The history of Uzbekistan. A brief excursus.
History of Uzbekistan is a record of times. It is extremely long like a road and exciting as an extraordinary adventure. Reading it is not only interesting, but infinitely instructive. It covers so huge time span that there is no any wonder, inexperienced man will surely confuse. Therefore, we will not hurry up and start from the very beginning.
Thus, when is supposed to be the beginning of the history of Uzbekistan? Scientists argue about this statement for a long time. Some claim that this period is related to the Middle Paleolithic. At the same time, others boldly suggest age that is much more solid and refer the beginnings of life to the Lower Paleolithic, which was about 1 million years BC. One way or another, but we know very little about that period of life. Finds of artifacts in the territory of modern Ferghana, Bukhara, the deserts of the Kara-Kum and Kyzyl-Kum are rare. Moreover, the materials are poorly analyzed.
The first significant archaeological finds are dated back to the late Paleolithic period. Over the past half a century, scientists have found several parkings of Neanderthals, the most famous of which are Teshiktash and Amankutan. Based on the findings, valuable information about shape, lifestyle and occupations of ancient man was obtained. Thus, the burial of 9-year-old Neanderthal boy found in Teshiktash is recognized to be the most ancient funeral rite throughout the territory of the CIS.
It is widely known that in the Neolithic period (VI-IV century BC) three huge archaeological cultures have been created in Central Asia: Hissar, Dzheytun and Keltiminar.
The subsequent Neolithic period (IV century BC), brought the development of settled-agricultural lifestyle of ancient people. Once established, it was developed with the advent of the Bronze Age, when bronze tools and household items were widespread. It was exactly during this period, when the first city-states were built that usually were the center of the oasis, around which natural populations were arisen.
Somewhat later (VII — VI century BC) was the formation of ancient historical areas, such as Margiana, Bactria, Sogdiana, Khorezm, which were characterized by large settlements, reaching hundreds of acres, enclosed by high walls. Their vivid examples are: Marakanda, Uzun-Kyr, Kok-Tepa, Er-Kurgan.
This was followed by many hundred years under the yoke of Ahmenids Empire when Bactria, Sogdiana and Khorezm, conquer and announce to become satrapies, were forced to pay an exorbitant tribute into the treasury of Ahmenids’ kings.
Ahmenids rule ended with the arrival of Alexander of Macedon’s troops into Central Asia, who having defeated the main forces of the dynasty, decided to put an end to their Kingdom, destroying the last pretender for the throne — the satrap of Bactria, named Bess. Three years (329-327 years BC) a great commander spent in the attempts to conquest the Central Asia, the people of which provided stiff resistance to the conqueror. Especially, it was hard for Alexander to capture Sogd, where the inhabitants, headed by Spitamen, did not want to lay down their arms for a long time.
This period was marked by tremendous Greek influence, which was called by historians as «Hellenistic». At the same time, the first state — the kingdom of Khorezm was being formed in the territory of the modern Uzbekistan.
In the second half of II century BC, thanks to trade intelligence mission of Zhang Jian, Imperator of China draws his attention to Central Asia. Since that time, the exchange of goods became better. In fact namely this period is considered to be a benchmark in the creation of the Great Silk Road — the first transcontinental road, which was able to connect the civilizations of East and West.
In the middle of the VII century – beginning of the VIII century BC — was the early medieval period, there were tremendous changes in state and society. Major conglomerates, as independent states (Sogdiana, Khorezm, Davan and Chach) were focused in the Middle Asia — flat areas between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers. It was also the time, when a social class of wealthy landowners — farmers.
The religious life of the peoples inhabiting Mesopotamia during this period was characterized by an unusually variegated. Therefore, Zoroastrianism dominated at the core of the region, Christianity and Manichaeism were also widely spread and the southern region was occupied by Buddhism.
It was exactly during this period when an active role in the political life of Mesopotamia began to be played the Arabs. Having captured Merv in 651year, they regularly made forays into the Central Asian territories, which they already called as Mawarannahr («behind the river»). By 712 year, the troops, led by brutal warlord, called Kuteyba, finally conquered the region, bringing a new religion. Thus, Muslim spread throughout the whole Central Asia by the IX century.
In early 1220 year, the troops of Genghis Khan invaded the territory of Mesopotamia. In February of the same year Bukhara city was taken, in the spring — Samarkand, in the autumn – Termez and in April of the next year Gurgandzh (Urgench) fell. All these cities were not just captured, they were wiped out, razed to the ground. Consequently, some of them (for instance, Samarkand and Termez) were reconstructed at a new location.
By the middle of the XIV century Amir Temur, the future famous Emperor and the great commander moved to the political arena of Maverannakhr. He was born at 1336 year in the village of Khoja — Ilgar (Shakhrisabz), near Kesh.
In April of 1370 year, at the Congress, Amir Temur has been chosen as the supreme ruler of Maverannakhr, but without being Genghisides he could not take the title of khan and confined more modest one — amir, although in fact he became the all-powerful ruler of Mesopotamia.
By 1380 year Temur ended with strife, which was preying the country and united the lands into a strong state with its capital in Samarkand city. Then, during more than a dozen years the great commander has made military campaigns into the Caucasus, Turkey, Northern India, Egypt and Syria. During this period, he finally defeated his main enemy, Khan of the Golden Horde — Tokhtamysh.
The rule of Genghisides sunk into oblivion.
In 1403 year, Amir Temur became Emperor of a vast state, in which apart from Central Asia and Transcaucasia, were concluded the land, stretching from the Mediterranean to Northern India.
Emperor died in 1405 year during his a trip to China. After his death, the great Empire bequeathed to his sons and grandchildren, was to diminish. Thus, after the murder in 1449 year the beloved grandson of Temur — Ulugbek (ruler, philosopher, astronomer), chaos spread throughout the country.
At this time, the main opponent of Temurids became the dynasty of Sheibanids – leaders of nomadic tribes, who once have settled in the territory of Maverannakhr under a common name — the Uzbeks. Sheybanikhan easily done with the board of Temurids, having met quite good resistance only from the grandson of Timur in the fifth generation, named Zahid al-Din Babur. However, in 1512 year Babur was defeated and forced to escape to Hissar, where from he took a bloody campaign against India. After that he founded the Empire of the Great Mughals in 1525 year.
Having settled in Maverannakhr, Sheibanids divided the territory between the relative Uzbek dynasties. Thus, in the middle of the XVI century two large khanates were formed in Mesopotamia. The major Emirate having capital in Bukhara, took the central, southern and eastern parts of modern Uzbekistan took. Smaller one, the Khanate of Khiva, with the capital in Khorezm, occupied the land of the Amu Darya delta and the surrounding areas.
At the beginning of the XVIII century, Ferghana was separated from the Bukhara Emirate and has created a new state, which became known as the Kokand Khanate, under the name of its capital – Kokand city. In the XIX century, in addition to Ferghana, the Khanate also was consisted of Tashkent and the vast territory up to the Syr Darya river.
Russia had always territorial interests in Central Asia and in the 60-ies of the XIX century, under the pretext of protecting the southern provinces from the raids of nomadic tribes and the fight against slavery, which flourished in Mesopotamia, Russia undertook military expeditions to Central Asia. As a result, Russian annexation destroyed the Khanate of Kokand and formed Turkestan general-governorship. Bukhara and Khiva Khanates received protectorate.
The process of entering Turkestan into Russia structure was pretty painful and difficult. On the one hand, Russia has given new impetus to economic development in the region, followed by the growth of cities, building and an extensive network of railways, the communion of the population to the benefits of civilization. But on the other hand, people were deprived of independence, quickly lost its original roots of civilization and got into the economic bondage.
The main task of the imperial government was to turn Central Asia into a cotton base of Russian industry, which was of a strategic importance for it. The military command of the Turkestan governor-generalship in the form of an order started to increase the crop of cotton at the expense of grain and forage crops, which led to food dependency of the area. An attempt was made to resettle of peasants from Russian province to the newly conquered lands in Turkestan, in order to strengthen the imperial regime.
In an attempt to cultivate local talents, who would be loyal to Russia, the administration has placed a strong emphasis on teaching of local people, organizing the Russian-Uzbek schools, artificially implanting an alien mentality. However, the Uzbek people did its best to resist slavery. Intellectuals, who were titled in the history as «Jadidas” created» schools upon a new methodology, where it was tried to combine the achievements of both European and Eastern educational thought, combining a system of religious and secular education.
Ordinary people increasingly raised the riots.
Therefore, in 1875 year, there have been mass rallies in Andijan and Margilan areas, led by Dervish Khan, «cholera riots» in Tashkent 1892 in year, as well as armed uprisings in the Ferghana Valley in 1898 year.
The largest outbreak of distemper, which is known in history as «the revolution of Dukchi-Ishan” was held in 1916 year. It was a protest against conscription into the rear of a World War I the indigenous population. During the suppressing of that uprising thousands of people were killed or injured. It seemed that everything could change after October Revolution took place in 1917 year.
In November of the same year, Muslim activists gathered extraordinary congress in Kokand, where the autonomy of the southern regions of Central Asia was announced. However, it was not anything about a complete break with Russia, thus, into the reign of autonomy, along with the Islamists, the representatives of the European population also have been invited. But this went against the plan of the Bolsheviks and the attempt failed, crushed by the superior forces of the Red Army.
This turn of events led to a revitalization of “Basmaches” movement — mass anti-Soviet guerrilla movement, which killed more than 500 thousand people during the period of 1918-1924 years.
In 1920 year the Khanates of Bukhara and Khiva were destroyed and their territories were included into Turkestan governor-generalship, which was converted by this time in the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic — ASSR.
In 1930 year, the republic’s capital was transferred from Samarkand to Tashkent city. In 1936 year due to the constitutional solution, Karakalpakstan has been included into the Uzbek SSR
Adoption of the First Five Year Plan was marked by a broad assault on the traditional economic structure in Uzbekistan. Mass collectivization, which followed by the introduction of the land — water reforms, led to the socialization of areas and the foundation of collective farms.
For the complete suppression of the national identity, Uzbek people were deprived of their own writing system, replacing the Arabic script with Slavic Cyrillic characters. It was done for “ease of teaching» during the execution of the program that should eradicate the illiteracy.
Formation of the Uzbek SSR was accompanied by the birth of the Communist Party and governments in this region. And the first Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars (the government) was a former «jadid» from Bukhara — Fayzulla Khodjayev, and the first secretary of the Communist Party in 1924 year became — Akmal Ikramov, a native inhabitant of Tashkent.
It is absolutely needless to say, that the period of Stalin’s purges did not spare anyone, and pioneers, who have become at the helm of the young republic had been repressed for the first, because with the connection «with Jadidas”, precisely for what once were chosen. This was followed by the arrest, show trial and execution, which took place in 1938 year in Moscow.
More than 100 thousand people suffered during the years of repression in Uzbekistan.
By the second half of the twentieth century, Uzbekistan, apparently, was quite prosperous Republic. The rise in agricultural production and measures, which were took to accelerate scientific and technological progress, have led to the development of national economy of UzSSR and a better life.
However, the rise soon slump and in 80-es of last century, it became increasingly clear for economists that a period of stagnation started in the country.
Reformation, proclaimed by Mikhail Gorbachev became a real hope for «healing» of the economy. However, soon it became clear that this reform failed
In an effort to justify the failure and to block the so-called «separatist» movement, the leadership of the Union launched a massive promotion of «the cotton business” in Uzbekistan. According to the materials, more than 25 thousand senior officials, accused of corruption had been arrested. Along with these events, a real war with national traditions was held in Uzbekistan, the enforced restriction of the Uzbek language was also revealed.
The first prerequisite to achieving sovereignty by the republic became the election of President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov. It happened at the first session of the Supreme Soviet of the republic in 1990 year.
The Declaration of Independence, adopted by the first President, was aimed at ensuring economic independence, political sovereignty and national rebirth of the Republic. And the first step in this difficult matter was done, when Uzbek language acquired the official status, as well as developing a set of measures aimed at the independent solution of economic problems, the output of cotton from the category of «monoculture», the return of national traditions, spirituality and Uzbek identity.
On the 31-st of August, special session of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic proclaimed political independence of State. Since that day, the first of September now – is a national holiday – Independence Day.
These days, the Independent Republic of Uzbekistan is recognized by all the countries all over the world. Uzbekistan, as the authorized representative is a member of dozens of international and governmental organizations, including the UN.
I.A. Karimov since 1991 year is the permanent President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. During the presidential elections in 2007 year, he reiterated his popularity, being ahead of all the nominated candidates with a considerable margin.