Bandar Abbas (bändärˈ äb-bäsˈ) [key], city (1991 pop. 249,504), S Iran, on the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. A port of strategic and commercial importance, it is the focal point of the trade routes of S Iran. It was long noted for its trade with India. The town has food processing, textile, and oil refining industries; cotton, rugs, nuts, and dates are exported. Early in the 16th cent. the Portuguese established themselves in the region, seizing the islands in the strait and using the town, which they fortified and called Gamru, as a mainland port. Shah Abbas I recaptured (c.1615) the town and later the islands. The Dutch (without the shah's consent) and the English (with the shah's approval) subsequently set up trading stations there; they called the town Gombroon. In 1622, Shah Abbas renamed the town Bandar Abbas (port of Abbas) and developed it into a major port. Bandar Abbas began to lose importance in the late 1800s, especially after the opening of the Trans-Iranian RR terminal at the head of the Persian Gulf.
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