History of Uzbekistan

Humans lived in what is now Uzbek as early as the Paleolithic period (Old Stone Age), around 55,000 to 70,000 years ago. After the arrival of Islam into Central Asia in the 8th century, numerous population streams flowed into the area now forming the land of Uzbek.

History of Uzbekistan

1st Century BC:

Central Asia, including present-day Uzbekistan, is an important part of the overland trade routes known as the Great Silk Road connecting China to the Middle East and imperial Rome.

7th-8th centuries

The Arabs conquer the region and convert its people to Islam.

9th-10th centuries

The Persian Samanid dynasty is becoming powerful and is establishing Bukhara as a significant centre of Islamic culture. As it falls, Turkic hordes compete to fill the void.

14th century

14th century - Mongol-Turkic ruler Tamerlane establishes an empire with Samarkand as its capital.

18th-19th centuries

Rise of independent Uzbek states of Bukhara, Kokand and Samarkand.


The Russians take Tashkent and make it the capital of their Turkestan province, which includes large regions of Central Asia. They also secure Bukhara and Khiva and annex Kokand.


Bolsheviks gradually conquer Turkestan, Bukhara and Khiva.


New Communist rulers close down mosques and persecute Muslim clergy as part of secularisation campaign.


Reorganisation of Soviet member-states results in the creation of Uzbekistan and its neighbours.


Soviet leader Stalin purges independent-minded Uzbek leaders, replacing them with Moscow loyalists.


Cotton production has been boosted by major irrigation projects which eventually contributed to the drying of the Aral Sea.


A devastating earthquake is destroying a significant part of Tashkent's capital.


Communist Party of Uzbekistan declares economic and political sovereignty. Islam Karimov becomes president.


Initially, President Karimov backed the failed anti-Gorbachev coup by conservatives in Moscow. Uzbekistan declares independence and, after the fall of the Soviet Union, joins the Commonwealth of Independent States.


President Karimov bans the Birlik and Erk opposition parties, whose members are arrested in large numbers.


Referendum extends Mr Karimov's term of office for another five years.


Uzbekistan, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan launch Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to tackle ethnic and Islamic extremism and promote trade and investment.


President Karimov wins support for extending the presidential term from five to seven years in a referendum criticised as a ploy to hang on to power.


President Karimov sacks long-standing prime minister Otkir Sultanov, citing country's poorest-ever cotton harvest. Shavkat Mirziyoyev replaces him.


The EU starts to ease the sanctions levied following the crushing of the Andijan unrest.


Uzbekistan gives US limited access of its southern Termez airbase for operations in Afghanistan, partially reversing its decision to expel US forces from the Khanabad base in 2005.


Uzbek has revealed plans to withdraw from the Soviet-era power grid by setting up new power lines for its own use.


Uzbekistan briefly accepts Uzbek ethnic refugees fleeing communal unrest in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan. Closes refugee camps within weeks and drives refugees back across the border.


The authorities are starting to shut down companies and organizations linked to Gulnara Karimova, who are responding by using Twitter to attack rivals in the Uzbek power structure.


Swiss prosecutors begin to investigate Gulnara Karimova in a money-laundering probe.


Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev wins presidential elections against key candidates and sets out to rehabilitate ties with neighbouring countries, Russia, China and the United States, to open up the economy, and to loosen some of his predecessor's more authoritarian policies.


Commercial flights to Tajikistan for the first time in more than 20 years is allowed by President Mirziyoyev.


Powerful and long-standing security chief Rustam Inoyatov is sidelined, resulting in the replacement of senior Karimov-era assistants.