The Strait of Hormuz: Importance & Facts

Instructor: Kimberly Uptmor

Kimberly has a bachelor's degree in Secondary Education: Science and has master's in Curriculum and Instruction. Currently, she teaches 7th grade through college level classes.

Planet Earth contains many different bodies of water that make up the hydrosphere. In this lesson, we will examine the importance of the Strait of Hormuz, as well as the facts surrounding this strait.

The Strait of Hormuz:

It is interesting to think that, in many events that took place throughout history, the geographical features of the land and water affected certain situations. For instance, many civilizations fought over fertile land and seas that supplied an abundance of food. Immigrants traveled and settled to various places around the world in search of gold, silver, or copper. Also, navigators and researchers sought to map and graph landscapes and bodies of water to find the quickest route from one point to another.

Although many of these events occurred in the past, these behaviors are still occurring today. Countries around the world are looking for the best areas to improve their economy and political standing in the world. Many of these countries have either excelled or failed, depending on their geographical features around them. One such important water feature that has made its mark in history is the Strait of Hormuz.


The Strait of Hormuz divides Iran to the North and the United Arab Emirates and Oman to the South
 Strait of Hormuz

The Strait of Hormuz is located in the Middle East, where it connects the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman. This strait is quite short in length, but it is around twenty-one miles, or thirty-three kilometers, in width at its most narrow location. Its widest location is around fifty-five miles or around eighty-eight kilometers.

There are a few islands that lie within the Strait of Hormuz. They are called Hengam, Hormuz, and Qeshm. Major countries that surround the Strait of Hormuz are Iran, United Arab Emirates, and Oman. These countries are also the ones that control and govern this strait. One of the biggest cities that is located near this strait is Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


Throughout history, many countries and civilizations around the world sought and battled for control of straits and narrow waterways. The idea behind controlling these bodies of water was that there was further control over the oceans or seas they connect. This helped their country or civilization by having access to trade and travel routes to any place around the world. This holds true for the Strait of Hormuz.

Long ago, the Strait of Hormuz was an important trading route from the European countries to Asia. The trade consisted of European ships traveling through this strait to reach Asia primarily for silk, spices, and porcelain. Many shipping companies found this to be one of the better and quicker routes to trade these goods.

Today, the Strait of Hormuz is important because it is one of the busiest straits where ships transport oil to different countries. In 2010, one-fifth of the world received oil that came through this strait. Statistics also indicate that, back in 2018, twenty-one million barrels of oil were transported by boat through this strait every day. This congestion of boats and cargo ships that is created by the geographical locations of the land and water is often given the name chokepoint.

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