The Central Asia is an under-area of the Asia. According to a convention, it extends from the Caspian Sea with the Oasis of Dunhuang on the edge is Désert of Taklamakan (in the North-West of the China). With the narrow direction, it includes/understands:
In the broad sense, one includes there:
- the Chinese province of the Xinjiang (Autonomous region of the Ouïgours);
- the Mongolia;
- the Tibet;
- the Kazakhstan (politically attached to the Central Asia post-Soviet, although its most Western part, in the North of the Caspian Sea and the West of the Ural river is traditionally classified in Europe);
- the Iran (partially);
- the Pakistan (partially);
- south of the Russia (partially, in the north of Kazakhstan; but not the west coast of Caspian in the north of the Azerbaïdjan and the Georgia, left considered traditionally in Europe).
Moved away from all the seas, the Central Asia has a Climat continental, very hot in summer and very cold in winter (by soft places). On its septentrional part, the Volga until in Mongolia while passing by the Kazakhstan, extends a vast zone from steppes where the pastoral Nomadisme was the lifestyle best adapted, currently declining. This zone is bordered in north by taïga and the south by desert or semi-desert territories, with Oasis. The Turkménistan in major part is occupied by the deserted of Karakoum (Black Sands) and of Kizilkoum (red Sands). The Chinese province of the Xinjiang consists of two depressions separated by an assembly line, the Bassin of Tarim in the south and the Dzoungarie in north. The Désert of Taklamakan occupies almost all the Bassin of Tarim and the central Dzoungarie is also desert. More to the east, extends the Gobi Desert , which communicates with Taklamakan.
In the south-east of the Central Asia, are more the high mountains of the world, the Pamir, the Hindū-Kūsh and the the Himalayas. All include/understand tops with more than 7000 meters of altitude, just as the Tian Shan, which separates the basin from Tarim of Dzoungarie. Unless passing by the zone of the steppes, the crossing of the Central Asia requires the crossing of collars located at more than 4000 meters of altitude.
From these mountains, go down from the rivers which allow the practice of an irrigated agriculture. Most of the Central Asia suffers from the lack of precipitations. One can practice agriculture in the steppes, on the condition of irrigating the fields. Agricultural overexploitation and the construction of multiple hydro-electric power stations since the Sixties massively drained water of the rivers Syr-Daria and Amou-Daria what caused a strong draining of the Mer of Aral, a true ecological catastrophe.
See also: History of the Central Asia
The Neolithic of the Central Asia goes back to one moved back period, since one finds communities of sedentary farmers as of thousand-year-old VIIè in the area of the Kopet-Dagh: it is the Culture of Djeitun. The Culture of Namazga, represented on the sites of Namazga-depe, Anau and Altyn-depe, succeeds to him between 6th and 3rd millenia.
The Central Asia constitutes a true crossroads of civilizations. Its more former clearly identified inhabitants are people Indo-Europeans come from the west. They are the Tokhariens, which lived in the Bassin of Tarim at least since the year -2000, then Iranian , which occupied during the first millenium before the Christian era all the Central Asia, except for the basin of Eastern Tarim and the Mongolia. One can also quote the Indo-Aryens, close relatives of the Iranians. They lived in Bactriane in the neighborhoods of the year -2000 before conquering the India North, starting from -1700. It is undoubtedly necessary to see in them the representatives of the culture of the archaeological Complexe bactro-margien ( Bactro-margian archeological complex , BMAC). More in north, the Culture of Andronovo opens out at this same time.
The known areas of old the Greek were the Bactriane, with horse between the Ouzbékistan and the Afghanistan, the Sogdiane, around Samarkand, and Chorasmie (or Khwarezm) in the south of the Mer of Aral. All these names are of Iranian origin.
In these three areas, there has existed for one very moved back time of brilliant sedentary civilizations, whose founders are not identified. While settling in these areas, the Indo-Aryan ones, then the Iranians, undoubtedly partly adopted the lifestyle of the autochtones, which were sedentary and were devoted to agriculture and the trade. Iranian people, the Sogdiens, in particular founded the city of Samarkand, whose beauty was noticed by Alexandre Large the. More in north, the Iranians were wandering. They are known under the name of Saces and they occupied in particular all the Kazakhstan and the north of the Ouzbékistan. They left tombs which date from II
The opposition between the nomads and the sedentaries is a constant of the history of the Central Asia. The nomads, of warlike nature, carried out raids which obliged the sedentaries to be cut off behind fortifications. They gathered sometimes in empires which were able to make terrible devastations.
The Tokhariens, undoubtedly originally wandering, were sédentarisés in the Bassin of Tarim at least as of the year -500 and adopted a irrigated agriculture. Other Tokhariens, which lived in the west of the Gansu, remained wandering and founded the first known empire of the Central Asia. They were called Yuezhi by the Chinese.
The Silk route crossed the Central Asia. It is often said that it was opened at first century BC, which is inaccurate. The presence of Chinese Soie is attested in Bactriane as of the year -1500. In 1918, one found in Dzoungarie currencies dating from third century BC and coming from Panticapée, Greek city located at the east of the the Crimea. The truth is that the Central Asia is a ground of exchanges since unmemorable times.
As from the last centuries before J. - C., the history of the Central Asia is marked by the projection of nomads mongoloïdes, originating in the Siberia and of the Eastern Mongolia, which assimilate little by little the Indo-Europeans or make them move back. Thus between -174 and -161, the Xiongnu oblige the Yuezhi to leave the Gansu. A very important second phase is the foundation of the empire of the Blue Turks or Köktürks (Tujue in Chinese), in 552, which quickly subjects almost all the Central Asia, until in Sogdiane and Bactriane.
The Blue Turks are followed in 744 by the Ouïgours, of also Turkish language. An offensive of the Kyrgyz, another Turkish people, obliges them in 840 to evacuate the Mongolia. They move towards the Gansu and the Bassin of Tarim, where they assimilate the Tokhariens. In the west of the Central Asia, the eighth century is marked by the arrival of the Arab , which bring the Islam there. They make disappear a probably founded Iranian religion in Bactriane, the Zoroastrisme, as well as the Bouddhisme, arrived to Central Asia at the beginning of the Christian era. More than the Sogdiens and Bactriens, Tokhariens had become enthusiastic Buddhists. On their arrival in the Basin of Tarim, Ouïgours converted with Buddhism, but a little later they became Moslem like almost all the people Turkish.
The Manicheism and the Christianisme nestorien also flowered in Central Asia with the Moyen-âge:
- the Khan of the Ouïgours converts with the Manichéisme after having taken Chang' year (Xi' year) in 762, and of invaluable manuscripts dating from the end from were found with the Xinjiang and the Gansu, in the North-West of the China: superb illuminations of Qoco close to Tourfan, important religious texts discovered by the sinologist Paul Pelliot in the Caves of Mogao close to Dunhuang;
- the Nestorianisme reached the Mongolia and the China and several princesses of the family of Gengis Khan were nestoriennes; at the 14th century, one still finds one évêché nestorien with Kachgar, capital history of the Xinjiang and, in 1289, the Mongolian Khan of Perse (ilkhan) Arghoun sends the monk ouïgour nestorien Rabban Sauma in embassy near Philippe IV Beautiful the and of the king of England Edouard Ier with a missive who considered a joint attack against the Mamelouks.
It is at the beginning of the second millenium that Turkish tribes reached the Anatolia, where one spoke the Greek then. This territory will become the Turkey. At this same time, Mongolian tribes occupied current the Mongolia. Their unification was the work of Gengis Khan, which founded largest empire that humanity knew. However, this empire did not last a long time and the language Mongolian E did not manage to be essential in any conquered territory. Quite to the contrary, the Turkish language was durably installed in the major part of the Central Asia.
The people current Turkish (Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Kazakh, Turkmènes, Ouïgours) arrived only at one rather recent date. The Uzbeks, for example, settled in Ouzbékistan as from the 15th century. They had to face the descendants of Tamerlan, the last large conquering of the Central Asia, which was also a Turk. Ouïgours current do not speak the language about their ancestors installed with the Xinjiang after the year 840, but that of the Uzbek .
Language Sogdien, it remains nothing any more but one dialect spoken in some villages, on banks of the Yaghnob river. It however gave much vocabulary to the modern Persan. The Tadjik is an alternative of Persan modern. There remains another Iranian language in Central Asia, the Pachto, spoken in part of the Afghanistan, like some antiquated dialects used by small ethnos groups, like the Wakhi.
- In the steppes of the Central Asia is a piece of the type-setter Alexandre Borodine
- Histoire of the Central Asia
- Histoire of Ouzbékistan
- Histoire of Kazakhstan
- Histoire of Afghanistan
- Histoire of Mongolia
- Histoire of Pakistan
- Central Asia on Wikitravel
- Christianity in Central Asia by Red-headed Jean-Paul, honorary Research director at CNRS.
- Guide on the Central Asia
- History, charts, large characters and genealogies steppes of Central Asia
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