History of Oman

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Achaemenid (6th to 4th century BC), an Iranian dynasty, controlled and/or influenced the Omani peninsula. This influential control was most likely exerted from a coastal center such as Sohar.[1]

From the 3rd century BC to the arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD, Oman was controlled by two other Iranian dynasties, the Parthians and the Sassanids. During this period Oman's administrative name was Mazun.[1] By about 250 BC, the Parthian dynasty brought the Persian Gulf under their control and extended their influence as far as Oman. Because they needed to control the Persian Gulf trade route, the Parthians established garrisons in Oman. In the 3rd century AD, the Sassanids succeeded the Parthians and held area until the rise of Islam four centuries later. This agricultural and military contact gave people exposure to Persian culture, as reflected in certain irrigation techniques still used in Oman.[2]

Early Islamic period

Oman adopted Islam in the 7th century, during the lifetime of the prophet Muhammad. Ibadism became the dominant religious sect in Oman by the 8th century; Oman is currently the only country in the Islamic world with a majority Ibadi population. Ibadhism is known for its "moderate conservatism". One distinguishing feature of Ibadism is the choice of ruler by communal consensus and consent.

Until 1970 the political title for the nation's rulers was "Sultan of Muscat and Oman", implying two historically irreconcilable political cultures: the coastal tradition, the more cosmopolitan, secular, Muscat tradition of the coast ruled by the sultan; and the interior tradition of insularity, tribal in origin and ruled by an imam according to the ideological tenets of Ibadism. The more cosmopolitan has been the ascending political culture since the founding of the Al Said dynasty in 1744, although the imamate tradition has found intermittent expression.[3]

Several millennia ago, Arab tribes migrated eastward to Oman, coinciding with the increasing presence in the region of peoples from present-day Iran. In the 6th century, Arabs succeeded in repelling encroachments of these ethnic groups; the conversion of Arab tribes to Islam in the 7th century resulted in the displacement of the settlers from Iran. The introduction of Ibadism vested power in the imam, the leader nominated by the ulema.[3] The imam's position was confirmed when the imam—having gained the allegiance of the tribal sheiks—received the bay'ah (oath of allegiance) from the public.[citation needed]

In 751 Ibadi Muslims, a moderate branch of the Kharijites, established an imamate in Oman. Despite interruptions, the Ibadi imamate survived until the mid-20th century.[4]

But Oman was nonetheless conquered by several foreign powers, having been controlled by the Qarmatians between 931-932 and then again between 933-934.Between 967 and 1053, Oman was part of the domain of the Iranian Buyyids, and between 1053 and 1154, Oman was part of the Great Seljuk empire.

In 1154, the indigenous Nabhani dynasty took control of Oman, and the Nabhani kings ruled Oman until 1470, with an interruption of 37 years between 1406 and 1443.

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