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Which one is the correct name according to historical evidences: Persian Gulf or Arabian Gulf or The Gulf?

Recently when you search the Google map by the name "Persian Gulf" you find this statement:

(also known as the Arabian Gulf)

Now I want to find if there is any accurate historical evidence to find the correct name of this body of water as it has puzzled me how it can be possible to change the name of a well-known body of water during some years.

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closed as not constructive by Louis Rhys, choster, Felix Goldberg, Darek Wędrychowski, Fitri Mar 10 '13 at 2:06

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What do you mean by "correct" name? Names of geographic places are normally determined by conventions or customs, there is no "historical evidence" needed. –  Louis Rhys Mar 9 '13 at 14:55
Can you provide a reference for your claim? Because as far as I know there are different customs in the world and surely you cannot change a well-known name after 2500 years to something else during only 5 years. Can you provide a convention which shows it is Arabian gulf? Please talk according to evidences. History means realities about pasts according to evidences. –  Persian Cat Mar 9 '13 at 15:07
You were referring to the text in Google Maps, and they certainly didn't change the name (the main name is still Persian Gulf), they just added another name that other people may recognize it with. Maybe in Arabic people tend to refer to it that way, I don't know. –  Louis Rhys Mar 9 '13 at 15:14
It has changed in some other resources and in some interviews in medias you will hear it even as "Gulf"! So it is better to wait for people who know. It is like you change the name Indian ocean to Arabian ocean or Ireland to New England or Caspian sea to Russian sea. –  Persian Cat Mar 9 '13 at 15:19
I have checked Google sources and my own recollections of history and geography, and believe that there is a legitimate question here. So I edited it, taking out the reference to the "big lie" with regard to the Persian Gulf. –  Tom Au Mar 15 '13 at 17:34

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

There is a Wikipedia article about Persian Gulf naming dispute. I thin the section Atlas and other media is the most interesting for you:

The National Geographic Society uses the name Persian Gulf to refer to this body of water. In 2004, the society published a new edition of its National Geographic Atlas of the World using the term "Arabian Gulf" as an alternative name (in smaller type and in parentheses) for "Persian Gulf". This resulted in heavy protests by many Iranians, especially the Internet user community, which led to the Iranian government acting on the issue and banning the distribution of the society's publications in Iran. On 30 December 2004, the society reversed its decision and published an Atlas Update, removing the parenthetical reference and adding a note: "Historically and most commonly known as the Persian Gulf, this body of water is referred to by some as the Arabian Gulf."[41]

Also at wikipedia, you find Gerard Mercator's map of 1595 showing Persian Gulf terminology (Mare di Mesendin olim Persicus sinus), and Sinus Arabicus (Red Sea).

The German version of the article has a map form 9th century, calling the sea Persian Sea (sorry, I can't confirm it, the map is written with arabian letters.) There are aso many maps from 5/16th century calling it Persian Sea.

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Thanks in advance! At finally one brave knight appeared here in the middle of darkness for enlightening! :)) –  Persian Cat Mar 9 '13 at 22:06

AFAIK the people on the southern shores (so, Arabia) never called it the Persian Gulf. That name was used by the Persians on the northern shores.

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@PersianCat: Persaflói? Kendava Farsê? 波斯湾? Pho-su-oan? –  Lennart Regebro Oct 21 '13 at 8:23
@LennartRegebro Of course the name Persian Gulf is more common on western maps, as Persia was a British protectorate and later a US ally (until the Iranian revolution) and therefore the name would be more used on European and American designed maps, the very maps most commonly found and understood on the internet today. –  jwenting Oct 21 '13 at 8:34

I really wouldn't want to get into the politics of the names, but Arabian Gulf is by no means a recent naming variant - see here for a variety of its appearances in the 19th century.

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the "Arabian Gulf" was used in ancient times to refer to the Red Sea (e.g. by Ptolemy), the waterway between the Arabian Peninsula and southern shores of Iran have historically been known as the "Persian Gulf" –  BillyJean Jul 17 '13 at 14:22

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