Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina, known informally as Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe, located within the Balkan Peninsula. Sarajevo is largest city. Bosnia and Herzegovina is an landlocked country – it has a narrow coast at the Adriatic Sea, about 20 kilometres long surrounding the town of Neum, it is bordered by Croatia to the north and south. In the central and eastern interior of the country the geography is mountainous, in the northwest it is moderately hilly, the northeast is predominantly flatland; the inland, Bosnia, is a geographically larger region and has a moderate continental climate, with hot summers and cold and snowy winters. The southern tip, has a Mediterranean climate and plain topography. Bosnia and Herzegovina traces permanent human settlement back to the Neolithic age and after which it was populated by several Illyrian and Celtic civilizations. Culturally and the country has a rich history, having been first settled by the Slavic peoples that populate the area today from the 6th through to the 9th centuries.
In the 12th century the Banate of Bosnia was established, which evolved into the Kingdom of Bosnia in the 14th century, after which it was annexed into the Ottoman Empire, under whose rule it remained from the mid-15th to the late 19th centuries. The Ottomans brought Islam to the region, altered much of the cultural and social outlook of the country; this was followed by annexation into the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which lasted up until World War I. In the interwar period and Herzegovina was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and after World War II, it was granted full republic status in the newly formed Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the republic proclaimed independence in 1992, followed by the Bosnian War, lasting until late 1995. Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina has grown at double digit rates in recent years. Bosnia and Herzegovina is regionally and internationally renowned for its natural environment and cultural heritage inherited from six historical civilizations, its cuisine, winter sports, its eclectic and unique music and its festivals, some of which are the largest and most prominent of their kind in Southeastern Europe.
The country is home to three main ethnic groups or constituent peoples, as specified in the constitution. Bosniaks are the largest group of the three, with Serbs second, Croats third. A native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of ethnicity, is identified in English as a Bosnian. Minorities, defined under the constitutional nomenclature "Others", include Jews, Poles and Turks. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a bicameral legislature and a three-member Presidency composed of a member of each major ethnic group. However, the central government's power is limited, as the country is decentralized and comprises two autonomous entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, with a third unit, the Brčko District, governed under local government; the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of 10 cantons. Bosnia and Herzegovina ranks in terms of human development, has an economy dominated by the industry and agriculture sectors, followed by the tourism and service sectors; the country has a social security and universal healthcare system, primary- and secondary-level education is tuition-free.
It is a member of the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, PfP, CEFTA, a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean upon its establishment in July 2008. The country is a potential candidate for membership to the European Union and has been a candidate for NATO membership since April 2010, when it received a Membership Action Plan; the first preserved acknowledged mention of Bosnia is in De Administrando Imperio, a politico-geographical handbook written by the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII in the mid-10th century describing the "small land" of "Bosona". The name is believed to have derived from the hydronym of the river Bosna coursing through the Bosnian heartland. According to philologist Anton Mayer the name Bosna could derive from Illyrian *"Bass-an-as"), which would derive from the Proto-Indo-European root "bos" or "bogh"—meaning "the running water". According to English medievalist William Miller the Slavic settlers in Bosnia "adapted the Latin designation Basante, to their own idiom by calling the stream Bosna and themselves Bosniaks ".
The name Herzegovina originates from Bosnian magnate Stjepan Vukčić Kosača's title, "Herceg of Hum and the Coast". Hum Zahumlje, was an early medieval principality, conquered by the Bosnian Banate in the first half of the 14th century; the region was administered by the Ottomans as the Sanjak of Herzegovina within the Eyalet of Bosnia up until the formation of the short-lived Herzegovina Eyalet in the 1830s, which remerged in the 1850s, after which the entity became known as Bosnia and Herzegovina. On initial proclamation of independence in 1992, the country's official name was the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina but following the 1995 Dayton Agreement and the new constitution that accompanied it the official name was changed to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia has been inhabited by humans since at least the Neolithic age; the earliest Neolithic population became known in the Antiquity as the Illyrians. Celtic migrations in the 4th century BC were notable. Concrete historical e
Iraqi Kurdistan called the Kurdistan Region of Iraq by the Iraqi constitution, is an autonomous region located in northern Iraq. It is referred to as Southern Kurdistan, as Kurds consider it to be one of the four parts of Greater Kurdistan, which includes parts of southeastern Turkey, northern Syria, northwestern Iran; the region is governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government, with the capital being Erbil. Kurdistan is a parliamentary democracy with its own regional Parliament. Masoud Barzani, elected as president in 2005, was re-elected in 2009. In August 2013 the parliament extended his presidency for another two years, his presidency concluded on 19 August 2015 after the political parties failed to reach an agreement over extending his term. The new Constitution of Iraq defines the Kurdistan Region as a federal entity of Iraq, establishes Kurdish and Arabic as Iraq's joint official languages; the four governorates of Duhok, Erbil and Halabja comprise around 46,861 square kilometres and have a population of 5.9 million.
In 2014, during the 2014 Iraq Crisis, Iraqi Kurdistan's forces took over much of the disputed territories of Northern Iraq. The establishment of the Kurdistan Region dates back to the March 1970 autonomy agreement between the Kurdish opposition and the Iraqi government after years of heavy fighting. However, that agreement failed to be implemented and by 1974 Northern Iraq plunged into the Second Iraqi–Kurdish War, another part of the Iraqi–Kurdish conflict between the Kurds and the Arab-dominated government of Iraq. Further, the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War the Iraqi Army's Al-Anfal Campaign, devastated the population and environment of Iraqi Kurdistan. Following the 1991 uprising of Kurds in the north and Shia Arabs in the south against Saddam Hussein, Iraqi Kurdistan's military forces, the Peshmerga, succeeded in pushing out the main Iraqi forces from the north. Despite significant casualties and the crisis of Kurdish refugees in bordering regions of Iran and Turkey, the Peshmerga success and the Western establishment of the northern Iraqi no-fly zone following the First Gulf War in 1991 created the basis for Kurdish self-rule and facilitated the return of refugees.
As Kurds continued to fight government troops, Iraqi forces left Kurdistan in October 1991, leaving the region with de facto autonomy. In 1992, the major political parties in the region, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, established the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government; the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent political changes led to the ratification of a new constitution in 2005. The name Kurdistan means "Land of the Kurds"; the suffix -stan is Persian for "place of" or "country". In English translations of the Constitution of Iraq, it is called "Kurdistan", four times in the phrase "region of Kurdistan" and once in the phrase "Kurdistan region"; the regional government calls it the "Kurdistan Region". The full name of the government is the "Kurdistan Regional Government", abbreviated "KRG". Kurds refer to the region as Başûrê Kurdistanê or Başûrî Kurdistan, referring to its geographical location within the whole of Kurdistan. During the Baath Party administration in the 1970s and 1980s, the region was called the "Kurdish Autonomous Region".
The Kurdistan Region is mountainous, with the highest point being a 3,611 m point known locally as Cheekha Dar. Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan include the Zagros, Sinjar Mountains, Hamrin Mountains, Mount Nisir and Qandil mountains. There are many rivers running through the region, distinguished by its fertile lands, plentiful water, picturesque nature; the Great Zab and the Little Zab flow from the east to the west in the region. The Tigris river enters Iraqi Kurdistan from Turkish Kurdistan; the mountainous nature of Iraqi Kurdistan, the difference of temperatures in its various parts, its wealth of waters make it a land of agriculture and tourism. The largest lake in the region is Lake Dukan. There are several smaller lakes, such as Darbandikhan Lake and Duhok Lake; the western and southern parts of the Kurdistan Region are not as mountainous as the east. Instead, it is rolling plains vegetated by sclerophyll scrubland. Vegetation in the region includes, oaks, platanus, olive trees, hawthorn, oriental plane, cherry plum, rose hips, pistachio trees, pear, mountain ash and Turkish pines.
The desert in the south is steppe and would feature xeric plants such as palm trees, date palm, poa, white wormwood and chenopodiaceae. Animals found in the region include the Syrian brown bear, wild boar, gray wolf, golden jackal, Indian crested porcupine, red fox, goitered gazelle, Eurasian otter, striped hyena, Persian fallow deer, onager and the Euphrates softshell turtle. Bird species include, the see-see partridge, Menetries's warbler, western jackdaw, Red-billed chough, hooded crow, European nightjar, rufous-tailed scrub robin, masked shrike and the pale rockfinch. Due to its latitude and altitude, Iraqi Kurdistan is cooler and much wetter than the rest of Iraq. Most areas in the region fall within the Mediterranean climate zone, with areas to the southwest being semi-arid. Due to the summers being less extreme, thousands of tourists from the hotter parts of Iraq come to visit the region in t
Iran called Persia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2, it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, to the west by Turkey and Iraq; the country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center. Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BCE, it was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BCE, reaching its greatest territorial size in the sixth century BCE, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, becoming one of the largest empires in history.
The Iranian realm fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states. An Iranian rebellion culminated in the establishment of the Parthian Empire, succeeded in the third century CE by the Sasanian Empire, a leading world power for the next four centuries. Arab Muslims conquered the empire in the seventh century CE; the Islamization of Iran led to the decline of Zoroastrianism, by the country's dominant religion, Iran's major contributions to art and science spread within the Muslim rule during the Islamic Golden Age. After two centuries, a period of various native Muslim dynasties began, which were conquered by the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols; the rise of the Safavids in the 15th century led to the reestablishment of a unified Iranian state and national identity, with the country's conversion to Shia Islam marking a turning point in Iranian and Muslim history. Under Nader Shah, Iran was one of the most powerful states in the 18th century, though by the 19th century, a series of conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses.
The Iranian Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the country's first legislature. A 1953 coup instigated by the United Kingdom and the United States resulted in greater autocracy and growing Western political influence. Subsequent widespread dissatisfaction and unrest against the monarchy led to the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of an Islamic republic, a political system that includes elements of a parliamentary democracy vetted and supervised by a theocracy governed by an autocratic "Supreme Leader". During the 1980s, the country was engaged in a war with Iraq, which lasted for eight years and resulted in a high number of casualties and economic losses for both sides; the sovereign state of Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, its large reserves of fossil fuels – which include the world's largest natural gas supply and the fourth largest proven oil reserves – exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy.
The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Iran is a multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris and Lurs. Organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized Iran's women's rights record; the term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Rustam Relief, with the accompanying Parthian inscription using the term Aryān, in reference to the Iranians. The Middle Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- and ary-, both deriving from Proto-Iranian *arya-, recognized as a derivative of Proto-Indo-European *ar-yo-, meaning "one who assembles". In the Iranian languages, the gentilic is attested as a self-identifier, included in ancient inscriptions and the literature of the Avesta, remains in other Iranian ethnic names Alan and Iron.
Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due to the writings of Greek historians who referred to all of Iran as Persís, meaning "land of the Persians", while Persis itself was one of the provinces of ancient Iran, today defined as Fars. As the most extensive interaction the Ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted long after the Greco-Persian Wars. In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, effective March 22 that year; as The New York Times explained at the time, "At the suggestion of the Persian Legation in Berlin, the Tehran government, on the Persian New Year, March 21, 1935, substituted Iran for Persia as the official name of the country." Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably. Today, both Iran and Persia are used in cultural contexts, while Iran remains irreplaceab
Rwanda the Republic of Rwanda, is a country in Central and East Africa and one of the smallest countries on the African mainland. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda is in the African Great Lakes region and is elevated; the climate is temperate to subtropical, with two dry seasons each year. The population is predominantly rural, with a density among the highest in Africa. Rwandans are drawn from just one cultural and linguistic group, the Banyarwanda, although within this group there are three subgroups: the Hutu and Twa; the Twa are a forest-dwelling pygmy. Scholars disagree on differences between the Hutu and Tutsi. Christianity is the largest religion in the country; the sovereign state of Rwanda has a presidential system of government. The president is Paul Kagame of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, who took office in 2000. Rwanda today has low corruption compared with neighbouring countries, although human rights organisations report suppression of opposition groups and restrictions on freedom of speech.
The country has been governed by a strict administrative hierarchy since precolonial times. Rwanda is one of only two countries with a female majority in the national parliament. Hunter gatherers settled the territory in the stone and iron ages, followed by Bantu peoples; the population coalesced first into clans and into kingdoms. The Kingdom of Rwanda dominated from the mid-eighteenth century, with the Tutsi kings conquering others militarily, centralising power and enacting anti-Hutu policies. Germany colonised Rwanda in 1884 as part of German East Africa, followed by Belgium, which invaded in 1916 during World War I. Both European nations perpetuated a pro-Tutsi policy; the Hutu population revolted in 1959. They massacred numerous Tutsi and established an independent, Hutu-dominated state in 1962. A 1973 military coup saw a change of leadership; the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front launched a civil war in 1990. The presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, both Hutus, died together when their aeroplane was shot down in April 1994.
Social tensions erupted in the 1994 genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed an estimated 500,000 to 1 million Tutsi and moderate Hutu. The RPF ended the genocide with a military victory. Rwanda's economy suffered in wake of the 1994 genocide, but has since strengthened; the economy is based on subsistence agriculture. Coffee and tea are the major cash crops for export. Tourism is a fast-growing sector. Rwanda is one of only two countries in which mountain gorillas can be visited safely, visitors pay high prices for gorilla tracking permits. Music and dance are an integral part of Rwandan culture drums and the choreographed intore dance. Traditional arts and crafts are produced throughout the country, including imigongo, a unique cow dung art; the name "Rwanda" is derived from the Rwanda-Rundi word rwanda meaning "domain" or an "area occupied by a swarm". The official name of the country was "Rwandese Republic" until May 2003, when the adoption of a new national constitution changed it to its current name of "Republic of Rwanda".
Modern human settlement of what is now Rwanda dates from, at the latest, the last glacial period, either in the Neolithic period around 8000 BC, or in the long humid period which followed, up to around 3000 BC. Archaeological excavations have revealed evidence of sparse settlement by hunter gatherers in the late stone age, followed by a larger population of early Iron Age settlers, who produced dimpled pottery and iron tools; these early inhabitants were the ancestors of the Twa, aboriginal pygmy hunter-gatherers who remain in Rwanda today. Between 700 BC and 1500 AD, a number of Bantu groups migrated into Rwanda, clearing forest land for agriculture; the forest-dwelling Twa moved to the mountain slopes. Historians have several theories regarding the nature of the Bantu migrations. An alternative theory is that the migration was slow and steady, with incoming groups integrating into rather than conquering the existing society. Under this theory, the Hutu and Tutsi distinction arose and was a class distinction rather than a racial one.
The earliest form of social organisation in the area was the clan. The clans were not limited to genealogical lineages or geographical area, most included Hutu and Twa. From the 15th century, the clans began to coalesce into kingdoms. One of these, the Kingdom of Rwanda, ruled by the Tutsi Nyiginya clan, became dominant from the mid-eighteenth century; the kingdom reached its greatest extent during the nineteenth century under the reign of King K
The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia and Egypt. Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest Middle Eastern nation; the corresponding adjective is Middle Eastern and the derived noun is Middle Easterner. The term has come into wider usage as a replacement of the term Near East beginning in the early 20th century. Arabs, Persians and Azeris constitute the largest ethnic groups in the region by population. Arabs constitute the largest ethnic group in the region by a clear margin. Indigenous minorities of the Middle East include Jews, Assyrians, Copts, Lurs, Samaritans, Shabaks and Zazas. European ethnic groups that form a diaspora in the region include Albanians, Circassians, Crimean Tatars, Franco-Levantines, Italo-Levantines. Among other migrant populations are Chinese, Indians, Pakistanis, Pashtuns and sub-Saharan Africans; the history of the Middle East dates back to ancient times, with the importance of the region being recognized for millennia. Several major religions have their origins in the Middle East, including Judaism and Islam.
The Middle East has a hot, arid climate, with several major rivers providing irrigation to support agriculture in limited areas such as the Nile Delta in Egypt, the Tigris and Euphrates watersheds of Mesopotamia, most of what is known as the Fertile Crescent. Most of the countries that border the Persian Gulf have vast reserves of crude oil, with monarchs of the Arabian Peninsula in particular benefiting economically from petroleum exports; the term "Middle East" may have originated in the 1850s in the British India Office. However, it became more known when American naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan used the term in 1902 to "designate the area between Arabia and India". During this time the British and Russian Empires were vying for influence in Central Asia, a rivalry which would become known as The Great Game. Mahan realized not only the strategic importance of the region, but of its center, the Persian Gulf, he labeled the area surrounding the Persian Gulf as the Middle East, said that after Egypt's Suez Canal, it was the most important passage for Britain to control in order to keep the Russians from advancing towards British India.
Mahan first used the term in his article "The Persian Gulf and International Relations", published in September 1902 in the National Review, a British journal. The Middle East, if I may adopt a term which I have not seen, will some day need its Malta, as well as its Gibraltar. Naval force has the quality of mobility; the British Navy should have the facility to concentrate in force if occasion arise, about Aden and the Persian Gulf. Mahan's article was reprinted in The Times and followed in October by a 20-article series entitled "The Middle Eastern Question," written by Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol. During this series, Sir Ignatius expanded the definition of Middle East to include "those regions of Asia which extend to the borders of India or command the approaches to India." After the series ended in 1903, The Times removed quotation marks from subsequent uses of the term. Until World War II, it was customary to refer to areas centered around Turkey and the eastern shore of the Mediterranean as the "Near East", while the "Far East" centered on China, the Middle East meant the area from Mesopotamia to Burma, namely the area between the Near East and the Far East.
In the late 1930s, the British established the Middle East Command, based in Cairo, for its military forces in the region. After that time, the term "Middle East" gained broader usage in Europe and the United States, with the Middle East Institute founded in Washington, D. C. in 1946, among other usage. The description Middle has led to some confusion over changing definitions. Before the First World War, "Near East" was used in English to refer to the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire, while "Middle East" referred to Iran, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Turkestan. In contrast, "Far East" referred to the countries of East Asia With the disappearance of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, "Near East" fell out of common use in English, while "Middle East" came to be applied to the re-emerging countries of the Islamic world. However, the usage "Near East" was retained by a variety of academic disciplines, including archaeology and ancient history, where it describes an area identical to the term Middle East, not used by these disciplines.
The first official use of the term "Middle East" by the United States government was in the 1957 Eisenhower Doctrine, which pertained to the Suez Crisis. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles defined the Middle East as "the area lying between and including Libya on the west and Pakistan on the east and Iraq on the North and the Arabian peninsula to the south, plus the Sudan and Ethiopia." In 1958, the State Department explained that the terms "Near East" and "Middle East" were interchangeable, defined the region as including only Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. The Associated Press Styleboo
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