History Of Persia

Archaeological evidences show that from 100,000 B.C., various ethnic groups with similar cultures lived on the Iranian Plateau. But very little has been known about these cultures until the Aryan migration about 90,000 years later. Nonetheless, archaeological discoveries have shown that the people who lived in that area before the Aryans, were people of peace-loving, agricultural, and artistic nature.

Linguistically, Iran means the land of Aryans, the eastern branch of Indo-Europeans. A group of Aryans (or Indo-Iranians) who migrated to the Iranian plateau around 2000 BCE from Central Asia, are thought to be the direct ancestors of modern Iranians This has encouraged many historians to start the history of Iran from the Aryan migrations or the establishment of the first Aryan political power, the Achaemenid Empire. At the same time, it is true that long before the influx of Aryans into Iran, different peoples with established civilizations and kingdoms inhabited the country.  These dynasties that deteriorated before the arrival of the Aryans or were defeated by them, had an extensive system of international trade and relations with other civilizations of their time, as far west as Egypt and maybe Southern Europe and to China in the east. In the 6th century BC. Cyrus the Great founded the Persian Empire, which was destroyed in 330 BC by Alexander the Great. In the following centuries, Persia was ruled by Greecs, Parthians, and Sasanids until the Arab invasion in the middle 7th century when the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism gave way to Islam. Four centuries later, in the 11th century, The Seljuk Turks arrived, followed by the Mongols under Genghis Khan and his grandson Hulagu Khan in the 13th century and Tamerlane (Timur) in the 14th century. Another Turkish dynasty from Azarbijan region, called Safavids, took control in the 16th century. Safavids belonged to a Sufi religious order and made Shiite Islam the official religion of Iran, undertaking a major conversion campaign of Iranian Muslims. The Safavid dynasty reached its height during the reign of Shah Abbas 1st (1587-I629). It was during his reign that Persia once again came to be known in Europe as a superpower, because it was the greatest opponent of the Ottomans, and their wars saved Europe, the Ottomans being too occupied on the east fighting Iran to make headway in the west.
In 18th-19th under Qajar dynasty, centuries Iran fall under the increasing pressure of European nations, particularly the Russian Empire and the Great Britain. The discovery of oil in early 1900s intensified the rivalry of the Great Britain and Russia for power over the nation. After the World War 1st Iran was admitted to the League of Nations as an original member.
In 1921 Reza Khan, an army officer, established a military dictatorship. He was subsequently elected hereditary Shah, thus ending the Qajar dynasty and founding the new Pahlavi dynasty.


PreIslamic Period Timeline

  • ~750 BC The Medes era: Deioces (728 to 675 BC) was the founder of the Median kingdom. The Median capital Ekbatana or Hegmataneh (Hamedan) was founded in this era.
  • ~600 BC The Achaemenids era: The capital of Achaemenids was located in Fars in southwestern Iran. Many present day landmarks, such as Takhte-jamshid and Persepolis are from this era.
  • 329 BC Defeat of the Achaemenids by Alexander. Aryo-barzan, a brave Persian commander fought to death with all his personnel and couldn't stop Alexander to invade and destroy the capital.
  • ~250 BC The Parthians era began by defeating the Greeks.
  • 226 AD The Sassanid era. The Sassanians overthrow the Parthians and established a vast and wealthy empire that included the Central Asia, Middle East, Turkey and North Africa.

Islamic Period Timeline

  • 570-632 AD The birth and death of Muhammad  the prophet
  • 630 The Arab invasion. The Sassanid emperor Yazdgerd III was defeated by the Arabs at the Battle of Nahravan. Bisotoon, the capital of the Sassanian was destroyed. The palace and library hosting more the 20,000 old books and scripts were burnt.
  • ~800 AD
    Uprising of the Shi'ite movement in Khorasan (Northeastern Iran) by Abu Moslem Khosasany who fought the Arabs and established the first independent Persian state in Khorasan.
  • 867 AD
    The birth of the Saffarid dynasty by Yaqub Saffar who was the first leader to unite Persians under the Shi'ite flag.
  • 874 AD
    The rise of the Samanid dynasty in Northeastern Persia. Eventually, Samanid overthrow the Saffarids in 900 AD. 962
    Ghaznavid dynasty established in eastern Iran. The capital was Ghazneh located in present day Afghanistan. The Ghaznavids could defeat the Samanids in the early 11th cent and established a vast kingdom from India to Syria.
  • 1040  The Seljuq era began by defeating the Ghaznavids at the Battle of Dandanqan, near Marv. Seljuq reign ended with the death of Sanjar, the last king of this dynasty around 1160 AD.
  • ~1160 AD
    The rise of Kharazmshahian in Northeastern Iran.
  • 1220
    The Mongol invasion. Mongols captured nearly all Persia except Fars region. In Bukhara and Samarkand, they ruined and killed more than one million residents. Later the Il-Khanid dynasty was established in central Persia.
  • 1380-87 AD
    The Tatar invasion under the command of Timur and the reign of the Timurid rulers started. 1502
    Safavid dynasty was established by Shah Ismail.

    1729
    Nader Shah established the Afshar dynasty by expelling Afghans . He also captured Delhi and North India.

    1751-1794
    Zand dynasty.

    1796-1925
    Qajar dynasty: “Nehdzat Mashrooteh” or the Constitutional Movement happened in this era and the first constitutional government was established.
  • 1925-979+
    Finally Pahlavi dynasty, a constitutional monarchy ... Concentrating on modernization, education and establishing close diplomatic relations with the Western countries were among the main objective of the King Reza and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The gap between the government and people's will, mostly due to corruption, ultra-speed modernization of the society and what was called unfair diplomatic relations, led to the Islamic movement in 1979, that established a kind of republic called Islamic Republic.
  • 1979- Today
    Establishment of Islamic Republic