History

History

Until the mid of the first millennium B.C., the territory of modern Tajikistan in the areas of Amudarya and Sirdarya were settled by Eastern Iranian tribes. Bactria and Sogdiana were the most ancient states, lying along the banks of the upper and middle Amudarya. In the 6th – 4th century B.C. these states were part of the Akhamenids Empire established by Persians. The agricultural area of Sogdiana, that included Fergana and Zerafshan valleys and reaching in the west the area of Bukhara, played an important role in international trade, as it was on trade routes that linked China and Central Asia. The Akhamenid State collapsed in 330 B.C. under pressure from Greek-Macedonian forces. Bactrians, Sogdians and other people of Central Asia were conquered, in spite of their heroic resistance to the army of Alexander the Great. About 200 years later, the population of Bactria and Sogdiana together with massage nomad tribes overthrew the Greek-Macedonian sway. A state was established in Bactria – Tokharistan, which later together with Sogdiana became part of the big Kushan kingdom. The Silk Road crossed via Tokharistan and silk was bought at the markets near the river Tarima and was delivered to the countries of Greek-Roman Empires of the west. In the reverse direction from Rome and Byzantine to China, glass products (such as crystal and thin multi-coloured glassware) were imported, from Central Asia – items such as adornments, gems and from India – paper, woollen fabrics and spices. In the 5th century, Tokharistan, Sogdiana and other areas of Central Asia were under the rule of Ephtalits, and later in the 6th century – nomad Turkic speaking tribes occupied the same region. Sogdians had a great influence on the nomads, who while settling mixed with the local population. During the 6th and 7th centuries in Tokharistan and Sogdiana there were many slaves and at the same time, the formation of a feudal system had already started. As a result, the economy and culture developed quickly. Iron, copper, lazurite, and rubies were extracted at mines, irrigation channels were constructed, and arid places were irrigated. The importance of feudal cities started to grow, as well as craft and trade were developing. The main languages were Bactrian and Sogdian – which are Eastern Iranian languages. Numerous independent principalities emerged with the development of feudal relationships. But they were weak and could not resist the Arabs, who in the 7th & 8th centuries invaded Central Asia.

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