|History of Greater Iran|
Greater Iran (Persian : ایران بزرگ, Irān-e Bozorg) is a term used to refer to the regions of the Caucasus, West Asia, Central Asia, and parts of South Asia that have significant Iranian cultural influence due to having been either long historically ruled by the various imperial dynasties of the Iranian Empire (such as those of the Medes, Achaemenids, Parthians, Sasanians, Samanids, Safavids, and Afsharids and the Qajars), having considerable aspects of Persian culture due to extensive contact with the various imperial dynasties of Iran (e.g., those regions and peoples in the North Caucasus that were not under direct Iranian rule), or are simply nowadays still inhabited by a significant amount of Iranian peoples who patronize their respective cultures (as it goes for the western parts of South Asia, Bahrain and Tajikistan). It roughly corresponds to the territory on the Iranian plateau and its bordering plains. The Encyclopædia Iranica uses the term Iranian Cultural Continent for this region.
Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is a Western Iranian language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian subdivision of the Indo-European languages. It is a pluricentric language predominantly spoken and used officially within Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan in three mutually intelligible standard varieties, namely Iranian Persian, Dari Persian and Tajiki Persian. It is also spoken natively in the Tajik variety by a significant population within Uzbekistan, as well as within other regions with a Persianate history in the cultural sphere of Greater Iran. It is written officially within Iran and Afghanistan in the Persian alphabet, a derivation of the Arabic script, and within Tajikistan in the Tajik alphabet, a derivation of Cyrillic.
In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics, human impact characteristics, and the interaction of humanity and the environment. Geographic regions and sub-regions are mostly described by their imprecisely defined, and sometimes transitory boundaries, except in human geography, where jurisdiction areas such as national borders are defined in law.
The Caucasus or Caucasia is an area situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia. It is home to the Caucasus Mountains, including the Greater Caucasus mountain range, which has historically been considered a natural barrier between Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
The term Greater Iran is not limited to the modern state of Iran, but includes all the territory ruled by the Iranians throughout the history, including Mesopotamia, Eastern Anatolia, all of the Caucasus and Central Asia.The concept of Greater Iran has its source in the history of the Achaemenid Empire in Persis (modern day Pars region), and overlaps to a certain extent with the history of Iran.
Mesopotamia is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the Fertile Crescent, in modern days roughly corresponding to most of Iraq, Kuwait, the eastern parts of Syria, Southeastern Turkey, and regions along the Turkish–Syrian and Iran–Iraq borders.
Central Asia stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north. The region consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It is also colloquially referred to as "the stans" as the countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of".
The Achaemenid Empire, also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers. Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration, for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, the use of an official language across its territories, and the development of civil services and a large professional army. The empire's successes inspired similar systems in later empires.
In recent centuries, Iran lost many of the territories conquered under the Safavid and Qajar dynasties, including Iraq to the Ottomans (via the Treaty of Amasya in 1555 and the Treaty of Zuhab in 1639), western Afghanistan to the British (via the Treaty of Paris in 1857and the MacMahon Arbitration in 1905 ), and all its Caucasus territories to Russia during the Russo-Persian Wars in the course of the 19th century. The Treaty of Gulistan in 1813 resulted in Iran ceding Dagestan, Georgia, and most of Azerbaijan to Russia. The Turkmanchey Treaty of 1828 decisively ended centuries of Iranian control of its Caucasian provinces, and made Iran cede what is present-day Armenia, the remainder of Azerbaijan and Igdir (eastern Turkey), and set the modern boundary along the Aras River.
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran, often considered the beginning of modern Iranian history. The Safavid shahs ruled over one of the gunpowder empires and one of the greatest Iranian empires after the 7th-century Muslim conquest of Iran. They established the Twelver school of Shia Islam as the official religion of the empire, marking one of the most important turning points in Muslim history.
The Qajar dynasty was an Iranian royal dynasty of Turkic origin, specifically from the Qajar tribe, ruling over Iran from 1789 to 1925. The Qajar family took full control of Iran in 1794, deposing Lotf 'Ali Khan, the last Shah of the Zand dynasty, and re-asserted Iranian sovereignty over large parts of the Caucasus. In 1796, Mohammad Khan Qajar seized Mashhad with ease, putting an end to the Afsharid dynasty, and Mohammad Khan was formally crowned as Shah after his punitive campaign against Iran's Georgian subjects. In the Caucasus, the Qajar dynasty permanently lost many of Iran's integral areas to the Russians over the course of the 19th century, comprising modern-day Georgia, Dagestan, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The Ottoman Empire, historically known to its inhabitants and the Eastern world as Rome (Rûm), and known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. Although initially the dynasty was of Turkic origin, it was thoroughly Persianised in terms of language, culture, literature and habits. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.
On the Nowruz of 1935, the endonym Iran was adopted as the official international name of Persia by its ruler Reza Shah Pahlavi.However, in 1959, the government of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Reza Shah Pahlavi's son, announced that both "Persia" and "Iran" could officially be used interchangeably.
Nowruz is the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year, which is celebrated worldwide by various ethno-linguistic groups.
An exonym or xenonym is an external name for a geographical place, a group of people, an individual person, or a language or dialect. It is a common name used only outside the place, group, or linguistic community in question. An endonym or autonym is an internal name for a geographical place, a group of people, or a language or dialect. It is a common name used only inside the place, group, or linguistic community in question; it is their name for themselves, their homeland, or their language.
In the Western world, Persia was historically the common name for Iran. On the Nowruz of 1935, Reza Shah Pahlavi asked foreign delegates to use the term Iran, the endonym of the country, in formal correspondence. Since then, in the Western World, the use of the word "Iran" has become more common. This also changed the usage of the terms for Iranian nationality, and the common adjective for citizens of Iran changed from "Persian" to "Iranian". In 1959, the government of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Reza Shah Pahlavi's son, announced that both "Persia" and "Iran" could officially be used interchangeably. However the issue is still debated.
The name "Irān", meaning "land of the Aryans", is the New Persian continuation of the old genitive plural aryānām (proto-Iranian, meaning "of the Aryans"), first attested in the Avesta as airyānąm (the text of which is composed in Avestan, an old Iranian language spoken in northeastern Greater Iran, or in what are now Turkmenistan and Tajikistan).The proto-Iranian term aryānām is present in the term Airyana Vaēǰah , the homeland of Zoroaster and Zoroastrianism, near the provinces of Sogdiana, Margiana, Bactria, etc., listed in the first chapter of the Vidēvdād. The Avestan evidence is confirmed by Greek sources: Arianē is spoken of as being between Persia and the Indian subcontinent. However, this is a Greek pronunciation of the name Haroyum/Haraiva (Herat), which the Greeks called 'Aria'. A land listed separately from the homeland of the Aryans.
"Aryan" has as its root a term that was used as a self-designation by Indo-Iranian people. The term was used by the Indo-Aryan people of the Vedic period in India as an ethnic label for themselves and later refer to the noble class as well as the geographic region known as Āryāvarta, where Indo-Aryan culture is based. The Iranian people used the term as an ethnic label for themselves in the Avesta scriptures, and the word forms the etymological source of the country name Iran. It was believed in the 19th century that Aryan was also a self-designation used by all Proto-Indo-Europeans, a theory that has now been abandoned. Scholars point out that, even in ancient times, the idea of being an "Aryan" was religious, cultural and linguistic, not racial.
The Avesta is the primary collection of religious texts of Zoroastrianism, composed in the otherwise unrecorded Avestan language.
The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European language family that are spoken natively by the Iranian peoples.
While up until the end of the Parthian period in the 3rd century CE, the idea of "Irān" had an ethnic, linguistic, and religious value, it did not yet have a political import. The idea of an "Iranian" empire or kingdom in a political sense is a purely Sasanian one. It was the result of a convergence of interests between the new dynasty and the Zoroastrian clergy, as we can deduce from the available evidence. This convergence gave rise to the idea of an Ērān-šahr "Kingdom of the Iranians", which was "ēr" (Middle Persian equivalent of Old Persian "ariya" and Avestan "airya").
The Parthian Empire, also known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran. Its latter name comes from Arsaces I of Parthia who, as leader of the Parni tribe, founded it in the mid-3rd century BC when he conquered the region of Parthia in Iran's northeast, then a satrapy (province) under Andragoras, in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire. Mithridates I of Parthia (r. c. 171–138 BC) greatly expanded the empire by seizing Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran. The empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and the Han dynasty of China, became a center of trade and commerce.
Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym as Parsik, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire. For some time after the Sasanian collapse, Middle Persian continued to function as a prestige language. It descended from Old Persian, the language of Achaemenid Empire, and it is the linguistic ancestor of Modern Persian.
Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages. Like other Old Iranian languages, this language was known to its native speakers as Iranian language. Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets and seals of the Achaemenid era. Examples of Old Persian have been found in what is now Iran, Romania (Gherla), Armenia, Bahrain, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt, with the most important attestation by far being the contents of the Behistun Inscription. Recent research (2007) into the vast Persepolis Fortification Archive at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago have unearthed Old Persian tablets, which suggest Old Persian was a written language in use for practical recording and not only for royal display.
Richard Nelson Frye defines Greater Iran as including "much of the Caucasus, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, with cultural influences extending to China and western India." According to Frye, "Iran means all lands and peoples where Iranian languages were and are spoken, and where in the past, multi-faceted Iranian cultures existed."
Richard Foltz notes that while "A general assumption is often made that the various Iranian peoples of 'greater Iran'—a cultural area that stretched from Mesopotamia and the Caucasus into Khwarizm, Transoxiana, Bactria, and the Pamirs and included Persians, Medes, Parthians and Sogdians among others—were all 'Zoroastrians' in pre-Islamic times... This view, even though common among serious scholars, is almost certainly overstated." Foltz argues that "While the various Iranian peoples did indeed share a common pantheon and pool of religious myths and symbols, in actuality a variety of deities were worshipped—particularly Mitra, the god of covenants, and Anahita, the goddess of the waters, but also many others—depending on the time, place, and particular group concerned".To the Ancient Greeks, Greater Iran ended at the Indus River located in Pakistan.
According to J. P. Mallory and Douglas Q. Adams most of Western greater Iran spoke Southwestern Iranian languages in the Achaemenid era while the Eastern territory spoke Eastern Iranian languages related to Avestan.
George Lane also states that after the dissolution of the Mongol Empire, the Ilkhanids became rulers of greater Iranand Uljaytu, according to Judith G. Kolbas, was the ruler of this expanse between 1304–1317 A.D.
Primary sources, including Timurid historian Mir Khwand, define Iranshahr (Greater Iran) as extending from the Euphrates to the Oxus
Traditionally, and until recent times, ethnicity has never been a defining separating criterion in these regions. In the words of Richard Nelson Frye:[ citation needed ]
Many times I have emphasized that the present peoples of Central Asia, whether Iranian or Turkic speaking, have one culture, one religion, one set of social values and traditions with only language separating them.— Richard Nelson Frye
Only in modern times did western colonial intervention and ethnicity tend to become a dividing force between the provinces of Greater Iran. As Patrick Clawson states, "ethnic nationalism is largely a nineteenth century phenomenon, even if it is fashionable to retroactively extend it.""Greater Iran" however has been more of a cultural super-state, rather than a political one to begin with.
In the work Nuzhat al-Qolub (نزهه القلوب), the medieval geographer Hamdallah Mustawfi wrote:
چند شهر است اندر ایران مرتفع تر از همه
Some cities in Iran are above the rest,
بهتر و سازنده تر از خوشی آب و هوا
better and more productive due to good weather,
گنجه پر گنج در اران صفاهان در عراق
Ganja full of treasure in Arran, and Esfahān in Iraq,
در خراسان مرو و طوس در روم باشد اقسرا
Merv and Tus in Khorasan, and Konya (Aqsara) in Rome (Anatolia).
The Cambridge History of Iran takes a geographical approach in referring to the "historical and cultural" entity of "Greater Iran" as "areas of Iran, parts of Afghanistan, and Chinese and Soviet Central Asia".A detailed list of these territories follows in this article.
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Greater Iran is called Iranzamin (ایرانزمین) which means "The Land of Iran". Iranzamin was in the mythical times opposed to the Turanzamin the Land of Turan, which was located in the upper part of Central Asia.
In the pre-Islamic period, Iranians distinguished two main regions in the territory they ruled, one Iran and the other Aniran. By Iran they meant all the regions inhabited by ancient Iranian peoples, this region was more extensive in the past. This notion of Iran as a territory (opposed to Aniran) can be seen as the core of early Greater Iran. Later many changes occurred in the boundaries and areas where Iranians lived but the languages and culture remained the dominant medium in many parts of the Greater Iran.
As an example, the Persian language (referred to, in Persian, as Farsi) was the main literary language and the language of correspondence in Central Asia and Caucasus prior to the Russian occupation, Central Asia being the birthplace of modern Persian language. Furthermore, according to the British government, Persian language was also used in Iraqi Kurdistan, prior to the British Occupation and Mandate in 1918-1932.
With Imperial Russia continuously advancing south in the course of two wars against Persia, and the treaties of Turkmenchay and Gulistan in the western frontiers, plus the unexpected death of Abbas Mirza in 1823, and the murdering of Persia's Grand Vizier (Mirza AbolQasem Qa'im Maqām), many Central Asian khanates began losing hope for any support from Persia against the Tsarist armies.The Russian armies occupied the Aral coast in 1849, Tashkent in 1864, Bukhara in 1867, Samarkand in 1868, and Khiva and Amudarya in 1873.
In the 8th century, Iran was conquered by the Abbassids who ruled from Baghdad, and the territory of Iran at that time was known to be composed of two portions: Persian Iraq (western portion) and Khorasan (eastern portion). The dividing region was mostly along with Gurgan and Damaghan cities. Especially the Ghaznavids, Seljuqs and Timurids divided their Empire to Iraqi and Khorasani regions. This point can be observed in many books such as "Tārīkhi Baïhaqī" of Abul Fazl Bayhqi, Faza'ilul al-anam min rasa'ili hujjat al-Islam (a collection of letters of Al-Ghazali) and other books. Transoxiana and Chorasmia were mostly included in the Khorasanian region.
The "Ajam" and "Huwala" are ethnic communities of Bahrain of Persian origin. The Persians of Bahrain are a significant and influential ethnic community whose ancestors arrived in Bahrain within the last 1,000 years as laborers, merchants and artisans. They have traditionally been merchants living in specific quarters of Manama and Muharraq. Bahrain's Persians who adhere to the Shia sect of Islam are Ajam and the Persians who adhere to the Sunni sect are called Huwala, who migrated from Larestan in Iran to the Persian Gulf in the seventeenth and eighteenth century.
The immigration of Persians to Bahrain began when the Greek Seleucid kingdom which was ruling Bahrain at the time fell and the Persian Empire successfully invaded Bahrain, but it is often believed that mass immigration started during the 1600s when Abbas I of Persia invaded Bahrain. After settling in Bahrain, some of the Persians were effectively Arabized. They usually settled in areas inhabited by the indigenous Baharna, probably because they share the same Shia Muslim faith, however, some Sunni Persians settled in areas mostly inhabited by Sunni Arab immigrants such as Hidd and Galali. In Muharraq, they have their own neighborhood called Fareej Karimi named after a rich Persian man called Ali Abdulla Karimi.
From the 6th century BC to the 3rd century BC, Bahrain was a prominent part of the Persian Empire by the Achaemenids, an Iranian dynasty. Bahrain was referred to by the Greeks as "Tylos", the centre of pearl trading, when Nearchus discovered it while serving under Alexander the Great.From the 3rd century BC to the arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD, Bahrain was controlled by two other Iranian dynasties, the Parthians and the Sassanids.
In the 3rd century AD, the Sassanids succeeded the Parthians and controlled the area for four centuries until the arrival of Islam.Ardashir, the first ruler of the Iranian Sassanid dynasty marched to Oman and Bahrain and defeated Sanatruq (or Satiran ), probably the Parthian governor of Bahrain. He appointed his son Shapur I as governor of Bahrain. Shapur constructed a new city there and named it Batan Ardashir after his father. At this time, Bahrain incorporated the southern Sassanid province covering the Persian Gulf's southern shore plus the archipelago of Bahrain. The southern province of the Sassanids was subdivided into three districts; Haggar (now al-Hafuf province, Saudi Arabia), Batan Ardashir (now al-Qatif province, Saudi Arabia), and Mishmahig (now Bahrain Island) (In Middle-Persian/Pahlavi it means "ewe-fish").
By about 130 BC, the Parthian dynasty brought the Persian Gulf under their control and extended their influence as far as Oman. Because they needed to control the Persian Gulf trade route, the Parthians established garrisons along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf.through warfare and economic distress, been reduced to only 60. The influence of Iran was further undermined at the end of the 18th century when the ideological power struggle between the Akhbari-Usuli strands culminated in victory for the Usulis in Bahrain.
An Afghan uprising led by Hotakis of Kandahar at the beginning of the 18th century resulted in the near collapse of the Safavid state.In the resultant power vacuum, Oman invaded Bahrain in 1717, ending over one hundred years of Persian hegemony in Bahrain. The Omani invasion began a period of political instability and a quick succession of outside rulers took power with consequent destruction. According to a contemporary account by theologian, Sheikh Yusuf Al Bahrani, in an unsuccessful attempt by the Persians and their Bedouin allies to take back Bahrain from the Kharijite Omanis, much of the country was burnt to the ground. Bahrain was eventually sold back to the Persians by the Omanis, but the weakness of the Safavid empire saw Huwala tribes seize control.
In 1730, the new Shah of Persia, Nadir Shah, sought to re-assert Persian sovereignty in Bahrain. He ordered Latif Khan, the admiral of the Persian navy in the Persian Gulf, to prepare an invasion fleet in Bushehr.The Persians invaded in March or early April 1736 when the ruler of Bahrain, Shaikh Jubayr, was away on hajj. The invasion brought the island back under central rule and to challenge Oman in the Persian Gulf. He sought help from the British and Dutch, and he eventually recaptured Bahrain in 1736. During the Qajar era, Persian control over Bahrain waned and in 1753, Bahrain was occupied by the Sunni Persians of the Bushire-based Al Madhkur family, who ruled Bahrain in the name of Persia and paid allegiance to Karim Khan Zand.
During most of the second half of the eighteenth century, Bahrain was ruled by Nasr Al-Madhkur, the ruler of Bushehr. The Bani Utibah tribe from Zubarah exceeded in taking over Bahrain after a war broke out in 1782. Persian attempts to reconquer the island in 1783 and in 1785 failed; the 1783 expedition was a joint Persian-Qawasim invasion force that never left Bushehr. The 1785 invasion fleet, composed of forces from Bushehr, Rig and Shiraz was called off after the death of the ruler of Shiraz, Ali Murad Khan. Due to internal difficulties, the Persians could not attempt another invasion.In 1799, Bahrain came under threat from the expansionist policies of Sayyid Sultan, the Sultan of Oman, when he invaded the island under the pretext that Bahrain did not pay taxes owed. The Bani Utbah solicited the aid of Bushire to expel the Omanis on the condition that Bahrain would become a tributary state of Persia. In 1800, Sayyid Sultan invaded Bahrain again in retaliation and deployed a garrison at Arad Fort, in Muharraq island and had appointed his twelve-year-old son Salim, as Governor of the island.
Many names of villages in Bahrain are derived from the Persian language. [ contradictory ]These names were thought to have been as a result influences during the Safavid rule of Bahrain (1501–1722) and previous Persian rule. Village names such as Karbabad, Salmabad, Karzakan, Duraz, Barbar were originally derived from the Persian language, suggesting that Persians had a substantial effect on the island's history. The local Bahrani Arabic dialect has also borrowed many words from the Persian language. Bahrain's capital city, Manama is derived from two Persian words meaning 'I' and 'speech'.
In 1910, the Persian community funded and opened a private school, Al-Ittihad school, that taught Farsi amongst other subjects.According to the 1905 census, there were 1650 Bahraini citizens of Persian origin.
Historian Nasser Hussain says that many Iranians fled their native country in the early 20th century due to a law king Reza Shah issued which banned women from wearing the hijab, or because they feared for their lives after fighting the English, or to find jobs. They were coming to Bahrain from Bushehr and the Fars province between 1920 and 1940. In the 1920s, local Persian merchants were prominently involved in the consolidation of Bahrain's first powerful lobby with connections to the municipality in effort to contest the municipal legislation of British control.
Bahrain's local Persian community have heavily influenced the country's local food dishes. One of the most notable local delicacies of the people in Bahrain is mahyawa, consumed in Southern Iran as well, is a watery earth brick coloured sauce made from sardines and consumed with bread or other food. Bahrain's Persians are also famous in Bahrain for bread-making. Another local delicacy is "pishoo" made from rose water (golab) and agar agar. Other food items consumed are similar to Persian cuisine.
Throughout history, Iran always had strong cultural ties with the region of present–day Iraq. Mesopotamia is considered as the cradle of civilization and the place where the first empires in history were established. These empires, namely the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian, dominated the ancient middle east for millennia, which explains the great influence of the Mesopotamia on the Iranian culture and history, and it is also the reason why the later Iranian and Greek dynasties chose Mesopotamia to be the political centre of their rule. For a period of around 500 years, what is now Iraq formed the core of Iran, with the Iranian Parthian and Sasanian empire having their capital in what is modern-day Iraq for the same centuries long time span. (Ctesiphon)
|“||Of the four residences of the Achaemenids named by Herodotus—Ecbatana, Pasargadae or Persepolis, Susa and Babylon—the last [situated in Iraq] was maintained as their most important capital, the fixed winter quarters, the central office of bureaucracy, exchanged only in the heat of summer for some cool spot in the highlands. |
Under the Seleucids and the Parthians the site of the Mesopotamian capital moved a little to the north on the Tigris—to Seleucia and Ctesiphon. It is indeed symbolic that these new foundations were built from the bricks of ancient Babylon, just as later Baghdad, a little further upstream, was built out of the ruins of the Sassanian double city of Seleucia-Ctesiphon.
|— Iranologist Ehsan Yarshater, The Cambridge History of Iran,|
Because the Achaemenid Empire or "First Persian Empire" was the successor state to the empires of Assyria and Babylonia based in Iraq, and because Elam is part of Iran, the ancient people of Iran were ruled by ancient Mesopotamians, which explains the close proximity between the people of south western Iran and the Iraqis even in modern days, in fact, the people of that part of Iran speak Mesopotamian Arabic and were put under the rule of modern Iran by the British. The ancient Persians adopted the Babylonian cuneiform script and modified it to write their language, along with adopting many other facets of ancient Iraqi culture, including the Aramaic language which became the official language of the Persian Empire.
The Cyrus Cylinder, written in Babylonian cuneiform in the name of the Achaemenid king Cyrus the Great, describes the Persian takeover of Babylon (the ancient name of Iraq). An excerpt reads:[ citation needed ]
When I entered Babylon in a peaceful manner, I took up my lordly abode in the royal palace amidst rejoicing and happiness. Marduk, the great lord, established as his fate for me a magnanimous heart of one who loves Babylon, and I daily attended to his worship. My vast army marched into Babylon in peace; I did not permit anyone to frighten the people of Sumer and Akkad. I sought the welfare of the city of Babylon and all its sacred centers. As for the citizens of Babylon,[...] upon whom Nabonidus imposed a corvée which was not the gods' wish and not befitting them, I relieved their wariness and freed them from their service. Marduk, the great lord, rejoiced over my good deeds. He sent gracious blessing upon me, Cyrus, the king who worships him, and upon Cambyses, the son who is my offspring, and upon all my army, and in peace, before him, we moved around in friendship [with the people of Babylon].— Cyrus Cylinder
According to Iranologist Richard N. Frye:
Throughout Iran's history the western part of the land has been frequently more closely connected with the lowlands of Mesopotamia (Iraq) than with the rest of the plateau to the east of the central deserts [the Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut].— Richard N. Frye, The Golden Age of Persia: The Arabs in the East
|“||Between the coming of the Abbasids [in 750] and the Mongol onslaught [in 1258], Iraq and western Iran shared a closer history than did eastern Iran and its western counterpart.||”|
|— Neguin Yavari ,Iranian Perspectives on the Iran–Iraq War|
Testimony to the close relationship shared by Iraq and western Iran during the Abbasid era and later centuries, is the fact that the two regions came to share the same name. The western region of Iran (ancient Media) was called 'Irāq-e 'Ajamī ("Persian Iraq"), while central-southern Iraq (Babylonia) was called 'Irāq al-'Arabī ("Arabic Iraq") or Bābil ("Babylon"). And the name Iraq comes from the ancient Mesopotamian city Uruk, which suggests an even older relationship.
For centuries the two neighbouring regions were known as "The Two Iraqs" ("al-'Iraqain"). The 12th century Persian poet Khāqāni wrote a famous poem Tohfat-ul Iraqein ("The Gift of the Two Iraqs"). The city of Arāk in western Iran still bears the region's old name, and Iranians still traditionally call the region between Tehran, Isfahan and Īlām "ʿErāq".
During medieval ages, Mesopotamian and Iranian peoples knew each other's languages because of trade, and because Arabic was the language of religion and science at that time. The Timurid historian Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru (d. 1430) wrote of Iraq:
The majority of inhabitants of Iraq know Persian and Arabic, and from the time of domination of Turkic people the Turkish language has also found currency.— Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru
Iraqis share religious and certain cultural ties with Iranians. The majority of Iranians are Twelver Shia (an Islamic sect established in Iraq), although the majority of Iranians were Sunni Muslims and did not convert to Shia until the Safavids forced Shi'ism in Iran.
Iraqi culture has commonalities with the culture of Iran. The spring festival of Nowruz that is celebrated in Iran and some parts of Iraq roots back to the Akitu spring festival (Babylonian new year). The Mesopotamian cuisine also has similarities to the Persian cuisine, including common dishes and cooking techniques. The Iraqi dialect has absorbed many words from the Persian language.
There are still cities and provinces in Iraq where the Persian names of the city are still retained – e.g., ’Anbār and Baghdad. Other cities of Iraq with originally Persian names include Nokard (نوكرد) --> Haditha, Suristan (سورستان) --> Kufa, Shahrban (شهربان) --> Muqdadiyah, Arvandrud (اروندرود) --> Shatt al-Arab, and Asheb (آشب) --> Amadiya,Peroz-Shapur --> Anbar (town)
In the modern era, the Safavid dynasty of Iran briefly reasserted hegemony over Iraq in the periods of 1501–1533 and 1622–1638, losing Iraq to the Ottoman Empire on both occasions (via the Treaty of Amasya in 1555 and the Treaty of Zuhab in 1639). Ottoman hegemony over Iraq was reconfirmed in the Treaty of Kerden in 1746.
Following the fall of the Ba'athist regime in 2003 and the empowerment of Iraq's majority Shī'i community, relations with Iran have flourished in all fields. Iraq is today Iran's largest trading partner in regard to non-oil goods.
Many Iranians were born in Iraq or have ancestors from Iraq,such as the Chairman of Iran's Parliament Ali Larijani, the former Chief Justice of Iran Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi, who were born in Najaf and Karbala respectively. In the same way, many Iraqis were born in Iran or have ancestors from Iran, such as Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who was born in Mashhad.
Culturally and historically Kurdistan has been a part of what is known as Greater Iran. Kurds speak a Northwestern Iranian language known as Kurdish. Many aspects of Kurdish culture are related to the other peoples of Greater Iran, examples include Newrozand Simurgh. Some historians and linguists, such as Vladimir Minorsky, have suggested that the Medes, an Iranian people who inhabited much of western Iran, including Azerbaijan and Kurdistan, might have been forefathers of modern Kurds.
Dagestan remains the bastion of Persian culture in the North Caucasus with fine examples of Iranian architecture like the Sassanid citadel in Derbent, strong influence of Persian cuisine, and common Persian names amongst the ethnic peoples of Dagestan. The ethnic Persian population of the North Caucasus, the Tats, remain, despite strong assimilation over the years, still visible in several North Caucasian cities. Even today, after decades of partition, some of these regions retain Iranian influences, as seen in their old beliefs, traditions and customs (e.g. Norouz).
According to Tadeusz Swietochowski, the territories of Iran and the republic of Azerbaijan usually shared the same history from the time of ancient Media (ninth to seventh centuries b.c.) and the Persian Empire (sixth to fourth centuries b.c.).
Intimately and inseparably intertwined histories for millennia, Iran irrevocably lost the territory that is nowadays Azerbaijan in the course of the 19th century. With the Treaty of Gulistan of 1813 following the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813) Iran had to cede eastern Georgia, its possessions in the North Caucasus and many of those in what is today the Azerbaijan Republic, which included Baku Khanate, Shirvan Khanate, Karabakh Khanate, Ganja Khanate, Shaki Khanate, Quba Khanate, and parts of the Talysh Khanate. Derbent (Darband) Khanate of Dagestan was also lost to Russia. These Khanates comprise most of what is today the Republic of Azerbaijan and Dagestan in Southern Russia. By the Treaty of Turkmenchay of 1828 following the Russo-Persian War (1826-1828), the result was even more disastrous, and resulted in Iran being forced to cede the Nakhichevan Khanate and the Mughan regions to Russia, as well as Erivan Khanate, and the remainder of the Talysh Khanate. All these territories together, lost in 1813 and 1828 combined, constitute all of the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and southern Dagestan. The area to the North of the river Aras, among which the territory of the contemporary republic of Azerbaijan were Iranian territory until they were occupied by Russia in the course of the 19th century.
Many localities in this region bear Persian names or names derived from Iranian languages and Azerbaijan remains by far Iran's closest cultural, religious, ethnic and historical neighbor. Azerbaijanis are by far the second largest ethnicity in Iran, and comprise the largest community of ethnic Azerbaijanis in the world, vastly outnumbering the number in the Republic of Azerbaijan. Both nations are the only officially Shia majority in the world, with adherents of the religion comprising an absolute majority in both nations. The people of nowadays Iran and Azerbaijan were converted to Shiism during exactly the same time in history. Furthermore, the name of "Azerbaijan" is derived through the name of the Persian satrap which ruled the contemporary region of Iranian Azerbaijan and minor parts of the Republic of Azerbaijan in ancient times.In 1918, the Azerbaijani Musavat party adopted the name for the nation upon the independence of the former territories under the Russian Empire.
Early in antiquity, Narseh of Persia is known to have had fortifications built here. In later times, some of Persia's literary and intellectual figures from the Qajar period have hailed from this region. Under intermittent Iranian suzerainty since antiquity, it was also separated from Iran in the mid-19th century, by virtue of the Gulistan Treaty and Turkmenchay Treaty.
که تا جایگه یافتی نخچوان
Oh Nakhchivan, respect you've attained,
بدین شاه شد بخت پیرت جوان
With this King in luck you'll remain.
Khwarazm is one of the regions of Iran-zameen, and is the home of the ancient Iranians, Airyanem Vaejah, according to the ancient book of the Avesta. Modern scholars believe Khwarazm to be what ancient Avestic texts refer to as "Ariyaneh Waeje" or Iran vij. Iranovich These sources claim that Urgandj, which was the capital of ancient Khwarazm for many years, was actually "Ourva": the eighth land of Ahura Mazda mentioned in the Pahlavi text of Vendidad. Others such as University of Hawaii historian Elton L. Daniel believe Khwarazm to be the "most likely locale" corresponding to the original home of the Avestan people,while Dehkhoda calls Khwarazm "the cradle of the Aryan tribe" (مهد قوم آریا). Today Khwarazm is split between several central Asian republics.
Superimposed on and overlapping with Chorasmia was Khorasan which roughly covered nearly the same geographical areas in Central Asia (starting from Semnan eastward through northern Afghanistan roughly until the foothills of Pamir, ancient Mount Imeon). Current day provinces such as Sanjan in Turkmenia, Razavi Khorasan Province, North Khorasan Province, and Southern Khorasan Province in Iran are all remnants of the old Khorasan. Until the 13th century and the devastating Mongol invasion of the region, Khorasan was considered the cultural capital of Greater Iran.
The national anthem in Tajikistan, "Surudi Milli", attests to the Perso-Tajik identity, which has seen a large revival, after the breakup of the USSR. Their language is almost identical to that spoken in Afghanistan and Iran, and their cities have Persian names, e.g. Dushanbe, Isfara, Rasht Valley, Garm, Murghab, Vahdat, Zar-afshan river, Shurab, and Kulob ([ permanent dead link ]). It is also important[ to whom? ] to note that Rudaki, considered by many as the father of modern Persian poetry, was from the modern day region of Tajikistan.
Home of the Parthian Empire (Nysa). Merv is also where the half-Persian caliph al-Mamun moved his capital to. The city of Eshgh Abad (some claim that the word is actually the transformed form of "Ashk Abad" literally meaning "built by Ashk", the head of Arsacid dynasty) is yet another Persian word meaning "city of love", and like Iran, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan, it was once part of Airyanem Vaejah.
Uzbekistan has a local Tajik population. The famous Persian cities of Afrasiab, Bukhara, Samarkand, Shahrisabz, Andijan, Khiveh, Navā'i, Shirin, Termez, and Zar-afshan are located here. These cities are the birthplace of the Islamic era Persian literature. The Samanids, who claimed inheritance to the Sassanids, had their capital built here.
ای بخارا شاد باش و دیر زی
Oh Bukhara! Joy to you and live long!
شاه زی تو میهمان آید همی
Your King comes to you in ceremony.
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The Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County regions of China harbored a Tajik population and culture.Chinese Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County was always counted as a part of the Iranian cultural & linguistic continent with Kashgar, Yarkand, Hotan, and Turpan bound to the Iranian history.
Modern state of Afghanistan was part of Sistan and Greater Khorasan regions, and hence was recognized with the name Khorasan (along with regions centered on Merv and Nishapur), which in Pahlavi means "The Eastern Land" (خاور زمین in Persian).
Nowadays region of Afghanistan is where Balkh is located, home of Rumi, Rabi'a Balkhi, Sanāī Ghaznawi, Jami, Khwaja Abdullah Ansari and where many other notables in Persian literature came from.
ز زابل به کابل رسید آن زمان
From Zabul he arrived to Kabul
گرازان و خندان و دل شادمان
Strutting, happy, and mirthful
---Ferdowsi in Shahnama
There is considerable influence of Iranian-speaking peoples in Pakistan. The region of Baluchistan is split between Pakistan and Iran and Baluchi, the majority languages of the Baluchistan province of Pakistan are also spoken in Southeastern Iran. In fact, the Chagai Hills and the western part of Makran district were part of Iran till the Durand Line was drawn in the late 1800s.
Pashto which is spoken in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA of Pakistan and Afghanistan is an Iranian language.
The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group that make up over half the population of Iran. They share a common cultural system and are native speakers of the Persian language, as well as languages closely related to Persian.
The history of Iran, which was commonly known until the mid-20th century as Persia in the Western world, is intertwined with the history of a larger region, also to an extent known as Greater Iran, comprising the area from Anatolia, the Bosphorus, and Egypt in the west to the borders of Ancient India and the Syr Darya in the east, and from the Caucasus and the Eurasian Steppe in the north to the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in the south.
Transcaucasia, also known as the South Caucasus, is a geographical region in the vicinity of the southern Caucasus Mountains on the border of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Transcaucasia roughly corresponds to modern Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The total area of these countries measures about 186,100 square kilometres. Transcaucasia and Ciscaucasia together comprise the larger Caucasus geographical region that divides Eurasia.
Lezgins are a Northeast Caucasian ethnic group native predominantly to southern Dagestan, Russia and northeastern Azerbaijan and who speak the Lezgian language.
Shirvan, also spelled as Sharvān, Shirwan, Shervan, Sherwan and Šervān, is a historical region in the eastern Caucasus, known by this name in both Islamic and modern times. Today, the region is an industrially and agriculturally developed part of the Azerbaijan Republic that stretches between the western shores of the Caspian Sea and the Kura River, centered on the Shirvan Plain.
The Treaty of Gulistan was a peace treaty concluded between Imperial Russia and Persia on 24 October 1813 in the village of Gulistan as a result of the first full-scale Russo-Persian War, lasting from 1804 to 1813. The peace negotiations were precipitated by Lankaran's fall to Gen. Pyotr Kotlyarevsky on 1 January 1813.
The Treaty of Turkmenchay was an agreement between Persia (Iran) and the Russian Empire, which concluded the Russo-Persian War (1826–28). It was signed on 10 February 1828 in Torkamanchay, Iran. By the treaty, Persia ceded to Russia control of several areas in the South Caucasus: the Erivan Khanate, the Nakhchivan Khanate, and the remainder of the Talysh Khanate. The boundary between Russian and Persia was set at the Aras River. These territories comprise modern-day Armenia, the southern parts of the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan, Nakhchivan, as well as Iğdır Province.
Khorāsān, sometimes called Greater Khorasan, is a historical region which formed the northeast province of Greater Iran. The name signifies "the Land of the Sun" or "the Eastern Province."
The Afsharid dynasty was an Iranian dynasty that originated from the Afshar tribe in Iran's north-eastern province of Khorasan, ruling Iran (Persia) in the mid-eighteenth century. The dynasty was founded in 1736 by the brilliant military commander Nader Shah, who deposed the last member of the Safavid dynasty and proclaimed himself as of the Shah of Iran.
Baku Khanate, was an autonomous Muslim principality under Iranian suzerainty, which existed between 1747 and 1806. Originally a province of Safavid empire, it became practically independent after the assassination of Nadir shah and weakening of central authority in Iran due to the struggle for power. Its territory now lies within present-day Azerbaijan,
Azerbaijan is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. It is bounded by Caspian Sea to the east, Russia's Daghestan region to the north, Georgia to the north-west, Armenia and Turkey to the south-west, and Iran to the south. Azerbaijan is a home to various ethnicities, majority of which are Azerbaijani, a Turkic ethnic group which numbers close to 9 million in the independent Republic of Azerbaijan.
The Talysh Khanate, also known as the Lenkaran Khanate, was a khanate of Iranian origin that was established in Persia and existed from the middle of the 18th century till the beginning of the 19th century, located in the south-west coast of the Caspian Sea.
Shirvan Khanate was a khanate founded by the Afsharid dynasty that existed in what is now Azerbaijan in 1748—1820.
The Russo-Persian War of 1826–28 was the last major military conflict between the Russian Empire and Iran.
The khanates of the Caucasus, or Azerbaijani khanates or Persian khanates, or Iranian khanates, were various provinces and principalities established by Persia (Iran) on their territories in the Caucasus from the late Safavid to the Qajar dynasty. The Khanates were mostly ruled by Khans of Turkic (Azeri) origin and were vassals and subjects of the Iranian shah (King). Persia permanently lost a part of these khanates to Russia as a result of the Russo-Persian Wars in the course of the 19th century, while the others were absorbed into Persia.
Nader Shah Afshar was one of the most powerful Iranian rulers in the history of the nation, ruling as Shah of Iran (Persia) from 1736 to 1747 when he was assassinated during a rebellion. Because of his military genius as evidenced in his numerous campaigns throughout Middle East, Caucasus, Central and South Asia, such as the battles of Herat, Mihmandust, Murche-Khort, Kirkuk, Yeghevard, Khyber Pass, Karnal and Kars, some historians have described him as the Napoleon of Persia, Sword of Persia, or the Second Alexander. Nader Shah was an Iranian who belonged to the Turkmen Afshar tribe of Khorasan in northeastern Iran, which had supplied military power to the Safavid dynasty since the time of Shah Ismail I.
The Persian Empire refers to a series of imperial dynasties that were centred in Persia/Iran from the 6th century BC Achaemenid Empire era to the 20th century AD in the Qajar dynasty era.
The Derbent Khanate was a Caucasian khanate that was established in Afsharid Iran. It corresponded to southern Dagestan and its center was at Derbent. It included the northern clans of Lezgian people.
Qajar Iran, also referred to as the Qajar Empire, officially the Sublime State of Persia and also known then as the Guarded Domains of Persia, was an Iranian empire ruled by the Qajar dynasty, which was of Turkic origin, specifically from the Qajar tribe, from 1789 to 1925. The Qajar family took full control of Iran in 1794, deposing Lotf 'Ali Khan, the last Shah of the Zand dynasty, and re-asserted Iranian sovereignty over large parts of the Caucasus. In 1796, Mohammad Khan Qajar seized Mashhad with ease, putting an end to the Afsharid dynasty, and Mohammad Khan was formally crowned as Shah after his punitive campaign against Iran's Georgian subjects. In the Caucasus, the Qajar dynasty permanently lost many of Iran's integral areas to the Russians over the course of the 19th century, comprising modern-day Georgia, Dagestan, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Iranian Russians or Persian Russians are Iranians in the Russian Federation, and are Russian citizens or permanent residents of (partial) Iranian national background.
Persia lost all its territories to the north of the Aras River, which included all of Georgia, and parts of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
In 1813 Iran signed the Treaty of Gulistan, ceding Georgia to Russia.
Of the four residences of the Achaemenids named by Herodotus—Ecbatana, Pasargadae or Persepolis, Susa and Babylon—the last [situated in Iraq] was maintained as their most important capital, the fixed winter quarters, the central office of bureaucracy, exchanged only in the heat of summer for some cool spot in the highlands. Under the Seleucids and the Parthians the site of the Mesopotamian capital moved a little to the north on the Tigris—to Seleucia and Ctesiphon. It is indeed symbolic that these new foundations were built from the bricks of ancient Babylon, just as later Baghdad, a little further upstream, was built out of the ruins of the Sassanian double city of Seleucia-Ctesiphon.
[..] throughout Iran's history the western part of the land has been frequently more closely connected with the lowlands of Mesopotamia than with the rest of the plateau to the east of the central deserts.
Between the coming of the 'Abbasids and the Mongol onslaught, Iraq and western Iran shared a closer history than did eastern Iran and its western counterpart.
Persian remained the language of most of the sedentary people as well as that of the chancery until the 15th century and thereafter, as attested by Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru (d. 1430) who said, "The majority of inhabitants of Iraq know Persian and Arabic, and from the time of domination of Turkic people the Turkish language has also found currency: as the city people and those engaged in trade and crafts are Persophone, the Bedouins are Arabophone, and the governing classes are Turkophone. But, all three peoples (qawms) know each other's languages due to the mixture and amalgamation."