. +44 20 74934766 (tel), +44 20 74999293 (fax),
Freer & Sackler Galleries: Ann Gunter, +1 202 6330401 (tel), +1 202 6339105 (fax),

... Payvand News - 9/5/07 ... --

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