Sunday, August 07, 2005

History of Turkmenistan

History of Turkmenistan. This is a decent short essay on the history of the Asian nation of Turkmenistan.

Wikipedia notes that, "Turkmenistan, formerly known as the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic is a country in Central Asia. It has borders with Afghanistan, Iran (Persia), Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and has a coastline on the Caspian Sea."

From the site:

The territory of Turkmenistan has been populated since ancient times, as armies from one empire to another decamped on their way to more prosperous territories. Tribes of horsebreeding Turkmen drifted into the territory of Turkmenistan from ancient times, possibly from the Altay Mountains, and grazed along the outskirts of the Karakum Desert into Persia, Syria, and Anatolia.

Alexander the Great conquered the territory in the 4th century B.C. on his way to India. One hundred fifty years later the Parthian Kingdom took control of Turkmenistan, establishing its capital in Nisa, an area now located in the suburbs of the modern-day capital of Ashgabat. In the 7th century A.D. Arabs conquered this region, bringing with them the Islamic religion and incorporating the Turkmen into Middle Eastern culture. It was around this time that the famous "Silk Road" was established as a major trading route between Asia and Europe.

In the middle of the 11th century, the powerful Turks of the Seldjuk Empire concentrated their strength in the territory of Turkmenistan in an attempt to expand into Afghanistan. The empire broke down in the second half of the 12th century, and the Turkmen lost their independence when Genghis Khan took control of the eastern Caspian Sea region on his march west. For the next 7 centuries, the Turkmen people lived under various empires and fought constant intertribal wars amongst themselves.

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