Central Asia     



 Chronology of Major Historic Events, Central Asia






5th  century  B.C.

Bactrian, Soghdian, and Tokharian states dominate area of present-day Uzbekistan, including cities of Bukhara and Samarkand and begin profit from trade on Silk Route. Province of Mawarannahr begins long period pf prosperity in eastern Uzbekistan.






4th-3rd centuries B.C.

Kyrgyz tribes invade northern China.

Kyrgyz students today ======>




Alexander the Great

329 B.C.

Alexander the Great captured Samarkand in conquest of southern
Central Asia form Persian Achamenid Empire.



1st  century  A. D.

Han Dynasty of China trades with Soghdians and Bactrians of Central Asia.

1st-4th centuries A.D.

Present-day Tajikistan ruled by Buddhist Kushans, who spread their faith to Soghdians.

ca. A.D. 500

Feudal society emerges in present-day Kyrgyzstan.K


8th - 10th CENTURIES


Arabs complete conquest of central Asia with victory over Chinese at Talas river, imposing Islam and new culture.


Turkic Qarlug confederation establishes state in present-day eastern Kazakhstan.

8th - 9th  centuries

Under Arab Abbasid Caliphate, golden age of Central Asia; Bukhara becomes a cultural center of Muslim world.

Turkic Oghuz tribes migrate into Central Asia from Mongolia and southern Siberia.

9th  century

Islam becomes dominant religion of all Central Asia.


Kyrgyz Khanate reaches greatest extent, defeating Uygur Khanate in Mongolia.

10th  century

Term Turkmen first applied to southern Islam Oghuz tribes; Persian Samanid Dynasty replaces Abbasids, continues cultural activity of Mawarannahr.

Late 10th century

Seljuk Empire founded, based on Oghuz tribes, including Turkmen.


Turkic Qarakhanids overthrow Samanids, ending last major Persian state in Central Asia.


11th - 16th CENTURIES

11th  century

 Seljuks and Qarakhanids end dominance of Ghaznavid Empire in south Central Asia, dominating west and east, respectively.

ca. 1100

Persian replaces Arabic as standard written language in most of Central Asia, remains in official use through fifteenth century.


Turkic Karakitais conquer Qarakhanids; dominate region for 100 years.

Mid-12th century

Revolts by Turkmen hasten disintegration of Seljuk Empire; Turkmen begin settling present-day Turkmenistan, notable Merv on Silk Route.


Khorezm, split from Seljuk Empire, consolidates empire including Mawarannahr and most of Central Asia; cultural activity continues.


Mongols conquer Central Asia, pushing Turkmen westward toward Caspian Sea, intensifying Turkification of Mawarannahr, reducing Iranian influence, and destroying cultural centers.

ca. 1250

Son of Chinggis Khan conquer Yenisey Kyrgyz, beginning 200 years of Mongol domination.

1380 -1405

Tamerlane unifies Mongol holdings in Central Asia, fosters last cultural flowering of Mawarannahr, Turkish first rivals Persian literary language.

14th - 16th centuries

Turkmen tribes reorganize and consolidate.

16th century

Uzbek empire fragmented by fighting among khanates; decline of Silk Route.


Uzbek nomadic tribes conquer Central Asia, establish Khanate Bukhara.


Khan Kasym unites Kazakh tribes.

16th - 19th centuries

Migration east and southeast of large nomadic Turkmen tribal groups descending from Salor group.


17th - 18th CENTURIES

17th - 18th centuries

Kazakh nomads and Mongols raid and weaken Uzbek khanates; conflict with Iran isolates Uzbeks in Muslim world; Kyrgyz tribes overrun by Kalmyks and Manchus.

ca. 1700

Khanate of Bukhara loses Fergana region; Kokand Khanate founded, based in Fergana Valley.


Kazakh Khan Abul Khair seeks Russian protection from Kalmyk invaders, beginning permanent Russian presence in Kazakhstan.

Mid-18th century

Turkmen Yomud tribes invade Khorazm.


Kyrgyz tribes become Chinese subjects with substantial autonomy.


Kyrgyz seek Russian protection from Quqon Khanate.

18th - early19th

Three Uzbek khanates revived by strong dynasties, centralized states; British and Russian begin rivalry for Central Asia.




Kazakh Great Horde is last of three hordes to come under Russian control.


Under Khan Kene, Kazakhs rise up against Russian occupation.


Yomud tribes rebel against Uzbek authority, which disperse the eastern Yomud.


Jadidist reform movement founded.


Abolition of serfdom in Russian Empire begins migration of Russian peasants to Kazakhstan.


Russian conquest of Tashkent, Bukhara, and Samarkand; Khanate Bukhara becomes Russian protectorate.


Guberniya (Governorate General) of Turkestan established as central Russian administration, eventually including (1899) present-day Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and southeastern Kazakhstan; remainder of Kazakhstan becomes Steppe District.


Russians establish foothold in Turkmen territory at Krasnovodsk.


Russian cotton cultivation significantly expanded; Russians carry out punitive raids against Turkmen in Khorazm.


Russians capture Khiva.


Russians incorporate Quqon Khanate; all Uzbekistan and northern Kyrgyzstan in Russian Empire.


Russians crush Turkmen resistance at Gokdepe fortress; Turkmen territory annexed into Guberniya of Turkestan.


Uzbek revolts against Russian rule quelled easily; large-scale Russian settlement begins in northern Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, diminishing Kazakh and Kyrgyz nomadism.




Jadidism becomes first major movement of Central Asian political resistance.


Central Asians have six seats in first and second Russian Dumas.


Central Asians have no seats in third and fourth Russian Dumas.


Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Turkmen, and Uzbek rebel against Russian land confiscation, conscription; many Kazakhs, Kyrgyz flee to China.

 1917    May

Russian provisional government abolishes Guberniya of Turkestan; power divided among various groups, including Tashkent Soviet.


Bolshevik Revolution begins establishment of Soviet state.


Bolsheviks declare Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist republic, including most of present-day Central Asia in Russia; Bolsheviks crush autonomous government in Quqon; Jadidists and others begin decade-long Basmachi revolt involving elements from all five republics and mercenaries; Alash Orda establishes independent Kazakh State.


Widespread famine


Soviet General Frunze captures Ashgabat, ending anticommunist government there, and Bukhara, ending khanate; Faizulla Khijayev becomes president of newly established Soviet Bukharan People’s republic; Kyrgyz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic established, including Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.


Communists win in Russian Civil War, reduce power of Central Asian party branches.


New Economic Policy (NEP) expands cotton cultivation in Central Asia.


Soviet Socialist Republics of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan formed, with Tajikistan an autonomous republic in latter.


Most Basmachi resistance in Tajikistan overcome; large-scale refugee movement from eastern Bukhara; Kazakh Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Kazakh ASSR) separated form Kyrgyz ASSR.


Waves of communist party purges in all republic branches; Central Asian autonomy drives intensify purges there.


Soviet Socialist Republic of Tajikistan established, northern territory added.


Soviet collectivization induces widespread famine in Central Asia.


Khojaev, other Central Asian communist leaders executed in Stalin purges, replaced by Russians.


Kazakh and Kyrgyz ASSRs given full republic status in Soviet Union; Karakalpakstan transferred from Russia to republic of Uzbekistan.

Late 1930s

Nomadic lifestyle ends for most Turkmen.


Many European Soviet plants moved to Central Asia to avoid capture by invading Nazis.


Rehabilitation of some Central Asian communist leaders purged by Stalin; Russification remains prerequisite for party advancement; Virgin Lands program restructures agriculture in central Asian republics.


Tenure of Sharaf Rashidov as first secretary of communist Party of Uzbekistan.


Election of Mikhail S. Gorbachev as first secretary of Communist Party of Soviet Union, heralding impact of Moscow reform programs in Central Asia.


Widespread purge of Communist Party of Uzbekistan leadership begins after exposure of corruption in Rashidov regime; nationalism, anti-Russian feeling intensify.


Widespread demonstration in Kazakhstan after appointment of Gennadiy Kolbin as party leader in Kazakhstan; Kazakh opposition groups appear; unrest continues through 1989.

Late 1980s

Uzbekistan intellectuals begin forming opposition political groups.


Uzbeks clash with Meskhetian Turks and Kyrgyz in Osh; Moscow names Islam Karimov first secretary of communist Party of Uzbekistan.


Political opposition group Agzybirlik formed in Turkmenistan; refused credentials.


Nursultan Nazarbayev named communist party head in Kazakhstan.

1990       February

Riots in Dushanbe protest communist housing policy in Tajikistan; state of emergency declared, opposition parties suppressed.


Violent conflict between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks and anticommunist demonstrations in Kyrgyz cities; opposition group, Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan, emerges.


Republic of Turkmenistan declares sovereignty within Soviet Union.


Saparmyrat Niyazov elected president of Turkmenistan, running unopposed


Askar Akayev elected president of republic of Kyrgyzstan, defeating communist incumbent.

1991       August

Coup against Gorbachev government in Moscow; Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan declare independence from Soviet Union.


Tajikistan declares independence form Soviet Union; communist Rahmon Nabiyev named president after ban of Communist Party of Tajikistan fails


Turkmenistan declares independence from Soviet Union; Akayev elected president of independent Kyrgyzstan, running unopposed.


Communist Party of Uzbekistan reorganized, renamed People’s democratic Party of Uzbekistan.


Nazarbayev elected president of Kazakhstan, which declares independence from Soviet Union; five Central Asian states sigh Alma-Ata Declaration formally establishing Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS); Communist Party of Turkmenistan renamed Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, retains political domination; Uzbekistan elects new parliament and Karimov its first president.


Five Central Asian states join Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).


Antigovernment riots begin in Dushanbe, escalate into civil was in April.


Turkmenistan adopts new constitution; Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan sing treaties of friendship and cooperation with Russia.


Niyazov reelected president of Turkmenistan, running unopposed; Kyrgyzstan signs treaty of friendship and cooperation with Russia.


Five Central Asian states begin taking over former Soviet military installations on their respective territories.


Tajikistan signs treaty of cooperation and assistance with Russia, allowing Russian forces to clear antigovernment forces from Tajikistan.


Tajikistan president Nabiyev forced to resign, coalition government takes power


Tajikistan’s coalition government resigns, communist Rahmonov named head of state; opposition forces continued civil war.


Uzbekistan adopts new constitution; Birlik, main opposition party, banned in Uzbekistan; Dushanbe falls to Tajikistan government forces.


“Cult of personality” of Niyazov extended in Turkmenistan with renaming of streets, buildings, and city of Krasnovodsk (Turkmenbashy).

Repression of opposition and media increases in Uzbekistan; by December, only state organs can register.


New Kazakhstani constitution adopted, names Kazakh official state language; Akayev requests government emergency measures to end Kyrgyzstan’s drastic economic decline. Kazakhstani government forms national Council for Economic reform; government of Tajikistan makes criminal charges against opposition leader Hajji Akbar Turajonzoda.


Chevron Oil finalizes joint venture to develop Tengiz offshore oil fields with Kazakhstan.


Som becomes official currency of Kyrgyzstan.


Tajikistan banns three major opposition parties; Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province ends claims of independence from Tajikistan.


Kyrgyzstan sings military cooperation agreements with Russia; Afghan and Tajik rebels kill twenty-eight Russians in capturing border post in Tajikistan.


Agreement for new ruble zone signed by Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; four Central Asian states, excluding Turkmenistan, join five other CIS states, including Russia, in economic union.


Tenge becomes official currency of Kazakhstan, Tajik rebels resume fighting in Gorno-Badakhshan.


Turkmenistan signs treaty of cooperation, mutual assistance, and joint border security with Russia; Akayev dismisses Kyrgyzstani government of Tursunbek Chyngyshev after vote of no confidence; Kazakhstan approves Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as non-nuclear signatory; Kazakhstan’s parliament dissolves itself.

1994       January


Referendum approves extension of Niyazov’s term as president of Turkmenistan to 2002.


First multiparty elections in Kazakhstan (for parliament), dominated by Nazarbayev supporters.


Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan join North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Partnership for peace.


Kyrgyzstan eases language, citizenship restrictions to slow emigration of Russians.


Kyrgyzstani government resings; parliament dissolved.


Cease-fire begins in Tajikistani civil war.


Rahmonov elected president of Tajikistan, without participation of major opposition parties; plebiscite approves new Tajikistani constitution.


New Majilis (assembly) elected in Turkmenistan, dominated by Democratic Party.

Uzbekistan’s parliamentary elections dominated by fighting in Tajikistan.

December January    

Sporadic cease-fire, peace talks, and resumption of fighting in Tajikistan.

1995 February

Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan sign ten-year partnership and cooperation agreement with European Union (EU); parliamentary elections in Tajikistan boycotted by opposition; first of three election rounds for new bicameral parliament of Kyrgyzstan.


Referendum extends Karimov’s term as president of Uzbekistan to 2000; Kazakhstani parliament resigns, Nazarbayev begins rule by decree.


Referendum extends Nazarbayev’s term to 2000.


Tajikistan introduces new currency, Tajikistan ruble.


Two Turkmen opposition leaders sentenced to prison terms.


Kazakhstan’s new constitution approved by popular referendum.


Parliamentary elections held in Kazakhstan under protest by opposition parties.

1996      February

Referendum extends presidential powers of Akayev; Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan sign extended customs union agreement with Belarus and Russia; Turkmenistan signs major natural gas sales agreement with Turkey.



After resignation of Kyrgystan’s government, Akayev names new cabinet headed by Apas Jumagulov, prime minister of previous government.


Directors in seventeen banks in kyrgyzstan charged with illegal use of funds, triggering national bank scandal; Kyrgyzstan bank Ittipak, Uygur separatist organization; Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan sign shanghai border security treaty with China and Russia, pledging aid to China against separatists from Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.


Kazakhstan bans Russian newspaper Komsomol’skaya Pravda for article by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn claiming part of Kazakhstan as Russian territory; to ease severe economic crisis, Kazakhstani government cancels US$300 million of agriculture sector’s debts; Uzbekistan’s Karimov threatens withdrawal from Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) for Iran’s “politicization” of ECO by criticism of Israel and United States; Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan supports Karimov.


Kazakhstan opens widespread antinarcotics offensive and amnesties 20,000 prisoners to relieve prison overcrowding; Tajikistan signs plan for energy export to Russia; Karimov makes official visit to United Zstates to improve bilateral and UN relations; Uygurs in Kazakhstan continue protests against Shanghai treaty; nazarbayev’s threat to dissolve parliament gains passage of unpopular pension bill; chairman of Kazakhstan’s Supreme Court dismissed for corruption.


Rahmonov of Tajikistan consolidates power by organizing National Security Council under presidential control and by antinarcotics campaign in rebel stronghold of Nagorno-Badakhshan, using nominally neutral Russian border troops.


Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan sign accord for creation of single economic market by 1998; UN-sponsored cease-fire of July is broken by heavy fighting in Tajikistan’s central region, as rebels renew thrust toward Dushanbe.


Antigovernment United Tajikistan Opposition proposes national Reconciliation Council including 80 percent opposition and 20 percent government members; Tajikistan government rejects formula. Japan commits US$140 million to upgrade three airports in Uzbekistan and US$200 million for infrastructure and medical centers in Kazakhstan; bilateral accords with Iran and Russia reaffirm Turkmenistan’s “permanent neutrality.”


Turkmenistan’s Nabiyev confers in Moscow with prime Minister Chernomyrdin, reaching no agreement on natural gas deliveries to Russia or on ownership of Caspian Sea resources.


Rebel forces open corridors from Afghanistan into eastern Tajikistan, threatening to take full control of eastern and central regions; government forces offer weak resistance.


Acute energy shortage brings winter rationing of electric power and heat in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.


Tajikistan’s Rahmonov signs new cease-fire agreement with rebel coalition; ensuing peace agreement calls for reconciliation council to amend constitution; Kazakhstan spells its first bond issue on the international bond market; Turkmenistan’s 1996 inflation rate estimated at 140 percent, highest among Central Asian republics; Kazakhstan and international consortium set terms for pipeline construction to export Kazakhstan’s Tengiz oil.

1997    January

Kazakhstan begins shipping oil from its Tengiz field by tanker across Caspian Sea for resale by Iran; 2 million tons to be shipped annually until new export pipeline completed; two Japanese firms agree to build US$138 million telephone network in Uzbekistan; at meeting of Central Asian Economic union, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan sign mutual defense treaty and discuss mutual convertibility of currencies; Topchubek Turgunaliev, head of opposition Erkin Party in Kyrgyzstan, sentenced to prison fro embezzlement as political repression tightens.


Six rounds of peace talks between Tajikistan government and United Tajikistan Opposition yield significant agreements of reintegration of political and military organizations.


Japan signs US$580 million agreement to build polypropylene plant in Turkmenistan.


Kyrgyzstan extends Russian border troop presence through end of 1997. Nazarbayev restructures Kazakhstan’s government, reducing power of Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin.


Terms set for pipeline connecting Tengiz  oil field in Kazakhstan with Russia’s Black Sea port of Novorossyisk, to open September 1999.


Peace accord between Rahmonov government and United Tajik Opposition formally ends civil war in Tajikistan.


New National Reconciliation Commission scheduled to begin work on procedures for parliamentary elections to be held in Tajikistan by the end of 1998.
Andijan-Osh-Kashgar highway opens, connecting points in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan with China.


Kazakhstan and Russia sign treaty ensuing conditions for Russians in Kazakhstan, aimed at reducing emigration of Russian technical experts. Political negotiations in Tajikistan delayed by scattered fighting and disagreement over conditions.


United States forces join troops of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Turkey, and Uzbekistan in peace-keeping exercise in south-central Kazakhstan, the first such combined exercise.

Source: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan: Country Studies. Washington, DC: The Division, 1997. (in bold, main events for Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan).





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