land that is now Afghanistan has a long history of domination by foreign conquerors
and strife among internally warring factions. At the gateway between Asia and
Europe, this land was conquered by Darius I of Babylonia circa 500 B.C., and Alexander
the Great of Macedonia in 329 B.C., among others. Mahmud of Ghazni, an 11th century
conqueror who created an empire from Iran to India, is considered the greatest
of Afghanistan's conquerors.
Genghis Khan took over the territory in the
13th century, but it wasn't until the 1700s that the area was united as a single
country. By 1870, after the area had been invaded by various Arab conquerors,
Islam had taken root. During the 19th century, Britain, looking to protect its
Indian empire from Russia, attempted to annex Afghanistan, resulting in a series
of British-Afghan Wars (1838-42, 1878-80, 1919-21).
Click on the dates above to explore the history of Afghanistan.