In this article, You will read Important Gulfs of the World for UPSC IAS Exam.


A gulf is a body of water that is connected to a sea or ocean and is surrounded or penetrated by land. The gulf is almost completely surrounded by land.  Gulfs vary greatly in size, shape, and depth. They are generally larger and more deeply indented than bays. Like bays, they often make excellent harbors. Many important trading centers are located on gulfs.

  • The world’s largest gulf is the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Examples of other gulfs include the Gulf of California, Gulf of Aden (between the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea), and the Persian Gulf (between Saudi Arabia and Iran).
  • The Persian Gulf is important with respect to world energy because petroleum is transported through its waters in oil tankers.

Important Gulfs of the World

1. Gulf of Mexico

(a) It is the largest gulf in the world.
(b) It is bordered by the United States, Mexico, and the island nation of Cuba.
(c) It has a coastline of about 5,000 km.

Gulf of Mexico

2. Gulf of Oman

(a) Gulf of Oman connects the Arabian Sea with the Strait of Hormuz, which then runs to the Persian Gulf.
(b) The gulf borders Pakistan and Iran on the north, Oman on the south, and the United Arab Emirates on the west.

Gulf of Oman

3. Gulf of Aden

(a) Gulf of Aden is located in the Arabian Sea between Yemen and Somalia.
(b) In the north-west, it connects with the Red Sea through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait.
(c) The waterway is part of the important Suez canal shipping route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean.

Gulf of Aden

4. Persian Gulf

(a) It is located in Western Asia between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.
(b) The Persian Gulf is an extension of the Indian Ocean (Gulf of Oman) through the Strait of Hormuz.
(c) Countries with a coastline on the Persian Gulf are (clockwise, from the north): Iran, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Iraq.

Persian Gulf

5. Gulf of Carpentaria

(a) It is a large, shallow sea enclosed on three sides by northern Australia and bounded on the north by the Arafura Sea. The Arafura Sea is the body of water that lies between Australia and New Guinea.

Gulf of Carpentaria

6. Gulf of Bothnia

(a) the Gulf of Bothnia is part of the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland.
(b) It is the northernmost arm of the Baltic Sea.

Gulf of Bothnia

7. Gulf of Riga

(a) the Gulf of Riga is a bay of the Baltic Sea between Latvia and Estonia.
(b) Gulf of Riga and the Baltic Sea is connected by the Irbe Strait.

Gulf of Riga

8. Gulf of Alaska

(a) The Gulf of Alaska is an arm of the Pacific Ocean.
(b) The entire shoreline of the Gulf is a rugged combination of forest, mountain, and a number of tidewater glaciers.
(c) Alaska’s largest glaciers, the Malaspina Glacier and Bering Glacier spill out onto the coastal plain along the Gulf of Alaska.

gulf of alaska

9. Gulf of Finland

(a) Gulf of Finland is located between the southern coast of Finland and the northern coast of Estonia in the Baltic Sea.
(b) It extends all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. The eastern parts of the Gulf of Finland belong to Russia
(c) The area of the gulf is 30,000 km2. The length from the Hanko Peninsula to Saint Petersburg is 400 km.

Gulf of Finland

10. Gulf of Mannar

(a) Gulf of Mannar lies between the southeastern tip of India and the west coast of Sri Lanka.
(b) It is a large shallow bay forming part of the Laccadive Sea in the Indian Ocean.
(c) Adam’s Bridge, also called Ramsethu, which includes Mannar Island, separates the Gulf of Mannar from Palk Bay, which lies to the north between India and Sri Lanka.
(d) In 1986, a group of 21 islets lying off the Tamil Nadu coast between Thoothukudi and Dhanushkodi was declared the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park. The park and its 10 km buffer zone were declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1989.

gulf of mannar
  1. Palk Bay
  2. Palk Strait
  3. Gulf of Mannar
  4. Adam’s Bridge

Select the correct answer code:

a) 3-4-2-1
b) 3-4-1-2
c) 4-3-1-2
d) 4-3-2-1

Solution: b)

Palk Bay, Palk Strait, Gulf of Mannar, Adam’s Bridge

11. Gulf of Martaban

The Gulf of Martaban or the Gulf of Mottama is an arm of the Andaman Sea in the southern part of Burma. The gulf is named after the port city of Mottama (formerly known as Martaban). The SittaungSalween, and Yangon rivers empty into it.

gulf of martaban upsc

12. Gulf of Panama

(a) Gulf of Panama is a gulf in the Pacific Ocean, near the southern coast of Panama.
(b) It has a maximum width of 250 km, a maximum depth of 220 m, and a size of 2,400 km2.
(c) The Panama Canal connects the Gulf of Panama with the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Gulf of Panama

13. Gulf of Suez

The Gulf of Suez is a gulf at the northern end of the Red Sea, to the west of the Sinai Peninsula. Situated to the east of the Sinai Peninsula is the smaller Gulf of Aqaba.

14. Gulf of Thailand

(a) Gulf of Thailand was formerly known as the Gulf of Siam.
(b) The Gulf of Thailand is bordered by Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
(c) The northern tip of the gulf is the Bay of Bangkok at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River.
(d) The gulf covers roughly 320,000 km2.

Gulf of Thailand

15. Gulf of Gabes

(a) Gulf of Gabes is a gulf on Tunisia’s east coast in the Mediterranean Sea, off North Africa.
(b) The gulf borders Libya and Tunisia.

Gulf of Gabes

16. Gulf of Saint Lawrence

(a) Gulf of Saint Lawrence is the world’s largest estuary.
(b) The gulf is the outlet of the North American Great Lakes via the Saint Lawrence River into the Atlantic Ocean.
(c) The Gulf of Saint Lawrence is bounded on the north by the Labrador Peninsula and Quebec, to the east by Newfoundland Island, to the south by the Nova Scotia peninsula and Cape Breton Island, and to the west by the Gaspe Peninsula, New Brunswick, and Quebec.

Gulf of Saint Lawrence

17. Gulf of Aqaba

(a) The Gulf of Aqaba or Gulf of Eilat is a large gulf located at the northern tip of the Red Sea, east of the Sinai Peninsula and west of the Arabian mainland.
(b) Its coastline is divided between four countries: Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
(c) The Gulf of Aqaba is one of the world’s premier sites for diving.

Gulf of Aqaba

18. Amundsen Gulf

(a) Amundsen Gulf is a gulf located in Canadian Northwest Territories, between Banks Island and Victoria Island and the mainland.
(b) The gulf is 400 km in length.
(c) The Amundsen Gulf was explored by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.

Amundsen Gulf

19. Gulf of Tonkin

(a) The Gulf of Tonkin is a gulf at the northwestern portion of the South China Sea, located off the coasts of Tonkin and South China.
(b) The gulf receives the Red River, and its main ports include Ben Thuy and Haiphong in northern Vietnam and Beihai (Pakhoi) in China.

Gulf of Tonkin

20. Gulf of Kutch

It is situated on the coast of the state of Gujrat near the Kutch region. It is an inlet into the Arabian Sea from the west coast of India. The maximum depth of the Gulf of Kutch is 402 ft and its width is around 150 to 160 Kms. The First Coral garden will be set up in the Gulf of Kutch.

Gulf of Kutch

21. Gulf of Khambhat

This is located south of the Gulf of Kutch and is also an extension of the Arabian sea along the western coast of India around the state of Gujrat’s Kathiawar region. India’s major east-flowing rivers – Narmada and Tapti flow into the Gulf of Khambhat. It also is known as the Gulf of Cambay.

22. Gulf of Guinea

The Gulf of Guinea is the north-easternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean.

  • The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian (zero degrees latitude and longitude) is in this gulf.
  • Among the many rivers that drain into the Gulf of Guinea are the Niger and the Volta.
Gulf of Guinea upsc

Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea:

  • Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea affects a number of countries in West Africa as well as the wider international community making it becoming an issue of global concern.
  • Pirates here are often part of heavily armed criminal enterprises, who employ violent methods to steal oil cargo.
  • The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has recently described the Gulf of Guinea as the most dangerous area in the world for shipping.
  • According to its estimations, 73 percent of all sea kidnappings and 92 percent of hostage-takings occur there, with pirates normally taking sailors for ransom.

Causes of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea:

  • Youth unemployment and widespread poverty are one of the main triggering factors for piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, and as admitted by the UN Security Council during a meeting set to discuss a mission to the region ‘any comprehensive anti-piracy strategy might also need to take into account root causes, including high levels of youth unemployment’.
  • Severe political disputes are considered another reason contributing to the rise of piracy in the area, and in some cases directly feeding into the piracy activity itself.
  • Of particular relevance are the activities of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, in the south of Nigeria; this organization has publicly stated to steal and smuggle oil ‘as a form of re-appropriation of wealth and as a form of protest’.
  • Another major and relevant controversy has involved the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria; the two countries have been in dispute about the sovereignty over the Bakassi Peninsula, which has caused a lack of cooperation between the governments resulting in poor control over illegal activities.
  • Corruption is another major contributing factor, especially with regards to the case of Nigeria. Attention has been called towards the political protection that some of those who attack installations and personnel of oil companies, especially in the Niger Delta, enjoy protection from certain local authorities.

Difference between gulfs and bays

gulf is said to be a large body of water that is surrounded by land and having only a narrow entrance along a strait. A bay is also a large body of water that is surrounded by land but not as enclosed as a gulf.

Bays –

  • A bay is a small body of water that is set off from a larger body of water generally where the land curves inward.
  • In simple words, bay is a water body surrounded on three sides by land with the fourth side (mouth) wide open towards oceans. (In Gulfs, the mouth is narrow).
  • A bay is usually smaller and less enclosed than a gulf.
  • Example: The Bay of Pigs (Cuba), Hudson Bay (Canada), Bay of Bengal etc.
  • An example of a bay at a river’s mouth is New York Bay, at the mouth of the Hudson River (Hudson Estuary).

Guantánamo Bay

  • Guantánamo Bay is a sheltered inlet within the Caribbean Sea.
  • During the Spanish-American War in 1898, the United States gained access to the outer harbor of Guantánamo Bay.
  • Through an agreement signed with Cuba in 1903, the United States obtained the right to maintain a naval base at Guantánamo Bay.
  • In 1934, a treaty reaffirmed the U.S. right to lease the site. The treaty gave the United States a perpetual lease on Guantánamo Bay.
  • The most infamous Guantánamo Bay prison is here.
Guantánamo Bay

Also Read – Major Straits of the World

A. Gulf of Guinea
B. Gulf of Aden
C. Gulf of Bothnia
D. Gulf of Mannar

Answer – A

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Ashley Florence

Nice Info.