FĀRS vii. Ethnography

The largest part of the population of Fārs is of Iranian stock, but since the rise of Islam in the 7th century there has been substantial immigration of peoples of other ethnic origins into the province.



vii. Ethnography

The largest part of the population of Fārs is of Iranian stock, but since the rise of Islam in the 7th century there has been substantial immigration of peoples of other ethnic origins into the province (FIGURE 1).

Lors. There are two groups of Lors in Fārs: those originally from the Behbahān area in Kūhgīlūya and those who moved into the province from Lorestān in western Persia. The first are to be found primarily in westernmost Fārs, in the districts (dehestāns) of Līrāvī and Ḥayāt Dāwūdī (Lorimer, Gazetteer I, pp. 699-702, 1101-06). The Ḥayāt-dāwūdī khans of Bandar-e Rīg were Lors and, until well into the 20th century, exercised considerable power in the region north of Bušehr (q.v.; Wilson, pp. 170-76; Chick, pp. 1-5). The Ḥayāt-dāwūdī family and its tribal supporters played an important role in tribal uprisings in 1325 Š./1946 and 1342 Š./1963 (Oberling, 1974, pp. 130, 185, 187, 201, 212-13). Many Lors from Kūhgīlūya have also settled in the districts of Āspās, Dez-e Kord, and Šahrmīān in the subprovince (šahrestān) of Ābāda (q.v.; Razmārā, Farhang VII, pp. 9, 100, 144).

The Lors who came from Lorestān accompanied Karīm Khan Zand (1163-93/1750-79) to Shiraz. Today the principal vestiges of this group are the Lašanī, Korūnī, and Feylī. After the overthrow of the Zand dynasty in 1209/1794 the Lašānī were gradually absorbed into the Qašqāʾī tribal confederation. In 1291/1874 they once more became independent but soon adopted a sedentary way of life (Oberling, 1960, pp. 80-82). By the mid-1890s, when Mīrzā Ḥasan Fasāʾī wrote his Fārs-nāma, a part of the tribe had already settled in the districts of Ḵafrak and Marvdašt north of Shiraz (II, p. 332). By 1336/1918 the remainder had settled in the district of Ābāda-ye Ṭašk north of Lake Neyrīz (Field, p. 223). According to Masʿūd Kayhān, the tribe comprised about 400 families in the early 1930s (Joḡrāfīā II, p. 81). The Korūnī also joined the Qašqāʾī tribal confederation. In the 1950s there were about fifty families of them among the ʿAmala and about 190 among the Kaškūlī Bozorg. By that time a few families had also settled in a quarter of Shiraz known as Maḥalla-ye Korūnī (Oberling, 1960, pp. 84-85). The Feylī followed a similar pattern, first being absorbed by the ʿAmala tribe and later some of them settling in Shiraz. There are still a Feylī clan of the ʿAmala tribe and a Maḥalla-ye Feylī in Shiraz (Oberling, 1960, pp. 85-86).

Kurds. The most important Kurdish tribes of Fārs are the Kordšūlī and the Zangana. The Kordšūlī seem to have spent some time among the Mamasanī or Baḵtīārī Lors before entering Fārs in the 19th century. They were absorbed into the Qašqāʾī tribal confederation but had again become independent before World War I (Oberling, 1960, p. 83). The tribe includes some Turkic elements, notably the Ḵalajī clan, which in 1342 Š./1963 numbered about 600 households, of which only 200 had become sedentary (Komīsīūn-e mellī, I, p. 156). Its winter quarters are near Fīrūzābād in the district of Qīr o Kārzīn and its summer quarters near Ābāda in the district of Ḵongšet (Razmārā, Farhang VII, pp. 91, 179).

Most of the Zangana live in the region of Kermānšāh (Baḵtarān) and in northeastern Iraq, but a number of clans have established themselves among the Baḵtīārī (q.v.), in Kūhgīlūya, and in Fārs (Oberling, 1960, pp. 76-77). The Zangana of Fārs have split into several small groups, one of which was absorbed into the Kaškūlī Bozorg tribe of the Qašqāʾī confederation and later settled in the Dašt-e Aržan (q.v.) area west of Shiraz; another was absorbed into the Aynallū (q.v.) tribe of the Ḵamsa confederation and later settled near Fasā in the district of Šeš Deh Qarabolāḡ a third settled near the Persian Gulf, where until recently there was a district called Zangana southeast of Bušehr; finally, one group settled in Shiraz, where there is still a Maḥall-e Zangana (Oberling, 1960, pp. 78-79).

Five smaller Kurdish tribal fragments are the Čegīnī and Ūrīād, clans of the Qašqāʾī ʿAmala tribe; the Lak and Vandā, clans of the Qašqāʾī Darrašūrī (q.v.) tribe; and the Kordlū, a clan of the Qašqāʾī Qara Čāhīlū tribe (Oberling, 1974, pp. 225-26, 231). There is reason to believe that nearly all the Kurds in Fārs are descended from tribes that accompanied Karīm Khan Zand. Finally, there is also a district called Dez-e Kord southwest of Ābāda.

Turks. At present the most important Turkic component of the population of Fārs is the Qašqāʾī, until recently one of the largest and most powerful tribal confederations in Persia. Its principal tribes (ṭawāyef) are ʿAmala, Darrašūrī, Fārsīmadān, Kaškūlī Bozorg, Kaškūlī Koček, Šeš-bolūkī, Qara Čāhīlū, Ṣafī-ḵānī, and Namadī.

Fārs province was first occupied by the Saljuq Turks in the 1060s (Bosworth, p. 59; Kafesoğlu, p. 363; Tārīḵ-e gozīda, ed. Browne, I, pp. xiv, 433, 442; see ii, above), and in all likelihood the Qašqāʾī came during these migrations. They seem to have spent time in Azerbaijan before reaching Fārs, however. The clan names Moḡānlū, Āq Qoyunlū, Qara Qoyunlū, Bīgdelī, and Mūṣellū all suggest a past connection with northwestern Persia, as do many Qašqāʾī songs and legends (Oberling, 1974, pp. 27-28). Many Qašqāʾīs believe that their ancestors were forced to migrate to Fārs by Shah Esmāʿīl I (907-30/1501-24), but already at the beginning of the 15th century their summer quarters were close to their present ones; Ebn Šehāb Yazdī mentioned a group with summer quarters at Gandomān, about 160 km southwest of Isfahan, in 818/1415 (apud Aubin, p. 504 n. 24). It is even possible that Ebn Baṭṭūṭa (II, p. 52) was referring to the Qašqāʾīs when he noted that in 726/1326 or 727/1327 he crossed a plain (Dašt-e Rūm) inhabited by Turks between Īzadḵᵛāst and Māyīn, where today several Qašqāʾī clans spend their summers.

There appears at one time to have been a close relationship between the Qašqāʾī and the Ḵalaj, one branch of which made its way to Azerbaijan and Anatolia while another branch settled in Ḵalajestān in central Persia, probably in Seljuq times. Indeed, several authors have argued that the Qašqāʾī are simply an offshoot of the Ḵalaj tribe (e.g., Fasāʾī, II, p. 312). Vladimir Minorsky, on the other hand, believed that the migration of Ḵalaj nomads from central Persia to Fārs antedated that of the Qašqāʾīs and that the two groups merged after migrating into the province (personal interview, Cambridge, England, 12 December 1956). There are considerable Ḵalaj remnants among the Qašqāʾīs, and there is also a large group of sedentary Ḵalaj on the Dehbīd plateau north of Shiraz; the latter claims to have belonged in its nomadic phase to the Qašqāʾī tribal confederation (Oberling, 1974, p. 29; for further details on tribal and modern political history, see QAŠQĀʾĪ).

Three of the five tribes constituting the Ḵamsa tribal confederation are also of Turkic origin: the Aynallū, the Bahārlū (qq.v.), and the Nafar. Finally, there are several smaller Turkic tribes scattered throughout the province, including the Šāhsevan, the Bayāt (q.v.), the Qaragözlü, and the Āq Evlī (q.v.; Oberling, 1960, pp. 60-76).

Arabs. The Arabs conquered Fārs during the caliphate of ʿOṯmān (23-35/644-56; Lockhart, p. 811). Although Arab infiltration into Persia had already begun before the conquest, it greatly increased afterward. In southern Persia Kufan military garrisons provided the vast majority of colonists in such urban centers as Eṣṭaḵr and Shiraz and later spread into the countryside (see ʿARAB iii). Most of the Arabs who remained permanently in the province were nomads, who established themselves along the Persian Gulf littoral. Three such tribes were the Moẓaffar, occupying an area between Bušehr and the estuary of the Mānd river; the Āl Abī Zohayr, northwest of Nāyband; and the Āl ʿOmāra, east of Qeys (Kīš) island (Le Strange, Lands, pp. 256-57). Today remnants of numerous Arab tribes are found along the northern shore of the Persian Gulf; the most important are the Banī Hājer, Banī Kaʿb, and Banī Tamīm (scattered all the way from Bandar-e Deylam to Bušehr); Domūḵ (in Daštestān); ʿAmrānī, Rūʾūsa, and Ḥājīān (in Daštī); Āl-e ʿAlī, Hamadī, Naṣūrī, Āl-e Ḥaram, Marzūqī, and ʿObaydelī (in Šībkūh; Lorimer, Gazetteer, pp. 79-82, 367-88, 697-702, 1100-06, 1595-98, 1685-91, 1779-90; Fasāʾī, II, pp. 3-8).

In the hinterland of Fārs the most important Arab tribe is a component of the Ḵamsa tribal confederation. It is divided into two sections, the Jabbāra and the Šaybānī. A hundred years ago the Arab population of this tribe was estimated at 19,870 families (Tumanski, pp. 79-81). From more recent estimates (e.g., Komīsīūn-e mellī, I, pp. 150-53) it is obvious that most of these tribesmen have become sedentary. The summer quarters of the Ḵamsa Arabs are in an area stretching from the northwestern shore of Lake Neyrīz to Dehbīd and Bavānāt in central Fārs. Their winter quarters are around Fasā, Dārāb, Jahrom, and Jūyom in southeastern Fārs. (For lists of the subtribes, or tīras, see Fasāʾī, II, p. 312; P. M. Sykes, pp. 329-30; Field, pp. 213-14).

Georgians and Circassians. Thousands of Georgians and Circassians were transplanted to Persia by Shah ʿAbbās I (996-1038/1588-1629) to guard the main caravan routes; many were settled around Āspās and other villages along the old Isfahan-Shiraz road. By now these Caucasians have lost their cultural, linguistic, and religious identity.


Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References.”):

J. Aubin, “Références pour Lār médiévale,” JA 243, 1955, pp. 491-505.

L. G. Beck, The Qashqaʾi of Iran, New Haven, Conn., 1986.

C. E. Bosworth, “The Political and Dynastic History of the Iranian World (A.D. 1000-1217),” in Camb. Hist. Iran V, pp. 1-202.

H. G. Chick, “Notes on a Visit to the Khan of Hayat Daoud,” MS Kew, U.K, Public Record Office, F.O. 371/946, 1909.

H. Field, Contributions to the Anthropology of Iran, Chicago, 1934.

U. Gehrke, Persien in der deutschen Orient-Politik während der Ersten Weltkrieges, Stuttgart, 1960. İ. Kafesoğlu, “Selçuklular,” in İA X, pp. 353-416.

Komīsīūn-e mellī Yūnesko (UNESCO) dar Īrān, Īrānšahr, 2 vols., Tehran, 1342 Š./1963.

L. Lockhart, “Fārs,” in EI2 II, pp. 811-12.

P. Oberling, The Turkic Peoples of Southern Iran, New York, 1960.

Idem, The Qashqāʾī Nomads of Fārs, The Hague, 1974.

C. Sykes, Wassmuss, the German Lawrence, London, 1936.

P. M. Sykes, Ten Thousand Miles in Persia, London, 1902.

A. G. Tumanski, “Ot Kaspiiskago morya k Hormuzdskomu prolivu i obratno” (From the Caspian Sea to the Straits of Hormuz and back) Sbornik geograficheskikh, topograficheskikh i statisticheskikh materialov po Azii 65, 1896.

A. T. Wilson, Report on Fars, Simla, 1916.

(Pierre Oberling)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: December 15, 1999

This article is available in print.
Vol. IX, Fasc. 4, pp. 360-362