Ancient history of Afghanistan

Archaeological exploration of the pre-Islamic period of Afghanistan began in Afghanistan in earnest after World War II and proceeded until the late 1970s when the nation was invaded by the Soviet Union. Archaeologists and historians suggest that humans were living in Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago, and that farming communities of the region were among the earliest in the world.[1] Urbanized culture has existed in the land from between 3000 and 2000 BC.[1][2][3] Artifacts typical of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron ages have been found inside Afghanistan.[3]

After the Indus Valley civilization stretched up to northeast Afghanistan,[4] it was inhabited by the Iranic tribes and controlled by the Medes until about 500 BC when Darius the Great (Darius I) marched with his Persian army to make it part of the Achaemenid Empire. In 330 BC, Alexander the Great of Macedonia invaded the land after defeating Darius III of Persia in the Battle of Gaugamela. Much of Afghanistan became part of the Seleucid Empire followed by the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom. Seleucus I Nicator was defeated by Chandragupta Maurya and gave his daughter in peace treaty. The land was inhabited by various tribes and ruled by many different kingdoms for the next two millenniums. Before the arrival of Islam in the 7th century, there were a number of religions practiced in modern day Afghanistan, including Zoroastrianism, Hinduism and Buddhism.[5] The Kaffirstan region, in the Hindu Kush, was not converted until the 19th century.

  1. ^ a b "Afghanistan: VII. History (Archived)". John Ford Shroder. University of Nebraska. 2009. Archived from the original on October 31, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
  2. ^ "The Pre-Islamic Period". Library of Congress Country Studies on Afghanistan. 1997. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  3. ^ a b Dupree, Nancy Hatch (1977). An Historical Guide To Afghanistan. Vol. 2. Edition. Afghan Air Authority, Afghan Tourist Organization. p. 492. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  4. ^ The Ancient Indus: Urbanism, Economy, and Society. pp.1
  5. ^ Ende, Werner; Steinbach, Udo (15 April 2010). Islam in the World Today: A Handbook of Politics, Religion, Culture, and Society. Cornell University Press. p. 257. ISBN 9780801464898. At the time of the first Muslim advances, numerous local natural religions were competing with Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and Hinduism in the territory of modern Afghanistan.

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