History of Tajikistan — Asia Travel

dushanbeLong long time ago, the East-Iranian tribes settled the area between the two great Central Asian rivers — Amu Darya and Syr Darya in the middle of I millennium BC. Those days the lands of modern Tajikistan were divided between the Sogdian tribes in the north and Bactrian in the south.

Much later, about to VIII and X centuries, the natives were completely assimilated with Iranian-speaking peoples. Therefore, the main component of the nation’s modern Tajiks are descendants of the Bactrian, Sogdian and other Iranian tribes, although they are all with «impurities» of the Turkic and Mongolian peoples, emerged in the area much later.

By VI century BC a great area of Central Asia was part of the Persian Achaemenids power, which already in the IV century BC was defeated by the army of Alexander of Macedon. After that the long 200 years here was the kingdom of Greco-Bactrian reign, extending its dominance in the territory of modern Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and north-western part of India.

Then the land of Bactria united the state of Tokharistan, which later together with Sogdiana subsumed into the vast Kushan Empire. Thus, then the Kushan Empire stretched its influence on the entire south-east of Central Asia, Afghanistan and northern India.

The state was incredibly strong economically because of its territory was crossed by the caravan routes of the Silk Road, leading to the East of China and the West of the Mediterranean.

The dominant religion, common in the territory of the empire was Zoroastrianism, but there was also Buddhism at this area that was penetrated here with trade missions. Thus, it is believed that namely from here it came into China and only after that spread throughout the whole South-east Asia.

III century BC was marked by the collapse of the Kushan empire, in which its ownership — Sogdiana and Bactria, for a time fell under the authority of the new state — the Persian power of the Sassanid Empire. Thanks to it, here spread Persian culture and Persian language. However, by the VI century the influence of Turkic tribes that lived side by side with the state of Sassanid, was so great that the population of the basin of Amu Darya and Syr Darya gradually became Turkic speaking.

Something about the VII century radical changes began in the lives of the peoples of Central Asia — the Arabs came to the land, who became already victorious over Sassanids in Iran. Thus, the imposing of Islam started — the main state religion in the Arab caliphate. In the conquered territories of Central Asia, despite of the any resistance of population, there was mass conversion of the residents to a new religion. But at the same time, it should be noted that the highlands of Tajikistan took Islam much later, still being apart for several centuries.

As far as the weakening of central authority in the Arab caliphate, the actual rule in the region passed into the hands of local rulers. The most vivid trace in the history of Tajikistan was left by the Samanid dynasty, managed to unite under its rule vast areas from the Syr Darya River up to the south-western Iran.

Bukhara was chosen to become the capital to Samanids. Therefore, this city was turned into a center of science and culture. It was the patronage of the ruling dynasty that contributed to the revival of Persian language and literature. At the same time, the government has established its primacy over the eastern Iranian dialects.

Samanids were in power just little over 100 years, giving the state time of genuine prosperity — the time of poets, scientists and philosophers.

However, in the X century the empire fell under the blows of Samanids Turkic tribes and two states were formed in its place: the empire of Karakhanids in the north and the Ghaznavids’ one in the south. In the second half of the XII century Seljuk state was formed in Central Asia — the nomadic Turkic tribes, which defeated the Ghaznavids’ army.

freska2XIII century brought a new challenge into Central Asia — the conquest of the Mongols led by Genghis Khan. Even after his death the majority of areas remained in the empire and went under the rule of his second son — Chagatai.

In the XVIII century, the great Amir Timur came to power, and most of the land in Tajikistan was included into his empire.3

The conquest of vast territories of Central Asian by Turkic peoples — the Uzbeks (during the invasion of Sheibanids and Ashtarkhanids) led to the formation of independent khanates of Kokand and Bukhara, which lasted until the XIX century, when this area was annexed by Russia. Open confrontation between the Uzbek khans and Persian Shahs, challenging the authority and the territory of each other, seriously impeded the establishment of broader contacts with the outside world and promoted rooting of Islamic conservatism in these places. Also the moving of routes of the Silk Road to the north and south played an important role in the further isolation of the region.

During this period, almost the entire southern Tajikistan was ruled by Bukhara Khanate (later — Emirate). However, the Kokand khans constantly challenged the control over the lands of Tajikistan from the rulers of Bukhara.

In the XIX century, when a large part of Central Asia was annexed to Russia, the borders have changed significantly. Therefore, Bukhara Khanate, according to a bilateral treaty, became the state dependent on Russia. What about Kokand Khanate — it was abolished in 1876 year and its lands become one of the components of the Turkestan Governor-Generalship.

moderntajThe fall of autocracy in 1917 year spurred overdue discontent of the masses, a temporary period of anarchy also played quite a considerable role. Turmoil and riots began in the region, as well as Basmachis raised its head – an anti-Bolshevik movement, the struggle against which lasted until after 1925 year. The majority of Tajiks inadvertently became involved in an armed confrontation of the parties. Thousands of cattle nomads and peasants were forced to flee into Afghanistan in order to escape the famine and bloodshed.

In the mid-20s of last century, the Bolshevik government launched a territorial division of Central Asia along with ethnic lines. As a result of which several republics joined the USSR were established.

Thus, in 1924 year it was announced the formation of the autonomous republic of Tajikistan as the part of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (UzSSR). But already in 1929 year autonomy was transformed into an independent republic of the Tajik SSR.

New stage of historical development in Tajikistan is connected with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

August 24, 1991 year, the Supreme Council of the Republic adopted the Declaration on State Sovereignty of Tajikistan. And in November of the same year an election of a new head of state was held.