Heritage Films
History of Tajikistan


Tajikistan Flag

Map of Tajikistan
Jewish History of Tajikistan

Tajikistan or officially Republic of Tajikistan (1994 estimated population 5,995,000), 55,251 square miles (143,100 square kilometers), central Asia, formerly a constituent republic of the USSR. It borders China (East); Afghanistan (South); Kyrgyzstan (North); and Uzbekistan (West, North West). The largely mountainous nation has what was the USSR's highest mountain, Communism Peak, formerly Garmo Peak (24,590 feet or 7,495 meters). The majority of the population are Tajiks, a Sunni Muslim people; Uzbeks and Russians are the largest minorities. The official language is Tajik, which is closely related to Persian (Farsi).

Dushanbe city (1989 population 595,000) is the capital of Tajikistan. It was known as Dyushambe until 1929, when it was renamed Stalinabad and became the capital of the Tadzhik SSR. The name was changed to Dushanbe in 1961. Other important cities are Khujand, Yavan, and Qûrghonteppa (Kurgan-Tyube) Probably descended from the inhabitants of ancient Sogdiana, a Persian province between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya, the Tajiks were successful in farming, crafts, and trade by the 9th century. Between the 13th and 19th century they were ruled by the Mongols, Uzbeks, and Russians. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution (1917), the Tajiks rebelled and were not subdued by the Bolsheviks until 1921. The territory became an autonomous republic in Soviet Uzbekistan in 1924; in 1929 it became the Tadzhik SSR, a constituent republic of the USSR.

Tajikistan declared (1991) its independence following the failed coup against Soviet President Gorbachev. When the Tajik president sought to suspend the Communist party, the Communist majority in the parliament replaced him, which led pro-Islamic and pro-democratic opposition groups and their eastern Tajikistan allies to try to bring down the new president, former party boss Rakhman Nabiyev. In 1992 Nabiyev was ousted by opposition militias, and an ethnically based civil war erupted. Forces allied with the former Nabiyev government retook the capital and most of the country, and the parliament elected Imamali Rakhmonov president. Fighting between government troops, supported by the Russian army, and pro-Islamic forces persisted along the Afghanistan border, but in 1994 a cease-fire was signed. Rakhmonov won election as president in 1994; antigovernment forces did not participate in the vote. Tajikistan is a member of the Commonwealth Of Independent States.