This volume discusses three aspects of Persia: history, geography and culture. Persia has, over a great span of time, been subject to many vicissitudes. At times it has been the aggressor of neighbouring states, at others a defensive role has necessarily been employed. Its cultural language has been described as the French of the East, leaving its mark on other languages, notably Urdu. Persia's religion today is almost wholly Shi'a, which separates it from the majority Sunni world of Islam. Its geography is harsh: an enormous central desert basin encircled by barren mountains, with a redeeming lushness to be found in the Caspian region. In this book, an attempt is made to draw the three strands together, commencing with a historical survey from early times, but then moving on in greater detail to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the European intrusions into the realm of the Great Sophy, and into the twentieth thus bringing the retrospect close to our own times while affording a prospect of that debatable land.