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History of Uzbekistan

Central Asia is attractive to every tourist primarily due to its history spanning over 25 centuries. On the territory of modern Uzbekistan, civilizations and states arose and died, peoples and dynasties reached their greatest glory, great discoveries took place and incredible routes were laid. It is impossible to tell about the whole history of this land at one time, you can only slightly open the veil of the events that took place here. And without the slightest guile, one can say that the history of Uzbekistan has influenced the development of all mankind.

Brief history of Uzbekistan

History of Uzbekistan — photo 1

Ancient Uzbekistan

The first people on the territory of modern Uzbekistan appeared in the early Paleolithic. Archaeologists discovered the remains of Neanderthals in the vicinity of Termez. Many sites of ancient people have been found on these lands, and the petroglyphs that have survived to this day help to touch the life and life of our distant ancestors.

Hunting with bows, developed cattle breeding and fishing flourished here. By the beginning of the III millennium BC, in the south of Uzbekistan, the tribes began to lead a sedentary lifestyle, and by the middle of the II millennium, the first large cities with fortress walls and pagan temples of fire worshipers appeared. The development of culture and crafts led to the emergence of the first civilization in the southern part of modern Uzbekistan.

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Civilizations of the Bronze Age

The Dzheitun culture gave rise to the general provisions of craft and everyday life, which subsequently passed from era to era, changing quite insignificantly. The reason for this was very simple factors — the climate, landscape and flora and fauna dictated their own rules, and therefore the inhabitants had to live in harmony with them.

The Dzheitun culture formed the way of life of the ancient townspeople on these lands, laid the foundation for the pottery craft, which has now turned into a real art, but most importantly, it became the first stone in the foundation of the Bactrian-Margian civilization.

The Bactrian-Margian culture existed at the same time as the ancient civilizations of India and Babylon in the II millennium BC. The craft continued to develop: the skill of ceramists improved, jewelers began their activity. But what particularly interested historians was the presence in the language of local residents of many words that have no analogues in other dictionaries. Disputes are still ongoing — whether they developed their own full-fledged language and writing in the Bactrian-Margian culture, or added “professional slang” to the existing ones. The development of civilization was greatly helped by the rich resources of the region, but they also became the reason for constant attacks from other peoples. Thus, the Bactrian-Margian culture was destroyed by the Aryans. However, not a single raid, not a single attempt to seize the territories of Uzbekistan managed to break the spirit of the local residents. And behind one civilization a new one appeared.

In the 7th century BC, the legendary prophet Zarathustra preached on the lands of modern Uzbekistan. His teaching spread to the developed states of that time: Sogdiana, Bactria, Khorezm. Along with religious life, science and art flourished here: the irrigation systems so necessary in the arid territories of Central Asia were far ahead of their time, and jewelry was famous in neighboring states. That is why trade was so well developed in these territories. But where prosperity comes, there will be trouble …

The 6th century BC was blackened by the Achaeminid invasion. Khorezm, Bactria and Sogdiana became part of the Persian Empire. And if Khorezm managed to gain independence at the end of the 5th century BC, then Bactria and Sogdiana did not manage to free themselves from Persian oppression until the very collapse of the empire. But the disappearance of the Aheminid state did not become a relief for the local peoples, because the Persians were defeated by Alexander the Great, and the winner… the winner takes everything. From the power of Alexander, Sogdiana and Bactria came under the rule of the Seleucids, and Khorezm again became dependent — this time on the Kangyuis.

So, local states passed from one power to another, but this did not prevent the peoples from developing science and culture, craft and trade. These civilizations reached their peak in the 1st-2nd centuries, when their cities became intermediate points of the legendary trade route — the Great Silk Road.

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The era of great discoveries

Contrary to popular belief, not only trade caravans marched along the roads of the Great Silk Road. Scientists and inventors, artists and artists, philosophers and missionaries followed the same routes, exchanging skills and knowledge with those they met along the way, which helped the development of the states that existed on the territory of modern Central Asia.

And these lands have experienced many events:

— in the 5th century, the Hephthalite state appeared on the territory of Central Asia;

— in the VI century, the Hephthalites suffered a complete defeat from the Turkic tribes who founded their own state on the conquered territories — the Turkic Khaganate;

— by the middle of this century, the Türkic Kaganate had already captured the whole of Central Asia;

— in the 7th century, the Türkic Kaganate split into Western and Eastern, but they did not last long: the Western Kaganate was destroyed by the Chinese commanders in the middle of the seventh century, and the Eastern, after stubborn and rather successful resistance, still could not resist the onslaught of the Arab troops;

— in the 8th century, the lands on which Uzbekistan is now located became part of the Arab Caliphate, and Islam became the main religion of the region;

— with the advent of Islam, science and education began to actively develop, which allowed local scientists to make many scientific discoveries that influenced the development of the entire human civilization. Thus, Al-Khorezmi created and classified algebra and invented the concept of “algorithm”, and Al-Fergani scientifically proved that the Earth has the shape of a ball;

— in the 9th century, the Samanid state was formed, but already in the 10th century it was enslaved by the Karakhanid dynasty;

— over the next two centuries, Central Asia was seized by turns, first by the Ghaznavids, then by the Seljuks and then by the Karakitays;

— at the very end of the 12th century, the Khorezm rulers found the strength not only to free themselves from the oppression of the Seljuks, but also to turn Khorezm into one of the strongest states in the region;

— the greatness of Khorezm did not help him to withstand his most cruel enemy — Genghis Khan. The Mongols left no stone unturned from a prosperous state. Khorezm was able to recover from this terrible event only after a century and a half;

— by the middle of the XIII century, the Mongol empire weakened so much that it collapsed into many independent parts.

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The era of Timurids and three khanates

In the second half of the XIV century, the scattered lands were united under his command by the powerful commander Amir Temur, better known as Tamerlane. It was he who managed to restore the glory and greatness of Central Asia and again turn it into a center of culture and science. It was under Tamerlane that one of the local peoples received the name “Uzbeks”.

Under the descendants of Temur, the development of the region continued, although the pace slowed down. Magnificent architectural monuments of that era have survived to this day and attract the attention of tourists from all over the world.

In the first year of the 16th century, the Bukhara Emirate was formed on the territory of modern Uzbekistan. The Timurid dynasty was replaced first by the Sheibanids, then the Ashtarkhanids and, finally, the Mangyts. On the neighboring land, Khorezm saw its second beginning, also called the Khiva Khanate.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the Kokand Khanate arose, which became one of the three main Uzbek khanates of Central Asia.

The 19th century was the beginning of the end of the three khanates and a period of difficult relations with Russia.

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Territory of Uzbekistan before the USSR

If the Bukhara Emirate and the Khiva Khanate maintained good-neighborly relations with the Russian Empire, even despite the partial annexation of their territories by the latter, the Kokand Khanate repeatedly carried out military actions against it. The confrontation between Kokand and Russia ended with the disbandment of the khanate. The territory of Kokand and the appropriated lands of Khorezm and the Bukhara Emirate were transformed into the Turkestan General Government in 1867.

During this period, three different peoples — Bukhara, Khorezm and Kokand — began to unite into one.

After the revolution in Russia, the Turkestan General Government became an autonomous socialist republic. At this time, part of the local population tried to win back independence, but not the entire region was ready for this. A civil war broke out, the end of which was put by the Red Army, suppressing the revolts and subjugating the remaining territories of the Bukhara Emirate and Khorezm. Unfortunately, active bombing destroyed a significant part of Bukhara’s attractions.

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Soviet period

In 1920, the captured Khorezm and the Bukhara Emirate turned into the Khorezm and Bukhara People’s Soviet Republics, and four years later they became the Socialist Republics. True, not for long — just a month later, all the territories of the former khanates were united and re-divided into two — the Uzbek and Turkmen USSR. October 27, 1924 can be considered the date of foundation of Uzbekistan in the form that it has now.

Uzbekistan has become the largest producer and supplier of cotton in the Union. In the first quarter of the 20th century, many universities and the Academy of Sciences were opened here. However, along with the development of education, residents faced massive repressions, which especially sharply affected the Uzbek culture. Many prominent figures have been victims of political persecution.

During the Second World War, in 1941-1945, the Uzbek SSR sent 2 million children of its land to the front, and in return received more than one and a half million people evacuated from other republics. More than 150 factories were moved here, deep in the rear. Two hundred thousand Uzbeks returned home not only with a victory, but also with orders and medals.

1966 became a fatal year in the history of Uzbekistan — Tashkent, which during the war years received the glory of the “City of Bread”, was destroyed as a result of a catastrophic earthquake. Still alive are those who saw him with their own eyes and know what a revived nightmare is. But it was this tragedy that united different nations and made Tashkent a symbol of friendship between peoples — all the republics of the Soviet Union united to restore glorious Tashkent. And in just three and a half years, the city was not just restored, but rebuilt in a new way.

The seventies of the XX century became a golden time for the development of culture, science and art for the Uzbek SSR under the leadership of Secretary Sharaf Rashidov. However, after his death, many folk traditions and customs were banned, which was expected to be the cause of discontent among the population. In addition, unemployment began to rise massively. As a result, in a referendum in 1991, an absolute majority of the population voted in favor of declaring independence.

This is how the new history of Uzbekistan began.