|c. 18–27 million (various estimates)|
|Regions with significant populations|
| Uzbekistan ||1,420,000 (2012, official)|
other, non-official, scholarly estimates are 8 – 11 million
| Persian (Dari and Tajik) |
Secondary: Pashto, Russian, Uzbek
|Predominantly Sunni Islam [ better source needed ]|
Tajiks (Persian : تاجيک، تاجک, Tājīk, Tājek; Tajik : Тоҷик) are a Persian-speaking Iranic ethnic group native to Central Asia, living primarily in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Tajiks are the largest ethnicity in Tajikistan, and the second-largest in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. They speak varieties of Persian, a Western Iranian language. In Tajikistan, since the 1939 Soviet census, its small Pamiri and Yaghnobi ethnic groups are included as Tajiks. In China, the term is used to refer to its Pamiri ethnic groups, the Tajiks of Xinjiang, who speak the Eastern Iranian Pamiri languages. In Afghanistan, the Pamiris are counted as a separate ethnic group.
As a self-designation, the literary New Persian term Tajik, which originally had some previous pejorative usage as a label for eastern Persians or Iranians, : Деҳқон) which translates to "farmer or settled villager", in a wider sense "settled" in contrast to "nomadic" and was later used to describe a class of land-owning magnates as "Persian of noble blood" in contrast to Arabs, Turks and Romans during the Sassanid and early Islamic period.has become acceptable during the last several decades, particularly as a result of Soviet administration in Central Asia. Alternative names for the Tajiks are Eastern Persian , Fārsīwān (Persian-speaker), and Dīhgān (cf. Tajik
The Tajiks are an Iranian people, speaking a variety of Persian, concentrated in the Oxus Basin, the Farḡāna valley (Tajikistan and parts of Uzbekistan) and on both banks of the upper Oxus, i.e., the Pamir Mountains (Mountain Badaḵšān, in Tajikistan) and northeastern Afghanistan (Badaḵšān).Historically, the ancient Tajiks were chiefly agriculturalists before the Arab Conquest of Iran. While agriculture remained a stronghold, the Islamization of Iran also resulted in the rapid urbanization of historical Khorasan and Transoxiana that lasted until the devastating Mongolian invasion. Several surviving ancient urban centers of the Tajik people include Samarkand, Bukhara, Khujand and Termez.
Contemporary Tajiks are the descendants of ancient Eastern Iranian inhabitants of Central Asia, in particular, the Sogdians and the Bactrians, and possibly other groups, with an admixture of Western Iranian Persians and non-Iranian peoples.According to Richard Nelson Frye, a leading historian of Iranian and Central Asian history, the Persian migration to Central Asia may be considered the beginning of the modern Tajik nation, and ethnic Persians, along with some elements of East-Iranian Bactrians and Sogdians, as the main ancestors of modern Tajiks. In later works, Frye expands on the complexity of the historical origins of the Tajiks. In a 1996 publication, Frye explains that many "factors must be taken into account in explaining the evolution of the peoples whose remnants are the Tajiks in Central Asia" and that "the peoples of Central Asia, whether Iranian or Turkic speaking, have one culture, one religion, one set of social values and traditions with only language separating them."
Regarding Tajiks, the Encyclopædia Britannica states:
The Tajiks are the direct descendants of the Iranian peoples whose continuous presence in Central Asia and northern Afghanistan is attested from the middle of the 1st millennium BC. The ancestors of the Tajiks constituted the core of the ancient population of Khwārezm (Khorezm) and Bactria, which formed part of Transoxania (Sogdiana). Over the course of time, the eastern Iranian dialect that was used by the ancient Tajiks eventually gave way to Farsi, a western dialect spoken in Iran and Afghanistan.
The geographical division between the eastern and western Iranians is often considered historically and currently to be the desert Dasht-e Kavir, situated in the center of the Iranian plateau.[ citation needed ]
Further according to Richard Foltz:
Since Turkic men often ‘married up’ and started families with Tajik women, the bloodlines tended to become increasingly mixed over the generations. (Recent DNA studies in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have shown no notable genetic difference between modern Uzbeks and Tajiks.)— Richard Foltz, Chapter 4, Tajiks and Turks, The Turk–Tajik symbiosis
According to John Perry ( Encyclopaedia Iranica ):
The most plausible and generally accepted origin of the word is Middle Persian tāzīk 'Arab' (cf. New Persian tāzi), or an Iranian (Sogdian or Parthian) cognate word. The Muslim armies that invaded Transoxiana early in the eighth century, conquering the Sogdian principalities and clashing with the Qarluq Turks (see Bregel, Atlas, Maps 8–10) consisted not only of Arabs, but also of Persian converts from Fārs and the central Zagros region (Bartol'd [Barthold], "Tadžiki," pp. 455–57). Hence the Turks of Central Asia adopted a variant of the Iranian word, täžik, to designate their Muslim adversaries in general. For example, the rulers of the south Indian Chalukya dynasty and Rashtrakuta dynasty also referred to the Arabs as "Tajika" in the 8th and 9th century.By the eleventh century (Yusof Ḵāṣṣ-ḥājeb, Qutadḡu bilig, lines 280, 282, 3265), the Qarakhanid Turks applied this term more specifically to the Persian Muslims in the Oxus basin and Khorasan, who were variously the Turks' rivals, models, overlords (under the Samanid Dynasty), and subjects (from Ghaznavid times on). Persian writers of the Ghaznavid, Seljuq and Atābak periods (ca. 1000–1260) adopted the term and extended its use to cover Persians in the rest of Greater Iran, now under Turkish rule, as early as the poet ʿOnṣori, ca. 1025 (Dabirsiāqi, pp. 3377, 3408). Iranians soon accepted it as an ethnonym, as is shown by a Persian court official's referring to mā tāzikān "we Tajiks" (Bayhaqi, ed. Fayyāz, p. 594). The distinction between Turk and Tajik became stereotyped to express the symbiosis and rivalry of the (ideally) nomadic military executive and the urban civil bureaucracy (Niẓām al-Molk: tāzik, pp. 146, 178–79; Fragner, "Tādjīk. 2" in EI2 10, p. 63).
According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam , however, the oldest known usage of the word Tajik as a reference to Persians in Persian literature can be found in the writings of the Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi.The 15th century Turkic-speaking poet Mīr Alī Šer Navā'ī also used Tajik as a reference to Persians. An example for the usage of the word Tajik in Persian literature is, for example, the writing of Sa'adi:
شایَد کِه بَه پادشاه بگویند
ترک تو بریخت خون تاجیک
Šâyad ki ba pâdšâh bigoyand
Turke tu birext xune Tâjik
It's appropriate to tell the King,
Your Turk shed the blood of Tajik
The Tajiks are the principal ethnic group in most of Tajikistan, as well as in northern and western Afghanistan, though there are more Tajiks in Afghanistan than in Tajikistan. Tajiks are a substantial minority in Uzbekistan, as well as in overseas communities. Historically, the ancestors of the Tajiks lived in a larger territory in Central Asia than now.
Tajiks comprise around 84.3% of the population of Tajikistan.This number includes speakers of the Pamiri languages, including Wakhi and Shughni, and the Yaghnobi people who in the past were considered by the government of the Soviet Union nationalities separate from the Tajiks. In the 1926 and 1937 Soviet censuses, the Yaghnobis and Pamiri language speakers were counted as separate nationalities. After 1937, these groups were required to register as Tajiks.
According to the World Factbook, Tajiks make up about 27% of the population in Afghanistan,but according to other sources they form 37%–39% of the population. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica they constitute about one-fifth of the population. They are predominant in four of the largest cities in Afghanistan (Kabul, Mazar-e Sharif, Herat, and Ghazni) and make up the largest ethnic group in the northern and western provinces of Balkh, Takhar, Badakhshan, Samangan, Parwan, Panjshir, Kapisa, Baghlan, Ghor, Badghis and Herat.
In Afghanistan, the Tajiks do not organize themselves by tribes and refer to themselves by the region, province, city, town, or village that they are from; such as Badakhshi, Baghlani, Mazari, Panjsheri, Kabuli, Herati, Kohistani etc.Although in the past, some non-Pashto speaking tribes were identified as Tajik, for example the Furmuli.
In Uzbekistan, the Tajiks are the largest part of the population of the ancient cities of Bukhara and Samarkand, and are found in large numbers in the Surxondaryo Province in the south and along Uzbekistan's eastern border with Tajikistan. According to official statistics (2000), Surxondaryo Province accounts for 24.4% of all Tajiks in Uzbekistan, with another 34.3% in Samarqand and Bukhara provinces.
Official statistics in Uzbekistan state that the Tajik community comprises 5% of the nation's total population.However, these numbers do not include ethnic Tajiks who, for a variety of reasons, choose to identify themselves as Uzbeks in population census forms. During the Soviet "Uzbekization" supervised by Sharof Rashidov, the head of the Uzbek Communist Party, Tajiks had to choose either stay in Uzbekistan and get registered as Uzbek in their passports or leave the republic for Tajikistan, which is mountainous and less agricultural. It is only in the last population census (1989) that the nationality could be reported not according to the passport, but freely declared on the basis of the respondent's ethnic self-identification. This had the effect of increasing the Tajik population in Uzbekistan from 3.9% in 1979 to 4.7% in 1989. Some scholars estimate that Tajiks may make up 35% of Uzbekistan's population.
Chinese Tajiks or Mountain Tajiks in China (Sarikoli: [tudʒik] , Tujik; Chinese :塔吉克族; pinyin :Tǎjíkè Zú), including Sarikolis (majority) and Wakhis (minority) in China, are the Pamiri ethnic group that lives in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwestern China. They are one of the 56 nationalities officially recognized by the government of the People's Republic of China.
According to the 1999 population census, there were 26,000 Tajiks in Kazakhstan (0.17% of the total population), about the same number as in the 1989 census.
According to official statistics, there were about 47,500 Tajiks in Kyrgyzstan in 2007 (0.9% of the total population), up from 42,600 in the 1999 census and 33,500 in the 1989 census.
According to the last Soviet census in 1989,there were 3,149 Tajiks in Turkmenistan, or less than 0.1% of the total population of 3.5 million at that time. The first population census of independent Turkmenistan conducted in 1995 showed 3,103 Tajiks in a population of 4.4 million (0.07%), most of them (1,922) concentrated in the eastern provinces of Lebap and Mary adjoining the borders with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.
The population of Tajiks in Russia was about 200,303 according to the 2010 census, up from 38,000 in the last Soviet census of 1989.Most Tajiks came to Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, often as guest workers in places like Moscow and Saint Petersburg or federal subjects near the Kazakhstan border. There are currently estimated to be over one million Tajik guest workers living in Russia, with their remittances accounting for as much as half of Tajikistan's economy.
There are an estimated 220,000 Tajiks in Pakistan as of 2012, mainly refugees from Afghanistan.During the 1990s, as a result of the Tajikistan Civil War, between 700 and 1,200 Tajikistanis arrived in Pakistan, mainly as students, the children of Tajikistani refugees in Afghanistan. In 2002, around 300 requested to return home and were repatriated back to Tajikistan with the help of the IOM, UNHCR and the two countries' authorities.
The dominant haplogroup among modern Tajiks is the Haplogroup R1a Y-DNA. ~45% of Tajik men share R1a (M17), ~18% J (M172), ~8% R2 (M124), and ~8% C (M130 & M48). Tajiks of Panjikent score 68% R1a, Tajiks of Khojant score 64% R1a.The high frequency of haplogroup R1a in the Tajiks probably reflects a strong founder effect.
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The language of the Tajiks is an eastern dialect of Persian, called Dari (derived from Darbārī, "[of/from the] royal courts", in the sense of "courtly language"), or also Parsi-e Darbari. In Tajikistan, where Cyrillic script is used, it is called the Tajiki language. In Afghanistan, unlike in Tajikistan, Tajiks continue to use the Perso-Arabic script, as well as in Iran. However, when the Soviet Union introduced the Latin script in 1928, and later the Cyrillic script, the Persian dialect of Tajikistan came to be considered a separate (Persian) language.[ dubious ][ citation needed ] Since the 19th century, Tajiki has been strongly influenced by the Russian language and has incorporated many Russian language loan words. It has also adopted fewer Arabic loan words than Iranian Persian while retaining vocabulary that has fallen out of use in the latter language. In Tajikistan, in ordinary speech, also known as "zaboni kucha" (lit. "street language", as opposed to "zaboni adabi", lit. "literary language", which is used in schools, media etc.), many urban Tajiks prefer to use Russian loanwords instead of their literary Persian analogs.[ citation needed ]
The dialects of modern Persian spoken throughout Greater Iran have a common origin. This is due to the fact that one of Greater Iran's historical cultural capitals, called Greater Khorasan, which included parts of modern Central Asia and much of Afghanistan and constitutes as the Tajik's ancestral homeland, played a key role in the development and propagation of Persian language and culture throughout much of Greater Iran after the Muslim conquest. Furthermore, early manuscripts of the historical Persian spoken in Mashhad during the development of Middle to New Persian show that their origins came from Sistan, in present-day Afghanistan.
Various scholars have recorded the Zoroastrian, Hindu,Buddhist, and Aryan pre-Islamic heritage of the Tajik people. Early temples for fire worship have been found in Balkh and Bactria and excavations in present-day Tajikistan and Uzbekistan show remnants of Zoroastrian fire temples.
Today, however, the great majority of Tajiks follow Sunni Islam, although small Twelver and Ismaili Shia minorities also exist in scattered pockets. Areas with large numbers of Shias include Herat, Badakhshan provinces in Afghanistan, the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province in Tajikistan, and Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County in China. Some of the famous Islamic scholars were from either modern or historical East-Iranian regions lying in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and therefore can arguably be viewed as Tajiks. They include Abu Hanifa,Imam Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood, Nasir Khusraw and many others.
According to a 2009 U.S. State Department release, the population of Tajikistan is 98% Muslim, (approximately 85% Sunni and 5% Shia). [ citation needed ]. The community of Bukharian Jews in Central Asia speak a dialect of Persian. The Bukharian Jewish community in Uzbekistan is the largest remaining community of Central Asian Jews and resides primarily in Bukhara and Samarkand, while the Bukharaian Jews of Tajikistan live in Dushanbe and number only a few hundred. From the 1970s to the 1990s the majority of these Tajik-speaking Jews emigrated to the United States and to Israel in accordance with Aliyah. Recently, the Protestant community of Tajiks descent has experienced significant growth, a 2015 study estimates some 2,600 Muslim Tajik converted to Christianity.In Afghanistan, the great number of Tajiks adhere to Sunni Islam. The smaller number of Tajiks who may follow Twelver Shia Islam are locally called Farsiwan
Tajikistan marked 2009 as the year to commemorate the Tajik Sunni Muslim jurist Abu Hanifa, whose ancestry hailed from Parwan Province of Afghanistan, as the nation hosted an international symposium that drew scientific and religious leaders.The construction of one of the largest mosques in the world, funded by Qatar, was announced in October 2009. The mosque is planned to be built in Dushanbe and construction is said to be completed by 2014.
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Civil War in Afghanistan both gave rise to a resurgence in Tajik nationalism across the region, including a trial to revert to the Perso-Arabic script in Tajikistan. [ citation needed ] Furthermore, Tajikistan in particular has been a focal point for this movement, and the government there has made a conscious effort to revive the legacy of the Samanid empire, the first Tajik-dominated state in the region after the Arab advance. For instance, the President of Tajikistan, Emomalii Rahmon, dropped the Russian suffix "-ov" from his surname and directed others to adopt Tajik names when registering births. According to a government announcement in October 2009, approximately 4,000 Tajik nationals have dropped "ov" and "ev" from their surnames since the start of the year.
In September 2009, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan proposed a draft law to have the nation's language referred to as "Tajiki-Farsi" rather than "Tajik." The proposal drew criticism from Russian media since the bill sought to remove the Russian language as Tajikistan's inter-ethnic lingua franca .In 1989, the original name of the language (Farsi) had been added to its official name in brackets, though Rahmon's government renamed the language to simply "Tajiki" in 1994. On 6 October 2009, Tajikistan adopted the law that removes Russian as the lingua franca and mandated Tajik as the language to be used in official documents and education, with an exception for members Tajikistan's ethnic minority groups, who would be permitted to receive an education in the language of their choosing.
There were about 5,000,000 in Afghanistan, where they constituted about one-fifth of the population.
Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is a Western Iranian language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian subdivision of the Indo-European languages. Persian is a pluricentric language predominantly spoken and used officially within Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan in three mutually intelligible standard varieties, namely Iranian Persian, Afghan Persian and Tajik Persian. It is also spoken natively in the Tajik variety by a significant population within Uzbekistan, as well as within other regions with a Persianate history in the cultural sphere of Greater Iran. It is written officially within Iran and Afghanistan in the Persian alphabet, a derivation of the Arabic script, and within Tajikistan in the Tajik alphabet, a derivation of the Cyrillic script.
Tajikistan, officially the Republic of Tajikistan, is a landlocked country in Central Asia with an area of 143,100 km2 (55,300 sq mi) and an estimated population of 9,537,645 people. Its capital and largest city is Dushanbe. It is bordered by Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north and China to the east. The traditional homelands of the Tajik people include present-day Tajikistan as well as parts of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.
Tajikistan harkens to the Samanid Empire (819–999). The Tajik people came under Russian rule in the 1860s. The Basmachi revolt broke out in the wake of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and was quelled in the early 1920s during the Russian Civil War. In 1924 Tajikistan became an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union, the Tajik ASSR, within Uzbekistan. In 1929 Tajikistan was made one of the component republics of the Soviet Union – Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic – and it kept that status until gaining independence 1991 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The Demographics of Tajikistan is about the demographic features of the population of Tajikistan, including population growth, population density, ethnicity, education level, health, economic status, religious affiliations, and other aspects of the population.
The Uzbeks are a Turkic ethnic group native to wider Central Asia, being the largest Turkic ethnic group in the area. They comprise the majority population of Uzbekistan but are also found as a minority group in: Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Russia, and China. Uzbek diaspora communities also exist in Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, United States, Ukraine, and other countries.
Samarkand, also known as Samarqand, is a city in southeastern Uzbekistan and among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia. There is evidence of human activity in the area of the city from the late Paleolithic Era, though there is no direct evidence of when Samarkand was founded; several theories propose that it was founded between the 8th and 7th centuries BCE. Prospering from its location on the Silk Road between China and the Mediterranean Sea, at times Samarkand was one of the largest cities of Central Asia.
The population of Afghanistan is around 39 million as of 2021. The nation is composed of a multi-ethnic and multilingual society, reflecting its location astride historic trade and invasion routes between Central Asia, Southern Asia, and Western Asia. Ethnic groups in the country include Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbeks, Nuristanis, Aimaq, Turkmen, Baloch and a number of others which are less known.
Uzbek is a Turkic language that is the first official and only declared national language of Uzbekistan. The language of Uzbeks is spoken by some 27 million native speakers in Uzbekistan, 3–4 million in Afghanistan, and around 5 million in the rest of Central Asia, making it the second-most widely spoken Turkic language after Turkish.
The Fergana Valley in Central Asia spreads across eastern Uzbekistan, southern Kyrgyzstan and northern Tajikistan.
Tajik, also called Tajiki Persian, Takiji, and Tadzhiki, is the variety of Persian spoken in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan by Tajik people. It is closely related to neighbouring Dari with which it forms a continuum of mutually intelligible varieties of the Persian language. Several scholars consider Tajik as a dialectal variety of Persian rather than a language on its own. The popularity of this conception of Tajik as a variety of Persian was such that, during the period in which Tajik intellectuals were trying to establish Tajik as a language separate from Persian, prominent intellectual Sadriddin Ayni counterargued that Tajik was not a "bastardised dialect" of Persian. The issue of whether Tajik and Persian are to be considered two dialects of a single language or two discrete languages has political sides to it.
The Tajikistani Civil War, also known as the Tajik Civil War, began in May 1992 when regional groups from the Garm and Gorno-Badakhshan regions of Tajikistan rose up against the newly-formed government of President Rahmon Nabiyev, which was dominated by people from the Khujand and Kulob regions. The rebel groups were led by a combination of liberal democratic reformers and Islamists, who would later organize under the banner of the United Tajik Opposition. The government was supported by Russian border guards.
Sart is a name for the settled inhabitants of Central Asia which has had shifting meanings over the centuries. Sarts, known sometimes as Ak-Sart in ancient times, did not have any particular ethnic identification, and were usually town-dwellers.
New Persian, also known as Modern Persian and Dari (دری), is the final stage of the Persian language spoken since the 8th to 9th centuries until now in Greater Iran and surroundings. It is conventionally divided into three stages: Early New Persian, Classical Persian, and Contemporary Persian.
The Yaghnobi people are an ethnic minority in Tajikistan. They inhabit Tajikistan's Sughd province in the valleys of the Yaghnob, Qul and Varzob rivers. The Yaghnobis are considered to be descendants of the Sogdian-speaking peoples who once inhabited most of Central Asia beyond the Amu Darya River in what was ancient Sogdia.
The Pamiris are an Eastern Iranian ethnic group who are native to the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Eastern Tajikistan, the Badakhshan Province of Northeastern Afghanistan, the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County in Xinjiang, China and Hunza Valley in Pakistan.
Afghanistan is a multilingual country in which two languages – Pashto and Dari – are both official and most widely spoken.
Afghanistan is a multiethnic and mostly tribal society. The population of the country consists of numerous ethnolinguistic groups: Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Aimaq, Turkmen, Baloch, Pashai, Nuristani, Gujjar, Arab, Brahui, Qizilbash, Pamiri, Kyrgyz, Sadat and others. The Afghan National Anthem and the Afghan Constitution each mention fourteen of them, though the lists are not exactly the same.
Standard Persian is the standard variety of Persian that is the official language of the Iran and Tajikistan and one of the two official languages of Afghanistan. It is a set of spoken and written formal varieties used by the educated persophones of several nations around the world.
Central Asian Arabic or Jugari Arabic is a variety of Arabic currently facing extinction and spoken predominantly by Arab communities living in portions of Central Asia.
Tajiks in Pakistan are residents of Pakistan who are of Tajik or Dehqan ancestry. Their further ramifications like Swatis, Shilmanis and Dehwars are well-known tribes in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Baluchistan, Pakistan.