Kurdistan (कुर्दिस्तान), "Land of the Kurds"; also formerly spelled Curdistan; ancient name: Corduene is a roughly defined geo-cultural region wherein the Kurdish people form a prominent majority population, and Kurdish culture, language, and national identity have historically been based.
Contemporary use of Kurdistan refers to large parts of eastern Turkey (Turkish Kurdistan), northern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan), northwestern Iran (Iranian Kurdistan) and northeastern Syria (Syrian Kurdistan) inhabited mainly by Kurds. Kurdistan roughly encompasses the northwestern Zagros and the eastern Taurus mountain ranges.
Various groups who had lived in this region in antiquity are:
The original Mannaean homeland was situated east and south of the Lake Urmia, roughly centered around modern-day Mahabad. The Medes came under Persian rule during the reign of Cyrus the Great and Darius.
The Kingdom of Corduene, which emerged from the declining Seleucid Empire, was located to the south and south-east of Lake Van between Persia and Mesopotamia and ruled northern Mesopotamia and southeastern Anatolia from 189 BC to AD 384 as vassals of the vying Parthian and Roman Empire. At its zenith, the Roman Empire ruled large Kurdish-inhabited areas, particularly the western and northern Kurdish areas in the Middle East. Corduene became a vassal state of the Roman Republic in 66 BC and remained allied with the Romans until AD 384. After 66 BC, it passed another 5 times between Rome and Persia. Corduene was situated to the east of Tigranocerta, that is, to the east and south of present-day Diyarbakır in south-eastern Turkey.
Some of the ancient districts of Kurdistan and their corresponding modern names:
- Corduene or Gordyene (Siirt, Bitlis and Şırnak)
The Kurds are a people of Indo-European origin. They speak an Iranian language known as Kurdish, and comprise the majority of the population of the region – however, included therein are Arab, Armenian, Assyrian, Azeri, Jewish, Ossetian, Persian, and Turkic communities. Most inhabitants are Muslim, but adherents to other religions are present as well – including Yazidis, the Yarsan, Alevis, Christians, and Jews.
- The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2005.
- Kurdistan, Britannica Concise.
- "Mahabad – Britannica Online Encyclopedia"
- J. Bell, A System of Geography. Popular and Scientific (A Physical, Political, and Statistical Account of the World and Its Various Divisions), pp.133–4, Vol. IV, Fullarton & Co., Glasgow, 1832.
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