The history of Uzbekistan, its culture, statehood, and
foreign economy started about two millennia ago. Uzbekistan's people fought
for their beloved country against foreign invaders for many centuries. This
country played a very important role because Samarkand (the first capital
city) was located in heart of the Silk Road. Then during the times of
the Samanids and the Timurids, Uzbekistan was involved in many international
economic relations. In pre-Islamic times, Zoroastrianism (the religion founded by Zoroaster, established in Avesta, teaching the
worship of Ahura Mazda in the context of a universal struggle between
the forces of light and darkness) was born in the territory of Uzbekistan
(in Khoresm). But after the Arabs conquered Maverannahr, the religion
of the people changed to Islam.
In 1220-1221 Central Asia could not withstand the invasion of Genghis-Khan's
Many cities, such as Bukhara, Khoresm, and Samarkand were destroyed. Thousands
of people died (in Samarkand, only 50,000 out of a population of one million
survived). But in the middle of the 14th century, Tamerlane, a warlord,
freed the Uzbek people from the Mongols. Later,
Uzbek nomadic tribes invaded the north, and conquered the small lands of the
Timurids and built their own state which was named Uzbekistan. The term
"Uzbek" means "master" or "lord" of oneself.
In the 19th century Bukhara, Khiva and Kokand joined the Russian Empire.
In this period Uzbekistan had a well-developed agriculture because Uzbekistan
grew its own cotton instead of importing it from the United States. Cotton
was very important to Uzbekistan's economy. Also railroads, the development
of trade, and cultural relations between Asia and Europe helped the country
with its economy.
In 1917, the Russian Revolution changed the political situation in Turkeston
and Uzbekistan became one of the republics of the USSR in the 1920's.
After 69 years of hard work, Uzbekistan announced its Independence on
September 1st, 1991.
After independence, Uzbekistan's economy still relied mainly on agriculture,
especially cotton. As a result, Uzbekistan became one of the world's largest
producers and exporters of cotton. Because the land was used mostly
for cotton, Uzbekistan produced few other crops, thus importing most of
the necessary grains and other foods. Recently, Uzbekistan has been attempting
to change its economic reliance on cotton, but its short-term needs for
hard currency make it harder to happen.
I think Uzbekistan's history is very interesting. It helps me understand alot about my people and my country. Ancient cities like Bukhara and Samarkand, visited by many people throughout the world today, are examples of Uzbekistan's rich history. I hope its future will be better than the past.