The early history of Iran dates back to 10,000 BC as indicated by the archeologists. Recent findings have shown that people lived on the southern shores of the Caspian, which is one of the few regions of the world which managed to escape the Ice Age. An interesting fact about Iran is that, the country managed to remain independent through much of its history, unlike several other Middle East countries. In spite of the history of Iran being a lengthy and complicated one, its nature is determined by the rise and fall of succeeding dynasties - with periods of chaos and confusion.
The different periods in the history of Iran witnessed a succession of empires and dynasties like the Persian Empire, Medes, Assyrian Kingdom, Macedonians, Huns, Sassanians, Arabs, the Seljuks and Mongols, the Timurids and the Safavids.
Historically Iran was known as Persia to the west until 1935. The Persian Empire was founded by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century. Persia was one of the major dynasties which flourished under the Achaemenids in (559 - 330 BC). It was destroyed by Alexander the Great in 330 BC followed by frequent invasions by Arabs, Turks, Mongols, British and Russians, and Parthians. Despite being caught up in the affairs of larger powers, Persia has always managed to reassert its national identity and build its distinctive cultural and political entity.
Subsequent to the Arab conquest in the middle of the 7th century, the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism was replaced by Islam.
Iran came under the influence of European nations in 18th and 19th centuries, particularly the Russian Empire and Great Britain. With the discovery of oil in early 1900s, the rivalry between Great Britain and Russia had increased for power over Iran.
Subsequent to the First World War, Iran became a member of the League of Nations. In the year 1963, the country's most significant religious rebellion which was led by Ayatollah Khomeini, took place in protest against the "White Revolution".
Following the triumph of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the shah was defeated and had to flee from the country. Iran was officially renamed the Islamic Republic of Iran, became a theocratic state. The country was governed by the late Ayatollah Khomeini (1900-1989)
The period between 1980 and 1988, the country witnessed the Iran- Iraq war. In the year 1989, Ayatollah Seyed Ruhollah Mustafavi, founder and leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran had died. He was succeeded by a new leader Ayatollah Khamenei while Hojjat ol-Eslam Rafsanjani was designated as Iran's new President.
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