Achaemenid Satrapies > Gedrosia

Gedrosia

Background

Gedrosia is a dry, mountainous country along the northwestern shores of the Indian Ocean. It was occupied in the Bronze Age by people who settled in the few oases in the region. Other people settled on the coast and became known in Greek as Ichthyophagoi or 'Fish eaters'. The country was conquered by the Persian king Cyrus the Great (559-530 BCE), although information about his campaign is comparatively late. The capital of Gedrosia was Pura, which is probably identical to modern Bampûr, forty kilometers west of Irânshahr.

Gedrosia became famous in Europe when the Macedonian king Alexander the Great tried to cross the Gedrosian desert and lost one third of his men. Several scholars have argued that the Persian satrapy Maka is identical to Gedrosia (which is a Greek name). One argument is the similarity of the name Maka to the modern name Makran, a part of Pakistan and Iran that is situated a bit more to the east. However, it is more likely that Maka is to be sought in modern Oman, which was called Maketa in Antiquity.

The Achaemenid Satrapy of Gedrosia was an administrative division of the Achaemenid Empire situated in the southeastern part of the Iranian Plateau and along the coast of the Arabian Sea. Gedrosia encompassed the region of modern-day southeastern Iran, including parts of Balochistan in present-day Pakistan. It extended from the Makran coast along the Arabian Sea to the western border of the Indus River.

Administrative Structure:

Gedrosia was governed by a satrap appointed by the Persian king, who oversaw the administration, taxation, and defense of the region. Local administrators, possibly drawn from local tribal leaders or Persian appointees, assisted the satrap in governing the satrapy.

Economic Importance:

The region was known for its arid and harsh desert landscapes, which limited agricultural activities. Gedrosia was strategically located along trade routes connecting the Persian Gulf with the Indian subcontinent, facilitating trade and commerce.

Cultural Influence:

Gedrosia was inhabited by various ethnic groups, including Persian settlers, Baloch tribes, and other indigenous peoples. Persian cultural influences, including administrative practices and language, may have been present, but local cultures and traditions likely remained strong.

Historical Context:

The incorporation of Gedrosia into the Achaemenid Empire likely occurred during the reign of Cyrus the Great or his successors in the 6th century BCE. Gedrosia remained under Persian rule throughout much of the Achaemenid period, although it may have experienced periods of instability or rebellion.

Legacy:

The Achaemenid Satrapy of Gedrosia played a strategic role in Persian control over the eastern territories of the empire and its trade connections with the Indian subcontinent. The region's rugged terrain and challenging environment contributed to its reputation as a difficult and inhospitable area. In summary, the Achaemenid Satrapy of Gedrosia was an important administrative division of the Achaemenid Empire, situated in southeastern Iran and along the Arabian Sea coast. It played a significant role in Persian control over the region and its trade connections with the Indian subcontinent.

Achaemenid Satrapies

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