The Tajiks, whose language is nearly the same as Persian, were part of the ancient Persian Empire that was ruled by Darius I and later conquered by Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. In the 7th and 8th centuries, Arabs conquered the region bringing with them Islam. The Tajiks were successively ruled by Uzbeks and then Afghans until claimed by Russia in the 1860s. In 1924, Tajikistan was consolidated into a newly formed Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, which was administratively part of the Uzbek SSR until the Tajik ASSR gained fully-fledged republic status in 1929.
Tajikistan declared its sovereignty in August 1990. In 1991, the republic’s Communist leadership supported the attempted coup against Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev. Tajikistan joined with ten other former Soviet republics in the Commonwealth of Independent States on December 21, 1991. A parliamentary republic was proclaimed and presidential rule abolished in November 1992. After independence, Tajikistan experienced sporadic conflict as the Communist-dominated government struggled to combat an insurgency by Islamic and democratic opposition forces.
Despite continued international efforts to end the civil war, periodic fighting continued. About 60,000 people lost their lives in Tajikistan’s civil war. The conflict ended officially on June 27, 1997, with the signing in Moscow of peace accords between the government of President Imomali Rakhmonov and the United Tajik Opposition (UTO), a coalition of largely Islamic groups. Since then, however, peace has been tenuous, marred regularly by killing sprees by various opposition groups.
COAT OF ARMS
Republic of Tajikistan
Facts & Figures:
President: Imomali Rakhmonov (1992)
Prime Minister: Akil Akilov (1999)
Land area: 55,251 sq mi (143,100 sq km); total area: 55,251 sq mi (143,100 sq km)
Population (2012 est.): 7,768,385 (growth rate: 1.823%);
Birth rate: 25.93/1000;
Infant mortality rate: 37.33/1000;
Life expectancy: 66.38;
Density per sq mi: 125.8
Capital and largest city (2008 est.): Dushanbe, 679,400
Other large city: Khujand, 155,900
Monetary unit: somoni
Its three highest mountains are Ismoil Somoni Peak (known from 1932–1962 as Stalin Peak, and from 1962–1998 as Communism Peak), 7,495 m (24,590 ft); Ibn Sina Peak (still unofficially known as Lenin Peak), 7,134 m (23,406 ft); and Peak Korzhenevskaya (Russian: Пик Корженевской, Pik Korzhenevskoi), 7,105 m (23,310 ft).
There are many glaciers in the Pamir Mountains, including the 77 km (48 mile) long Fedchenko Glacier, the longest in the former USSR and the longest glacier outside the Polar region.
The Pamir Mountains are a mountain range in Central Asia formed by the junction of the Himalayas with Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, and Hindu Kush ranges.
They are among the world’s highest mountains, and since Victorian times, they have been known as the «Roof of the World», presumably a translation from Persian.
The precise extent of the Pamir Mountains is debatable. They lie mostly in Gorno-Badakhshan province inTajikistan and Badakshan Province in Afghanistan.
To the north they join the Tian Shan mountains along the Alay Valley of Kyrgyzstan.
To the south they join the Hindu Kush mountains along the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan and Gilgit–Baltistan in Pakistan.
To the east they may end on the Chinese border or extend to the range that includes Kongur Tagh which is sometimes included in the Kunlun Mountains.
Covered in snow throughout the year, the Pamirs have long and bitterly cold winters, and short, cool summers. Annual precipitation is about 130 mm (5 in), which supports grass lands but few trees.