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The Tajiks

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica (2011) the Tajik, or Tadzhik, are a people of ethnic Persian descent and are the original Iranian population found in Afghanistan and Turkestan. They can be found throughout central Asia, making up most of the population in Tajikistan and being a major minority group in Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. There is also a small population in western China.


According to Nations Encyclopedia (2011) the Iranian peoples have inhabited Central Asia since at least some 2,500 years ago, the earliest record of the area. The Ancient Eastern Iranian inhabitants of Central Asia are the ancestor of the Tajiks with the other people in the area possible be descendants of a mix of the ancient Western Iranian Persians and Non-Iranians. 
Countries and Their Cultures (2011) states that the historical development of the Tajik has been intertwined with the Uzbeks and the other people of Central Asia. Before the coming of the Turks to the area and their eventual sedentarization, Iranian groups dominated the urban oases. Islam eventually became universally accepted and Turkic conquerors adjusted their religious and literary culture to that of the local inhabitants whom they ruled.



WebMedia iNteractive says that the Tajik make up the bulk of Afghanistan's educated elite and possess considerable wealth which gives them significant political influence. Their influence lies predominantly in the government ministries, public services and trade bodies. Those living in rural regions engage in agriculture and herding. They have no specific social structure and tend to adopt those of their neighbors.


Tajikistan's name is denoted from the Tajik people, though this modern identity is only been recent and as a result is ethically mixed says Encyclopedia Britannica (2011). Countries and Their Cultures (2011) states that the Tajikistan population is made up of 65% of Tajiks and Encyclopedia Britannica (2011) says that this percentage is growing as non-Tajiks escape civil war.


Countries and Their Cultures (2011) said that during the Stalinist period the focus of cultural activity was to disentangling a distinct Tajik culture from the Uzbek culture around it and from non-Soviet Persian culture. To separate from Islam and distinct from other Central Asian culture, the Tajiks began to create their own institutions, organized on the All-Union model, labored to use valley dialects, history, and especially archaeology to create a Tajik history. The thawing of Soviet-Iranian relations led to ever-closer Iranian-Tajik cultural relations. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 saw an increasing Tajik tutelage of Afghans in Kabul as well as in Dushanbe.
There is an important international cultural linking between the Russians and Russianized Tajiks which has help replace the Uzbek-Tajik bilingual pattern with that of a Tajik-Russian bilingual pattern. This linking has also weaken relationships with the Uzbeks and Tajiks, creating tension that is growing today between the Tajiks and Uzbeks. This in part to attempts by the Uzbeks to increase their power in Tajikistan.


Since the majority of the Tajik people are now renewing their ties with their Persian heritage, according to huantedink (2000-2009), their music is closer to that of the Uzeks, who are ethically Turkish. This is because of the geography of the area and the old demographics of the region.

Famous People

Vasily Vladimirovich Bartold

Encyclopedia Britannica (2011) says that Vasily Vladimirovich Bartod was also called Wilhelm Barthold and is known as a Russian anthropologist that made valuable contributions to the study of the social and cultural history of Islam and of the Tajik Iranians and literate Turkic peoples of Central Asia.

Bartold joined the faculty of the University of St. Petersburg in 1901 and for the rest of his life devoted himself to teaching and research, interrupted by frequent, extended field trips. His studies ranged from broader questions, such as those of cultural history, to more delimited, specialized histories. The interaction of the individual with society was of particular interest to him, and he also worked to refine the theory of his colleague Vasily Radlov on the formation of Turkic states through usurpation of popular authority by a powerful individual. His major works appeared in nine volumes; translations include Four Studies on the History of Central Asia,3 vol. (1956–62), and Turkestan Down to the Mongol Invasion (1928). Bartold contributed many articles to The Encyclopaedia of Islam; especially noteworthy are his portraits of peoples of the Caucasus and Asia, including the Kalmyks, Kazaks, and Kyrgyz.


Born: November 15, 1869

Died: August 19, 1930


1. Tajik. (2011). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from September 24, 2011,
2. Part 9: Tajikistan. (2000-2009). In HauntedInk. Retrieved September 24, 2011, from
3. The World Factbook, Tajikistan. (2011). The World Factbook, Tajikistan. (2011). In CIA. Retrieved September 24, 2011, from
4. Tajikistan. (2011). In Countries and Their Cultures. Retrieved September 24, 2011, from
5. Vasily Bartold [photograph]. unknown. Retrieved September 24, 2011, from:
6. Tajik, history and Culture. (2011). In Countries and Their Cultures. Retrieved September 26, 2011, from:
7. Tajikistan, Historical Background. (2011). Nations Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 26, 2011, from:
8. Tajiks of Afghanistan. (1997-2002). WebMedia iNteractive. Retrieved September 26, 2011, from: