Print Page | Close Window

Ancient Persian Empires in Southeastern Africa

Printed From: History Community ~ All Empires
Category: Regional History or Period History
Forum Name: African History
Forum Discription: Talk about African History
Printed Date: 13-Jul-2020 at 09:17
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.56a -

Topic: Ancient Persian Empires in Southeastern Africa
Posted By: Cyrus Shahmiri
Subject: Ancient Persian Empires in Southeastern Africa
Date Posted: 29-Oct-2009 at 02:50
Madagascar and Comoros islands have a several centuries-long Persian presence but a Persian empire's center of power was first formed in Kilwa in Modern Tanzania:
We know some people from Shiraz, the capital of Persia province of Iran, migrated to this region and found great Zanj Empire in the 10th century: -  Afro-Shirazi Party is still one of the most important eastern African political organizations: -
But before them another people from Iran went there and found Kilwa Empire: -
The Kilwa Empire was part of a larger empire built by the - Bazrangids . It became an independent geopolitical entity after - Ardashir I of the - Sassanid Empire conquered its parent Bazrangi state in southern - Persia in - 224 AD . Emperor Ardashir's successor, - Shapur I , annexed the southern shores of the - Persian Gulf , as well as the region of,_Oman - Muscat on the - Indian Ocean . This led to the removal of all final vestiges of Bazrangi independence on the Asian continent. - Zoroastrian - fire temples within the Kilwa Empire were preserved as a result of Bazrangi custodians. Sassanian sources, which include rock inscriptions and documents, discuss how the Bazrangids served important custodial functions at the Great Temple of the goddess - Anahita in - Istakhr (near - Persepolis ). The Kilwa Empire prospered even during the early Islamic era. However, the capital city of Kilwa was under siege by members of the native populations of East Africa. The city fell and nearly 2000 of its inhabitants were devoured in a single week. In - 980 AD, the - Zanj Empire was founded by Ali ibn Hasan and succeeded the Kilwa Empire.

Recent archaeological excavations in the old Kilwa imperial sites such as Unguja Ukuu, Tumbatu, Mtambwe, and Mkumbuu are shedding new light on the history of the Bazrangid founded Kilwa Empire and its status as a maritime power.

And about Bazrangids: -
The Bazrangids (also known as Bazrangi or Badhrangids) were an ancient mountain-dwelling - Iranian tribe that established a maritime empire outside the - Iranian plateau . Their first major overseas possession entailed Mazun (present-day - Oman ) and the port of - Suhar became the region's capital. By the end of the - 1st century BC , most of the islands of - East Africa were annexed by the Bazrangids. These islands entailed - Zanzibar , - Pemba , Mafia, Combolo/Comoros and - Madagascar .
Ruins of Ancient Kilwa, Tanzania, UNESCO World Heritage Site: -


Posted By: opuslola
Date Posted: 29-Oct-2009 at 15:23
Cyrus, what a beautiful site! Indeed one can see what appears to be typical Iranian architure in the photos!

But, accordingly this part of your post which is from Wikipeda says;

"And about Bazrangids:

The Bazrangids (also known as Bazrangi or Badhrangids) were an ancient mountain-dwelling Iranian tribe that established a maritime empire outside the Iranian plateau. Their first major overseas possession entailed Mazun (present-day Oman) and the port of Suhar became the region's capital. By the end of the 1st century BC, most of the islands of East Africa were annexed by the Bazrangids. These islands entailed Zanzibar, Pemba, Mafia, Combolo/Comoros and Madagascar."

You must understand that I am sometimes confused by statements like we see above! These people, who it seems were from a "mountain-dwelling Iranian tribe" almost always makes me cringe! Just how does such a tribe move from the mountains to the sea coast and become a great sea-going tribe? There had to be some major transformation for this to happen, but we see, it seems, to happen quite often!

I, for one, have problems which such a major change in the very nature of a tribe or people! Sea-faring seems to have been a way of life that required a great deal of past experience to become proficient with?

But, as I have said many times, I could be wrong?


Posted By: Sander
Date Posted: 29-Oct-2009 at 20:45

An important  Persian presence at the East African coast ( commercial/ political ) since the  mid /end of the first milenium AD is well attested by many means. ( historical records, archaeological findings etc. ) It's also  known dat Zanj/Zenj is a Persian word in origin, usually applied to the darks locals .

But, the article claims that Persians were there already since the 1th century BC, and politically controlling much of the region. On what is that based ?

Posted By: Cyrus Shahmiri
Date Posted: 30-Oct-2009 at 04:13
I also have some doubts about the Bazrangids and other mass migrations from Persia to these regions before the tenth century, in fact I think migration order could be in reverse, it was very possible that Balcks were called "badh-rangi" (ugly/bad colored) by Persians, of course it sounds insultive, it could be the same word which has already been changed to "Barzangi" (ulgy black), if you search for - "Like a Barzangi" in google then you will find this article in JStor: "The Negative Images of Blacks in Some Medieval Iranian Writings".
Anyway as I said in - this thread :
Originally posted by Cyrus Shahmiri

I don't know why some people think Africa = Black = Slave, it is really possible that ancient Elamites, one of the major powers of the Middle East in the ancient times, were black skinned, also some other peoples who lived in this region like the people whom Herodotus calls "Eastern Ethiopians" (Asiatic Ethiopians).
"The Oriental Ethiopians have their hair straight; those of Africa have their hair more crisp and curling than any other men.", Herodotus
This man was our local guide in the ancient Elamite Ziggurat of Chogha Zanbil near Susa:


Posted By: Cyrus Shahmiri
Date Posted: 30-Oct-2009 at 08:00
Of course it is good read what African themselves say about it: -
Though this story cannot be dated to its origins, this coast has been Islamic since the 9th century.

The people living here prior to that time seem to have practiced some mixture of animist African tradition and Zoroastrianism, the ancient Persian religion of fire worship -- the Magi who brought gifts to Christ were Zoroastrian.

Today, the Zoroastrian tradition has been wiped out by a millennium of Islam, with the exception of three days each year around the 20th of July. The festival of Mwaka kogwa -- literally the year is washed -- is the traditional Zoroastrian new year celebration. Zanzibar remains the only place in the world where a traditional Zoroastrian holiday is officially recognised and celebrated by the majority of the population.

Certain regions of Zanzibar, such as Tumbatu, Makunduchi and Kizimkazi, which coincidentally are the oldest parts of the island archaeologically, are the regions most involved in this ritual. The holiday is celebrated by the building of huge bonfires, the staging of sword f ights, transvestitism, and women beating men in public. The celebration is often accompanied by a liberal use of alcohol. Once a year, these people forget for a few hours that they are Muslims and revert to their older tradition. According to a Zanzibar adage, ?to sin once a year is perhaps not so bad.?

Mwaka kogwa Festival:


Posted By: Sander
Date Posted: 05-Nov-2009 at 19:55
I ve read the paper.  I noticed that  the author states  :

"By the time Alexander attacked Iran, Ethiopia was part of the Achaemenian Empire. This expansionist interest was not one-sided. Black encroachment on the Persian Gulf coast"compelled the Parthians to lead a military expedition intoMozun and Ethiopia...and to force the blacks to retreat to Africa through Hadrmut, Yemen, and the Strait of Bab el-Mendeb."5 

( Southgate 1984 : 5)
From what I ve read so far;  Cambyses was not that succesful in Ethiopia . Are there other grounds for including Ethiopia ( probably meaning Kush/ Nubia ) in the empire around Alexander's time ?

Posted By: Cyrus Shahmiri
Date Posted: 06-Nov-2009 at 11:56

Ethiopia was certainly part of the Persian Achaemenid empire, we read in one of inscriptions of Darius the Great at Persepolis (DPh): "Darius the King says: This is the empire which I hold, from the Scythians who are beyond Sogdiana, thence to Ethiopia", he says in another inscription at Susa (DSf): "The ivory which was wrought here, was brought from Ethiopia" and Artaxerxes III, one of the last Achaemenid kings, in his inscription at Persepolis (AIIIP) about throne bearers representing the thirty nations of the empire says: "28. This is the Ethiopian".

Persepolis - Apadana, Eastern Stairway, Tribute Procession, the Ethiopian Delegation, an Ethiopian Tribute Bearer:

Ivory Trade in Africa:


Print Page | Close Window

Bulletin Board Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 9.56a -
Copyright ©2001-2009 Web Wiz -