Independent republic in central Asia, N of Afghanistan.
Dushanbe is the capital. A chiefly mountainous region, rich in mineral resources, it is named after the Tajiks, an Iranian people who established themselves here by the 10th century a.d. Conquered by Mongols in the 13th century, it became part of the khanate of Bukhara in the 16th century. It was ruled by various weak khanates in the 19th century and fell prey to Russian expansion in the 1880s and 1890s.
The Tajiks rebelled against Russian rule in 1917 but were put down by the Red Army in 1921. Tadzhikistan became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union in 1929 until 1991, when it declared its independence.
Former Communist Party chief Rakhmon Nabiyev was elected president but, in 1992, was deposed by opposition militias.
In civil war, forces allied with the former Nabiyev government retook the capital and most of the country.
The parliament elected Russian-supported Emomali Rakhmonov as president. Pro-Islamic forces with support from Afghanistan continued to fight government forces. In 1994 Rakhmonov was reelected as the Islamic parties boycotted the elections. In 1996 Uzbek command ers mutinied and briefly seized towns in the S and W.
In 1997, a peace accord was signed between the government and opposition forces. In 1999, voters approved a referendum that extended the president’s term to seven years and allowed the formation of Islamic political parties. The civil wars in Tajikistan have killed somewhere between 30,000 to 100,000, the damage to the country’s infrastructure has impoverished the nation.