History of Iran




The history of Iran, commonly also known 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 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.

Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest continuous major civilizations, with historical and urban settlements dating back to 4000 BC.The southwestern part of the Iranian plateau participated in the wider Ancient Near East with Elam, from the Early Bronze Age. Hegel names the Persians as the first Historical People.The Medes unified Iran as a nation and empire in 625 BC. TheAchaemenid Empire (550–330 BC), founded by Cyrus the Great, was the first of the Persian empires to rule from the Balkans to North Africa and also Central Asia, spanning three continents, from their seat of power in Persis (Persepolis). It was the largest empire yet seen and the first world empire.They were succeeded by the Seleucid Empire, the Parthians and the Sasanians who governed Iran for almost 1,000 years, and would put Iran once again as the leading powers in the world, only this time among their arch rival, the Roman Empire and the successive Byzantine Empire.

The Persian Empire proper begins in the Iron Age, following the influx of Iranian peoples. Iranian people gave rise to the Medes the Achaemenids, the Arsacids, and the Sasanians during the classical antiquity.

Once a major empire of superpower proportions,having conquered far and wide, Iran has endured invasions too, by the Greeks, Arabs, Turks, and the Mongols. Iran has continually reasserted its national identity throughout the centuries and has developed as a distinct political and cultural entity.

The Islamic conquest of Persia (633–656) ended the Sasanians and was a turning point in Iranian history. Islamicization in Iran took place during 8th to 10th century and led to the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian religion in Persia, as well as many of its dependancies. However, the achievements of the previous Persian civilizations were not lost, but were to a great extent absorbed by the new Islamic polity and civilization.

Iran was once again reunified as an independent state in 1501 by the Safavid dynasty which established  Shi’a Islam as the official  religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning points in the history of Islam. Functioning again as a leading power, this time amongst their neighboring Ottoman arch rival for centuries, Iran had been a monarchy ruled by a shah, or emperor, almost without interruption from 1501 until the 1979 Iranian revolution, when Iran officially became an Islamic Republic on 1 April 1979.

In the course of the first half of the 19th century, Iran irrevocably lost many of its territories in the Caucasus which it had been ruling intermittently encompassed for millennia, as well as being part of the very concept of Iran for three centuries, comprising modern day Georgia, Dagestan,Azerbaijan, and Armenia following the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813) and Russo-Persian War (1826-1828) to its rapidly expanding and emerged neighboring rival, the Russian Empire.

The culture of what is Iran has evolved over thousands of years of recorded history and was among the first civilizations in the world.

Dynasties and ruling families in Ancient Era (Pars)

  • Medes (ca. 678 BCE–549 BCE) of Median origin- Hovaqshatara
  • Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BC) of Persian origin- founded by Great Cyrus, greaat kings, Great Darius and Xerxes
  • Salukis (320s BC–3rd century AD) founded by Salukis the First
  • Parthian (Arsacid)  Empire (247 BC–224 AD) of Parthian origin, founded by Arsacid, Great Kings: Mehrdad the first, Arsacid the 13th
  • Sasanian Empire (224–651) of Persian origin, Founded by Arsacid Babakan (great kings: Shapur the First, Shapur the Second,  Anushirvan the Just
  • Tahirid dynasty (821–873) of Persian origin

Dynasties and famous ruling families after Islam

  • Tahirid dynasty (821–873) Founded by Taher Zulyamineyn
  • Saffarid dynasty (861–1003) Founded by Jacob Leiss
  • Samanids (819–999) founded by Nasr the First, great kings: Ismail Samanid and Nasr bin Ahmad
  • Ziyarid dynasty (931–1090) of Dailamite origin, founded by Mardavich, the son of Ziyar, famous king:  Qabus bin Voshmgir
  • Buyid dynasty (934–1055) Of Dailamite origin, founded by Emadolduleh Ali, the great king Azdoldulla
  • Ghaznavid (998-1160) founded by Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavid
  • Saljuq  (1078-1220) Founded by Toqrol Beyk, great kings: Malekshah and Sultan Sanjar
  • Kharazmshahian  (1078-1220) founded by  Anushtekin Qarja, famous king: Mohammad Kharazmshah
  • Ilkhanid (1256-1336), founded by Holaku Khan
  • Timurid (1370-1498), founded by Timur of Gurkan
  • Safavid dynasty (1501–1736) , founded by Shah Ismail the first, great king: Shah Abbas the first
  • Afsharid dynasty (1736–1796) founded by Nadir Shah
  • Zand dynasty (1750–1794) founded by Karim Khan Zand
  • Qajar (1795-1937) founded by Agha Muhammad Khan, great king: Nassireddin Shah
  • Pahlavi (1926-1979), founded by Reza Shah
  • Islamic Republic of Iran (1979) founded by Rohollah Khomeini