Masira Island

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A strategically important island in the Arabian Sea off the south coast of Oman.

Masira Island's rocky hills have made it inhospitable for agriculture, and historically its small population has subsisted on the sea, exporting such products as fish, turtle shells, and shark fins. During World War II, the British built an air base and a powerful radio transmitter on the island. When Oman attained independence, Sultan Qabus, the ruler, funded the construction of modern housing, schools, and a clinic. The United States signed a ten-year lease for the military facilities on the island in 1980. It was from here that the abortive mission to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran was launched. The island's facilities also were used by coalition forces during the 19901991 Gulf War. The United States has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on its military facilities on the island. In the late 1990s the island had about 8,000 inhabitants and hosted one of the largest group of nesting loggerhead turtles in the world.

see also oman.


DeGaury, Gerald. "A Note on Masirah Island." Geographical Journal 123 (1957): 499502.

robert g. landen
updated by anthony b. toth