The Beginning Of Times
The findings of stone instruments and burial places of Paleolithic period in regions of Bukhara and Fergana, witnessing that in the past, the territory of modern Uzbekistan was inhabited and tightly populated. In this particular territory arose one of oldest civilization, which is highly impacted the territory between the oceans.
Main activities of this people were stock-breeding and agriculture, where rich natural resources made this territory prospering in short. It is not surprising, for Arian tribes from west to try to own this territory and for few centuries, they made to own it. From this time, it is the record started for enslavement and supremacy over this blessed region.
In Bronze Age, as it is written in history, the kingdom of Khorezm arose, one of biggest, who controlled the huge territory – almost whole Central Asia up to Iran. Its irrigation systems are impressing even today. Second civilization was Sogdiana, between Zaravshan and Kashkadarya lakes. During this time started the prosperity of Akhmenids kingdom and Central Asia become a part of Persian Empire, laid under tribute and forced to give own children as a soldiers for Persian army.
Alexander the Macedonian
Time has come to change the rules – and as a replacement for weakened Persian Empire come Alexander Macedonian. He entered to Maracanda (now known as Samarkand) as a conqueror, but for a long time couldn’t strengthen the power because of rising of local people, with Spitamen as a leader. This lasted approximately 3 years. But Alexander was not only talented military leader but also a good strategist and politician. Bit by bit, he managed to win his side of many Sogdians, get married on Roksana, the daughter of noble Sogdian, reconstructed destroyed and build new towns, in every possible way the assimilation of Greeks with Sogdians. It is said that Spitamen was killed by own wife, who tired of military actions and condemned Spitamen for excessive pride. As per other version, Spitamen was treacherously killed by nomad tribes – allies, whom suborn Alexander. But, nevertheless, during Greeko-Bactrian epoch, proper and grew rich Khorezm, art and craftsmanship developed. Hellenes brought own culture, which blend with Central Asian one in organic way.
After the death of Alexander, the Empire get broken into separate states, which forget that their power in unity. Nomadic tribes Kushan didn’t waste their time to take advantage of this. Sogdiana and Khorezm, together with North India and part of Afghanistan were conquered and named as Kushan kingdom. Main religion of that period became Buddhism, since Kushan king Kanishka accepted Buddhism. The Great Silk Road was starting his nosing motion through the Central Asia and its’ cities were becoming trade and handicraft centers. Life in this cities start thriving. However in Kushan kingdom time, there were autonomous states in its territory and Khorezm was one of them, with own dynasty of rulers. Ancient history of Uzbekistan was rich for events. This was time of close cooperation of Sogdian and Chinese merchants. For some time, China tried to subdue the trade ways, and even occupied Fergana, but all they had at the end, was tribute which Central Asia was suppose to pay to China.
White Huns and Turks
Time has come for decline of Kushan kingdom, and in replacement to them come nomad Eftalits – White Huns. Strictly speaking, they can be barely called as conquerors; they at most didn’t interfere into the life of occupied state. Sogd kept living with own rules, collapsed into small principality. Policy separately and trade business separately, - this was the time for Sogdian merchants to strengthen their positions in business in all markets even up to Mongolia and China. Even though Turk tribes captured Chach (modern Tashkent) and established Turk Khanate, Sogdina still lived quite independent. Silk production was developing, together with cotton-growing, jewelry and precious metals mining all until Arabs come.
In Arabic, territory laying between Syrdarya and Amudarya called Movarounnahr. This name for a long time consolidated for the territory of Sogdiana and Khorezm, which soon were a part of Arab Caliphate. Arabs come with war, uprisings were suppressed, and people were turned into the Islam. By that time, in Central Asia Zoroastrism existed and followed by most of the people. But according to Islam, this religion had no chance to live and together with Zoroastrism, all related cultural valuables were destroyed. Scraped off wall paintings, statues and other Zoroastrian temples were exterminated.
However, development kept going in this region and strengthening of local science and noble people made Caliphate to accept the decent portion of independency of Movarounnahr. From now on, history of people of Uzbekistan will be inseparable connected with ruling dynasties of – Takhrids, Samanids, Karahanids and Gaznavids. In Khorezm, also dynasty kept ruling, who was Mamun first. He was the first ruler who founded the famous and first Science Academy in the world! And this academy was named as Mamun Academy! At that time, the astounding growth of science took place in Movarounnahr. The greatest scientists of Middle Ages Ibn Sina (Avicenna in west) and Beruniy lived and worked at that Academy.
The empire of Gaznavids, which was established by cruel ruler Makhmud Gaznaviy, soon was destroyed by Turk-Seljuks. Win the battle is easy, hard thing is to keep the trophy. Seljukids were not successful in this. Constant skirmishes with Karakitays made their position shaky. This fact made it possible for Khorezm to win its independency back and new rules come to the stage – Kharezm-Shahs. For the short time they climb to the politician Olympus. Shakh Tekesh bring independency for Kharezm state from Seljukids, his successor Mukhammad fight back from Karakitays Bukhara and Samarkand, expand possessions on Afghanistan and part of Iran, he even entered to Caucasus. But here come Mongols…
In the history of Movarounnahr there was no more destroying invasion, than invasion of Golden Horde with Chengizkhan in the lead. Mongols destroyed to the level of ground all flourishing oases, captured Samarkand and Bukhara and people were taken as slaves. Culture and household collapsed. Chengizkhan divided his possessions among his successors, but couldn’t avoid internecine wars, which started after his death. Movarounnahr dip into smoke of fire, war and devastation.
It was him-Amir Temur, the talented and strategist warlord who united the lands of Movarounnahr. He created great empire lasted from China to Asia Minor.
He established Samarkand as a capital city of his empire. As per his order great Mosques, Madrasahs and Mausoleums were built in Samarkand, which even now amazing our imagination. During his ruling time, again craftsmanship and trade started to develop. Timur wanted strict order in his empire for one ultimate goal – to make his empire strong and unconquerable. During the period of wars it was important to keep independency of state. Timur couldn’t let the slavery come to his people again.
But after his death, his empire started collapsing. His son Shahruh managed to keep under his kingdom Movarounnahr and Khorasan. He moved the capital to Herat and put to rule Samarkand as governor his son Ulugbek. Samarkand at that time was a large, rich and crowded megapolis, “the capital of Oriental world” – center of high life, religion and science. Forty years of calm and beautiful life was given to Samarkand from Ulugbek before he fell from the hand of murderer hired by his own son.
The Newest History
Soon Samarkand together with Movarounnahr and Khorasan was conquered by Shaybani Khan, who later conquered Khorezm and established new empire. The last of Timurid’s Zahiriddin Mukhammad Bobur, leave Movarounnahr to Khorasan, conquered Kabul and ruled his small state in Afghanistan for a short time. Later Bobur start his conquer to India and established a great Empire of Timurid’s in India which lasted for the next three hundred years. Indian’s call them now Great Mongol Dynasty.
Later on Persians smashed Shaybani Khan and made this territory part of Persian state. Kharezm become independent again. It is started the constant change of rulers and khans, during the wars of aggression.
As a result, Fergana valley separated and new powerful Khanate appeared with capital in Kokand.
Russian Empire started showing interest in Central Asia. Peter I had discussed on accepting Khiva into the Russian naturalization. There was Russian embassy in Khiva with Beskovich-Cherkasskiy as a head, which soon was exterminated by Khiva Khanate.
Russia needed the territory of Central Asia and it started with war towards Khanates. War against Kokand finished with victory of Russians, and in the territory of former Khanate Turkestan governorship was established with capital in Tashkent.
The new round of history has begun in Central Asia…