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Gilan or Ghilan (both: gēlänˈ) [key], province (1991 pop. 2,204,047), 14,709 sq mi (38,106 sq km), NW Iran, bounded in the N by the Caspian Sea and in the SE by the Elburz Mts. Rasht is the capital and chief city; other cities include Zanjan and Bandar-e Anzali. Much of the province has a subtropical climate. Fish, caviar, and rice are important products; tobacco, fruit, and tea are also produced. Textiles are manufactured. There is a dam, an airport, and a natural-gas pipeline. Gilan was ruled by the Mongols in the 13th and early 14th cent. and was incorporated into Persia by the Safavid dynasty in the late 16th cent. It was occupied by Russia from 1722 to 1732. In the 19th cent. it was divided among Iran, Great Britain, and Russia. It was (1920–21) a Soviet republic before being returned to Iranian control in 1921.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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