DHOW, the name given to a type of vessel used throughout the Arabian Sea. The language to which the word belongs is unknown. According to the New English Dictionary the place of origin may be the Persian Gulf, assuming that the word is identical with the lava mentioned by Athanasius Nikitin (India in the 15th Century, Hakluyt Society, 1858). Though the word is used generally of any craft along the East African coast, it is usually applied to the vessel of about 150 to 200 tons burden with a stem rising with a long slope from the water; dhows generally have one mast with a lateen sail, the yard being of enormous length. Much of the coasting trade of the Red Sea and Persian Gulf is carried on by these vessels. They were the regular vessels employed in the slave trade from the east coast of Africa.
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