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SīSTāN (Persian /Baloch /Pashto : سیستان), known in ancient times as SAKASTAN (Persian/Baloch/Pashto: ساكاستان; "the land of the Saka "), is a historical and geographical region in present-day eastern Iran
Iran
( Sistan and Baluchestan Province ), southern Afghanistan (Nimruz , Kandahar
Kandahar
) and the Nok Kundi region of Balochistan (western Pakistan
Pakistan
).

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology

* 2 History

* 2.1 Early history * 2.2 Sasanian era * 2.3 Islamic conquest * 2.4 Caliphate rule * 2.5 Saffarid dynasty * 2.6 Nasrid dynasty * 2.7 Mihrabanid dynasty and its successors

* 3 References * 4 Sources

ETYMOLOGY

Sistan
Sistan
derives its name from _ Sakastan _ ("the land of the Saka "). The Sakas were a Scythian tribe which from the 2nd century BC to the 1st century migrated to the Iranian Plateau and India
India
, where they carved a kingdom known as the Indo-Scythian Kingdom . In the Bundahishn , a Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
scripture written in Pahlavi , the province is called "Seyansih". After the Arab conquest of Iran
Iran
, the province became known as Sijistan/Sistan.

The more ancient Old Persian name of the region - prior to Saka dominance - was _zaranka_ ("waterland"; cf. Pashto _dzaranda_). This older form is also the root of the name Zaranj , capital of the Afghan Nimruz Province .

_ Encyclopædia Iranica _ says "The name of the country and its inhabitants is first attested as Old Persian _z-r-k_ (i.e., Zranka) in the great Bīsotūn inscription of Darius I , apparently the original name. This form is reflected in the Elamite (Sir-ra-an-qa and variants), Babylonian (Za-ra-an-ga), and Egyptian (_srng_ or _srnḳ_) versions of the Achaemenid
Achaemenid
royal inscriptions, as well as in Greek Zarángai, Zarangaîoi, Zarangianḗ ( Arrian ; Isidore of Charax ), and Sarángai ( Herodotus
Herodotus
) and in Latin Zarangae (Pliny ). Instead of this original form, characterized by non-Persian z (perhaps from proto-IE. palatal _*γ_ or _*γh_), in some Greek sources (chiefly those dependent upon the historians of Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
) the perhaps hypercorrect Persianized variant (cf. Belardi, p. 183) with initial d-, *Dranka (or even *Dranga?), reflected in Greek Drángai, Drangḗ, Drangēnḗ, Drangi(a)nḗ ( Ctesias ; Polybius
Polybius
; Strabo
Strabo
; Diodorus ; Ptolemy
Ptolemy
; Arrian; Stephanus Byzantius ) and Latin Drangae, Drangiana, Drangiani ( Curtius Rufus ; Pliny; Ammianus Marcellinus ; Justin ) or Drancaeus (Valerius Flaccus , _Argonautica_ 6.106, 6.507) occurs."

In the Shahnameh
Shahnameh
, Sistan
Sistan
is also referred to as Zabulistan , after the region in the eastern part of Iran
Iran
. In Ferdowsi's epic, Zabulistan is in turn described to be the homeland of the mythological hero Rostam
Rostam
.

HISTORY

EARLY HISTORY

See also: Zabulistan

In prehistoric times, the Jiroft Civilization covered parts of Sistan and Kerman Province (possibly as early as the 3rd millennium BC).

Later the area was occupied by Aryan tribes related to the Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryans
and Iranian Peoples . Eventually a kingdom known as Arachosia
Arachosia
was formed, parts of which were ruled by the Medean Empire by 600 BC. The Medes were overthrown by the Achaemenid
Achaemenid
Persian Empire in 550 BC, and the rest Arachosia
Arachosia
was soon annexed. In the 4rd century BC, Macedonian king Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
annexed the region during his conquest of the Persian Empire
Persian Empire
and founded the colony of "Alexandria in Arachosia
Arachosia
" (modern Kandahar
Kandahar
).

Alexander's Empire fragmented after his death, and Arachosia
Arachosia
came under control of the Seleucid Empire , which traded it to the Mauryan dynasty of India
India
in 305 BC. After the fall of the Mauryans, the region fell to their Greco-Bactrian allies in 180 BC, before breaking away and becoming part of the Indo-Greek
Indo-Greek
Kingdom. Indo-Parthian king Gondophares
Gondophares
was leader of Sistan
Sistan
around c. 20–10 BCE as it was part of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom which was also called Gedrosia
Gedrosia
, its Hellenistic name.

After the mid 2nd century BC, much of the Indo-Greek
Indo-Greek
Kingdom was overrun by tribes known as the Indo- Scythians or Saka , from which Sistan
Sistan
(from Sakastan ) eventually derived its name. The Indo- Scythians were defeated around 100 BC by the Parthian Empire , which briefly lost the region to its Suren vassals (the Indo-Parthian ) around 20 AD, before the region was conquered by the Kushan Empire in the mid 1st century AD. The Kushans were defeated by the Sassanid Persian Empire
Persian Empire
in the mid 3rd century, first becoming part of a vassal Kushansha state, before being overrun by the Hephthalites in the mid 5th century. Sassanid armies reconquered Sistan
Sistan
in by 565 AD, but lost the area to the Arab Rashidun Caliphate after the mid 640s.

SASANIAN ERA

Main article: Sakastan

The province was formed in ca. 240, during the reign of Shapur I
Shapur I
, in his effort ot centralization of the empire; before that, the province was under the rule of the Parthian Suren Kingdom , whose ruler Ardashir Sakanshah became a Sasanian vassal during the reign of Shapur's father Ardashir I (r. 224–242), who also had the ancient city Zrang rebuilt, which became the capital of the province. Shapur's son Narseh
Narseh
was the first to appointed as the governor of province, which he would govern until 271, when the Sasanian prince Hormizd was appointed as the new governor. Later in ca. 281, Hormizd revolted against his cousin Bahram II . During the revolt, the people of Sakastan was one of his supporters. Nevertheless, Bahram II managed to suppress the revolt in 283, and appointed his son Bahram III as the governor of the province. Map of Sakastan under the Sasanians.

During his early reign, Shapur II (r. 309-379) appointed his brother Shapur Sakanshah as the governor of Sakastan. Peroz I
Peroz I
(r. 459–484), during his early reign, put an end to dynastic rule in province by appointing a Karenid as its governor. The reason behind the appointment was to avoid further family conflict in the province, and in order to gain more direct control of the province.

ISLAMIC CONQUEST

During the Muslim conquest of Persia , the last Sasanian king Yazdegerd III fled to Sakastan in the mid-640s, where its governor Aparviz (who was more or less independent), helped him. However, Yazdegerd III quickly ended this support when he demanded tax money that he had failed to pay.

In 650, Abd-Allah ibn Amir , after having secured his position in Kerman , sent an army under Mujashi ibn Mas\'ud to Sakastan. After having crossed the Dasht-i Lut desert, Mujashi ibn Mas'ud arrived to Sakastan. However, he suffered a heavy defeat and was forced to retreat.

One year later, Abd-Allah ibn Amir sent an army under Rabi ibn Ziyad Harithi to Sakastan. After some time, he reached Zaliq , a border town between Kirman and Sakastan, where he forced the dehqan of the town to acknowledge Rashidun authority. He then did the same at the fortress of Karkuya , which had a famous fire temple , which is mentioned in the Tarikh-i Sistan . He then continued to seize more land in the province. He thereafter besieged Zrang , and after a heavy battle outside the city, Aparviz and his men surrendered. When Aparviz went to Rabi to discuss about the conditions of a treaty, he saw that he was using the bodies of two dead soldiers as a chair. This horrified Aparviz, who in order to spare the inhabitants of Sakastan from the Arabs, made peace with them in return for heavy tribute, which included a tribute of 1,000 slave boys bearing 1,000 golden vessels. Sakastan was thus under the control of the Rashidun Caliphate.

CALIPHATE RULE

However, only two years later, the people of Zarang rebelled and defeated Rabi ibn Ziyad Harithi's lieutenant and Muslim garrison of the city. Abd-Allah ibn Amir then sent \'Abd al-Rahman ibn Samura to Sistan, where he managed to suppress the rebellion. Furthermore, he also defeated the Zunbils of Zabulistan , seizing Bust and a few cities in Zabulistan.

During the First Islamic Civil War of 656–661 , the people of Zarang rebelled and defeated the Muslim garrison of the city. In 658, Yazdegerd III's son Peroz III invaded Sistan
Sistan
and established a kingdom there, known in Chinese sources as the "Persian Area Command". However, in 663, he was forced to leave the region after suffering a defeat to newly established Umayyad Caliphate
Umayyad Caliphate
, who had succeeded the Rashiduns.

SAFFARID DYNASTY

Sistan
Sistan
became a province of the Umayyad
Umayyad
and Abbasid Caliphates . In the 860s, the Saffarid dynasty emerged in Sistan
Sistan
and proceeded to conquer most of the Islamic East, until it was checked by the Samanids in 900. After the Samanids took the province from the Saffarids, it briefly returned to Abbasid control, but in 917 the governor Abu Yazid Khalid made himself independent. He was followed by a series of emirs with brief reigns until 923, when Ahmad ibn Muhammad restored Saffarid rule in Sistan. After his death in 963, Sistan
Sistan
was ruled by his son Khalaf ibn Ahmad until 1002, when Mahmud of Ghazni invaded Sistan, ending the Saffarid dynasty.

A year later, Sistan
Sistan
revolted. In response, Mahmud brought an army to suppress the revolt. Mahmud's Hindu troops sacked the mosque of Zarang massacring the Muslims inside.

NASRID DYNASTY

In 1029, Tadj al-Din I Abu l-Fadl Nasr founded the Nasrid dynasty , who were a branch of the Saffarids
Saffarids
. They became vassals of the Ghaznavids
Ghaznavids
. The dynasty then became vassals of the Seljuks
Seljuks
in 1048, Ghurids in 1162, and the Khwarezmians in 1212. Mongols sacked Sistan in 1222 and Nasrid dynasty was ended by Khwarezmians in 1225.

MIHRABANID DYNASTY AND ITS SUCCESSORS

In 1236, Shams al-Din \'Ali ibn Mas\'ud founded Mihrabanid dynasty, another branch of Saffarids, as melik of Sistan
Sistan
for Ilkhanate . Mihrabanid contested with Kartids during Mongol rule. Sistan
Sistan
declared independence in 1335 after demise of Ilkhanate. 1383 Tamerlane conquered Sistan
Sistan
and forced Mihrabanids to become vassals. Overlordship of Timurids was ended in 1507 due to Uzbek invasion in 1507. Uzbeks were driven in 1510 and Mihrabanids became vassals of Safavids until 1537 Safavids deposed the dynasty and gained full control of Sistan. Map of the Safavid dynasty
Safavid dynasty
in ca. 1720, with Sistan
Sistan
as one of its major provinces.

Safavid rule was lasted till 1717 except Uzbeks rule between 1524 and 1528 and 1578 and 1598. In this year Hotaki dynasty conquered it. Nadir Shah
Nadir Shah
reconquered in 1727. After assassination of Nadir Shah, Sistan
Sistan
under rule of Durrani Empire in 1747. Between 1747 and 1872 Sistan
Sistan
was contested with Persia
Persia
and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
. The border dispute between Persia
Persia
and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
was solved by Sistan
Sistan
Boundary Mission, led by British General Frederick Goldsmid , who agreed to most of Sistan
Sistan
in Persia
Persia
but the Persians won the withdrawal of the right bank of the Helmand. The countries were not satisfied.

The border was defined more precisely with the Second Sistan
Sistan
Boundary Commission (1903-1905) headed by Arthur Mac Mahon , who had a difficult task due to lack of natural boundaries. The part assigned Persia
Persia
was included in the province of Balochistan (which took the name of Sistan
Sistan
and Baluchistan in 1986) being the capital Zahedan. In Afghanistan
Afghanistan
it was part of the Sistan
Sistan
province of Farah-Chakansur that was abolished in the administrative reorganization of 1964 to form the province of Nimruz, with capital Zaranj.

Sistan
Sistan
has a very strong connection with