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Iran, Past and Present

Iran, Past and Present: From Monarchy to Islamic Republic

Copyright Date: 1981
Pages: 398
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  • Book Info
    Iran, Past and Present
    Book Description:

    This Ninth Edition of the standard work on Iran includes up-to-date statistics and current information on the country. It begins with an account of the history, arts, languages, and religions of Iran from 4000 B.C. to the present.

    Originally published in 1982.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5747-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
    (pp. v-vi)
    Donald N. Wilber
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-2)

    • I. THE LAND
      (pp. 3-15)

      Iran and Persia: the two names have been used to designate the same country, but are not true synonyms. When the Aryan peoples migrated from their original territory, somewhere within Asia, to the upland plateau below the Caspian Sea, one of their tribal groups was the Iranian. The Iranian tribe called Parsa finally settled in a region of the plateau which they called Parsa. In time this regional name became Pars, and Fars, and hence the people of many other lands came to call the country Persia. In Sasanian times the official name of the empire of Iran was Iranshahr....

      (pp. 16-73)

      Man’s progress from the remote time of his emergence as a species down to the present day may be shown on a scale fifty inches long, of which each inch represents 10,000 years. According to such a scale, man became a farmer at the 49¼ inch point, learned to write at 49½ inches, and at 49¾ inches culture and civilization, such as that of the Achaemenid empire, was in existence. Most of the material which follows in this chapter will deal with the final quarter inch on the scale and with the long struggle of man against himself, against his...

      (pp. 74-122)

      Iran remains headed by ashahinshah,the “king of kings,” and probably no other country has borne a single name as long as has Iran, nor been ruled by as many monarchs bearing the same title.

      Over the long centuries since the rise of the Achaemenid empire some thirty-three dynasties ruled Iran. A number were represented by two or more branches which held sway over various areas, so that the total number of dynasties is at least forty-six, and in those lines there were some 446 rulers. These dynasties include a number aptly described by a Persian historian as those...


      (pp. 125-159)

      On February 21, 1921, just five days before the Irano-Soviet Treaty of Friendship was signed at Moscow, the weak and vacillating government in Tehran was overthrown by a combination of political pressure within the capital and military pressure by the troops who had marched to the city from Qazvin. The leader of these troops was General Reza Khan. Reza Khan was born in 1878 into a local family of landowners and military men at Alasht, a small village high on the northern slopes of the Alborz range. His father died before his son was a year old and the young...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
      (pp. 160-228)

      Drawing on the accounts of earlier travelers, it has been estimated that during the Safavid period the population of Iran was about 40 million. Wars, famines, and epidemics are thought to have reduced this number to 10 million by the middle of the nineteenth century. The reality of the economic renaissance of the country is shown by the facts that the census of 1956 reported a population of 18,954,000, and that of 1966 25,781,000. In 1978 the population was reliably estimated to number 35,500,000.

      In 1956 29 percent of the people lived in towns, while in 1978 this figure had...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
      (pp. 229-262)

      The Constitution of 1906 has been modified by a supplement of 1907 and amended by Constituent Assemblies in 1925, 1949, 1957, and 1967, while sections which were outlined in general terms have been made both more specific and more comprehensive by legislation. The document is modern and liberal on the pattern of the constitutions of the European democracies, but also contains provisions relating to the state religion of Iran—the Shi‘a sect of Islam. It provides for a government composed of three branches: the executive, whose power is vested in the cabinet and in the government officials who act in...

      (pp. 263-301)

      Surveys indicate that Iran possesses extensive and widely varied mineral resources. Until about fifteen years ago all mining had been done by laborious hand methods, but with the erection of modern plants for processing ores more efficient systems of extraction have been introduced.

      The sub-surface riches of the country are the subject of a special Mining Law, last revised in May 1957, which divides all such resources into three categories. If materials of the first category—limestone, building stone, marble, and gypsum—are found on privately owned land the proprietors may exploit the deposits and pay the government 5 percent...

      (pp. 302-331)

      When Reza Shah opened the first session of the VIIIth Parliament in December 1930, he said: “We wish this Parliament to be known in the history of the country as the ‘economic parliament.’” From that time on every effort was made to make Iran as self-sufficient as possible, and the government began the task by assuming the role of the “supreme economic organizer.” Industry within the country was to be developed on a large scale but certain measures had to be taken before the factories could be erected and put in operation. The world-wide depression had been acutely felt in...

      (pp. 332-352)

      In the concluding chapter, “Trends Toward Tomorrow,” of the eighth (1976) edition of this work it was stated that Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi was very much in command of his nation. He insisted that the only political opposition came from terrorists, from communists guided from without, and from extremely conservative Muslim elements. No experienced observer of the Iranian scene would have believed that a single elderly, frail, extremely conservative Muslim could topple the monarchial system which had held sway in Iran for over two thousand years.

      Ayatullah (Sign of Allah) Ruhullah Musavi Khomeini was born in the village of Khomein...

    (pp. 353-358)
  7. INDEX
    (pp. 359-373)
  8. Index to “From Monarchy to Islamic Republic”
    (pp. 374-375)