Persia, the name by which Iran was known until 1935. This article deals with the people, culture, and history of Persia up to that time. For geography, agriculture, industry and commerce, government, and recent history,

Persia is one of the oldest countries in the world. Where other historic nations built great empires and enjoyed a single period of grandeur before their decline, Persia rose to imperial conquest and greatness again and again. Its first empire was established in the 6th century B.C.; its last, in the 16th century A.D. Repeatedly its borders were extended to the northwest and west of present Iran to include Azerbaijan, Armenia, and most of Iraq; and to the northeast and east to include Turkmenistan, part of Uzbekistan, and most of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The ancient Persians, an artistic people, borrowed architectural forms and art motifs from Assyria. Egypt, and Greece and blended them into an exquisite style of their own. So strong was its influence on later conquerors of Persia that both Arabic art and Turkish art developed directly from the Persian. With the Mongols came Chinese art elements that further enriched Persian decorative themes. Persian miniature painting on ivory and tile is especially admired.