Timeline: Tajikistan

BBC News, 3 August 2001

A chronology of key events

8th century - Tajiks emerge as distinct ethnic group; Arab invaders conquer Central Asia, including what is now Tajikistan, and introduce Islam.

9th/10th century - Persian Samanid dynasty gains control of Central Asia and, in alliance with the caliph of Baghdad, develop Bukhara as centre of Muslim culture.

13th century - Genghis Khan conquers Tajikistan and the rest of Central Asia, which becomes part of the Mongol Empire.

14th century - Tajikistan becomes part of Turkic ruler Tamerlane's empire.

1860-1900 - Tajikistan divided, with the north coming under Tsarist Russian rule while the south is annexed by the Emirate of Bukhara.

1917-18 - Armed Central Asian groups exploit the upheaval in Russia following the Bolshevik revolution to mount an insurrection, but eventually fail.

Soviet rule

1921 - Northern Tajikistan becomes part of the Bolshevik-designated Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR), which also included Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, part of northern Turkmenistan and southern Kazakhstan.

1924 - Tajik ASSR set up by Soviets and becomes part of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR).

1929 - Tajik ASSR upgraded to the status of an SSR and becomes distinct from the Uzbek SSR; acquires territory of Khujand from Uzbek SSR.

1930s - The collectivisation of agriculture completed despite widespread resistance.

1960s - Tajikistan becomes the third largest cotton-producing republic in the Soviet Union; heavy industries, notably aluminium, introduced.

1970s - Increased Islamic influence, violence towards non-indigenous nationalities.

1978 - Some 13,000 people take part in anti-Russian riots.

Late 1980s - Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost, or openness, leads to the formation of unofficial political groups and a renewed interest in Tajik culture.

1989 - Tajik Supreme Soviet (legislature) declares Tajik to be official state language; Rastokhez People's Front established.

Independence and civil war

1990 - State of emergency declared and some 5,000 Soviet troops sent to the capital, Dushanbe, to suppress pro-democracy protests, which are also fuelled by rumours that Armenian refugees are to be settled in Dushanbe; Supreme Soviet declares state sovereignty.

1991 - Tajik Communist leader Qahhor Makhkamov forced to resign after supporting the failed anti-Gorbachev coup in Moscow.

Supreme Soviet declares Tajikistan independent from the Soviet Union; Rahmon Nabiyev, Communist leader during 1982-85, wins Tajikistan's first direct presidential election with 57% of the vote; Tajikistan joins Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) following the collapse of the Soviet Union in December.

1992 - Anti-government demonstrations in Dushanbe escalate into civil war between pro-government forces and Islamist and pro-democracy groups which eventually claims 20,000 lives, displaces 600,000 and devastates the economy.

Violent demonstrations force Nabiyev to resign in September; Emomali Rahmonov, a pro-Nabiyev communist, takes over as head of state in November.

1993 - Government re-establishes control, suppresses political opposition and imposes strict media controls; Supreme Court bans all opposition parties, leaving the Communist Party of Tajikistan as the only legal party; CIS peacekeeping force deployed on Tajik-Afghan border to prevent Islamist guerrilla groups infiltrating from bases in Afghanistan.

1994 - Cease-fire between government and rebels agreed; Rahmonov announces willingness to negotiate with opposition; referendum approves draft constitution reinstituting presidential system; Rahmonov elected president in ballot deemed by international observers as neither free nor fair.

1995 - Rahmonov supporters win parliamentary elections; fighting on Afghan border erupts.

1996 - Islamist rebels capture towns in southwestern Tajikistan; UN-sponsored cease-fire between government and rebels comes into effect.

Peace accord

1997 - Government and rebel United Tajik Opposition (UTO) sign peace accord; National Reconciliation Commission, comprising government and opposition members, created to supervise implementation of accord; Rahmonov injured in grenade attack.

1998 - Rahmonov announces pardon for all opposition leaders in exile and agrees to appoint one of the Islamist opposition's leaders as first deputy prime minister. Rebel who declines peace offer launches uprising in north but is crushed with the help of former opposition groups.

Tajikistan joins CIS Customs Union.

1999 - Rahmonov re-elected for second term with 96 % of the vote; UTO armed forces integrated into state army; Rahmonov awarded order of Hero of Tajikistan.

2000 - Last meeting of the National Reconciliation Commission held and a new bicameral parliament set up in March; a new national currency, the somoni, introduced; visas introduced for travel between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

2001 January - Minimum wage tripled to equivalent of just over one US dollar.

2001 April - Deputy Interior Minister Habib Sanginov assassinated in Dushanbe.

2001 June - Leaders of China, Russia and four Central Asian states launch the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and sign an agreement to fight ethnic and religious militancy while promoting trade and investment. The group emerges when the Shanghai Five—China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan—are joined by Uzbekistan.