Eritrea the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa, with its capital at Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, Djibouti in the southeast; the northeastern and eastern parts of Eritrea have an extensive coastline along the Red Sea. The nation has a total area of 117,600 km2, includes the Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands, its toponym Eritrea is based on the Greek name for the Red Sea, first adopted for Italian Eritrea in 1890. Eritrea is a multi-ethnic country, with nine recognized ethnic groups in its population of around 5 million. Most residents speak languages from the Afroasiatic family, either of the Ethiopian Semitic languages or Cushitic branches. Among these communities, the Tigrinyas make up about 55% of the population, with the Tigre people constituting around 30% of inhabitants. In addition, there are a number of Nilo-Saharan-speaking Nilotic ethnic minorities. Most people in the territory adhere to Islam; the Kingdom of Aksum, covering much of modern-day Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, was established during the first or second centuries AD.
It adopted Christianity around the middle of the fourth century. In medieval times much of Eritrea fell under the Medri Bahri kingdom, with a smaller region being part of Hamasien; the creation of modern-day Eritrea is a result of the incorporation of independent, distinct kingdoms and sultanates resulting in the formation of Italian Eritrea. After the defeat of the Italian colonial army in 1942, Eritrea was administered by the British Military Administration until 1952. Following the UN General Assembly decision, in 1952, Eritrea would govern itself with a local Eritrean parliament but for foreign affairs and defense it would enter into a federal status with Ethiopia for a period of 10 years. However, in 1962 the government of Ethiopia annulled the Eritrean parliament and formally annexed Eritrea, but the Eritreans that argued for complete Eritrean independence since the ouster of the Italians in 1941, anticipated what was coming and in 1960 organized the Eritrean Liberation Front in opposition.
In 1991, after 30 years of continuous armed struggle for independence, the Eritrean liberation fighters entered the capital city, Asmara, in victory. Eritrea is a one-party state in which national legislative elections have never been held since independence. According to Human Rights Watch, the Eritrean government's human rights record is among the worst in the world; the Eritrean government has dismissed these allegations as politically motivated. The compulsory military service requires long, indefinite conscription periods, which some Eritreans leave the country to avoid; because all local media is state-owned, Eritrea was ranked as having the second-least press freedom in the global Press Freedom Index, behind only North Korea. The sovereign state of Eritrea is a member of the African Union, the United Nations, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, is an observer in the Arab League alongside Brazil, Venezuela and Turkey; the name Eritrea is derived from the ancient Greek name for the Red Sea.
It was first formally adopted with the formation of Italian Eritrea. The name persisted over the course of subsequent British and Ethiopian occupation, was reaffirmed by the 1993 independence referendum and 1997 constitution. At Buya in Eritrea, one of the oldest hominids representing a possible link between Homo erectus and an archaic Homo sapiens was found by Italian scientists. Dated to over 1 million years old, it is the oldest skeletal find of its kind and provides a link between hominids and the earliest anatomically modern humans, it is believed that the section of the Danakil Depression in Eritrea was a major player in terms of human evolution, may contain other traces of evolution from Homo erectus hominids to anatomically modern humans. During the last interglacial period, the Red Sea coast of Eritrea was occupied by early anatomically modern humans, it is believed that the area was on the route out of Africa that some scholars suggest was used by early humans to colonize the rest of the Old World.
In 1999, the Eritrean Research Project Team composed of Eritrean, American and French scientists discovered a Paleolithic site with stone and obsidian tools dated to over 125,000 years old near the Bay of Zula south of Massawa, along the Red Sea littoral. The tools are believed to have been used by early humans to harvest marine resources such as clams and oysters. According to linguists, the first Afroasiatic-speaking populations arrived in the region during the ensuing Neolithic era from the family's proposed urheimat in the Nile Valley. Other scholars propose that the Afroasiatic family developed in situ in the Horn, with its speakers subsequently dispersing from there. Together with Djibouti, northern Somalia, the Red Sea coast of Sudan, Eritrea is considered the most location of the land which the ancient Egyptians called Punt, first mentioned in the 25th century BC; the ancient Puntites had close relations with Ancient Egypt during the rule of Pharaoh Sahure and Queen Hatshepsut. This is confirmed by genetic studies of mummified baboons.
In 2010, a study was conducted on baboon mummies that were brought from Punt to Egypt as gifts by the ancient Egyptians. The scientists from the Egyptian Museum and the University of California used oxygen isotope analysis to examine hairs from two baboon mummies, preserved in the British Museum. One of the baboons had distorted isotopic data, so t
An anchor is a device made of metal, used to connect a vessel to the bed of a body of water to prevent the craft from drifting due to wind or current. The word derives from Latin ancora, which itself comes from the Greek ἄγκυρα. Anchors can either be permanent. Permanent anchors are used in the creation of a mooring, are moved. Vessels carry one or more temporary anchors, which may be of different weights. A sea anchor is a drogue, not in contact with the seabed, it is used to control a drifting vessel, or to limit the speed of a sailing yacht running "under bare poles" in a storm. Anchors achieve holding power either by "hooking" into the seabed, or sheer mass, or a combination of the two. Permanent moorings use large masses resting on the seabed. Semi-permanent mooring anchors and large ship's anchors derive a significant portion of their holding power from their mass, while hooking or embedding in the bottom. Modern anchors for smaller vessels have metal flukes which hook on to rocks on the bottom or bury themselves in soft seabed.
The vessel is attached to a combination of these. The ratio of the length of rode to the water depth is known as the scope. A 10:1 scope gives the greatest holding power, but allows for much more drifting due to the longer amount of cable paid out. Anchoring with sufficient scope and/or heavy chain rode brings the direction of strain close to parallel with the seabed; this is important for light, modern anchors designed to bury in the bottom, where scopes of 5:1 to 7:1 are common, whereas heavy anchors and moorings can use a scope of 3:1, or less. Some modern anchors, such as the Ultra will hold with a scope of 3:1. Since all anchors that embed themselves in the bottom require the strain to be along the seabed, anchors can be broken out of the bottom by shortening the rope until the vessel is directly above the anchor. If necessary, motoring around the location of the anchor helps dislodge it. Anchors are sometimes fitted with a tripping line attached to the crown, by which they can be unhooked from rocks or coral.
The term aweigh is not resting on the bottom. This is linked to the term to weigh anchor, meaning to lift the anchor from the sea bed, allowing the ship or boat to move. An anchor is described as aweigh when it has been broken out of the bottom and is being hauled up to be stowed. Aweigh should not be confused with under way, which describes a vessel, not moored to a dock or anchored, whether or not the vessel is moving through the water; the earliest anchors were rocks, many rock anchors have been found dating from at least the Bronze Age. Pre-European Maori waka used one or more hollowed stones, tied with flax ropes, as anchors. Many modern moorings still rely on a large rock as the primary element of their design. However, using pure mass to resist the forces of a storm only works well as a permanent mooring; the ancient Greeks used baskets of stones, large sacks filled with sand, wooden logs filled with lead. According to Apollonius Rhodius and Stephen of Byzantium, anchors were formed of stone, Athenaeus states that they were sometimes made of wood.
Such anchors held the vessel by their weight and by their friction along the bottom. Iron was afterwards introduced for the construction of anchors, an improvement was made by forming them with teeth, or "flukes", to fasten themselves into the bottom; this is the iconic anchor shape most familiar to non-sailors. This form has been used since antiquity; the Roman Nemi ships of the 1st century AD used this form. The Viking Ladby ship used a fluked anchor of this type, made of iron; the Admiralty Pattern anchor, or "Admiralty" known as a "Fisherman", consists of a central shank with a ring or shackle for attaching the rode. At the other end of the shank there are two arms, carrying the flukes, while the stock is mounted to the shackle end, at ninety degrees to the arms; when the anchor lands on the bottom, it will fall over with the arms parallel to the seabed. As a strain comes onto the rode, the stock will dig into the bottom, canting the anchor until one of the flukes catches and digs into the bottom.
The Admiralty Anchor is a reinvention of a classical design, as seen in one of the Nemi ship anchors. This basic design remained unchanged for centuries, with the most significant changes being to the overall proportions, a move from stocks made of wood to iron stocks in the late 1830s and early 1840s. Since one fluke always protrudes up from the set anchor, there is a great tendency of the rode to foul the anchor as the vessel swings due to wind or current shifts; when this happens, the anchor may be pulled out of the bottom, in some cases may need to be hauled up to be re-set. In the mid-19th century, numerous modifications were attempted to alleviate these problems, as well as improve holding power, including one-armed mooring anchors; the most successful of these patent anchors, the Trotman Anchor, introduced a pivot where the arms jo
Somalia the Federal Republic of Somalia (Somali: Jamhuuriyadda Federaalka Soomaaliya. Jumhūrīyah aṣ-Ṣūmāl al-Fīdirālīyah, is a country located in the Horn of Africa, it is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djabuti to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Guardafui Channel and Somali Sea to the east, Kenya to the southwest. Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa's mainland, its terrain consists of plateaus and highlands. Climatically, hot conditions prevail year-round, with periodic monsoon winds and irregular rainfall. Somalia has an estimated population of around 14.3 million. And has been described as the most culturally homogeneous country in Africa. Around 85% of its residents are ethnic Somalis, who have inhabited the northern part of the country. Ethnic minorities are concentrated in the southern regions; the official languages of are Arabic. Most people in the country are Muslim, with the majority being Sunni. In antiquity, Somalia was an important commercial centre, it is among the most probable locations of the fabled ancient Land of Punt.
During the Middle Ages, several powerful Somali empires dominated the regional trade, including the Ajuran Empire, the Adal Sultanate, the Warsangali Sultanate, the Sultanate of the Geledi. The toponym Somalia was coined by the Italian explorer Luigi Robecchi Bricchetti. In the late 19th century, the British and Italian empires established the colonies of British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland. In the interior, Mohammed Abdullah Hassan's Darwiish repelled the British four times, forcing a retreat to the coast, before succumbing in the Somaliland campaign. Italy acquired full control of the northeastern and southern parts of the area after waging the Campaign of the Sultanates against the ruling Majeerteen Sultanate and Sultanate of Hobyo. In 1960, the two regions united to form the independent Somali Republic under a civilian government; the Supreme Revolutionary Council seized power in 1969 and established the Somali Democratic Republic, which collapsed in 1991 as the Somali Civil War broke out.
During this period most regions returned to religious law. The early 2000s saw the creation of interim federal administrations; the Transitional National Government was established in 2000, followed by the formation of the Transitional Federal Government in 2004, which reestablished the military. In 2006, the TFG assumed control of most of the nation's southern conflict zones from the newly formed Islamic Courts Union; the ICU subsequently splintered into more radical groups such as Al-Shabaab, which battled the TFG and its AMISOM allies for control of the region. By mid-2012, the insurgents had lost most of the territory that they had seized, a search for more permanent democratic institutions began. A new provisional constitution was passed in August 2012; the same month, the Federal Government of Somalia was formed and a period of reconstruction began in Mogadishu. Somalia has maintained an informal economy based on livestock, remittances from Somalis working abroad, telecommunications, it is a member of the United Nations, the Arab League, African Union, Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Somalia has been inhabited since at least the Paleolithic. During the Stone Age, the Doian and Hargeisan cultures flourished here; the oldest evidence of burial customs in the Horn of Africa comes from cemeteries in Somalia dating back to the 4th millennium BCE. The stone implements from the Jalelo site in the north were characterized in 1909 as important artefacts demonstrating the archaeological universality during the Paleolithic between the East and the West. According to linguists, the first Afroasiatic-speaking populations arrived in the region during the ensuing Neolithic period from the family's proposed urheimat in the Nile Valley, or the Near East; the Laas Geel complex on the outskirts of Hargeisa in northwestern Somalia dates back 5,000 years, has rock art depicting both wild animals and decorated cows. Other cave paintings are found in the northern Dhambalin region, which feature one of the earliest known depictions of a hunter on horseback; the rock art is in the distinctive Ethiopian-Arabian style, dated to 1,000 to 3,000 BCE.
Additionally, between the towns of Las Khorey and El Ayo in northern Somalia lies Karinhegane, the site of numerous cave paintings of real and mythical animals. Each painting has an inscription below it, which collectively have been estimated to be around 2,500 years old. Ancient pyramidical structures, ruined cities and stone walls, such as the Wargaade Wall, are evidence of an old civilization that once thrived in the Somali peninsula; this civilization enjoyed a trading relationship with ancient Egypt and Mycenaean Greece since the second millennium BCE, supporting the hypothesis that Somalia or adjacent regions were the location of the ancient Land of Punt. The Puntites traded myrrh, gold, short-horned cattle and frankincense with the Egyptians, Babylonians, Indians and Romans through their commercial ports. An Egyptian expedition sent to Punt by the 18th dynasty Queen Hatshepsut is recorded on the temple reliefs at Deir el-Bahari, during the reign of the Puntite King Parahu and Queen Ati.
In 2015, isotopic analysis of ancient baboon mummies from Punt, brought to Egypt as gifts indicated that the specimens originated from an area encompassing eastern Somalia and the Eritrea-Ethiopia corridor. In the classical era, the Macrobians, who may have b
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was a country located in central and Southeastern Europe that existed from its foundation in the aftermath of World War II until its dissolution in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. Covering an area of 255,804 km², the SFRY was bordered by the Adriatic Sea and Italy to the west and Hungary to the north and Romania to the east, Albania and Greece to the south; the nation was a socialist state and a federation governed by the League of Communists of Yugoslavia and made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia with Belgrade as its capital. In addition, it included two autonomous provinces within Serbia: Vojvodina; the SFRY's origin is traced to 26 November 1942, when the Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia was formed during World War II. On 29 November 1945, the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia was proclaimed after the deposition of King Peter II, thus ending the monarchy.
Until 1948, the new communist government sided with the Eastern Bloc under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito at the beginning of the Cold War, but after the Tito–Stalin split of 1948, Yugoslavia pursued a policy of neutrality. It became one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement, transitioned from a planned economy to market socialism; the SFRY maintained neutrality during the Cold War as part of its foreign policy. It was a founding member of CERN, the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, OSCE, IFAD, WTO, BTWC. Following the death of Tito on 4 May 1980, the Yugoslav economy started to collapse, which increased unemployment and inflation; the economic crisis led to a rise in ethnic nationalism in early 1990s. With the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, inter-republic talks on transformation of the federation failed. In 1991 some European states recognized their independence; the federation collapsed along federal borders, followed by the start of the Yugoslav Wars, the final downfall and breakup of the federation on 27 April 1992.
Two of its republics and Montenegro, remained within a reconstituted state known as the "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia", but this union was not recognized internationally as the official successor state to the SFRY. The term "former Yugoslavia" is now used retrospectively; the name Yugoslavia, an Anglicised transcription of Jugoslavija, is a composite word made up of jug and slavija. The Slavic word jug means'south', while slavija denotes a'land of the Slavs'. Thus, a translation of Jugoslavija would be'South-Slavia' or'Land of the South Slavs'; the full official name of the federation varied between 1945 and 1992. Yugoslavia was formed in 1918 under the name Kingdom of Serbs and Slovenes. In January 1929, King Alexander I assumed dictatorship of the kingdom and renamed it the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, for the first time making the term "Yugoslavia"—which had been used colloquially for decades —the official name of the state. After the Kingdom was occupied by the Axis during World War II, the Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia announced in 1943 the formation of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia in the substantial resistance-controlled areas of the country.
The name deliberately left the republic-or-kingdom question open. In 1945, King Peter II was deposed, with the state reorganized as a republic, accordingly renamed Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia, with the constitution coming into force in 1946. In 1963, amid pervasive liberal constitutional reforms, the name Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was introduced; the state is most referred to by the latter name, which it held for the longest period of all. Of the three main Yugoslav languages, the Serbo-Croatian and Macedonian language name for the state was identical, while Slovene differed in capitalization and the spelling of the adjective "Socialist"; the names are as follows: Serbo-Croatian and Macedonian languages Latin: Socijalistička Federativna Republika Jugoslavija Cyrillic: Социјалистичка Федеративна Република Југославија Serbo-Croatian pronunciation: Macedonian pronunciation: Slovene language Socialistična federativna republika Jugoslavija Due to the length of the name, abbreviations were used to refer to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, though the state was most known as Yugoslavia.
The most common abbreviation is SFRY, though SFR Yugoslavia was used in an official capacity by the media. On 6 April 1941, Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis powers led by Nazi Germany. Yugoslav resistance was soon established in two forms, the Royal Yugoslav Army in the Homeland and the Communist Yugoslav Partisans; the Partisan supreme commander was Josip Broz Tito, under his command the movement soon began establishing "liberated territories" which attracted the attention of occupying forces. Unlike the various nationalist militias operating in occupied Yugoslavia, the Partisans were a pan-Yugoslav movement promoting the "brotherhood and unity" of Yugoslav nations, representing the republican, left-wing, socialist elements of the Yugoslav political
Finland the Republic of Finland, is a country in Northern Europe bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Gulf of Finland, between Norway to the north, Sweden to the northwest, Russia to the east. Finland is situated in the geographical region of Fennoscandia; the capital and largest city is Helsinki. Other major cities are Espoo, Tampere and Turku. Finland's population is 5.52 million, the majority of the population is concentrated in the southern region. 88.7% of the population is Finnish and speaks Finnish, a Uralic language unrelated to the Scandinavian languages. Finland is the eighth-largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union; the sovereign state is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital city of Helsinki, local governments in 311 municipalities, one autonomous region, the Åland Islands. Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, which produces one third of the country's GDP. Finland was inhabited when the last ice age ended 9000 BCE.
The first settlers left behind artefacts that present characteristics shared with those found in Estonia and Norway. The earliest people were hunter-gatherers; the first pottery appeared in 5200 BCE. The arrival of the Corded Ware culture in southern coastal Finland between 3000 and 2500 BCE may have coincided with the start of agriculture; the Bronze Age and Iron Age were characterised by extensive contacts with other cultures in the Fennoscandian and Baltic regions and the sedentary farming inhabitation increased towards the end of Iron Age. At the time Finland had three main cultural areas – Southwest Finland and Karelia – as reflected in contemporary jewellery. From the late 13th century, Finland became an integral part of Sweden through the Northern Crusades and the Swedish part-colonisation of coastal Finland, a legacy reflected in the prevalence of the Swedish language and its official status. In 1809, Finland was incorporated into the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland.
In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant all adult citizens the right to vote, the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared itself independent. In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by civil war, with the Bolshevik-leaning Red Guard supported by the new Soviet Russia, fighting the White Guard, supported by the German Empire. After a brief attempt to establish a kingdom, the country became a republic. During World War II, the Soviet Union sought to occupy Finland, with Finland losing parts of Karelia, Kuusamo and some islands, but retaining their independence. Finland established an official policy of neutrality; the Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948 gave the Soviet Union some leverage in Finnish domestic politics during the Cold War era. Finland joined the OECD in 1969, the NATO Partnership for Peace in 1994, the European Union in 1995, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997, the Eurozone at its inception, in 1999.
Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialisation, remaining a agrarian country until the 1950s. After World War II, the Soviet Union demanded war reparations from Finland not only in money but in material, such as ships and machinery; this forced Finland to industrialise. It developed an advanced economy while building an extensive welfare state based on the Nordic model, resulting in widespread prosperity and one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, human development. In 2015, Finland was ranked first in the World Human Capital and the Press Freedom Index and as the most stable country in the world during 2011–2016 in the Fragile States Index, second in the Global Gender Gap Report, it ranked first on the World Happiness Report report for 2018 and 2019. A large majority of Finns are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Finnish Constitution.
The earliest written appearance of the name Finland is thought to be on three runestones. Two have the inscription finlonti; the third was found in Gotland. It dates back to the 13th century; the name can be assumed to be related to the tribe name Finns, mentioned at first known time AD 98. The name Suomi has uncertain origins, but a candidate for a source is the Proto-Baltic word *źemē, meaning "land". In addition to the close relatives of Finnish, this name is used in the Baltic languages Latvian and Lithuanian. Alternatively, the Indo-European word * gʰm-on "man" has been suggested; the word referred only to the province of Finland Proper, to the northern coast of Gulf of Finland, with northern regions such as Ostrobothnia still sometimes being excluded until later. Earlier theories suggested derivation from suomaa or suoniemi, but these are now considered outdated; some have suggested common etymology with saame and Häme, but that theory is uncertain
Afghanistan the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in South-Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east, its territory covers 652,000 square kilometers and much of it is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range, which experiences cold winters. The north consists of fertile plains, while the south-west consists of deserts where temperatures can get hot in summers. Kabul serves as its largest city. Human habitation in Afghanistan dates back to the Middle Paleolithic Era, the country's strategic location along the Silk Road connected it to the cultures of the Middle East and other parts of Asia; the land has been home to various peoples and has witnessed numerous military campaigns, including those by Alexander the Great, Muslim Arabs, British and since 2001 by the United States with NATO-allied countries. It has been called "unconquerable" and nicknamed the "graveyard of empires"; the land served as the source from which the Kushans, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Khaljis, Hotaks and others have risen to form major empires.
The political history of the modern state of Afghanistan began with the Hotak and Durrani dynasties in the 18th century. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the "Great Game" between British India and the Russian Empire, its border with British India, the Durand Line, was formed in 1893 but it is not recognized by the Afghan government and it has led to strained relations with Pakistan since the latter's independence in 1947. Following the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919 the country was free of foreign influence becoming a monarchy under King Amanullah, until 50 years when Zahir Shah was overthrown and a republic was established. In 1978, after a second coup Afghanistan first became a socialist state and a Soviet Union protectorate; this evoked the Soviet–Afghan War in the 1980s against mujahideen rebels. By 1996 most of Afghanistan was captured by the Islamic fundamentalist group the Taliban, who ruled most of the country as a totalitarian regime for over five years.
The Taliban were forcibly removed by the NATO-led coalition, a new democratically-elected government political structure was formed, but they still control a significant portion of the country. Afghanistan is a unitary presidential Islamic republic with a population of 31 million composed of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks and Uzbeks, it is a member of the United Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Group of 77, the Economic Cooperation Organization, the Non-Aligned Movement. Afghanistan's economy is the world's 108th largest, with a GDP of $64.08 billion. The name Afghānistān is believed to be as old as the ethnonym Afghan, documented in the 10th-century geography book Hudud ul-'alam; the root name "Afghan" was used in reference to a member of the ethnic Pashtuns, the suffix "-stan" means "place of" in Persian. Therefore, Afghanistan translates to land of the Afghans or, more in a historical sense, to land of the Pashtuns. However, the modern Constitution of Afghanistan states that "he word Afghan shall apply to every citizen of Afghanistan."
Excavations of prehistoric sites by Louis Dupree and others suggest that humans were living in what is now Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago, that farming communities in the area were among the earliest in the world. An important site of early historical activities, many believe that Afghanistan compares to Egypt in terms of the historical value of its archaeological sites; the country sits at a unique nexus point where numerous civilizations have interacted and fought. It has been home to various peoples through the ages, among them the ancient Iranian peoples who established the dominant role of Indo-Iranian languages in the region. At multiple points, the land has been incorporated within large regional empires, among them the Achaemenid Empire, the Macedonian Empire, the Indian Maurya Empire, the Islamic Empire. Many empires and kingdoms have risen to power in Afghanistan, such as the Greco-Bactrians, Hephthalites, Kabul Shahis, Samanids, Ghurids, Kartids, Timurids and the Hotak and Durrani dynasties that marked the political origins of the modern state.
Archaeological exploration done in the 20th century suggests that the geographical area of Afghanistan has been connected by culture and trade with its neighbors to the east and north. Artifacts typical of the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Iron ages have been found in Afghanistan. Urban civilization is believed to have begun as early as 3000 BCE, the early city of Mundigak may have been a colony of the nearby Indus Valley Civilization. More recent findings established that the Indus Valley Civilisation stretched up towards modern-day Afghanistan, making the ancient civilisation today part of Pakistan and India. In more detail, it extended from what today is northwest Pakistan to northwest India and northeast Afghanistan. An Indus Valley site has been found on the Oxus River at Shortugai in northern Afghanistan. There are several smaller IVC colonies to be found in Afghanistan as well. After 2000 BCE, successive waves of semi-nomadic