The Achaemenid empire at its greatest extent, including the region of Maka
The wordMakalater became Makran as it is common in closely related ancientAvestanandOld Persian languagesto use "an" and "ran" at the end of plurals.. TheBabylonianshad also made voyages using Maka to communicate with India.After Cyrus' deathDarius I of Persiasucceeded his throne. According to Greek historianHerodotus, Darius wanted to know more aboutAsia. He wished to know where the "Indus (which is the only river save one that produces crocodiles) emptied itself into the sea".. After personally leading his eliteforces, whose ranks were restricted to those with Persian, Mede or Elamite ancestry, to fight the invadingScythians, he lead another conquest towardsIndian sub-continent.where he conqueredSindhin 519 BC and constituted it as his 20thSatrapyand made use of the ocean there.After the fall ofAchaemenid Empire, Alexander also used Maka during his conquest and marched through a harsh desert path in Makran where he lost a significant number of soldiers but did not come across any Baluch force during his conquest except some coastal inhabitants. The harsh desert path is often mistaken as the whole of Makran region. Herodotus on several occasions mentions the contribution of "Mykian" that inhabited the eastern portion of theAchaemenid empire.They are mentioned as "the men from Maka" in daiva inscriptions. The "Daiva inscription" is one of the most important of allAchaemenidinscriptions. They also took part in army ofXerxes the greatat the battle ofThermopylae. The Mykians are also thought to be responsible for many inventions likeqanatsand underground drainage galleries that bring water from an aquifer on the piedmont to the gardens or palm groves on the plains. These inventions were very important reasons behind the success of the empire. The Mykians of the other side of ancient Maka, the present day region of Balochistan and Sindh had later taken independence because they are not mentioned in the book written byArrian of Nicomediaabout campaigns ofAlexander the greatbut he only mentions the Oman side of Maka which he calls "Maketa". The reasons for this may have been the arguably unjust rule of Xerxes.
The narrow coastal plain rises very rapidly into several mountain ranges. Of the 1,000 km coastline, about 750 km is inPakistan. 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 includingChabahar,Gwatar,Jiwani,Gwadar(not to be confused with Gwatar),Pasni,Ormaraand many smaller fishing villages.
View of a beach in Makran region. Today the economy of Makrani Baluch is largely based on use of the oceans.
The coast of Makran possesses only one island,Astola Island, nearPasni, and several insignificant islets. The coastline can be divided into an eastern lagoon coastline and a western embayed coastline. The main lagoons areMiani HorandKalamat Hor. The main bays of the embayed coast areGwadar West BayandGwatar Bay. This latter bay shelters a large mangrove forest and the nesting grounds of endangered turtle species.
From the 15th century onward, the area was ruled by theRind (tribe)which was headed byMir Chakar Rind. In the late 18th century, theKhan of Kalatis said to have granted sanctuary atGwadarto one of the claimants for the throne ofMuscat. When that claimant becameSultan, he kept hold of Gwadar, installing a governor, who eventually led an army to conquer the city ofChabaharsome 200 kilometres to the west.
The sultanate held onto the Makran coast throughout the period of British colonial rule, but eventually only Gwadar was left in the hands of the sultan. On the independence ofPakistan, Makran became a district within the province of Balochistan, minus an area of 800 km² 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.