Baloch people

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Primarily Balochi and Brahvi

other Iranian peoples
(Kurds • Pashtuns)

The Baloch or Baluch (بلوچ) are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Baluchestan region and Sistan va Baluchestan in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia.

The Baloch people mainly speak Balochi, which is a branch of the Iranian languages, and more specifically of the North-western Iranian languages, that is highly influenced by that of Mesopotamia and shares similarities with Kurdish and other languages of the region. It also contains archaic features reminiscent of Old Persian and Avestan.[7] They inhabit mountainous terrains and deserts, and maintain a very distinct cultural identity.

About 60 percent of the Baloch live in Balochistan, a western province in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.[8] Around 25 percent inhabit the eastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the Islamic Republic of Iran; a significant number of Baloch people also live in Sindh and South Punjab in Pakistan. Many of the rest live in Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and in some parts of Africa. Small communities of Baluch people also live in Europe (particularly Sweden) and in Perth, Australia, where they arrived in the 1800s.

Contents

Origins and history

The Baluch people of today are descendants of ancient Median and Persian tribes. Historical references of ancient Persia have made it possible to arrive at this conclusion. Maka is mentioned by Greek historian Herodotus as one of the early satraps of Cyrus the Great, who successfully united several ancient Iranian tribes to create an empire.[13][14] In the Behistun Inscription, Darius the Great mentions Maka as one of his eastern territories.[15] Darius is recorded to have personally led his elite forces, whose ranks were restricted to those with Persian, Mede or Elamite ancestry, to fight the invading Scythians of Asia[16] and then led the conquest towards the Indian sub-continent,[17][18][19] where he conquered Sindh in 519 BC, constituted it as his 20th Satrapy, and made use of the oceans there.[20][21] Darius wanted to know more about Asia, according to Herodotus; he also wished to know where the "Indus (which is the only river save one that produces crocodiles) emptied itself into the sea".[22] The present region of Makran, which is inhabited by Baluch people, derived its name from the word "Maka". The Babylonians had also made voyages using Maka to communicate with India.[23] Maka had also communicated with Euphrates, Tigris and Indus valley, objects from the Harappan culture have also been found in modern-day Oman, other archaeology suggest that Maka was exporting copper. Herodotus mentions the inhabitants of Maka as "Mykians" who were also previously involved in several conquests with Cyrus the Great and after the conquest of Egypt with Cambyses,[24] they went to Sindh in command of Darius I, and also took in army of Xerxes the great at the battle of Thermopylae, where they were dressed and equipped the same as Pactyans, Utians and Paricanians, the tribes adjacent to the Mykians. The word Maka later became Makran as it is common in closely related ancient Avestan and Old Persian languages to use "an" and "ran" at the end of plurals,[25] which then translates as "the land of Mykians". They are mentioned as "the men from Maka" in daeva inscriptions. The "daeva inscription" is one of the most important of all Achaemenid inscriptions; in the Baluchi language, dêw translates as "giant devil or monster". Mykians were also responsible for many inventions, such as qanats and underground drainage galleries that brought water from aquifers on the piedmont to gardens or palm groves on the plains. These inventions were important reasons behind the success of the Achaemenid Empire and survival of Mykians in their largely harsh natural environment. Other inscriptions also record that gold, silver, lapis lazuli, turquise, cornalin, cedar wood, wood and the decoration for the relief at Susa were from Maka.[26] The Mykians of the other side of ancient Maka, the present-day region of Balochistan and Sindh had later taken independence because they are not mentioned in the book written by Arrian of Nicomedia about campaigns of Alexander the Great but he only mentions the Oman side of Maka which he calls "Maketa". The reasons for this may have been the arguably unjust rule of Xerxes.[27][27][28][29] It is highly likely that the ancient Mykians were one of the Median or Persian tribes and an important part of Achaemenid empire, as they are not mentioned as one of the ancient Iranian tribes that Cyrus the Great and Darius I had fought with. Cyrus himself was of both Persian and Median ancestry as his father was Cambyses I, who is believed to have married Mandane of Media, the daughter of Astyages, a Median king.[30]

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