In the history of Tajikistan in ancient and medieval times, Bactria was the oldest state in Central Asia, existing in the VII-VI century BC. Bactria occupied a large territory, including today’s Southern Tajikistan and the region of Surchandarya in Uzbekistan. At about the same time another ancient state, Sogdia, was formed in the valleys of Zeravshan and Kashkadarya. In the VI to IV centuries BC, these areas were part of the Persian Achaemenid Empire created by King Cyrus. Before the Achaemenid conquest, the role of the communities was dominant in Central Asia, where the remains of the ancestral system were preserved. The basis of the state system was the slave-ownership system and the military aristocracy.
The largest city was Marakanda (modern Samarkand). 660 B.C. is the birth year of Zaratustra in Sogdia. In the IV century BC the territory of Central Asia was conquered by the troops of Alexander the Great. In 329 B.C. Alexandria Eschate was founded (today’s Khujand – the capital of the Sogdia region). After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C., Central Asia became part of the Seleucid Empire formed in 312 B.C. Around 140 BC, the population of the agricultural areas of Bactria and Sogdia united with the nomadic tribes of the Yuezhi and finally overthrew Greek-Macedonian rule in Central Asia. The Yuezhi (or Tochars) settled mainly in Bactria and formed the basis of a new state formation – the Kingdom of Kushan (named after the ruling dynasty). This state reached its greatest power under King Kanishka (78-123). In the III century the Kushan Empire was considerably weakened. On its territory a number of independent states were formed: one – on the territory of the Bactrian and Tajik provinces, which are situated south of the Hissar Mountains. At the same time, the Hephthalites in Badakhshan are growing stronger. 563 AD is the year of defeat and division of the Hephthalite state by Sassanids (Persians) and Turks. Turan became Turkestan and southern Ari-Ana was annexed to the Sassanid Empire.
651-737 – Khorasan and Mawara’unnahr joined the Arab Caliphate (Umayyad Caliphate). In the years 875-1005 Tajikistan was part of the Samanid Empire. During this period the process of consolidation of the Tajik ethnic group was completed. The Samanid Empire is considered the foundation of statehood in modern Tajikistan. The Samanid Empire came under pressure from a new wave of Turkish invasion at the end of the X century. century. In Central Asia, the states of Qarakhanids, Ghaznavids and Khorezmias were subsequently formed, which, after being abandoned in the XIIth century, became the state of Tajikistan. After they had gained strength in the XII century, they brought the considerable part of Central Asia under power.