A time-line of the Persians

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(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi)

See also a timeline of the Near East
See also a timeline of the Arabs
See also a timeline of the Turks

4200 BC: Susa is founded in western Persia
3100 BC: Tables in proto-Elamite script
2700 BC: a first dynasty creates the Elamite kingdom (non Semitic) in western Persia with capital in Susa
2350 BC: The Akkadians conquer Susa
2180 BC: the Akkadian empire is destroyed by the Guti, who invade from the north, and the Elamites of Susa regain their independence
2007 BC: the Elamites of Susa capture Ur
2000 BC: the game of chess ("shatranj") develops in Persia
1340 BC: King Untash-Napirisha of Elam founds a new capital at Chogha Zanbil
836 BC: Shalmaneser II, King of Assyria, defeats the Medes, who rule in Persia
722 BC: Dayaukku/Dečoces founds the Median dynasty
710 BC: Daiukku founds the new capital of the Medians/Persians at Hakmataneh/Ecbatana (Hamadan)
700 BC: Achaemenes founds the Achaemenid dynasty of Persia in Anshan, subject to Media
675 BC: Khshathrita/ Phraortes unites the Median tribes and expels the Assyrians from northeastern Iran
653 BC: the Scythians invade the Median empire (northeast Persia)
646 BC: king Ashurbanipal of Assyria raids the Elamite capital Susa in Persia
626 BC: the Medians/Persians defeat the Scythians
625 BC: Median king Cyaxares moves the capital to Ecbatana (Hamadan)
615 BC: the Medes capture Assyrian cities
612 BC: The Babylonians, led by king Nabopolassar, and their allies the Medes, led by Cyaxares, destroy the Assyrian capital of Nineveh (as well as Nimrud) and split the Assyrian empire (Mesopotamia to Babylon and Elam to Media) while Egypt recovers control of Palestine and Syria
600 BC: Zarathustra forms a new religion in Persia
559 BC: Cyrus Achaemenian unifies Elam, and moves the capital of the Achaemenids to Susa
550 BC: Cyrus Achaemenian defeats Astyages, emperor of the Medes, conquers its capital Ecbatana (Hamadan), and unifies Media and Elam in the Persian empire
546 BC: Cyrus overthrows Croesus of Lydia
539 BC: Cyrus of Persia invades the Babylonian empire and frees the Jews
530 BC: Cambyses becomes king of Persia
525 BC: Cambyses of Persia conquers Egypt at the battle of Pelusium
522 BC: Cambyses dies and civil War erupts in Persia
521 BC: Darius becomes king of Persia and divides Persia into satrapies
521 BC: Darius of Persia expands the Persian empire beyond the Indus River
518 BC: Darius founds the new capital of Persia, Persepolis
514 BC: the Persian kind Darius invades Scythia
500 BC: Darius makes Aramaic the official language of the Persian empire
499 BC: Ionian cities revolt against Persian domination
498 BC: Ionian cities helped by Athens sack Sardis but are beaten at the Battle of Ephesus
492 BC: Darius of Persia attacks Thrace and Macedonia but the fleet is destroyed by a storm before it can reach Athens
490 BC: Darius invades mainland Greece to punish Athens but loses at the battle of Marathon
486 BC: The satrapy of Egypt and Judah revolt
485 BC: Darius dies and Xerxes becomes king of Persia
480 BC: Xerses, king of Persia, invades Greece and wins the battle of Thermopylae, but is defeated at the naval battle of Salamis because the Greeks employ the faster trireme boats
479 BC: The Greeks defeat the Persians at the battle of Plataea and expel the Persians from Europe
465 BC: Artaxerxes I Longimanus becomes king of Persia
424 BC: Xerxes II becomes king of Persia
404 BC: Artaxerxes II Mnemon becomes king of Persia and loses Egypt
358 BC: Artaxerxes III Ochus becomes king of Persia
343 BC: Artaxerxes III destroys Sidon that has revolted and invades Egypt
336 BC: Darius Codomannus becomes king of Persia
334 BC: Alexander defeats the Persian army at the Dardanelles
333 BC: Alexander invades the Persian empire from Syria to Palestine
331 BC: Alexander the Great conquers Persia and destroys Persepolis, ending the Achaemenid dynasty
329 BC: Artaxerxes V dies, last of the Achaemenians
323 BC: Alexander the Great dies at Babylon and his empire is carved into three empires: Cassander rules over Greece and Macedonia, Lysimachus rules over Thracia and Asia Minor, Ptolemy rules over Egypt, Judea, Syria, Mesopotamia and India
312 BC: Ptolemy's general in Syria, Seleucus Nicator, declares himself satrap of Babylon
305 BC: Seleucus Nicator establishes a kingdom ranging from Syria in the west to India in the east and founds the Seleucid dynasty with capital in Seleucia (Iraq)
303 BC: Seleucus grants Punjab and Afghanistan to Chandragupta Maurya
282 BC: Seleucus defeats and kills Lysimachus and thereby conquers Asia Minor
281 BC: Seleucus is murdered by the king of Thracia and is succeeded by his son Antiochus who transfers the capital to Antiochia
250 BC: Diodotos, a Macedonian ruler of the satrapy of Bactria (Afghanistan), declares its independence from the Seleucids
250 BC: the Parni invade the satrapy of Parthia (northern Iran) and found the Parthian empire with capital in Ctesiphon (near Seleucia) and Arsaces as ruler (founder of the Arsacid dynasty)
248 BC: Tiridates leads the Parthians to independence from the Seleucids
246 BC: defeated by Ptolemy III Euergetes, the Seleucid empire loses eastern lands to the Parthians and to Pergamum
239 BC: Bactria declares independence from the Seleucids
198 BC: the Seleucids under Antiochus III conquer Palestine and Phoenicia from the Ptolemaics
192 BC: the Seleucids under Antiochus III are defeated by the Romans in Thracia
190 BC: Bactrian king Euthydemus defeats Seleucid king Antiochus III at Magnesia
188 BC: Pergamum conquers the Seleucid lands of Lydia, Phrygia, Lycaonia, Pisidia
185 BC: Parthians under Priapatius expand into Seleucid eastern Iran
175 BC: Mithraism (an offshoot of Zoroastrianism that worships Ahura Mazda as the sole and creator god) is born in Bactria
170 BC: Batrian king Demetrios I expands Bactria to northwestern India
155 BC: Bactrian king Menander invades northwestern India
145 BC: the Kushan (Yuezhi), nomadic tribes expelled from China by the Hsiungnu (Huns), overthrow the kingdom of Bactria and pushes the Scythians south to Iran and India
141 BC: the Parthians of Mithradates I conquer Media and Elam from the Seleucids, while Edessa becomes de-facto independent
135 BC: the Kushan establish their capital in Kabul
127 BC: the Parthians under Phraates II are defeated by the Scythians
126 BC: the Parthians under Artabanus II conquer Babylonia from the Seleucids, who now control only Syria
124 BC: the Parthians under Artabanus II are defeated again by the Scythians and Mithridates II succeeds Artabanus II as king of Parthia
53 BC: the Parthians led by Orodes II defeat the Romans at Carrhae (Syria)
20 BC: a treaty between Rome and the Parthians fixes the boundary between the two empires along the Euphrates river (Iraq)
78 AD: Kanishka, king of the Kushan, enlarges the kingdom from Bactria into Uzbekistan, Kashmir, Punjab, moves the capital to Peshawar and promotes Buddhism instead of Zoroastrianism
116: Roman emperor Trajan defeats the Parthian king Vologezes III and conquers Mesopotamia, including the Parthian capital Ctesiphon
224: Ardashir, descendant of the priest Sassan, seizes the throne of Persia/Parthia, ends the Arsacid dynasty, and becomes the first Sassanid king with capital in Istakhr (near Persepolis) and Zoroastrianism as the official religion
225: Ardashir I Sassanid defeats Artabanus V, last Parthian ruler, and moves the capital to Ctesiphon
233: Ardashir I Sassanid conquers Kushan
241: Mani, a thinker from Ecbatana, begins to preach in Seleucia-Ctesiphon
244: Shapur I becomes king of the Sassanids and attacks Rome
250: Shahpur I establishes the library of Jondi Shahpur, one of the largest in the world
256: Shapur I Sassanid invades Syria, Anatolia, and Armenia and take Dura Europus in Mesopotamia from the Romans
257: Valerian reconquers Syria from the Sassanids
258: The Sassanids conquer Armenia
260: Valerian is captured by the Sassanid king Shapur I after the Battle of Edessa, the first Roman emperor to become a prisoner of war
261: Palmyra's king Odaenathus pushes back the Sassanids to the Euphrates
276: Mani is crucified by the Zoroastrian high priest Kartir for trying to incorporate Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism into one religion ("manicheism")
298: the Sassanids sign a peace treaty with Rome
309: Shapur II
348: Shapur II reconquers Mesopotamia
363: the Sassanid king Shapur II defeats the Roman emperor Julian and recapture Nisibis and Armenia
376: Peace with Rome
379: Shapur II died after conquering Arabia and reaching the border with China
451: Zoroastran Persia (Sassanids) defeats Christian Armenia
460: Persian king Firuz persecutes Jews, who emigrate to Arabia
484: Zoroastran Persia and Christian Armenia sign a treaty that allows the Armenians to keep their religion
526: The Byzantine Empire and the Sassanid Empire fight the "Iberian War" over the eastern Georgian kingdom of Iberia
528: the Sassanid intellectual Mazdak advocates the abolition of private property, the division of wealth, nonviolence and vegetarianism
531: Khusro I ascends to the Sassanid throne and is influenced by Mazdakism
532: End of the "Iberian War" (Treaty of Eternal Peace)
541: The siege of Petra and the battle of Nisibis begin another war between the Byzantine and the Sassanid empires
561: Peace between the Byzantine and the Sassanid empires
560: the Sassanid king Khusro I builds the Palace of the Great Arch in Ctsiphon
575: The Sassanids conquer Yemen
579: the Sassanid king Khusro/ Khosrau I dies and is succeeded by Khusro II
588: The "White Huns" (Hephthalites) invade the Sasanian province Harev but are defeated by general Bahram Chobin
589: Bahram Chobin begins a civil war and Khosrow II flees to Byzantine territory
591: The Romans defeat Bahram Chobin and restore Khosrow II as Sassanid emperor
600: the Zoroastrian high priest Tanar establishes the canon of the Avesta
602: After the Byzantine emperor is assassinated, Khosrow II starts a war against the Byzantine empire
611: Khosrow II conquers Syria from Byzantium
614: the Sassanids capture Jerusalem from Byzantium
619: The Sassanids capture Egypt from Byzantium
623: Byzantine troops destroy the fire temples of Persia (in revenge for the Persian desecration of Jerusalem)
626: the Sassanids besiege Byzantium
627: the Sassanid king Khusrau II is defeated by Roman emperor Heraclius at Niniveh
628: Khusrau II is assassinated by his troops while the Romans retake Syria and Egypt from the Sassanids
632: the Sassanid queen Purandokht signs a peace treaty with Byzantium
636: the Arabs capture Ctesiphon, the last Sassanid is assassinated in Merv and the Sassanid empire ends
600: Steel is invented in Iran (Persia)
600: Steel is invented in Iran (Persia)
630: Seven emperors are raised to the throne of Iran in four years
632: Abu Bakr, one of Mohammed's followers and the first Muslim caliph ("prophet's successor"), quells upheavals throughout Arabia and declares war on the Roman and Persian (Sassanid) empires
650: the Arabs conquer the whole of Persia
697: the Arabs force the Persians to abandon the Pahlavi alphabet in favor of the Arabic script
720: the Zayids do not recognize the imam Baqir and cause a split within the shiites
749: Abu 'l-'Abbas Saffah, whose army is led by the Persian general Abu Muslim Khorasani, replaces the Umayyad dynasty with the Abbasid dynasty
840: Sibovayh, a Persian scholar, codifies the Arabic grammar and writes the first Arabic dictionary
850: the Persian mathematician Khwarazmi founds Algebra and invents the Arabix numerals
867: the Saffarids (shiite) in eastern Persia become virtually independent
879: the Safarid ruler Yaqub Leys revolts against the Arabs and unifies most of Persia
899: the Samanids defeat the Saffarids and expand their empire to Persia but adopt the Persian language
945: the Buyids (shiite) descend from the Caspian Sea, and invade Abbasid Persia
949: Adud Dawla of the Buyid dynasty adopts the Persian imperial title shah
950: Pahlavi, the language of Persia, is reformed according to the Arabic script
962: the Ghaznavid kingdom is founded in Afghanistan (at Ghazni) by Alp-tegin, a Turkic slave soldier of the Samanids
977: the Buyid shah Adud Dawla conquers Baghdad and seizes effective control of the caliphate from the Abbasids
977: Sebaktigin, king of the Ghaznavid kingdom, invades northern India and Central Asia
999: the Ghaznavids of Afghanistan defeat the Samanids of Persia in Khurasan and the Qarakhanids seize Bukhara
1030: Mahmud Ghazni dies and the Ghaznavid empire declines
1038: the Seljuks, led by Toghrul Beg, defeat the Ghaznavids near Merv and invade Persia, moving their capital to Isfahan
1055: the Seljuks defeats the Buyids, invade Mesopotamia and install themselves in Baghdad under the suzerainty of the Abbasids
1091: the Seljuqs move their capital to Baghdad
1092: Mohammed I ibn Malikshah dies and the Seliuq empire breaks up into independent kingdoms in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Anatolia (Rum)
1118: Mohammed I ibn Malikshah dies and the Seliuq empire breaks up into independent kingdoms in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Anatolia
1153: the Khwarazmis conquer Persia from the Seljuqs
1194: the last Persian Seljuq ruler dies and Seljuq power collapses in Iran
1220: the Mongols invade Transoxania (Bukhara and Samarkand) and Iran/Persia
1258: the Mongols destroy the Abbasid caliphate of Baghdad (killing 800,000 people including the last Abbasid caliph), conquer Persia, Mesopotamia and Syria and establishing an Ilkhanate with capital in Baghdad
1260: the Mamluks stop the Mongols in Syria and annex Syria
1263: the Mongol leader Hulegu assumes the title of "Ilkhan" as ruler of Persia
1274: the Persian astronomer Nasir Al-Din Tusi builds the Maraghah observatory
1294: Kublai Khan dies and the empire fragments in khanates, one of them being the Ilkhanate, descendants of Hulegu, with capital in Tabriz
1295: Ghazan, the Ilkhan, converts to Shia Islam, and the Ilkhanate becomes a sultanate
1301: Shaykh Safi al-Din, of Kurdish descent, founder of the Safavid dynasty, founds a Sunni Sufi order in Uzbekistan, the Safaviyya
1334: Sadr al-Din, Safi's son, claims to be a descendant of the founder of Islam, Mohammed
1335: Abu Said dies and the Ilkhanate disintegrates
1365: the turkic-speaking Timur overthrow the Chaghatai khanate and conquers Iran (Persia), the old Ilkhanate, establishing his capital in Samarkand
1351: the turkic-speaking Qara Quyunlu dynasty establishes itself over northwestern Iran
1365: the turkic-speaking Timur overthrow the Chaghatai khanate and conquers Iran (Persia), the old Ilkhanate, establishing his capital in Samarkand
1406: the turkic-speaking Qara Quyunlu dynasty moves its capital to Tabriz
1413: Timur's empire begins to disintegrate
1447: The turkic-speaking Qara Quyunlu under Jahanshah conquer Shiraz
1447: The Safaviyya master Shaykh Junayd transforms the Sufi order into a military movement and fights Christians in Georgia and Trebizond
1469: The Turkic-speaking Aq Quyunlu dynasty takes control of most of Persia from the Timurids
1500: The Shaybanid dynasty seizes Transoxania
1501: Shah Ismail I (a 14-year old boy from the northwest who claims to be the hidden imam, a descendant of the seventh imam, a reincarnation of Khird, the mahdi and the spirit of Jesus and even assimilates legends from Buddhism and Zoroastrianism) founds the Safavid dynasty and declares Twelveer Shiism as the state religion persecuting Sunni Muslims
1502: Ismail I conquers Tabriz
1509: Ismail I conquers Baghdad, massacres Sunni Muslims and imposes Shia Islam on the Safavid empire
1510: Ismail I conquers Herat
1514: The Ottomans of Selim I defeat Shah Ismail I Safavid army at Chaldiran (Iran/Persia) thereby conquering Kurdistan and Armenia
1514: Portugal conquers the port of Comorao (Bandar Abbas) to control trade in the Persian Gulf
1515: Portugal conquers the port of Hormuz to control trade in the Persian Gulf
1524: Ismail dies having united Iran/Persia and most of Afghanistan
1534: the Ottomans capture Baghdad from the Safavids, helped by a popular insurrection of the Sunnis, but the Safavids survive in eastern Iran, Azerbajan and the southern Caucasus
1555: the Ottoman empire conquers Mesopotamia from the Safavid empire with the Peace of Amasya
1587: Safavid king Shah Abbas I creates a gunpowder-based military force with a slave army and economic revival
1597: Safavid king Shah Abbas I moves the capital to Isfahan
1598: Collapse of the Shaybanid dynasty in Transoxania, replaced by the Astrakhanid dynasty
1614: The Safavids conquer Comorao (Bandar Abbas) from Portugal
1616: The English East India Company acquires rights to trade freely in Iran
1622: The Safavids take Hormuz from the Portuguese with help from the British
1623: The Safavids capture Baghdad from the Ottomans and begin a 16-year war
1629: The great mosque of Isfahan is completed
1638: the Ottomans capture Baghdad from the Safavids
1639: The Ottomans and the Safavids sign the Treaty of Zuhab that returns Mesopotamia to the Ottomans and gives the Caucasus to Iran
1642: Safavid ruler Abbas dies and is succeeded by Abbas II that continues his construction projects
1656: Safavid ruler Abbas II orders the forced conversion of Jews
1666: Isfahan has 162 mosques, 48 colleges, 182 caravansaries, 273 public baths
1722: Mahmoud Khan, an Afghan chieftain, revolts against the Safavids, invades Iran/Persia and captures Isfahan, thus ending the Safavid dynasty
1723: Russia invades Iran from the north (Baku) and the Ottomans invade from the west
1725: Mahmoud Khan of Persia is murdered by his cousin Ashraf
1725: The Ottomans conquer Tabriz, Armenia and Georgia from Iran
1729: Iranian/Persian general Nadir Kuli of northeastern Iran expels the Afghans and reinstates the Safavids to power
1735: Nadir's Persian army defeats the Ottomans and regains Armenia, Georgia and Tabriz
1736: The last Safavid dies and Nadir proclaims himself the new shah of Iran/Persia
1739: Iranian/Persian general Nadir Shah invades India and sacks Delhi, stealing the Peacock Throne and the Koh-i-noor diamond
1740: The Astrakhanid dynasty collapses and Uzebkistan and Turkmenistan are absorbed into Iran/Persia
1747: Nadir Shah is assassinated and Iran/Persia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan disintegrate
1747: Ahmad Shah Duran, the Afghan commander of Nadir's bodyguard, proclaims himself the ruler of Afghanistan with capital in Kandahar and founds the Durrani dynasty
1750: Karim Khan of the Zand tribe wins the civil war in Iran/Persia and establishes the Zand dynasty
1779: Agha Mohammad Qajar of a Turkic tribe (a former slave who had been castrated) defeats the Zand and creates his own kingdom with capital in Tehran
1785: The Astrakhanid dynasty is replaced by the Mangit dynasty in Bukhara
1794: Agha Mohammad Qajar conquers all of Iran/Persia
1796: Agha Mohammad Qajar crowns himself shah, thus terminating the Zand dynasty and founding the Qajar dynasty, and unifies Iran/Persia, Uzebkistan and Turkmenistan with farsi as the official language and Shiite Islam as the official religion
1797: Agha Mohammad Qajar is murdered by his servants and succeeded by his nephew Fath Ali, who suppresses the Sufi order in Iran
1804: Russia and Iran go to war over the Caucasus
1808: France helps Iran train a new army
1813: Iran loses the war against Russia and recognizes Russian rule over Georgia and Azerbajan (Treaty of Gulistan)
1814: Britain and Iran ally at the Treaty of London
1823: Ottoman Empire and Iran sign a peace treaty defining their borders
1828: Iran (Persia) loses the Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) to Russian (Treaty of Turkmanchay)
1834: Fath Ali dies and his grandson Muhammad, with help from Britain and Russia, becomes shah of Iran and appoints his Sufi master Hajji Mirza Aqasi as prime minister, thus rehabilitating Sufism against the opposition of the ulema
1839: Massacre of Jews in Meshed (Iran)
1844: Sayyid Ali Muhammad proclaims himself to be the Bab (and later the Mahdi), the manifestation of the 12th imam and starts a new religion
1847: Iran and the Ottomans sign the treaty of Erzurum
1848: Muhammad dies and the 16-years old prince Nasir al-Din becomes shah of Iran with help from Britain
1849: Shaykh Murtada/Morteza Ansari is recognized as the spiritual leader of all Shiites, the first time that religious leadership is concentrated in one person
1850: The Bab is executed
1852: Babists try to assassinate the shah and are massacred throughout Iran, they move to Ottoman Palestine and found the Baha'i faith
1856: Britain defeats Iran at Herat in Afghanistan
1867: Massacre of Jews in Barfurush (Iran)
1868: Russia conquers Samarkand and Bukhara in Uzbekistan
1869: Two million people die in Iran in three years of famine
1872: Iran grants Baron DeReuter railway monopoly, mining rights and control of customs revenues
1879: Britain invades Afghanistan which becomes, de facto, a British colony
1881: Persia loses Turkmenistan to Russia
1889: Pan-Islamic activist Jaman al-Din al-Afghani returns to Iran from the Ottoman land
1890: Iran grants Britain a monopoly on tobacco but the population rises in protest
1896: Nasir al-Din is assassinated by a follower of Jaman al-Din al-Afghani and Muzaffar al-Din becomes the new Iranian shah
1897: Iran opens the first public school for girls
1905: Constitutional revolution in Iran
Dec 1906: The first democratically elected parliament in Iran approves a parliamentary constitution and appoints Morteza Gholi Khan Sanioddoleh as leader of the parliament
Jan 1907: Muzaffar dies and his pro-Russian son Muhammad Ali becomes the new shah of Iran
1907: Britain and Russia sign a treaty (Convention of St Petersburg) dividing Iran, Central Asia and Afghanistan into respective spheres of influence
May 1908: The first oil well is drilled in the Middle East (Iran) by a British company
Jun 1908: The shah Muhammad Ali crushes an insurrection with help from Russia and suspends the constitution
1909: Britain organizes the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company to exploit the Iranian oil fields
Jul 1909: A revolution led by Najaf Quli Khan deposes the shah and restores the constitution
Feb 1911: Two Russian hitmen kill Morteza Gholi Khan Sanioddoleh
1911: Russia invades the northern provinces of Iran and forces Iran to dissolve parliament and to restore the power of the shah
1915: Refineries are constructed at Abadan
1918: The first public school for girls opens in Iran
1919: An Anglo-Iranian treaty turns Iran into a de-facto protectorate of Britain
1919: Afghanistan gains independence from Britain
Feb 1921: Cossack general Reza Khan seizes power in Iran with a coup and becomes war minister
1922: Iran hires the US economist Arthur Millspaugh to run its finances
1925: Reza Khan appoints himself as Shah of Persia, the Qajar dynasty ends and the Pahlavi dynasty begins, with a program of economic and cultural Westernization with a secular educational system
1927: Iran opens a national bank under German management
1928: Iran introduces a law code that replaces Islamic shariia
1929: Iran's population is about 12 million and Tehran has about 250,000 people
1930: The first Iranian-made film
1933: Zahir Shah becomes king of Afghanistan
1935: Reza changes Persia's name to Iran
1935: Tehran University is founded
1936: Iran bans the Islamic veil for women
1938: A railway opens connecting the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf
1939: Over 40% of Iran's foreign trade is with Germany
1940: The Middle East produces only 5% of the world's oil
Aug 1941: The 20-year old Reza Shah Pahlevi ascends to the throne of Iran when his father is deposed by British and Soviet troops for refusing to expel the many German advisors, and Iran becomes the main transit point for supplies going to the Soviet Union
Sep 1943: Iran declares war on Germany
1946: Britain and the Soviet Union withdraw from Iran
1951: Mohammad Mossadegh becomes prime minister of Iran and nationalizes the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company
1953: the USA's and the British secret services engineer a coup to remove Iran's prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh, and the USA replaces Britain as the main player in the Middle East
1955: Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran and Britain sign the Baghdad Pact that de facto asserts British influence in the Middle Eastagainst the Soviet Union
1956: Iran has 20 million people
1960: Oil developing countries (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela) found the OPEC
1962: The shah Reza Pahlevi of Iran introduces a series of reforms (including women's suffrage) called "white revolution"
1962: Jalal Al-e-Ahmad criticizes Western influence in his book "Gharbzadeg/ Westoxification"
1963: Iran begins an economic recovery during which GDP per capite will increase fives times in 15 years
1972: The price of oil is $3 per barrel, double the price of 1970
Dec 1973: The price of oil reaches $11.65 per barrel, almost four times what it was a year earlier
1973: Iran cancels DeReuter's concessions under pressure from the religious establishment
1975: The shah bans all political parties except the Iranian People's Resurence Party of prime minister Hoveyda
1976: Iran has 34 million people
1977: There are more university students from Iran than any other nationality in the USA
Jan 1978: An anti-Khomeini article causes widespread anti-government demonstrations during which dozens of people are killed by the police
Feb 1978: Riots erupt in Tabriz (Iran)
Aug 1978: More than 420 people are killed when Islamists set fire to a movie theater in Abadan
Dec 1978: One million people demonstrate in Tehran against the shah
Jan 1979: The shah Reza Pahlevi leaves Iran
Feb 1979: Iran becomes a theocratic republic led by the ayatollah Khomeini with a strong anti-USA posture ("Islamic Revolution") and strict Islamic laws (girls can legally be forced into marriage at the age of 13)
1980: Iraq (Saddam Hussein) attacks Iran (Khomeini)
1980: Iran's fertility rate is 6.5
1980: Two women are elected to Iran's parliament
1981: Ali Khamenei is appointed president of Iran
1982: the Hezbollah is founded by a radical shiite group with the mission of creating an Iranian-style Islamic republic in Lebanon
1983: Iraq uses chemical weapons against Iranian troops
1985: Hezbollah suicide commandos organized by Iran blow up the US and French barracks killing 241 marines and 58 French soldiers
1985: Husain Ali Montazeri and Hashimi Rafsanjani compete for power in Iran's parliament
Jul 1987: 402 pilgrims, 275 of them Iranian, die during clashes in Mecca
1988: a missile fired by a US warship downs an Iranian civilian airplane and kills all 290 passengers aboard
1988: terrorists backed by Libya blow up a Pan Am plane over Scotland killing 259 people probably on behalf of Iran
1988: the war between Iraq and Iran that has cost about one million lives ends with no winner
Jun 1989: Khomeini dies and is replaced by Khamenei as supreme leader, while Rafsanjani wins the presidency over Montazeri
1989: GDP increases 7% yearly on average through the mid 1990s
1992: Riots against the regime
1992: Iranian agents kill Sadegh Sharafkandi, the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, in Berlin, Germany
1992: The border with Turkmenistan reopens after 70 years
1995: The population of Iran is 61 million
1997: Mohammad Khatami, a reformist, is elected president of Iran, but the ayatollahs still control the army
1997: Iranian cleric Hoseyn Ali Montazeri criticizes Ali Khameini's dictatorship and is placed under house arrest
Apr 1997: Iranian intelligence agents murder four Iranian Kurds in Germany
1998: The Iranian Tunneling Association is founded in Iran
1999: A raid on a Teheran student dormitory by Iranian police and right-wing vigilantes triggers student riots
1999: a raid on a Teheran student dormitory by Iranian police and right-wing vigilantes triggers student riots
2000: Iranian reformist leader Saeed Hajjarian is almost killed in an assassination attempt
2002: The exiled National Council of Resistance reveals that Iran is building a secret underground nuclear plant at Natanz
2002: Qassem Suleimani is appointed to lead the al-Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards
2003: Abdolmalek Rigi founds the Sunni terrorist group Jundullah to fight against the Iranian regime
2003: students demonstrate in Teheran against the Iranian regime, helped by USA-based television stations and by radio stations run by Iranian exiles
2004: A train accident kills 295 people in Iran
2004: Iran's ayatollahs outlaw most of the opposition candidates so that parliamentary elections are won by the conservative party
2004: Iran is accused by the USA of trying to build a nuclear weapon and accepts to stop enriching uranium
2004: Qassem Suleimani's al-Quds funds and arms the Shiite militias in Iraq like the Mahdi Army to fight the USA
2005: The exiled National Council of Resistance reveals that Iran is building a network of tunnels to connect 14 secret nuclear weapon sites
2005: Anti-USA conservative politician Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (a former member of the Revolutionary Guard) wins presidential elections in Iran, refuses to dismantle Iran's nuclear program and calls for the destruction of Israel
2005: Russia sells "defense" missiles to Iran
Mar 2006: Sunni militants kill 22 people in Iran's Baluchi region
2006: the Sunni group Jundullah kills 21 members of the security forces on a highway outside Zahedan, Iran
Feb 2007: Sunni militants kill 11 people in Iran's Baluchi region
2007: the USA accuses Iran of helping insurgents kill USA soldiers in Iraq
Mar 2008: Iran's Suleimani helps arrange a ceasefire between the Iraqi Army and the Mahdi Army
Dec 2008: A suicide bomber of the anti-Iranian group Jundaliah kills four people in Iran
May 2009: Iran blames the Sunni group Jundullah for a suicide attack on a mosque of Zahedan that kills 25 people
Jun 2009: supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi protest against rigged elections in Iran won by incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Aug 2009: Show trials of opposition leaders are broadcast live on television in Iran in the biggest purge since the founding of the Islamic Republic
Sep 2009: The USA, Britain and France discover that Iran has built a secret uranium-enrichment facility near Qum
Oct 2009: 42 people including several members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards are killed in a suicide bombing in the Baluchi region by Sunni group Jundallah
Jan 2010: Iranian physicist Massoud Ali Mohammadi is assassinated
Jun 2010: The software Stuxnet, developed by USA and Israel, sabotage Iran's nuclear facilities
Sep 2010: A bomb kills ten people in northwest Iran
Nov 2010: Iranian nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari is killed and Fereydoon Abbasi Davani is wounded
Dec 2010: Two suicide bombers of the Sunni Muslim group Jundollah kill 35 people in southeastern Iran during a Shiite ceremony in retaliation for the execution of the group's leader
Feb 2011: Fereydoon Abbasi Davani is appointed to lead Iran's nuclear program
Jul 2011: About two thirds of Iraq's counterterrorism missions are aimed at Iranian-backed militias
Sep 2011: Iran's first nuclear plant goes into operation
Sep 2011: Russia and China are the only countries to support Syria's crackdown on dissidents while even Syria's ally Iran distances itself from Assad's regime
Oct 2011: The USA foils a plot by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the USA and to bomb the embassy of Saudi Arabia in the USA
Nov 2011: An explosion kills Hassan Moqqadam, the head of Iran's missile program
Dec 2011: The Iranian rial drops to its lowest level ever against the dollar due to increased sanctions by the USA
Jan 2012: Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan is assassinated
Dec 2012: Marziyeh Vahid Dastjerdi, the only female minister in 30 years of Iran's Islamic republic, is removed from office after a dispute with president Ahmadinejad
2012: Qasem Soleimani leads Iran's efforts to help Assad of Syria against the rebels
Jun 2013: Hassan Rouhani is elected president of Iran but real power remains in the hands of ayatollah Ali Khameini
Sep 2013: For the first time since 1979 the president of the USA and the president of Iran speak on the phone
Oct 2013: Sunni rebels kill 14 Iranian guards on the border with Pakistan and Iran retaliates by hanging 16 prisoners
2013: Iran's fertility rate is 1.9
Apr 2015: Iran signs a deal to stop its nuclear program with the world powers led by the USA
Apr 2015: Sunni rebeles of Jaish-ul Adl kill 8 Iranian border guards
Jul 2015: Iran signs a deal limiting its nuclear program in return for the United Nations to remove economic sanctions
Aug 2015: Oil prices fall below $40 a barrel for first time since 2009
Jan 2016: Saudi Arabia and Iran cut diplomatic ties after Saudi Arabia executes Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr and protesters storm the Saudi embassy in Iran
Feb 2016: The first train to connect China and Iran takes 14 days through Kazakstan and Turkmenistan
Feb 2016: Reformists allied with Rouhani make huge gains in the Assembly of Experts
May 2016: Iran jails human-rights activist Narges Mohammadi
Jun 2017: ISIS's first attacks in Iran kill 12 people at Tehran's parliament and Khomeini mausoleum
Nov 2017: Iranian dissident Ahmad Mola Nissi is assassinated in the Netherlands
Jun 2018: Police in three European countries arrest an Iranian diplomat who was about to carry out a terrorist attack against Iranian dissidents
Dec 2017: Popular protests erupt in Mashad and then spread to other cities after a leak reveals that the government spends billions of dollars on military and clerical agencies
May 2018: Israel launches a wave of missile strikes on Iranian forces in Syria, after coming under rocket fire
Aug 2018: Iran's rial falls 140% to the dollar
Sep 2018: Terrorists of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA) attack a military parade and kill 25 people, mostly members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard
Nov 2018: The USA reneges on the nuclear deal with Iran and reimposes sanctions on Iran, which has complied with the deal
2018: Amnesty International accuses Iran of arresting 7,000 political dissidents in 2018
Feb 2019: A suicide bomber kills 41 members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards in southeast Iran
Mar 2019: Iran human-rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, arrested after defending women who remove their headscarves, is sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes
Oct 2019: Exiled dissident blogger Ruhollah Zam is lured to Iraq, arrested and deported to Iran
Nov 2019: Anti-government protests spread following an increase in gasoline prices and more than 180 people die
Jan 2020: A US drone kills Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, while he is in Iraq, and an Iranian defense missile by mistake downs a passenger airplane killing 176 people
Mar 2020: Iran becomes an epicenter of the covid-19 pandemic, the worst affected country in the Middle East
May 2020: Romina Ashrafi is killed by her father in an honor killing that shocks Iran
Jun 2020: Iran issues an arrest warrant for Trump over the murder of general Soleimani
Jul 2020: Iran accidentally shoots down a Ukrainian airplane killing 176 people
Nov 2020: Iran's top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is assassinated by Israeli agents in Tehran
Dec 2020: Iran executes dissident blogger Ruhollah Zam
2020: More than half of Iran's exports of oil go to China
Jan 2021: Iran outlaws violence against women
Mar 2021: China and Iran sign a 25-year commercial deal
Apr 2021: Israel sabotages Iran's Natanz nuclear facility
Apr 2021: A leaked tape by Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reveals that Iran entered the Syrian civil war at the behest of Russia and that Russia maneuvered to make sure that Iran would not make peace with the West
Jun 2021: Hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, Iran's top judge, is elected president of Iran
May 2022: Israel kills Sayad Khodayee, leader of Iran's covert Unit 840
Jun 2022: More than 20 people die when the Mashhad-Yazd train derails
Jun 2022: Israel is suspected of several killings in Iran
Sep 2022: Protests led by women spread to several cities of Iran after Mahsa Amini dies while detained by the morality police for not wearing a headscarf, and security forces kill dozens of Baluchi protesters
2022: Iran's oil revenues increase to $42 billion from $25 billion in 2021
Apr 2023: China mediates between Saudi Arabia and Iran that restore diplomatic ties severed in 2016
Aug 2023: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, the United Emirates and Saudi Arabia join BRICS
2023: The Middle East accounts for 36% of world oil production. 46% of oil exports, 22% of natural gas production and 30% of liquefied gas exports, and it has 52% of the world's total reserves of oil and 43% of gas
Dec 2023: Jaish al-Adl, based in the Baluchistan region of Pakistan, attacks a police station in southeastern Iran and kills 11 officers
Jan 2024: Bombs by ISIS-Khorasan, a branch of ISIS based in Afghanistan, kill more than 90 people in Iran's Kerman near the tomb of general Qasem Soleimani on the fourth anniversary of his assassination by the USA, the deadliest terrorist attack in Iran since the 1979 revolution
Jan 2024: Iran bombs anti-Iranian groups like Jaish al-Adli in Iraq, Syria and Pakistan , and Pakistan retaliates by bombing the Balochistan Liberation Army and the Balochistan Liberation Front inside Iran
Jan 2024: Israel kills four Iranian military advisers in Syria
Mar 2024: Israel kills seven officers of Iran's Revolutionary Guards in Damascus including Iran's general Reza Zahedi
Apr 2024: Iran fires missiles to Israel
May 2024: Iranís president Ebrahim Raisi dies in a helicopter accident

See a timeline of the modern Middle East


2700 BC - 559 BC: Elamites (Susa)
900 BC - 550 BC: Medes
700 BC - 331 BC: Achaemenids
312 BC - 141 BC: Seleucids
141 BC - 224 AD: Parthians
224 AD - 650 AD: Sassanids
650 AD - 650 AD: Arabs
749 AD - 879 AD: Abbasids
879 AD - 1038: Buyids/Abbasids
1038 - 1194: Seljuks/Abbasids
1258 - 1335: Mongols
1365 - 1501: Timurids
1501 - 1722: Safavids
1794 - 1920: Qajar
1921 - 1979: Pahlavi
1979 - : Islamic republic

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(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi)