Population and History of Turkmenistan

Population of Turkmenistan

The population of Turkmenistan varies depending on the sources, experts’ estimates are somewhat lower than those of official national sources.

From the beginning 90s the population of Turkmenistan increased by more than 500 thousand people. For a long time in Turkmenistan there was a high rate of population growth, about 4.2% per year. However, by 2000 the value of this indicator had dropped to 1.58%. This is due to the high level of migration of the mainly Russian-speaking population outside the country. Thus, by 2000 more than 250 thousand ethnic Russians left the territory of Turkmenistan, reducing the share of the Russian-speaking population from 13% in 1990 to 4.4% in 2000. In 2002, the share of ethnic Russians was 3.5%. Another reason for the decline in population growth was the increase in child mortality.

Birth rate 28.55‰, infant mortality 73.1 people. per 1000 newborns, average life expectancy is 61 years, incl. men 57.43 years, women 64.76 years (2001 est.).

Population density – 8.9 people. per 1 km2 (1999). In 1999, the share of young people in the structure of the population was 38%.

The literacy rate of the population as a whole is 98%. Teaching in general education schools is conducted in the Turkmen language.

The ethnic composition is diverse, citizens of about 40 nationalities live in the country. Turkmens make up 77% of the total population, Uzbeks – 9.2%, Russians – 6.7%, Kazakhs – 2%, others – 5.1%.

The rural population makes up approximately 55% of the total population. In cities, apart from Turkmens and Russians, Ukrainians, Armenians, and Azerbaijanis live. The Uzbeks mainly inhabit the regions adjacent to Uzbekistan and are engaged in irrigated agriculture. Kazakhs live mainly in the northern and western parts of the country, mainly engaged in animal husbandry or working on the railway. In the southern regions there are small groups of Iranian-speaking peoples – Balochi, Kurds. The main language for 72% of the population is Turkmen, for 12% – Russian, for 9% – Uzbek, for 2% – another.

The religion of the majority of the population is Sunni and Shiite Islam, and the Christian Orthodox and Catholic churches, as well as a number of other religious denominations, are also represented on the territory of the state.

History of Turkmenistan

In the 1st millennium BC. The most developed areas on the territory of modern Turkmenistan were the agricultural oases of Margiana (Murghab basin), Bactria, which was part of the state, and Parthia (the southeastern coast of the Caspian Sea), which was part of the Median kingdom. From the 6th to the 4th c. BC. this territory was in the power of the Persian dynasty of the Achaemenids, to which even the nomadic tribes that made up the majority of the population were subject. In the 4th c. BC. these lands were conquered by Alexander the Great, and later became part of the Parthian kingdom.

In 224 AD southern Turkmenistan was captured by the Sassanid dynasty of Iranian shahs. At the same time, part of the nomadic tribes of Turkmenistan began to assimilate with the union of the Xiongnu tribes, the predecessors of the Huns. By 716, the lands between the Caspian Sea and the Amu Darya were under the rule of the Arab Caliphate. The local Turkic tribes converted to Islam and established trade and cultural relations with the rest of the Muslim world. As the power of the Arabs weakened, the Oghuz Turks penetrated the territory of Turkmenistan, and in 1040 the territory came under the rule of the Seljuk state (named after the leader of the Oguzes – the Seljuk and his descendants of the Seljukids); the capital of this state was the city of Merv (now Mary). Oguzes mixed with local tribes, and on this basis a people was formed, called “Turkmen”. In the 12th-13th centuries. the land was under the rule of the shahs of Khorezm, which in turn was conquered by the troops of Genghis Khan in 1219–21, and then became part of the Mongol Empire. Finally, the Turkmen people took shape only in the 14th-15th centuries.

Under the successors of Genghis Khan, some Turkmen tribes achieved partial independence and founded vassal feudal states. They played a prominent role in the history of the Turkmens even after Central Asia was in con. 14th c. was conquered by Timur (Tamerlane). After the fall of the Timurid dynasty, nominal control over this territory passed to Persia and the Khiva Khanate.

By the late Middle Ages, the Turkmen tribes were divided between three feudal states – Iran, Khiva and Bukhara. The social system of the Turkmens in the 16th-19th centuries. historians define it as patriarchal-feudal with elements of patriarchal slavery.

In 1740, most of the territory of Turkmenistan came under the rule of the Iranian Shah Nadir. Nadir Shah, meeting the stubborn resistance of the Turkmens, cruelly cracked down on them. However, the struggle did not stop. In 1747 Nadir Shah was killed, and his state quickly collapsed.

In the 1860s-70s. Russia included the Emirate of Bukhara and the Khanate of Khiva. In 1869–85, the territory of southern Turkmenistan, which formed the Transcaspian region, became part of Russia. Since 1898, this region has become part of the Turkestan region.

After the victory of the October Revolution in Petrograd and the successful armed uprising in Tashkent (November 1917), Soviet power was officially proclaimed in the Transcaspian Region on December 2 (15), 1917, at the Fourth Congress of Soviets of the Transcaspian Region.

On April 30, 1918, at the V Congress of Soviets of the Turkestan Territory, held in Tashkent, the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (as part of the RSFSR) was formed. It included the main part of the territory of Turkmenistan (the Trans-Caspian region, renamed in August 1921 into the Turkmen region).

As a result of the national-state delimitation of Central Asia, on October 27, 1924, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic was formed from separate territories inhabited by Turkmens. For the first time, a single Turkmen national state was created.

People of Turkmenistan