Afghan Turkestan

Afghan Turkestan

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Afghan Turkestan is a region in northern Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, on the border with the former Soviet republic
Republics of the Soviet Union
The Republics of the Soviet Union or the Union Republics of the Soviet Union were ethnically-based administrative units that were subordinated directly to the Government of the Soviet Union...

s of Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

 and Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

. It was the name of a former province in this area until its division by Abdur Rahman
Abdur Rahman
Abdur Rahman is a male Muslim given name, and in modern usage, surname. It is built from the Arabic words Abd, al- and Rahman. The name means "servant of the most gracious", ar-Rahman being one of the names of God in the Qur'an, which give rise to the Muslim theophoric names.The letter a of the...

, and was centred on Mazari Sharif and included territory in the modern provinces of Balkh
Balkh Province
Balkh is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north of the country and its name derives from the ancient city of Balkh, near the modern town...

, Jowzjan
Jowzjan Province
Jowzjān or Jōzjān or Jawzjan is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north of the country. Its capital is Sheberghan.- Demographics :...

, Faryab
Faryab Province
Fāryāb is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north of the country. Its capital is Maymana. The majority of the population is Uzbek.-History:...

 and Sar-e Pol
Sar-e Pol Province
Sar-e Pol, also spelled Sari Pul , is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north of the country. Sar-e-Pul Province is situated between the central highlands and the northern Turkmen plains. Sar-e-Pul borders Ghor and Baniyan provinces to the south, Faryab, Jawzjan and...

. The whole territory, from the junction of the Kokcha river with the Amu Darya
Amu Darya
The Amu Darya , also called Oxus and Amu River, is a major river in Central Asia. It is formed by the junction of the Vakhsh and Panj rivers...

 on the north-east to the province of Herat
Herat Province
Herat is one the 34 provinces of Afghanistan; together with Badghis, Farah, and Ghor provinces, it makes up the South-western region of the country...

 on the south-west, was some 500 miles (804.7 km) in length, with an average width from the Russian frontier to the Hindu Kush of 114 miles (183 km). It thus comprised about 57000 square miles (147,629.3 km²) or roughly two-ninths of the former kingdom of Afghanistan.

Geography


The area is agriculturally poor except in the river valleys, being rough and mountainous towards the south, but subsiding into undulating wastes and pasture-lands towards the Karakum Desert
Karakum Desert
The Karakum Desert, also spelled Kara-Kum and Gara Gum is a desert in Central Asia. It occupies about 70 percent, or 350,000 km², of the area of Turkmenistan....

.

Population


The bulk of the people are Uzbek and Turkmen
Turkmen people
The Turkmen are a Turkic people located primarily in the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and northeastern Iran. They speak the Turkmen language, which is classified as a part of the Western Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages family together with Turkish, Azerbaijani, Qashqai,...

 with large concentrations of Tajik and Hazara.

History


Ancient Balkh or Bactria
Bactria
Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

 was an integral part of Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex, and was occupied by Indo-Iranians
Indo-Iranians
Indo-Iranian peoples are a linguistic group consisting of the Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Dardic and Nuristani peoples; that is, speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family....

. In the 5th century BCE, it became a province of the Achaemenian Empire and later became part of the Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

. About 250 BC Diodotus (Theodotus), governor of Bactria
Bactria
Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

 under the Seleucidae
Seleucid dynasty
The Seleucid dynasty or the Seleucidae was a Greek Macedonian royal family, founded by Seleucus I Nicator , which ruled the Seleucid Kingdom centered in the Near East and regions of the Asian part of the earlier Achaemenid Persian Empire during the Hellenistic period.-History:Seleucus was an...

, declared his independence, and commenced the history of the Greco-Bactrian dynasties, which succumbed to Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

n and nomadic movements about 126 BC. After this came a Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 era which has left its traces in the gigantic sculptures at Bamian and the rock-cut topes of Haibak. The district was devastated by Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

, and has never since fully recovered its prosperity. For about a century it belonged to the Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 empire, and then fell into Uzbek
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

 hands. In the 18th century it formed part of the dominion of Ahmad Khan Durrani, and so remained under his son Timur. But under the fratricidal wars of Timur's sons the separate khanates fell back under the independent rule of various Uzbek chiefs. At the beginning of the 19th century they belonged to Bukhara; but under the emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

 Dost Mahommed the Afghans recovered Balkh and Tashkurgan in 1850, Akcha and the four western khanates in 1855, and Kunduz in 1859. The sovereignty over Andkhui, Shibarghan, Saripul and Maimana was in dispute between Bukhara and Kabul until settled by the Anglo-Russian agreement of 1873 in favour of the Afghan claim. Under the strong rule of Abdur Rahman
Abdur Rahman Khan
Abdur Rahman Khan was Emir of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901.The third son of Mohammad Afzal Khan, and grandson of Dost Mohammad Khan, Abdur Rahman Khan was considered a strong ruler who re-established the writ of the Afghan government in Kabul after the disarray that followed the second...

 these outlying territories were closely welded to Kabul; but after the accession of Habibullah the bonds once more relaxed.

Political administration


In the 19th century, Afghan Turkestan was governed by a governor (hakim) appointed by the Amir. Below is a list of governors of Afghan Turkestan.
  • Naib Muhammad Alam Khan - ?-1873-?