Kish, for all intents and purposes, is an integral part of the country's overall history. Ever since the Achaemenians era, the island has almost always been a significant pearl fishing and trade center, handling the commercial activities between Mesopotamia and India.
Contributing to commercial exchanges among the three continents, at times, the island is known to have also served as a bridge linking Europe and the Far East.
With the aim of replacing the Siraf Port, where trade had actually become sluggish, the first equipped harbor was established on this island during the reign of the Seljuk kings. Touran-Shah, for instance, made great attempts to develop Kish with the help of local rulers. As part of that endeavor, he managed to turn it into a major commercial center. The imported goods and commodities from India and China were stored on this island enabling the merchants from Europe, Middle East and North Africa to conclude their transactions there, thus preventing long and hard trips and voyages to the far east to purchase the goods required.
The course now pursued by the Kish Free Zone Organization, incidentally, is to some extent in line with the island's such historic aspects.
During the reign of the Atabakan dynasty in Fars, Kish was of such
prominence that it was in fact the headquarters of the Persian Gulf
ruler. The affairs pertaining to the other Persian Gulf islands as
those of the Oman Sea were, indeed, administered from here. According
to a number of historians, the island's main source of revenue was the
tariff and taxes levied on the incoming ships and other marine
As can be expected, the island's strategic location however, has
always made it prone and vulnerable to foreign attacks and invasions.
It was why during the 15th and 16th centuries, when the economic
growth had reached its peak in the west, a number of European
countries went about seizing the island. In the 16th century for
instance, in an attempt to expand their colonial domination and to
have control over the markets of India, Arabia and Iran, the
Portuguese dispatched their battleships to the region.
In 1507, the Portuguese navigator, Admiral Alfonso Albuquerque,
commanding 7 battleships and hundreds of men, first captured Muscat in
the south-east shores of Sea of Oman and several other ports in the
area and then headed towards the Hormoz Island. Following the
declining of the rulers of Hormoz and Kish islands to surrender, he
shelled both islands and captured them.
Thereafter, the Portuguese ruled Kish until the Safavid dynasty came
to power. There is no need to say that the aggressors left nothing
behind, but ruins. Once the war with the Ottoman government ended,
King Abbas recaptured Bahrain, Hormoz and Kish from the Portuguese. It
is said that the natives played an instrumental role in putting an end
to the domination of foreigners. It is said that MirMohanna, the local
ruler of the Rig Port Bushehr area, have contributed greatly to the
annihilation of the enemy's military power. Although these measures
strengthened Iran's supremacy in the region, the unique commercial
status, once existed in Kish, was not recovered. This condition
prevailed all the way throughout the Qajar era. Consequently, Kish
lost its significance and position during the Nasser-e-din shah's
reign to the point that Qajar King actually handed it over to Mirza
Ebrahim Qavam-ol-Molk in the form of a long term lease. And, he, in
turn, relinquished the island to Mohammaed Reza khan Setvat-Al-Mamalek
for some 25,000 Tomans.