|3 million to 4 million (2006) 6 million (2016)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Province of Mazandaran and parts of the provinces of Alborz, Golestan, Tehran and Semnan in Iran|
|Mostly Shi'a Muslim|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Iranian peoples, Caucasian peoples|
The Mazanderani people (Mazanderani : مازرون; Persian : مردم مازندرانی) or Tabari people (Mazanderani : تپورون; Persian : مردم تبری) are an Iranian people whose homeland is the North of Iran. Like the closely related Gilaks, the Mazanderanis are a Caspian people who inhabit the south coast of the Caspian Sea, part of the historical region that used to be called Tabaristan. The Alborz mountains mark the southern boundary of Mazanderani settlement.
The Mazanderani number between three millionand four million (2006 estimate). Their dominant religion is Shiite Islam.
Most Mazanderani people live on the southeastern coast of the Caspian Sea. Many of them are farmers and fishermen.The Mazanderani are closely related to the neighbouring Gilaki people as well as Caucasian peoples (e.g., the Georgians, Armenians, and Azerbaijanis).
The Mazanderani language is a Northwestern Iranian language spoken by the Mazanderani people. Most Mazanderani are fluent in Persian. According to Kathryn M. Coughlin, and her "Muslim cultures today: a reference guide," Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006. p. 89: "...Iranians speak Persian or a Persian dialect such as Gilaki or Mazandarani"The Gilaki and Mazanderani languages (but not other Iranian languages) share certain typological features with Caucasian languages.
With the growth of education and the media, the distinction between Mazanderani and other Iranian languages is likely to disappear.Mazanderani is closely related to Gilaki and the two languages have similar vocabularies. They preserve more of the noun declension system characteristic of older Iranian languages than Persian does.
Assistant professor Maryam Borjian of Rutgers University states that Mazanderani has different sub-dialects and there is a high mutual intelligibility among Mazanderani sub-dialects.
The Mazanderani and the closely related Gilaks occupy the south Caspian region of Iran and speak languages belonging to the North-Western branch of Iranian languages. It has been suggested that their ancestors came from the Caucasus region, perhaps displacing an earlier group in the South Caspian.Linguistic evidence supports this scenario, in that the Gilaki and Mazanderani languages (but not other Iranian languages) share certain typological features with Caucasian languages. There have been patterns analyzed of mtDNA and Y chromosome variation in the Gilaki and Mazanderani.
Based on mtDNA HV1 sequences, the Gilaki and Mazanderani most closely resemble their geographic and linguistic neighbors, namely other Iranian groups. However, their Y chromosome types most closely resemble those found in groups from the South Caucasus.
A scenario that explains these differences is a south Caucasian origin for the ancestors of the Gilaki and Mazanderani, followed by introgression of women from local Iranian groups, possibly because of patrilocality.Since mtDNA and language are maternally transmitted, the incorporation of local Iranian women would have resulted in the concomitant replacement of the ancestral Caucasian language and mtDNA types of the Gilaki and Mazanderani with their current Iranian language and mtDNA types. Concomitant replacement of language and mtDNA may be a more general phenomenon than previously recognized.
The Mazanderani and Gilaki groups fall inside a major cluster consisting of populations from the Caucasus and West Asia and are particularly close to the South Caucasus groups Georgians, Armenians, and Azerbaijani's. Iranians from Tehran and Isfahan are more distant from these groups.
Analysis of their NRY patrilines has revealed haplogroup J2, associated with the neolithic diffusion of agriculturalists from the Near East, to be the predominant Y-DNA lineage among the Mazanderani (subclades J2a3h-M530, J2a3b-M67 and J2a-M410, more specifically.).The next most frequently occurring lineage, R1a1a, believed to have been associated with early Iranian expansion into Central/Southern Eurasia and currently ubiquitous in that area, is found in almost 25%,. This haplogroup, with the aforementioned J2, accounts for over 50% of the entire sample. Haplogroup G2a3b, attaining significant frequency together with G2a and G1, is the most commonly carried marker in the G group among Mazanderani men. The lineages E1b1b1a1a-M34 and C5-M356 comprise the remainder, of less than 10% sampled.
In the Safavid, Afsharid, and Qajar eras Mazandaran was settled by large amounts of Georgians, Circassians, Armenians and other peoples of the Caucasus, whose descendants still live across Mazandaran.Many towns, villages and neighbourhoods in Mazandaran bear the name "Gorji" (i.e., Georgian) in them, although most of the Georgians are assimilated into the mainstream Mazanderanis: they keep a Georgian conscience. The history of Georgian settlement is described by Iskandar Beg Munshi, the author of the 17th century History of Alam Aray Abbasi . In addition foreigners, e.g., Chardin and Della Valle, have written about their encounters with the Georgian, Circassian and Armenian Mazanderanis.