The Republic of Tajikistan, formerly known as the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic, is a country in Central Asia. It has borders with Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Tajikistan means the 'Land of the Tajiks'.
Humans have been permanently installed in the land that is now Tajikistan since 4,000 BC. The land has been under the rule of various empires throughout history, mostly the Persian Empire. Before AD, it was part of the Bactrian Empire. Arabs brought Islam in the 7th century. The Samanid Empire supplanted the Arabs but was eventually superseded by Turkic invaders. The Mongols would later take control of the area, and Tajikistan would become a part of the emirate of Bukhara.
In the 19th century, the Russian Empire began to expand, and spread into Central Asia. During the Great Game, it came in control of Tajikistan. After the overthrow of the Tsar in 1917, Tajik guerillas waged a war against Bolshevik armies in a futile attempt to maintain independence. The Bolsheviks would prevail after a four year war, in which mosques and villages were burned down and the population heavily suppressed.
As part of the Soviet Union, Tajikistan was initially grouped with what is now Uzbekistan in the Autonomous SSR of Tajikistan, but was later made a separate constituent republic. Moscow did not do much to develop the Tajik SSR, and it remained relatively behind other Soviet Republics in living conditions, education and industry. In the 1970s Islamic underground parties began to form, and served to rally Tajiks against the USSR, but real disturbances did not occur until 1990. The following year, the USSR collapsed, and Tajikistan declared its independence.
The nation almost immediately fell into a civil war that involved various factions fighting one another, these factions were often distinguished by tribal loyalties. Emomali Rahmonov was the first leader of the nation, and continues to rule to this day. However, he has been accused of ethnic cleansing against other ethnicities and groups during the Tajikistan Civil War. In 1997 a cease-fire was reached between Rahmonov and opposition parties (United Tajik Opposition). Peaceful elections were held in 1999, but they were reported by the opposition as unfair, and Rahmonov was re-elected by almost unanimous vote. Russian troops continue to be stationed in southern Tajikistan, in order to guard the border with Afghanistan. Since the September 11th Attacks, American troops have also been stationed in the country.