Pashtun - History and Origins

History and Origins

Part of a series on
Pashtuns
  • Art
  • Culture
  • Diaspora
  • Etymology
  • Language
  • Tribes
Kingdoms
  • Lodi
  • Suri
  • Hotaki
  • Durrani
  • Barakzai
Religion
  • Islam
Further information: History of Afghanistan and History of Pakistan

The history of the Pashtun people is ancient and much of it is not fully researched. Excavations of prehistoric sites suggest that early humans were living in what is now Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago. Since the 2nd millennium BC, cities in the region now inhabited by Pashtuns have seen invasions and migrations, including by Ancient Iranian peoples, the Medes and Persians of antiquity, Greeks, Indians, Kushans, Hephthalites, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, and others. In recent age, people of the Western world have explored the area as well.

There are many conflicting theories about the origin of Pashtuns, some modern and others archaic, both among historians and the Pashtuns themselves. According to most historians, the true origin of the Pashtuns is some what unclear.

"...the origin of the Afghans is so obscure, that no one, even among the oldest and most clever of the tribe, can give satisfactory information on this point." "Looking for the origin of Pashtuns and the Afghans is something like exploring the source of the Amazon. Is there one specific beginning? And are the Pashtuns originally identical with the Afghans? Although the Pashtuns nowadays constitute a clear ethnic group with their own language and culture, there is no evidence whatsoever that all modern Pashtuns share the same ethnic origin. In fact it is highly unlikely."

Early precursors to some of the Pashtuns may have been old Iranian tribes that spread throughout the eastern Iranian plateau. According to the Russian scholar Yu. V. Gankovsky, the Pashtuns probably began as a "union of largely East-Iranian tribes which became the initial ethnic stratum of the Pashtun ethnogenesis, dates from the middle of the first millennium CE and is connected with the dissolution of the Epthalites (White Huns) confederacy." He proposes Kushan-o-Ephthalite origin for Pashtuns but others draw a different conclusion. According to Abdul Hai Habibi some oriental scholars hold that the second largest Pasthun tribe, the Ghilzais, are the descendants of a mixed race of Hephthalite and Pakhtas who have been living in Afghanistan since the Vedic Aryan period.

They are intimately tied to the history of modern Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India. Following Muslim conquests from the 7th to 11th centuries, many Pashtun ghazis (warriors) invaded and conquered much of the Indian subcontinent during the Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Khilji dynasty, Lodhi dynasty, Suri dynasty and others.

Read more about this topic:  Pashtun

Other articles related to "history and origins":

Spinmechatronics - History and Origins
... One of the longest established spinmechatronic systems is the Magnetic Resonance Force Microscope or MRFM ... First proposed by J ...
Żebbuġ, Malta - History and Origins
... When Malta was an independent principality under the sovereign Order of St ... John, Ħaż-Żebbuġ was among the chief towns after Valletta and Mdina, first because of the presence of leading corsairs among its inhabitants, subsequently due to its major role in the cotton industry ...

Famous quotes containing the words origins and/or history:

    The origins of clothing are not practical. They are mystical and erotic. The primitive man in the wolf-pelt was not keeping dry; he was saying: “Look what I killed. Aren’t I the best?”
    Katharine Hamnett (b. 1948)

    Let us not underrate the value of a fact; it will one day flower in a truth. It is astonishing how few facts of importance are added in a century to the natural history of any animal. The natural history of man himself is still being gradually written.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)