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Friday, 8 July 2005
The Great Seljuk Turkmen State
Topic: Turkmen History
This State was founded in 1040 by Togrul and Cagry Begs after their victory in the Daodanakan War against the Gaznalys. The Seljuks are from the Kynyk tribe of Oguz.

The Seljuks underwent a very troubled period after arriving in Khorasan. When Seljuk Beg died, he was over 100 years old. In his old-age, leaving all else aside, he brought up his grandsons, Togrul and Cagry Begs. The son of Seljuk Beg, Arslan Han, settled on the Nur Plateau near Buhara, taking Togrul and Cagry Begs with himself. The sole aim of the two brothers trained by Seljuk Beg was to make Khorasan their homeland.

To attain their goal, Cagry Beg together with his brave men crossed over Khorasan to reach the Roman Land (Anatolia). The two brothers’ intention to conquer Khorasan intensified after the arrest and imprisonment of Arslan Beg by Gaznaly Mahmyt.

After crossing the Jeyhun River in 1035, they settled near Takgala. They informed Soltan Mesut of their intentions in a letter. In it they demanded that Soltan Mesut grant them for settlement the Nusay and Paraw provinces, where they would put their animals out to pasture. They stated that they could suppress the insurrections likely to happen in the corridor from the Balkan Dagi, Dehistan, and Urgenc frontiers to the banks of the Jeyhun River.

Soltan Mesut, who did not accept their offer, fought with the Seljuks near Takgala in 1038. Soon after, in 1040, there was another battle near Sarahs on the Daodanakan Plain. By way of war the Seljuks gained the things they had not been able to attain peacefully, and laid the foundations of the Great Seljuks’ State.

This victory made the fatherland their property forever. After the war, they summoned a council and declared their independence. Togrul Beg received the title of ‘Soltan’. They made the city of Rey their capital (1040-1063). Cagry Beg stayed in Merw (1040-1060). The two brothers ruled the state in unity and cooperation.

In 1063 Alp Arslan, the son of Cagry Beg, ascended to the throne. Alp Arslan was the great Soltan who unlocked the gates of Anatolia. His son Malik ?ah expanded the borders of the Seljuks and his son Soltan Sanjar promoted improvements in science and civilization.

The Great Seljuk State promoted Islam along with the Oguz culture, and in this way they enlarged their frontiers from Istanbul to China. Furthermore, being a great state, the Seljuks were honored as being the guard of the entire Islamic World. In addition, intending to dominate the world, they treated the people under their rule equally and justly and made great progress in the realms of culture and civilization. They improved the whole country, building roads, bridges, caravanserai, small mosques, madrassas (schools, universities) and hospitals.

Saparmurat Niyazov "Ruhnama"



Posted by countryturkmenistan at 11:57 AM
Updated: Friday, 8 July 2005 12:06 PM
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Monday, 6 June 2005
The Turkmen
Topic: Turkmen History
The Turkmen made the transition to an agricultural lifestyle fairly recently and their cultural characteristics are unique in many ways.

The origins of Turkmen is fairly well understood. The term Turkmen is not so clear. The first part of the word is clear, the name Turkic people gave themselves; but the second half is not so clear. Linguistically it is clear: Turk-men means "I am a Turk". Another explanation made in the 17th c by Abul-gazi was that it comes from the Persian "turk-manend" - like Turk, a type of Turk. There is also the idea that it basically has two etymologies - turk-koman (kumany-kipchaki or polovets (tribe)).

For the first time, the name "turkmen" appeared at the end of the 10th century in Arabic literature: it was a name of a part of the Turkic tribes (oguz, karluk, etc.) which lived on the border of the agricultural area of Central Asia, or in its heart among the Iranian-speaking agricultural population. According to records of Marvazi (the 12th century writer), 'Turkmen' was given to the part of oguz population which accepted Islam. One can suppose that it was a name of Turkic-language tribes from the Aral-Caspian steppe and partially from Semirechye, in contrast to Turkic-language tribes of Central Asia.

Since the 11-12th centuries the term 'turkmen' was more widespread, and gradually became the name of a nationality formed in the western part of Central Asia. Besides that, many cattle-breeding tribes of oguz origin were called Turkmen. Since the 11th century they have settled in Asia Minor, Azerbaijan and northern Iraq, and later they became a part of Azerbaijanian and Turkish nations.

Over the centuries the Turkmen have been keeping the clan-tribe social organization. The location of the tribes has repeatedly changed because of various political and economical circumstances. In the 19th century (starting from its middle till the last decades) the major Turkmen tribes were located on the territory of current Turkmenistan in the following way: Yomuts occupied more of less a solid territory eastwards of the Caspian Sea.

The border of this territory is a line stretching from the southwest towards the northeast: Atrek river - Kyzyl-Arvat town - Kunya-Urgench town. Turkmen occupied the basins of Murgab and Tedjen rivers, and the foothill oases along northern slopes of Kopet-Dag towards Kyzyl-Arvata in the west; to the north of their pasturable territories were Zaunguzsk Karakums. Ersari were located along the left and partially on the right banks of the Amudarya, between Kelif and Chardjou cities; the Solars occupied the middle of Chardjou oblast and the Serah district; the Saryks were placed in the basin of the Murgab (Yolotan and Tahta-Bazar rayons); as for goklens, they occupied territories mainly along the rivers Sumbar and Cahdyr (Kara-Kalin district); the Choudors placed themselves within Horezm oasis; the Ali-ilis (Alilis) - in the foothills of eastern Kopet-Dag; the Karadashlis and Yemrelis - in the western part of Khorezm oasis, and small groups of them occupied the south of Turkmenistan, and so on. The Yomuts, Goklens, Yemrals, Alilis, Saryks, Salyrs settled in Iran; the Ersars, Alilis and Saryks in Afghanistan.

The Turkmen tribes lived a secluded life and had poor economic connections with the outside world and their neighbors who were separated by territories difficult to trespass. Therefore, the Turkmen lived in isolation.

This isolation was a reason for the difference between the biggest Turkmen tribes in their histories and ways of life.

Cattle breeding used to be the main occupation of the major northern tribes. Turkmen were breeding fat-tail sheep, camels and horses. Herding by the yomuds still survived till recently on the steppes. Each tribe had chomurs or charvadars. This type of management died out slowly: herding was less viable and settled agricultural work became the norm. Sometimes, however, settled farmers turned to herding.

At the same time, all Turkmen tribes were dealing with agriculture. Their farming was similar to the traditions elsewhere in Central Asia. They used irrigation via canals. The Murgab river does not flow into a lake; it is diverted into canals. The same is the case for the Tedjen. Turkmen who lived in the neighborhood of Sarykamysh Lake, namely the adakly-hyzyr tribe, created a complicated system of artificial irrigation, which helped to develop about 50 hectare of land. Turkmen primitive agriculture was also found in the western part of Khorezm oasis. Southern Turkmen tribes had an ancient and advanced agricultural economy (yazrs - from the 12th c), though cattle raising was also important. It was of the least importance for the Mangyshlak peninsula and Big Balhans, but even there small springs were used for field irrigation.

In the 16th c, a majority of Turkmen tribes had a typical combination of irrigated agriculture with nomadic or distant-pasture cattle-raising. Respectively, they had a partly nomadic way of life, where a part of one and the same ethnic group (charva) were moving with herds, and the other part (chomrs) were settled and busy with agriculture. In "The Turks' genealogical tree" Abul'-Gazi wrote about the half-nomadic way of life of Turkmen, saying that a nomadic type of life was specific to those parts who owned cattle, i.e., who were richer.

The process of forming the Turkmen nation was stretched out and continued to our times. Now they are one, but till the 1920s, they were composed of various tribes. This tribal custom was more pronounced than with other peoples of Central Asia.

Source: http://intangiblenet.freenet.uz

Posted by countryturkmenistan at 2:17 PM
Updated: Monday, 6 June 2005 2:20 PM
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Tuesday, 31 May 2005
Ancient Writing in Annau
Topic: Turkmen History
In an unexpected benefit of the Cold War's end, Russian and American archaeologists say they have discovered an ancient civilization that thrived in Central Asia more than 4,000 years ago, before being lost in the sweep of history.

The people of this area, the archaeologists say, built oasis settlements with imposing mud-brick buildings and fortifications. They herded sheep and goats and grew wheat and barley in irrigated fields. They had bronze axes, fine ceramics, alabaster and bone carvings and jewelry of gold and semiprecious stones. They left luxury goods in the graves of an elite class.

The accomplishments of these unknown people in what are now the republics of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan began to emerge over several decades of excavations by archaeologists of the Soviet Union, who worked diligently but in academic silence behind closed borders.

The surprising scope of society suggested a stage of social and economic development generally regarded as civilization. All that seemed lacking was evidence of number or writing systems.

With the end of the Cold War, American archaeologists have joined the Russians in exploring the region, and now they are reporting that they have found inscriptions showing that these people may have indeed had writing, or at least were experimenting with a form of protowriting around 2300 B.C.

"We are rewriting all the history books about the ancient world because of the new political order in our own time," Fredrik Hiebert, a University of Pennsylvania archaeologist involved in the excavation, said in an interview last week.

In the most recent and provocative discovery, Mr. Hiebert uncovered a small stone object engraved with four or five red-colored symbols or letters that apparently bear no resemblance to any other writing system of the time.

Other scholars agreed that the symbols seemed to be unlike contemporary scripts in Mesopotamia, Iran or the Indus River Valley.

Mr. Hiebert made the discovery last summer in ruins at Annau, a site near the border with Iran and only 13 kilometers (8 miles) from Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan.

He described the findings a week ago at a symposium at the University of Pennsylvania and on Saturday at a conference on language and archaeology at Harvard University.

"You can say we have discovered a new ancient civilization," Mr. Hiebert said.

At the same time, the pyramids of Egypt had been standing for three centuries, power in the Tigris and Euphrates valley was shifting from Sumer to Babylon, and the Chinese had yet to develop writing.

Victor Mair, a specialist in ancient Asian languages and cultures at the University of Pennsylvania, who was not on the research team, said of the inscription, "I definitely think that's writing."

Mr. Mair said that discovery of ruins of an advanced culture in a region "where there was thought to be just space and emptiness fills an enormous gap" in terms of trade and cultural exchange across Asia in antiquity.

It thus suggested that people in Asia more than 4,000 years ago were not as isolated as once supposed, he said, but probably had continentwide connections.

The dozens of settlement ruins of the newfound civilization stretch east from Annau across the Kara Kum desert into Uzbekistan and perhaps the northern part of Afghanistan.

It is an area 500 to 650 kilometers long and 80 kilometers wide. Archaeologists have given the culture the prosaic name of the Bactria Margiana Archaeology Complex, or BMAC, after the ancient Greek names of two regions it encompasses.

Long after the ruins were buried in sand, the area was traversed by the legendary Silk Road, the caravan route linking China and the Mediterranean lands from the second century B.C. to 1700.

The oases that served as way stations for rest and resupply on the Silk Road also supported the BMAC civilization, which presumably was trading far and wide over some kind of ancestral Bronze Age Silk Road.

Carl Lamberg-Karlovsky, a Harvard archaeologist, questioned whether the symbols on the artifact represented true writing. But he said that Mr. Hiebert's discovery "falls into place with other research showing that this culture was working out some sort of communication system, though it never reached the level of complexity in writing as its neighbors did."

Until the waning days of the Soviet Union, foreign scholars knew almost nothing of the nature and extent of the BMAC culture. Reports of findings were confined to Soviet journals.

In the post-Cold War openness, Russian archaeologists are eagerly sharing their knowledge and inviting collaboration with Westerners.

Victor Sarianidi, of the Institute of Archaeology in Moscow, found a distinctive architectural pattern in many of the ruins. The buildings at each site appeared to be erected in one burst of construction according to the design of a single architect.

The largest buildings were like large apartment complexes, divided into dozens and dozens of rooms.

They were surrounded by multiple mud-brick walls, some as much as 3 meters (10 feet) thick. Beyond lay traces of agricultural fields.

Mr. Hiebert plans to return to Annau, possibly next month, for further excavations to be financed in part by the National Geographic Society.

13.05.2001

John Nobel Wilford

Source: The New York Times

Posted by countryturkmenistan at 5:51 PM
Updated: Tuesday, 31 May 2005 5:56 PM
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Treasures of City of Tsars and Gods
Topic: Turkmen History
A new book by well-known Russian archaeologist Victor Sarianidi about excavations in the ancient country of Margush is published in Turkmenistan

A colorful illustrated book, “Turkmenistan, Gonur-depe: the city of tsars and gods”, by a well-known archeologist, laureate of the International prize named after Makhtumkuli, doctor of history, professor Viictor Sarianidi was published in Ashgabat. The book is the sequel to the book “Turkmenistan, Margush: ancient eastern kingdom in the old delta of the Murgab river” published two years ago. The scientist who is at present at the excavation site in Karakum district of Mary region has told the following in the interview to the State News Services of Turkmenistan (Turkmendovlethabarlary):

- I am absolutely happy that the book I have worked on for two years, while continuing the excavations of Margush monuments, has been published.


Thanks to the patronage of the head of Turkmenistan, our excavations gave birth to scientific results presented in the book. There is no need to mention that local authorities rendered an invaluable assistance to our expedition at excavation sites all the time, meeting our every need and making it easy to fulfill our mission in the Karakum desert which is a difficult place to work. I started my excavations in Margush more than thirty years ago. We could not even dream about such great help from the Government during the first years of our mission.

Drastic changes in the Government’s attitude with regard to cultural, spiritual heritage that became a stronghold of a new statehood but was once out of the sight of the government is clear evidence of the remarkable nature of Saparmurat Niyazov as a politician with his foresight and ability to choose the right priority. S.Niyazov ordered to provide us with a powerful up-to-date technical means to remove thousands of cubic meters of soil out of the excavation sites that helped to speed up excavations and expand the territory. A helicopter was at our disposal to make aero pictures of excavated monuments. And of course, all the time we felt maximum help from the authorities of the State historical and cultural conservation area “Drevni Merv (Ancient Merv)”, Ministry of Culture and TV and Radio Broadcasting authorities of Turkmenistan in sorting out all arising problems. I am also grateful to the National Center for Cultural Heritage “Miras” for making it possible to publish the book.

I hope that readers would not be disappointed with scientific results published in the book. I would like to remind you that only after we discovered ruins of the monument with a large water pool in the center close to the palace of a ruler, it became clear, and there was no doubt about it, that it was a temple of water. This temple and the earlier discovered temple of fire – a part of the so-called public meals complex and temple of sacrifice – used to form a unified ensemble of buildings of religious nature that were grouped around the tsar’s residence in Gonur-depe.

We were lucky to open the tsar’s funeral complex where you can find not only the defunct but also symbols of statehood as well: stone scepters that were used as an attribute of power in ancient times; pictures of eagles in the golden cover, golden and silver vessels, traces of rich sacrifices, mosaic on walls and hearses that still has no analogy in Central Asia. Moreover, several true masterpieces of the ancient jewellery art feature among the masses of findings. First of all, it is a small sculpture of djeiran made of gold and a sculpture of a lion cub turned in turquoise. Their size is less than a centimeter but you can see all the details of the amazing works of ancient masters of Turkmenistan through magnifying lens. The works merit being included into the Guinness Book of Records. I hope that these masterpieces will be soon displayed in the new Museum of Fine Arts in Ashgabat for they represent the earliest pieces of the art of ancestors of the Turkmen people.

I am deeply convinced that a newly published book in Turkmen, Russian and English and a small contribution of our expedition to the cause of the further research of history and culture of Turkmenistan will not only enrich the treasure of cultural values created by Turkmen for centuries but also promote the international prestige of the country that I regard as my second home.

Turkmendovlethabarlary, May 16, 2005

Posted by countryturkmenistan at 4:09 PM
Updated: Thursday, 2 June 2005 9:47 AM
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Sunday, 29 May 2005
History of Turkmenistan
Topic: Turkmen History
When writing the Turkmen history, it will be appropriate to speak first of the history of Turkmenistan where the Turkmens currently live. Archeological excavations show that people lived in today's Turkmenistan 3000.000 years ago. Scientists think that the Caspian Sea, which was much lager than it is now, began to dry up and recede and this process resulted in the birth of the Kara-Kum desert. In those ages particularly in the neolithic age, agriculture was prevalent in the Southern Turkmenistan while cattle-breeding and fishing were developed in the North. From relics found in the Togalak-Depe, Chopan-Depe and Geok-Depe areas, it appears that the first human settlement in Turkmenistan occurred between 7000 and 5000B.C. Turkmen people created various wonderful world of art, in which its history, mode of life, religious beliefs and thoughts were incarnated.

Sculpture is one of the ancient kind of the fine arts. Having apppeared in the neolithic period it underwent difficult and multi-stage way of development. Nature worship, magic rites-these were conditions under which the ancient neolithic art of ancestors of Turkmen was formed.

In the 6th century B.C. the territory of the modern Turkmenistan was conquered by the Pesian Dynasty of Akhemenids, in the 4th century B.C. the southern part of the modern Turkmenistam was conquered by the troops of Alexander the Great. In the middle of the 3d century B.C., Macedonian rule was over and was replaced in 247 B.C. by the state of Parthia. The Royal Residence of the Parthian State was located in the Old Nisa. Taking good advantages of Turkmenistan's position on the Great Silk Route, the Parthians had an active economic and commercial life and established cities. During the regime of the King Mitridat I, the first Parthian coin (called "Drahma") was minted in silver. Horn-shaped ivory rhytons (vessels), marble statues and silver figurines of the ancient Greek Gods were found during the excavations at the Old Nisa. The Parthian culture by itself was a composition of the Greek and Oriental cultures. In the context of agriculture which was considerably developed in the Parthian period wheat, barley, corn (maize), rice, cotton and various fruits were grown. One of the most important features of the Parthian age was the use of the Aramaic script. The Parthian State which lasted for 470 years, collapsed in 224 A..D..

Another culture that flourished in Turkmenistan was in the Khorezm area. Khorezm corresponds more or less to the same period as the Parthian State.

As the Parthian state ended in the southern Turkmenistan in the 3d century A.D., a short period of the Sassanids began in the area. In the second half of the 5th sentury A.D. Turkmenistan came under the domination of another group, the Ephtalities.

This represents the beginning of Turkic domination in Turkmenistan. As a matter of fact, the 6th century in Turkmenistan is known as the century of the Turkic Khagans.

The Arabs came to Turkmenistan in the middle of the 7th century.The Arabs conquered western Turkmenistan and the Khorezm area after several battles and subjugated the whole Turkmenistan. In the 9th century, the Arab rule in Turkmenistan disintegrated and was replaced by the Takhirids and Samanids. The Gaznavians who emerged in the 10th century put the end to the Samanids rule and started their own era. Oguz-Turkmen movement of the 11-12 centuries led to formation of the large empire, which stretched from the Middle Asia to Syria and Palestine and was ruled by the Seldzuks dynasty.

Seldzuk sultans gave much attention to science and art as well as construction. Economic potentialities of the powerful military and political state stimulated the thriving of many trades including art construction. The most wonderful and significant construction of the Seldzuk1 s period is, undoubtedly, mausoleum of sultan Sanjar in MERV, created by architect of genuis Mukhammed ibn-Atsyz from Serakhs. Thus as a result of synthesis of ancient architectural-planning traditions with rich ornamentations of oguz tribes in the Seldzuk period there appeared magnificient works of architecture, many of which preserved to our time and which are priceless historical and cultural legacy of the Turkmen nation.

At the end of 11th century the Seljuk Empire was broken up into two parts: the Eastern and the western Seljuks. The latter reigned in Anatolia, Iraq and Syria, and the former in Iran, Khorosan, Turkmenistan, Transoxiana andAfganistan.

The Khwarizmshahs who had a long past in Turkmenistan began to rise in the tenth century. Their capital city was Gurganj (Old Urgan) near the city of Dashoguz in the North of today's Turkmenistan. The Khwarizshahs who enjoyed autonomy during the Seljuki period had already left their imprint on economic and social life and reached an advanced level of development. In the regime ofAnush Tegin, Kutbeddin Mohammed, Adsyz and his son llarslan, the Khwarizmshahs extended frontiers from the Oxus to Irag particularly between the tenth and twelfth centuries.

During the reign of Sultan Jalaleddin Khwarizmshah, the Khwarizmshahs captured Iran, Irag, the enrire Central Asia, Kazakhstan and northern India and became the greatest state in the East. They built a civilisation that was superior to their contemporaries in culture, arts and architecture. This civilisation, which brought glass skillfully, has a continuing impact on architecture with its thousands of works. The Mamnug Academy in Gurganj was one of the major centers of science of the time. Avecenna, who is said to have invented 700 drugs in the world pharmacologic history, the great mathematician AI-Beruni and other important scientists such as AI-Khwarizmi and As-Samani were all people who had been trained in these institutions off science.

Taking advantage of internal and external disturbances which emerged in the land of Khwarizm, the Mongols launched an attack with a strong army in late 1219. The Khwarizmian king Shah Mohammed 2 nd., convened the war assembly and discussed the situation. Rejecting the proposal that it would be more appropriate to confront the enemy on the banks of the Jaxartes from the viewpoint of protecting the people, the king decided that each city be protected against the Mongols separately. This decision was to prove more beneficial for the Mongols. As a matter of fact, the armies of Genghiz Khan repidly overran cities like Otrar, Bokhara and Samarkant. The Khwarizmian King who did not surrender to the Mongols fled to the Abeskun Island in the Caspian Sea and died there. Just before his death, he ordered that Jalaleddin should become king.

As the Mongol army continued to advance in the land of Khwarizm and began to capture cities of Northern Khwarizm one by one, Jatalleddin Khwarizmshah went into action to protect Gurganj. However, as Turken Khatoun in the capital city did not allow him any say in this work, he withdrew to the south and there defeated the advance units of the Mongol army who were entering into the area. In 1221, the Mongol armies commended by Genghis Khan's sons Chuchi, Chagatai and Ogdai attacked Gurganj from four sides and, after a six-month deference, captured the city. Certain sources state that the Mongols slaughtered nearly one milion people during this war.

The Mongol raids caused upheaval to economic and civil life in Turkmenistan and in the Khwarizmian state. Libraries, dams, mosques and institutions of science were destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people were ruthlessly slain.

Certain Turkmen clans who survived these horrors saved themselves from extinction by migrating to various places.

While some of the Turkmens fleeing the Mongol invasion went to Anatolia, some migrated to Afghanistan and Pakistan and some other stayed in Turkmenistan.

Immediately following the Mongol invasion, the lands of Turkmenistan were divided among the sons of Genghis Khan, with Chuchi taking the North, Hulagu the South and Chagatai the East.

After the Mongols disintegrated as a result of internal strife, Tamerlane brought the Turkish tribes together and formed a powerful state which restored stability in Turkestan. Having captured Khwarism and most of Turkmenistan in 1388, Tamerlane then destroyed the Golden Horde and extended his domination to the north. Historical sources state that Tamerlane levelled the city of Urganj to the ground and turned it into farming land, because its people had opposed him, and brought chaos on the social, commercial and cultural life of the region. Having recruited thousands of Turkmens as cavalrymen into his army after invading Turkmenistan, Tamerlane with his disciplined army made expeditions to Iran, India and the Caucasus and won most of his battles, establishing a large empire whose capital city was Samarkant. Reigning between 1370 and 1405, Tamerlane died in the days when he was planning a big expedition to China. Under Shahrukh and Ulug Beg, the two sons of Temerlane who succeeded him as rulers of his empire, an advanced level was reached in Turkestan in science, culture, arts, agriculture urbanism. Activities in the field of astronomy in particular were unequalled for many centuries to come. In the observatory built in this period, the length of a year was calculated with an error of only 4 minutes. However, as a result of failure in administration against the successes in science, coupled with a power struggle among the sons of Tamerlane, the state broke up and was replaced by the Uzbek Khanate.

During the Mongol period and the reign of Tamerlane, many Turkmen tribes like Teke, Salur, Yamut and Ersaru scattered widely from Turkmenistan into Iran, Irag, Syria, the Caucasus and Turkey. Of these tribes, the Turkmens Akkoyunlu (White Sheep) and Karakoyunlu (Black Sheep) who established states in western and northern Iran and in eastern Anatolia founded a great civilisation between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. According to historical sources, Bayram Khan who went to India and made a great reputation there had come from the Turkmens of Karakoyunlu.

When the Uzbek Khan Shaybani who had replaced the state of Tamerlane was defeated by Shah Ismael in Merv in 1510, Turkmenistan was invaded by the Saffawis, but the Turkmens who lived in Khwarizm united with the Uzbeks and did not allow the Safawis to settle permanently in the region.

Later on, the Uzbeks and the Turkmens founded a Khanate known as the Khwarizm or Khiva Khanate. Although this Khanate dominated the greater part of Turkmenistan, the Turkmens in Merv, Akhal and Etrek kept their independence and simply paid a tribute to the Khanate.

The history of Turkmenistan from the Sixteenth Century until the Mid-Nineteenth Century was determined by the relations among the state of Iran, Khiva and Bokhara. However, as the wars among these states in this period took place mostly in the lands of Turkmenistan, they damaged most the Turkmens. In this period, there were power struggles between the Uzbeks and the Turkmens. Abul Gazi Bahadur Khan who was in power between 1645 and 1663 caused various difficulties to the Turkmens, coupled with the impact of the drought that occured at about the same period, most of the Turkmens within the Khanate re - settled themselves around Akhal, Etrek, Murgap and Tedjen. In this period, many of the Turkmens living around the Lake Aral left their homelands because of pressures from both the Khanate of Khiva and the Kalmuks and migrated to around Astrakhan and Stavropol in northern Caucasus.

In spite of the distresses it went through in the Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries, the Turkmen people did not lose its productivity in cultural life. Popular legends like Koeroghlu (the Son of the Blind Man), Shahsanem Garib, Leila and Mejnun, and Taher and Zuhra, are products of this period with all its events that had a negative impact on social and cultural life. These legends covered such themes as love, partriotism, honesty, friendship and family values. The poets and thinkers of the time such as Devlet Mehmed Azadi and Makhtumkuli treated those themes and also guided the Turkmens towards the idea of a single state in unit and solidarity.

The Turkmens and the Russian who had commercial relations in previous centuries started to develop these relations in the nineteenth century, particularly between 1819 and 1836, the Russian made frequent visit to Turkmenistan to establish trade links, to find new markets and develop a military strategy. Having started to occupy the Khanates of Turkestan in the 1860's, the Russian built a castle in 1869 in Kyzilsu (Krasnovodsk) on the shore of the Caspian and deployed a large number of troops there.

In 1864-1865, the Russian occupied the Khanate of Hokand and took Tashkent and Samarkant. In 1868-1871, they conquered Khanate of Bokhara and established on the lands of these two Khanates the "General Govemorate of Turistan" to which they appointed General Kaufman. In 1874, they founded the "Transcaspian Military Unit" and General Lomakin was appointed as its head. Bringing Bokhara and Khiva under their control, the Russians advanced from the Caspian to the Akhal area and continued to occupy new territories. Thereupon, the Turkmen's led by Berdi Murad Khan, the son of Nurberdi Khan, fortified the Geok-Tepe Castle and dug deep pits around it. The Russians attacked Geok-Tepe in August 1879 and pounded the castle with artillery fire for many days, and hundreds of Turkmen's lost their lives. After the bombing ended, the Turkmens launched an attack on the Russians and drove them back to the shores of the Caspian. However, Berdi Murad Khan fell martyr in this battle.

In December 1880, the Russians came back to Geok-Tepe. The Russians dug underground tunnel into the castle and blew up its gate with 1160 kilogrammes of explosives.

After the battle at Geok-Tepe, the Russians entered into Ashkhabat in 18th of January 1881. The tsarist government established an administration under the name of the Eastern Caspian region and included in it the cities of Mangeshlak, Kyziisi, Ashkhabat, Tedjen and Merv.

Seventy years Turkmenistan was in the composition of the USSR. On the 27th of October, 1991, the 10th extraordinary session of the Supreme Council of the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic had adopted the constutional law "independence and foudation of the state system of Turkmenistan" This day was announced as Turkmenistan Independence Day.

Source: www.asia-travel.com



Posted by countryturkmenistan at 11:47 AM
Updated: Monday, 30 May 2005 12:54 PM
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