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Timeline of Iranian History
Last Updated: October, 2009

Before 3000BC. Settlements in dry farming areas, including Mesopotamia and Susa in Iran, and presence of far reaching trade.

3000-2000 BC. Migration of semi-nomadic pastoral tribes, and permanent settlements in
Zagros Mountains in modern Kurdistan and Luristan. Major Mesopotamian City states
dominated the area

2000-1000 BC. The arrival of semi-nomadic populations, including the Indo-Iranians tribes.

1000 BC. Iranian groups such as Medes, were already organized into small states or tribes in western Iran, and expanded into northwestern Iran

800BC. By the second half of the eight-century BC, the Iranians constituted the majority in many regions of western and northwestern Iran. Medes consolidated their power.

728 – 550 BC. Medes form the first Iranian dynasty in the region. The beginning of Jewish settlements in Iran

550 - 330BCBC. Achaemenid Persians create the first major empire, and Persian speaking groups dominate the entire region. Aramaic is used extensively but, Persians maintain Old Persian language and their own cuneiform writing

330 – 130 BC. Greek conquest of Iran and formation of Greek colonies in Iranian territories. Greek language and culture becomes popular. Iran becomes part of the Seleucid Empire.

247BC – 224AD. Parthian tribes, an Iranian group, end the Greek rule, Middle Persian is developed, and Zoroastrianism is promoted. Christians settle in Iran and Parthians battle Romans and invaders from the east.

224 - 651 AD. The last major Iranian group, Sasanian, rule Iran, Middle Persian is fully developed, and a Zoroastrian church is established. Centuries of wars with Rome and Byzantine weakens the empire, and Iran falls to the Arab/Muslims.

622: Prophet Muhammad fearing for his life migrated from Mecca to Medina. This date is the beginning of Islamic Lunar calendar.

642: The Sassanian Empire falls to the Muslim armies of Arabia.

661: Ali, the Prophet Mohammad's son-in-law and the fourth and last of the early caliphs is assassinated. His death creates a major schism in Islam between the Sunni and Shi'ite sects. The Umayyad clan emerges as the rulers of the new Muslim Empire.

680: Imam Hussein, Ali's son, was killed by the Umayyad army in Karbala. His death becomes the most important Shi‘ite mourning event.

696: Arabic had become the dominant language of the Islamic world.

750: The Abbasids end Umayyad rule with help from the Persians.

821: Tahirids, a local dynasty from Iran practically end the Arab domination of Iran. Their rule ends in 873.

867:The Saffarids of Sistan establish Iranian dominance in the eastern Iranian territories until their collapse in 903.

873: The Samanids become the first truly Iranian group ruling Iran until 999. Persian becomes the official langue of the court and replaces Arabic.

1010: The Persian epic, the “Book of Kings” is composed. The book (Shahnameh) has been instrumental in the revival and continuity of the Persian language and culture.

945: The Buyid leaders, from north-central Iran, defeated the Arab armies. They later captured Baghdad. They collapsed by 1055, but their influence remained for centuries.

1000: The beginnings of the Turkish dominance in Iran and the emergence of the Saljuq Dynasty.

1220: The Mongol invasion. Chingiz Khan and his armies devastated Iran. He died in 1227 and his empire was divided between his close kin.

1258: The Mongols sacked Baghdad and ended the Abbasid Caliphate. The Il-Khanid dynasty gained control of the Persian territories of the Mongols.

1295: Ghazan Khan, the Mongol Emperor of Iran from the Ilkhanid dynasty converts to Islam.

1405: Timur (Tamerlane) conquered most of Persia and its surrounding areas. The Timurid dynasty of Iran collapses in 1501.

1501: The conquest of Tabriz by Shah Ismail I and the establishment of the Safavid rule in Iran and Shi’i as the state religion.

1514: The Ottomans had a decisive victory in the battle of Chalidran and Iran lost eastern Anatolia.

1507: The Portuguese invaded the Hurmuz Island and port in the Persian Gulf and started a century of rivalry with the British.

1526: Rebellion by the Rumlu and Ustalju Turkmen tribes. Takkalu tribes also rebelled and attacked Tabriz in 1531.

1555: A peace treaty between the Ottomans and Iran divided Armenia and Georgia between the two countries. The Eastern parts of these countries remained part of Iran.

1587: Shah Abbas the Great assumes the throne. He defeated all rebellious groups in Iran and consolidated central power.

1590: Shah Abbas I was forced to give away many territories in Armenia, Georgia, and parts of Azerbaijan and Luristan to the Ottomans

1597: Shah Abbas I ended the Uzbek invasion of Iran. He welcomed Europeans including the British in order to modernize his army and expand trade and unified the coinage in the country.

1642: Shah Abbas II (1642-1666) tried to implement bureaucratic reform and reduce the power of clergy. He established trade with the East India Company and gave asylum to several thousand Uzbeks in Iran.

1709: The Ghilzai Afghans rebelled and occupied Qandahar and established a local kingdom.

1721: Peter the Great, the Russian ruler occupied Baku and increased Russian influence in the area.

1722: Mahmud, a Ghilzai Afghan attacked Iran. He captured Isfahan and ended Safavid rule. Iran lost Afghan territories.

1736: Nadir Afshar deposed the last Safavid claimant to the throne and declared himself the new Shah. He invaded India in 1738. A brilliant military strategist, his reign was very violent and turbulent.

1750: Karim Khan Zand ruled over most parts of Iran. He died in 1779 and his short rule was relatively peaceful and he improved the security.

1783: Empress Catherine II signed a treaty with the ruler of Georgia and made the area a Russian protectorate.

1794: The last Zand ruler was defeated by the leader of the Qajar Oghuz tribes.

1796: Agha Muhammad Khan Qajar declared himself the new Shah and founded the Qajar Dynasty. By his death in 1797 he had managed to consolidate his power and created a powerful central authority.

1813: The Treaty of Gulistan; after a disastrous war with Russia, under this treaty, Iran lost what are now the Republics of Azerbaijan, Daghistan and Georgia for good.

1828: Under the Treaty of Turkmanchi, Iran was forced to cede part of Persian Armenia (modern Erivan and Nakhichevan) to Russia and allow the Russians to have a navy in the Caspian Sea.

1848: Muhammad Shah Qajar dies.


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