Uzbekistan History

Stone Age - The Zoroastrians and Persians - The process of settling the territory of Uzbekistan dates back to the Stone Age, and the most ancient information on the nationalities of Central Asia is documented in the Avesta - the code of holy hymns of the Zoroastrians lands which were inhabited by the Sogdians, Bactrians and others. During the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries BC, the greatest part of the Central Asian lands was under the power of the Persian dynasty of the Akhemenids. The above mentioned groups are described by Persian original sources. Greek writers mentioned the existence of Marakanda city (today's Samarkand) and Kiropol in Ferghana.

Alexander The Great - In the third and fourth centuries BC, Central Asia was conquered by the Macedonians. The conquest by Alexander the Great had a great effect on the economic and cultural development of the peoples of the East, West and Central Asia. In the middle of the third century BC, the conquered regions became independent and local dynasties came to power. Bactria, which included the southern areas of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, became the hub of the Greek-Bactrian Empire, and later came under the control of the Kushan Empire. After the conquest of Central Asia by Alexander the Great, studies of the subsequent period depict the development and the heyday of architecture, painting, handcrafts, and music.

The Arab invasion - During the seventh and eighth centuries, Central Asia was conquered by the Arab Khalifat. The Arabs took over these lands with the mission of spreading the new religion of Islam. As a result, their conquest entirely changed the region's way of life. Architecture, art and science declined under the pressures of war and arose only in the middle of the ninth century. This was connected with the creation of independent empires ruled by the dynasties of the local aristocracy: the Tahirids and Samanids. In the l0th century, the Arabs were forced to withdraw their troops and the Samanids rose to power.

Genghis Khan and Tamerlane - In 1220/1221 Central Asia could not withstand the invasion of Genghis-Khan's army. Many cities, such as Bukhara, Khorezm, and Samarkand were destroyed. Thousands of people perished (in Samarkand, only 50,000 out of a population of one million survived). In the middle of the 14th century, with the help of the famous warlord Tamerlane, the local people were freed from the Mongols. Tamerlane began his successful campaigns to Iraq, India, Turkey, and North Africa, which led to the establishment of one of the most powerful medieval empires, with Samarkand as the capital. The restoration and development of the cities (Samarkand and Shakhrisabz, Tamerlane's native town in particular) revived commerce, handicrafts, science and the arts.

Uzbek Nomadic Tribes In the 16th century, Uzbek nomadic tribes invaded from the north, conquered the small feudal states of the Timurids and formed their own state (later to be called Uzbekistan). The term "Uzbek" means "master" or "lord" of oneself. The economy of Central Asia in the past relied on stable relations with China, India and Europe. In the 2nd century BC caravan trade routes connected Southeast Europe, Iraq, The Caucasus and Central Asia with Mongolia and China, and is now known as the great Silk Road. The Silk Road passed through the centers of Central Asia - Samarkand, Bukhara, Marghilan, Shakhrisabz, and Andijan.

Russian Empire - In the second half of the 19th century the Bukhara, Khiva and Kokand khanates were annexed by the Russian Empire. During this period agriculture became highly developed in Uzbekistan for one specific reason: it was more economical to grow cotton in Central Asia instead of importing it from the US. Cotton became the most important agricultural item. The construction of railroads made an impact on the development of trade and cultural relations between Asia and Europe. This was when the country began to overcome its earlier period of stagnation. Russian Turkestan

The Russian Revolution - The year 1917 changed the political situation in the Russian Empire and in 1924 Uzbekistan became one of the republics of the USSR. Uzbekistan later announced its independence from Russia, and September 1, 1991 was proclaimed as its Independence Day.

Uzbekistan Independence Upon gaining its statehood, Uzbekistan began to work out its own way of becoming a renewed, developed sovereign democratic republic. The country is a multinational state: more than 129 nationalities and national minorities live here.