Ancient tribe Kurds - Ancestry and origin
The Kurds lived for more than 2,000 years in neighboring mountainous regions in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Armenia. They remained more or less autonomous, although they seldom ruled the territory that they referred to as Kurdistan, the land of the Kurds.
The origin of the Kurdish people is disputed. The first references to them do appear in Cuneiform tablets from the Assyrian period. Ethnic connections exist with the Medes, an ancient Iranian group that lived in southwest Asia more than 2,700 years ago. In the seventh century A.D., the Kurds came under the influence of Islam. Within the multi-ethnic states of Islam, the Kurds lived in smaller local princedoms. In 1639, the majority of Kurdish territory came under the Ottoman Empire. At the time of its dissolution, the Kurds were assured an independent state of their own by the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920. Later rulings, however, divided that territory between Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and the Soviet Union.
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Today there are approximately 20 million Kurds in that region. Because of their long-isolated existence in the mountainous regions, the Kurds have been able to maintain their own language. Kurdish is most closely related to Persian. Likewise, they have their own social organization and have preserved their oral traditions. Almost all Kurds are Muslims, but a small minority, known as the Yezidi, practice their own religion, in which are combined philosophical elements of Christian, ancient Iranian and Islamic origin.
Although Kurdish society is patriarchal and only male descendants may inherit property, Kurdish women are more prominent in public life than in the surrounding Turkish, Iranian, and Arabian societies. They play a larger role in community decisions and have more freedom in their social interactions with men.
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