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This is the most important single source of historical material on the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia. Lorimer's Gazetteer was compiled with the original intention of providing British agents and policy-makers in the Gulf, India and London with 'a convenient and portable handbook to the places and interests with which they are likely to be concerned'. Better documentation was regarded as an essential prerequisite to the strengthening of British influence in the area during a period of increasing international tension. The original edition was issued as a secret document by the British Government in India in 1908 and 1915. The range of the Gazetteer is extensive and complex, with descriptive text supported by a variety of annexes and appendices, including historical analyses, texts of treaties and special essays on subjects of interest.