The ancient sources state that during the early paleolith the history of Turkmenistan appeared. There are several stone instruments found in this period. The ruins of fishing and junior villages are identified with the Neolith: Dzhebel grottoes on the eastern Caspian Sea coast are the most known.
The oldest agriculture and livestock husbandry in Central Asia is in southern Turkmenistan. Dzheitun is the oldest agricultural settlement located near Ashgabat (6,000 BC).
On the territories of modern Turkmenistan ancient cultures evolved and thrived. There was in 1,000 BC Margiana, Parthia, Midia. The people were invaded by Persia in the 6th century BC, they were a part of the Persian Empire in the 4th century BC, the Akhenid Dynasty. The territory was held by his descendants, Seleucid Dunasty after Alexander’s reign fell.
Arabs who introduced Islam took over in the 7th-8th centuries Turkmenistan. Turkmen territory belonged to Takhirid in the 9th – 10th centuries, Sámanid nations, and was part of the Seljuk empire in the 11th – 13th centuries. In the 13th century, Mongolian armies under the leadership of Genghis Khan conquered the country which annexed Turkmenistan to its great empire.
The Great Seal Way was used to cross the territories of modern Turkmenistan, in a way a sign of the cultural convergence of western and oriental countries. The commercial caravan began in Siani, and then went to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea throughout Central Asia and India.
In the early sixteenth century northern Turkmen nations stretched around the eastern coasts of the Caspian Sea, Ustyurt and Balkan Peninsula, the north-western suburbs of the Khorezm Oasis and Sarykamy Lake and Kara Kum Desert. They have taken in Southern Turkmenistan’s lands and oases. During that time, semi-nomadic farming combined on irrigated land with animal breeding was the majority of Turkmen nations. Every clan was made up of both livestock and farmers. The poorest members of the clan became prerogative of agriculture.
The area of Turkmenistan was subject to discussion between the Persian Shah, the Khiva Khan and the Ukhara Emir during the 17th-19th centuries. This split Turkmen nations between these three countries (Iran, Khiva and Bukhara).
The Iranian Shah Nadir owned part of the territories of Turkmenistan. By kill, enslave, and confiscate cattle and property he suppressed Turkmen resistance harshly. He died in 1747, his kingdom failed, Turkmen tribes briefly left north returned to South Turkmenistan. Nadir Shah died.
Lake Sarykamy, which was the home of Turkmen tribes, began to shrink in the same time. So the inhabitants were driven into the Kopet Dagh region south and into the Murghab and Amu Darya valleys from south-east. The northern Turkmen Nomade camps and the town of Khoresm were subjected from the start of the 17th century to unwarranted attacks by the Kalmyks coming in search of unoccupied lands from the east.
Any of the Turkmen tribes, weakened by Kalmyks’ assaults and Khiva khan’s warrior, took Russian citizenship and moved into the North Caucasus at the end of the 17th century. The whole region of today’s Turkmenistan and some parts of modern Iran and Afghanistan had been controlled before Turkmenistan entered the Russian Empire. Some lived along with the Kazakh nomads in Ustyurt and Mangyshlak. As in the late Middle Ages, Turkmen people consisted of several tribes which were, in turn, subdivided into several stages. Tekes, yomuts, ersaris, saryks, salyrys, goklens, chops were the main tribes. Patriarchal slavery remained in effect until the 1880s.Every Turkmen was divided into “slaves”, “thoroughbreds.” Availables of other tribes and descendants of subdued iranians were also available, apart from those fundamental groups. Any of these social types were not treated as respected members of a society except “thoroughbreds”.
In 1869 the Russians established Krasnovodsk Port on the east coast of the Caspian Sea, and by the middle of 1880 the country became part of the Russian Empire which in 1881, with the surrender of the famous Turkmen fortress of Geok Tele in 1881, had crushed the Turkmen revolt.
Turkmenistan, part of the Russian Empire, started to engage in the economic structure of Russian capitalism that was increasingly more progressive compared with Turkmen tribes’ archaic social order.
The Trans-Caspian Railway was built on Turkmenistan territories from 1880-1885 and the inflow of capital into Central Asia. In Turkmenistan, along with manufacturing companies, a host of new cities such as Krazovodsk, Ashkhabad etc. have arisen. So the features of capitalism began to emerge within the patriarchal feudal system until the revolution of 1917.In the trans-Caspian region first and then in other cities and settlements of Turkmenistan, the soviet control officially was declared after the revolution.
The Turkestan Independent Socialist Soviet Republic was established on 30 April 1918 by decree of the 5th Congress of Turkmenistan Soviets (within the structure of the RSFSR). The fundamental part of Turkmenistan has been included (trans-Caspian area).
In July 1918, English members of the Socialist Revolutionaries and Mencheviks took power. Invaded by the British forces. For only one and a half years, the Civil War and international involvement continued. Ashkhabad, and Krasnovodsk, in February 1920, were captured by the Red Army in July 1919. Turkestan was forced out by the English armies.
The Turkmen SSR was established on October 27, 1924. The Declaration on the formation of Turkmen SSR and a resolution on its voluntary incorporation into the USSR system were adopted in February 1925.
Turkmenistan endured a horrific tragedy in the post-war years. An earthquake in Ashkgabat occurred in 1948 that was devastating. However, with the efforts of every Union republic citizens have succeeded in rebuilding and modernizing the republic’s national economy, establishing their own oil and gas complex and constructing the kara kum canal.
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, modern history of Turkmenistan began in 1990. Turkey declared its independence on 27 October 1991 and declared Turkmenistan First President Saparmurat Niyasov (Turkmenbashi). The President is the Supreme Commander of Turkmenistan’s Military Forces and Leader of Turkmenistan’s Political Party. He is allowed to nominate ambassadors and senior executive officers, including heads of ministries and agencies.
The most notable landmarks in Turkmen history are the day of Turkmenistan’s independence (27 October 1991), the day of Turkmenistani constitution (18 May 1992), and the day on which a resolution on “the permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan” was signed by the United Nations General Assembly (December 12th, 1995). The most important event in 2001 was the development, by Saparmurat Turkmenbashi, of “Rukhname” Turkmenistan’s moral, ethical, and aesthetic code.
Turkmen nationality formation
The ancient inhabitants of Turkmenistan had a distinct ethnic system. Dakhs and massages walked their territories in ancient times. Oghuz – Turkish speaking tribe who played a major role in shaping Turkmen people and their language, arrived in the Middle Ages. The territory was invaded by Selyuk in the 9th-11th centuries.
The Turkish speaking community in steppe presumably began calling itself Turkmen in the 9th to 11th centuries. They lived in the farming areas and cultural practices were closely linked with Khoresm and Khurasan speakers of Iran.
Turkmen nationality was eventually established only in the 14th-15th centuries. The union of the oguz steppe tribes with the Iranian-speaking settled people of northern Khurasan was achieved by then.