Greater Iran

Map showing the geographic, political (partial), and cultural reach of Iran (historically known as Persia) and the Iranian peoples corresponding to the modern-day designated region of Greater Iran in green.[1]
Median Empire (c. 678 – c. 585 BC) at its greatest extent (c. 585 BC)
Achaemenid Empire (550 BC–330 BC) at its greatest extent (c. 480 BC)
Parthian Empire (247 BC–224 AD) at its greatest extent (c. 96 BC)
Sasanian Empire (224–651) at its greatest extent (c. 620)
Samanid Empire (819–999) at its greatest extent (c. 943)
Saffarid Empire (863–1003) at its greatest extent (c. 879)
Safavid Empire (1501–1736) at its greatest extent (c. 1624)
Afsharid dynasty (1736–1796) at its greatest extent (c. 1747)
Qajar Iran (1789–1925) at its greatest extent (c. 1797)

Greater Iran (Persian: ایران بزرگ, romanizedIrān-e Bozorg) refers to a region covering parts of Western Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, Xinjiang, and the Caucasus, where both Iranian culture and Iranian languages have had a significant presence and impact. Historically, this was a region long-ruled by the dynasties of various Iranian empires,[note 1][2][3][4] under whose rule the local populace incorporated considerable aspects of Persian culture through extensive inter-contact,[note 2] or alternatively where sufficient Iranian peoples settled to still maintain communities who patronize their respective cultures;[note 3] it roughly corresponds geographically to the Iranian plateau and its bordering plains.[1][5] The Encyclopædia Iranica uses the term Iranian Cultural Continent to describe this region.[6]

In addition to the modern state of Iran, the term "Greater Iran" includes all of the territory ruled by various Iranian peoples throughout history, including in Mesopotamia, the eastern half of Anatolia, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia.[7][8] The concept of Greater Iran has its source in the history of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, particularly in the region of Persis (modern-day Fars Province), and overlaps to a certain extent with the history of Iran proper.

In recent centuries, Iran lost many of the territories conquered under the Safavid and Qajar dynasties, including most of Iraq to the Ottoman Turks (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 1857[9] and the MacMahon Arbitration in 1905),[10] and Caucasus territories to the Russians (via the Russo-Persian Wars of the 17th and 19th centuries).[11] The Treaty of Gulistan in 1813 saw Iran cede the regions of modern-day Dagestan, Georgia, and most of Azerbaijan to the Russian Empire.[12][13][14] The Turkmanchey Treaty of 1828 between the Russians and the Iranians decisively ended centuries of Iranian rule over its Caucasian provinces,[15] and forced Iran to cede modern-day Armenia, the remainder of Azerbaijan, as well as Iğdır (in eastern Turkey), and set modern boundaries of Iran along the Aras River.[16]

On the occasion of Nowruz in 1935, the endonym of Iran was adopted as the official international name of Persia by its erstwhile ruler, Reza Shah Pahlavi.[17] However, in 1959, the government of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi announced that both "Persia" and "Iran" could be used interchangeably to refer to the country on a formal basis.[18]

  1. ^ a b "IRAN i. LANDS OF IRAN". Encyclopædia Iranica.
  2. ^ Marcinkowski, Christoph (2010). Shi'ite Identities: Community and Culture in Changing Social Contexts. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 83. ISBN 978-3-643-80049-7.
  3. ^ "Interview with Richard N. Frye (CNN)". Archived from the original on 2016-04-23.
  4. ^ Richard Nelson Frye, The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 55, No. 4 (Oct. 1962), pp. 261–268 I use the term Iran in an historical context[...]Persia would be used for the modern state, more or less equivalent to "western Iran". I use the term "Greater Iran" to mean what I suspect most Classicists and ancient historians really mean by their use of Persia—that which was within the political boundaries of States ruled by Iranians.
  5. ^ Dialect, Culture, and Society in Eastern Arabia: Glossary. Clive Holes. 2001. Page XXX. ISBN 978-90-04-10763-2.
  6. ^ "Columbia College Today". columbia.edu. Archived from the original on 2015-11-27. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  7. ^ Frye, Richard Nelson (1962). "Reitzenstein and Qumrân Revisited by an Iranian, Richard Nelson Frye, The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 55, No. 4 (Oct. 1962), pp. 261–268". The Harvard Theological Review. 55 (4): 261–268. doi:10.1017/S0017816000007926. JSTOR 1508723.
  8. ^ International Journal of Middle East Studies. (2007), 39: pp 307–309 Copyright © 2007 Cambridge University Press.
  9. ^ Erik Goldstein (1992). Wars and peace treaties, 1816-1991. Psychology Press. pp. 72–73. ISBN 978-0-203-97682-1.
  10. ^ Sir Percy Molesworth Sykes (1915). A history of Persia, Volume 2. Macmillan and co. p. 469. Macmahon arbitration persia.
  11. ^ Roxane Farmanfarmaian (2008). War and peace in Qajar Persia: implications past and present. Psychology Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-203-93830-0.
  12. ^ India. Foreign and Political Dept. (1892). A Collection of Treaties, Engagements, and Sunnuds, Relating to India and Neighbouring Countries: Persia and the Persian Gulf. G. A. Savielle and P. M. Cranenburgh, Bengal Print. Co. pp. x (10). treaty of gulistan.
  13. ^ Mikaberidze, Alexander (2015). Historical Dictionary of Georgia. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 348–349. ISBN 978-1-4422-4146-6. Persia lost all its territories to the north of the Aras River, which included all of Georgia, and parts of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
  14. ^ Olsen, James Stuart; Shadle, Robert (1991). Historical Dictionary of European Imperialism. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 314. ISBN 978-0-313-26257-9. In 1813 Iran signed the Treaty of Gulistan, ceding Georgia to Russia.
  15. ^ Fisher et al. 1991, p. 329.
  16. ^ Abbas Amanat (1997). Pivot of the universe: Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar and the Iranian Monarchy, 1831-1896. I.B.Tauris. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-86064-097-1.
  17. ^ Kenneth M. Pollack (2005). The Persian puzzle: the conflict between Iran and America. Random House, Inc. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-8129-7336-5.
  18. ^ Yarshater, Ehsan Persia or Iran, Persian or Farsi Archived 2010-10-24 at the Wayback Machine, Iranian Studies, vol. XXII no. 1 (1989).


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