Historians believe human life existed in Persia around 6000 BCE, and there were many communities who had settled in the eastern side of the mountain range Zagros.
The term "empire" is used to refer to the various dynasties that have ruled Persia. One of the earliest known empire was "Proto-Elamite Empire" and it was followed by the dynasty known as the "Medes".
Cyrus II, also known as Cyrus the Great, founded the Persian Empire that we are familiar with today. The dynasty of Cyrus was called the Achaemenid Empire. Its glory lasted for 200 years. The golden period was during the rule of Darius I.
Persia is the ancient name of Iran and was derived from the Greek word "Persis". Until 1935, European historians called the entire states of Iran as Persia.
The first migrants to Persia were the Persians and Medes. They were the nomadic Aryan tribes. They had migrated to Iran from Central Asia between 1500 BCE and 800 BCE. In 1000 BCE, the Prophet Zoroaster had introduced the concept of good and evil and the notion of existence of almighty.
An interesting point is the word "paradise" was derived from the old Persian language. The concepts of Zoroastrian were later adopted by other religions such as Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. The people of ancient Persia practiced the religion called Zoroastrianism.
One of the first cities to be built in Persia was Sialk. It was built in 3900 BC. Historical evidences show that they were pioneers in winemaking, and agriculture was their basic profession. Cyrus founded a glorious and powerful empire that lasted for two centuries. Later, it was invaded by the Greeks, and eventually fell into the hands of the Arab rulers.
Cyrus the Great
The credit of creating a vast and powerful empire goes to Cyrus the Great. He conquered the neighboring and bordering lands and united them into one kingdom. Cyrus was a powerful ruler who was known for his leadership skills and strong military tactics.
He was a tolerant King and respected the culture and traditions of both, the Persians and the Medians. His government officials were the educated and knowledgeable Persian and Median nobles.
With the help of a strong army, he conquered the states of Asia Minor also known as Anatolia and regions on the east known as the Fertile Crescent. Cyrus the great was popular among the people he had conquered, because he respected their language and allowed them to practice their religion.
Historians have excavated a clay cylinder on which his goals and policies were chartered. Cyrus also declared the "Charter of Human rights".
Cyrus the Great continued the expansion of his empire by defeating the king Croesus of Lydia (modern Turkey) in the year 546 BC and by conquering Babylon Empire (modern Iraq) in 539 BC.
Till his death in 530 BC, Cyrus invaded many kingdoms in Central Asia to expand his Persian kingdom. He died during a war campaign in Central Asia and was buried in a stone tomb he had built in Pasargadae.
After the death of Cyrus the Great, there were chaos until Darius I came to power. Cyrus had laid a strong foundation, therefore, it was easy for Darius I to pick up from where Cyrus had left.
Darius I divided the Persian kingdom into several provinces. He had appointed a governor to collect taxes and rule each province. The reign of Darius I was known as the Golden period in the history of Persia.