History of the Baloch people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Baloch people (Balochi: بلوچ) are an Iranian ethno-linguistic group that speak the Balochi language. They are mainly settled in the Balochistan areas of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan,[1] an arid region of South-Western Asia.


Several origins of the Baloch people have been proposed. The historic Balochi ballads claim an Arabian history, starting as the descendants of Hazrat Ameer Hamza, the uncle of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.[2] From there, they allegedly settled in Halab (present-day Aleppo) until they were driven out in 680 AD by Yazid I following the Battle of Karbala.[2] They fled to Kaman, Iran and eventually to the Sistan region.[2] The ballads then claim that, about 500 years later, a Sistan leader named Badr-ud-Din asked for a bride from each of the then 44 Baloch tribes to which they sent 44 boys instead and fled to Khvosh Mardan where he followed and was defeated.[2]

However, based on an analysis of the lingistic connections of the Balochi language, which is one of the Western Iranian languages, it seems likely that the original homeland of the Balochi tribes were to the east or southeast of the central Caspian region. It is believed that the Baloch began migrating towards the east in the late Sasanian period. The cause of the migration is unknown but may have been as a result of the generally unstable conditions in the Caspian area. The migrations occurred over several centuries.[3]

Middle Ages[edit]

By the 9th century, Arab writers refer to the Baloch as living in the area between Kerman, Khorasan, Sistan, and Makran in what is now eastern Iran. Although they kept flocks of sheep, the Balochs also engaged in plundering travellers on the desert routes. This brought them into conflict with the Buyids, and later the Ghaznavids and the Seljuqs. Adud al-Dawla of the Buyid dynasty launched a punitive campaign against them and defeated them in 971-972. After this, the Baloch continued their eastward migration towards what is now Balochistan, although some remained behind and there are still Baloch in eastern part of the Iranian Kerman province. By the 13/14th centuries waves of Baloch were moving into Sindh and by the 15th century into the Punjab.[4]

17th century to end of British India[edit]

The area where the Baloch tribes settled was disputed between the Persian Safavids and the Mughal emperors. Although the Mughals managed to establish some control over the area, by the 17th century, a tribal leader named Mir Hasan established himself as the first "Khan of the Baloch". In 1666, he was succeeded by Mir Aḥmad Khan Qambarani who established the Balochi Khanate of Kalat under the Ahmadzay dynasty. Originally in alliance with the Mughals, the Khanate lost its autonomy in 1839 with the signing of a treaty with the British and the region effectively became part of British India.[4] During the 18th century, vassal states of Kalat were established in other Baloch areas: namely, Karan, Las Bela and Makran.


  1. ^ Tyagi, Vidya Prakash (2009). Martial Races of Undivided India. Gyan Publishing House. pp. 7–9. ISBN 8178357755. Retrieved 3 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Kumar, Raj (2008). Encyclopaedia of Untouchables Ancient, Medieval and Modern. Gyan Publishing House. pp. 336–337. ISBN 8178356643. Retrieved 3 November 2014. 
  3. ^ J. Elfenbein (1988). "BALUCHISTAN iii. Baluchi Language and Literature". Encyclopedia Iranica. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Brian Spooner (1988). "BALUCHISTAN i. Geography, History and Ethnography". Encyclopedia Iranica. Retrieved 30 December 2014.