Found in: Landforms of Iran
Makran is a semi-desert coastal strip in the south of Balochistan, in Iran and Pakistan, along the coast of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The Persian phrase Mahi khoran, fish-eaters (Mahi = fish + khor = eat) is believed to be the origin of the modern word Makran.
The narrow coastal plain rises very rapidly into several mountain ranges. Of the 1,000 km coastline, about 750 km is in Pakistan. The climate is very dry with very little rainfall. Makran is very sparsely inhabited, with much of the population being concentrated in a string of small ports including Chabahar, Gwatar, Jiwani, Gwadar (not to be confused with Gwatar), Pasni, Ormara and many smaller fishing villages.
The Pakistani government is currently developing Ormara as a major naval base and Gwadar as a major new commercial port as well as a new highway along the entire length of the coast. These projects have been prompted by the commercial and military bottleneck at Karachi. The new naval base at Ormara will host about half of the Pakistani Navy, whilst Gwadar is planned to reduce the pressure on the two international ports at Karachi.
The Iranian government planned to develop Chabahar in the 1970s, but the toppling of the Shah put an end to those plans.
The coast of Makran possesses only one island, Astola Island, near Pasni, and several insignificant islets. The coastline can be divided into an eastern lagoon coastline and a western embayed coastline. The main lagoons are Miani Hor and Kalamat Hor. The main bays of the embayed coast are Gwadar West Bay and Gwatar Bay. This latter bay shelters a large mangrove forest and the nesting grounds of endangered turtle species.
Two ancient Harappan era settlements have been found at Sutkagen dor (on Dasht River)and Sokhta Koh (astride Shadi River). The coastal sites are evidence of trade between Harappan and Sumerian cities as well as those of the Gulf region, possibly from around 3000 BC.
Alexander the Great marched through Makran during a disastrous exodus after the Indian Campaign (325 BC). According to one theory, Alexander's well-stocked fleet under Admiral Nearchus was supposed to have continuously provisioned the army as it marched West along the barren coast towards Persia. In the event, a major portion of Alexander's route through Makran (Bela-Averan-Hoshab-Turbat and then south to Pasni-Gwadar) turned out to be much further inland than expected, apparently due to faulty knowledge of the terrain. The fleet and the marching army were able to eventually rendezvous in Susa, Persia.
The first Islamic conquest of Makran took place during the Rashidun Caliphate in the year 643 A.D. Caliph Umars governor of Bahrain Usman ibn Abu al-Aas, who was on his campaign to conquer the southern coastal areas of Iran send his brother Hakam ibn Abu al-Aas to raid the Makran region, the campaign was not meant for whole scale invasion but merely was a raid to check the potential of the local inhabitants. The raid was successful
In late 644 A.D Caliph Umar sent an army for whole scale invasion of Makran under the command of Hakam ibn Amr. Reinforcement from Kufa joined him under the command of Shahab ibn Makharaq and Abdullah ibn Utban, the commander of campaign in Karman, also joined them, no strong resistance was faced by them in makran until the Hindu King of Sind Raja Rasal along with his army having contingents from Makran and Sind stopped them near River Indus. A violent battle was fought between Muslim army and Rajas forces near the river, Rajas army included War elephants, and they didnt make any trouble for the Muslims veterans who handled War elephants during the conquest of Persia. Raja Rasal was defeated and retreated to eastern coast of River Indus. According to the orders of Caliph Umar the war elephants were sold in Islamic Persia and the cash was distributed among the soldiers as a share in booty. In response of Caliph Umars question about the Makran region, the Messenger from Makran who bring the news of the victory told him:
Umar looked at the messenger and said:"Are you a messenger or a poet? He replied Messenger.
Thereupon Caliph Umar, after listening to the unfavorable situations for sending an army instructed Hakim bin Amr al Taghlabi that for the time being Makran should be the easternmost frontier of the Islamic empire, and that no further attempt should be made to extend the conquests. Thereupon on of the commander of Islamic army in Makran said the following verses:
Referring to the Hindu Temple in interior Sind where prostitutes used to give a part of their earning as alms.
It remainned the part of Umayyad Caliphate and Abbasid Caliphate and was also ruled by Muslim Turks, Persians and Afghans. It was conquered by Mongols in 13th century A.D, and in 15th century A.D it became part of Mughal empire, it remained so until it came under the rule of British empire.
Balochi attack on Mahumad Ghazni
From the 15th century onward, the area was ruled by indigenous Zikri families and sometimes by the Iranian government. In the late 18th century, the Khan of Kalat is said to have granted sanctuary at Gwadar to one of the claimants for the throne of Muscat. When that claimant became Sultan, he kept hold of Gwadar, installing a governor, who eventually led an army to conquer the city of Chabahar some 200 kilometres to the west.
The sultanate held onto the Makran coast throughout the period of British pre-eminence in India, but eventually only Gwadar was left in the hands of the sultan. On the formation of Pakistan, Makran became a district within the province of Balochistan, minus an area of 800 km around Gwadar. The enclave was finally transferred in 1958 to Pakistani control as part of the district of Makran. The entire region has been subdivided into new smaller districts over the years.
1945 Balochistan earthquake
Makran Coastal Highway
State of Makran