SOAS University of London

Brunei Gallery, SOAS University of London

Links with the British: the Lynch / Bakhtiari road and oil discovery and exploration

Following from on the strategic location of Bakhtiari territories, there were a range of early contacts between the British and the Bakhtiari.

The Lynch / Bakhtiari Road agreement marked the first formal British-Bakhtiari agreement.

The various agreements over oil discovery and exploration further developed Bakhtiari relationships both internally and externally. The Bakhtiari continued to vie for internal supremacy, and the British continued to pursue their own interests – initially related to their strategic interests, and later to the specific value of oil [x-link to Nezam Bagherzade’s commentary]

In only a few months, both parties were dissatisfied. The oil men wanted more consistent security – but the Bakhtiari were engaged in expensive infighting, so had neither the resources nor the inclination to provide this. Leadership moved back and forth between Najaf Gholi Khan/Samsan Saltaneh II, Shahab Saltaneh and Ali Gholi Khan/Sardar Asad II. There were various renegotiations of the agreement – including by DL Lorimer.

Oil was eventually struck in 1908, and two Companies were formed for its commercial exploitation.

As well as the Bakhtiari Oil Company, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company was formed.