Tajikistan History

Tajikistan History

Early history to late antiquity

The Tajiks are direct descendants of Iranian immigrants who settled in the territory of today’s Tajikistan in the first millennium BC. It was there that the cultural and political centers of the empires of the Bactrians and Sogdians emerged. Bactria was from the 7th century BC. an independent empire that lay between the river Murgab in the southwest, the Hindu Kush in the south and the Gissar Mountains in the northeast. The old Persian Sogdien (also Sogdiana) had its location between the middle reaches of the Amudarja and the Syrdarja and thus encompassed today’s Uzbekistan as well as parts of Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. The capital of the oasis landscape was Marakanda (later Samarkand).

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Various foreign domains followed. In the 6th century BC the Persians invaded and in the 4th century BC. the tribes that lived in the Tajik region had to submit to the rule of Alexander the Great. Further subjugations followed, including those under the Hephthalite Empire, which took place around the 4th century AD. immigrated from the Altai region to the Amudarja area and mingled with the locals in the centuries that followed.


The conquest by the Arabs, who Islamized those living in the region, was a turning point. But tribal feuds weakened the invaders, and with the Samanids becoming powerful, the Tajiks came under the rule of this Persian dynasty from the Transoxania and Khorasan regions in the 9th and 10th centuries Christian era.

The Samanids ruled most of Persia in the 10th century, but the area was conquered by Turkish invaders by the end of the century. Due to the fact that both the invaders and the conquered were Muslims, the Tajiks were turkized in the most populated Syrdarja and Amudarja valleys. This formerly Iranian-oriented region became Turkistan accordingly.

According to AbbreviationFinder, three other conquerors shaped the following centuries: the Mongols in the 13th century, the Uzbeks in the 16th century and the Russians in the 19th century.

Until the middle of the 18th century, the Tajiks belonged to the Emirate of Bukhara. Bukhara, located in an oasis in the Kysylkum desert in Uzbekistan, was an important Islamic cultural center and an important trading center in the Middle Ages. Afghan tribes conquered parts of the country south and southwest of the Amudarja. In the second half of the 19th century, Bukhara had to recognize Russian sovereignty. Some areas to the north came under the sovereignty of Turkestan as a governorate, the rest of the country remained nominally part of Bukhara.

Soviet domination

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the territory of today’s Tajikistan was redistributed. In 1918 the “Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Turkistan” emerged from the northern areas. When the revolution was successful further south in 1920, the Khanate Bukhara became the Socialist People’s Republic of Bukhara, which encompassed much of what is now Tajikistan. In 1924 the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed to be part of the Uzbek Soviet Republic, and finally in 1929 it was upgraded to the Tajikistan Socialist Republic (within the Soviet Union).

The Prot¨¹rkish-Islamic resistance movement, the Basmatsch, which emerged in the revolutionary years, was defeated in the following years and the industrialization of the country was promoted. Outstanding communist leader from 1926-56 was BG Gafurov, a historian also respected in the West, who managed to awaken a national feeling among the multilingual Tajiks. The main outcome of the development work was improvements in education and healthcare.

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A deep cut – as for most Asian Soviet republics – was the perestroika initiated by Gorbachev, which reluctantly caused Tajikistan to declare independence on September 9, 1991. In the first free presidential election, communist Rahman Nabiev was elected president. A period of economic and political unrest followed, which escalated into a civil war in 1992. In the openly erupting political disputes, three interest groups striving for power emerged: on the one hand, the Communists who tried to hold on to power, on the other hand, democratically oriented forces and, thirdly, the Islamists, who were rapidly gaining in popularity and radicalism, who united the Republic into one Wanted to transform the state of God. Resentment from non-violent demonstrations in the capital in 1992 spread to other cities when government forces opened fire on the demonstrators. After the opposition briefly pushed ruling Nabijev out of office, a new government under Emomalii Rachmonow managed to gain control with the help of Russian troops. Bloody fights followed in the south of the country between Islamist, democratic, nationalist and communist forces, which also included regional clans and gangs. The main opponents, however, were the pro-communist new government under President Rakhmonov, elected in 1994, on the one hand, and the Islamic opposition on the other. Rachmonov remained in power with the help of Russian troops, could not, however, decisively weaken the Islamist volunteers operating from Afghan bases. More than half a million refugees and up to a hundred thousand deaths were the sad outcome of the civil war when a peace treaty was signed in July 1997 under UN mediation. In this, the Islamists under Said Abdullah Nuri were assured of their participation in the government. In 2001, Tajikistan, Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan signed a security pact.

The first elections to the lower house were held in February 2000. President Rachmonov was confirmed in office in the 2006 elections (made possible by a constitutional amendment in 2003). However, the OSCE criticized irregularities. The main opposition parties boycotted the vote because they do not accept the four-time re-election for Rachmonow. In a decree in 2007, Rachmonov called for a return to Persian roots by eliminating the Slavic name endings. In future he will be called Rahmon. Climatic irregularities (errors, an unusually cold winter, floods) resulted in the most severe emergency in the population since 2007/08 since the end of the civil war. After food prices rose again in spring 2008, there was unrest.Tajikistan is also badly affected by climate change due to glacial melting. The presidential elections in November 2013, Rachmonow / Rahmon allegedly won with 86.6% of the vote. There were no real opponents.

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