History of the Yaghnobi People October 15, 2007Posted by Bahrom in History, Tajikistan, Yaghnobi.
Tags: East Iranian, Sogdian, Sughd, USSR, Yaghnob, Yagnob, Yagnobi, Zafarabad, Zafarabod
The Yaghnobi, who have inhabited the high mountain valley of Yaghnob in west-central Tajikistan for centuries, have been identified as descendants of the ancient Sogdians. The kingdom of Sogdiana existed from before the sixth century BCE until the Arab conquests of the eighth century CE. The Sogdian territory occupied what is now northern Tajikistan and southern Uzbekistan (Raspopova and Shishkina, 1999). From the fifth to the eighth centuries, the Sogdians were the main caravan merchants of the Silk Road which passed through the Sogdian cities of Samarqand (their capital) and Bukhara (Vaissiere, 2004). The Sogdians also established extensive colonies in what is now western China. Their influence was so extensive that Sogdian, an east-Iranian language, was the lingua franca of Central Asia during the seventh century (Dien). The region to the south of Sogdiana, Ustashana (also called Sorushna) was also populated by Sogdian speaking people (Negmatov, 1999). Its capital, Bunjikat, was near present day Istravshan in northwest Tajikistan (Bosworth, 2005). The dialect of Sogdian spoken in Ustrashana in the eighth century has been identified through lexical and phonological similarities as the language from which modern Yaghnobi has descended. (more…)