The history of Central Asia is defined primarily by the area's
and geography. The aridness of the region made agriculture difficult
and its distance from the sea cut it off from much trade. Thus, few
major cities developed in the region; instead the area was for
millennia dominated by the nomadic horse peoples of the steppe. The
nomadic lifestyle was well suited to warfare, and the steppe horse
riders became some of the most militarily potent peoples in the
limited primarily by their lack of internal unity. The dominance of
the nomads ended in the 16th century as firearms allowed settled
peoples to gain control of the region. Russia, China, and other
expanded into the region, and had captured the bulk of Central Asia
the end of the 19th century. After the Russian Revolution, most
Central Asian regions were incorporated into the Soviet Union; only
Mongolia remained nominally independent. The Soviet areas of Central
Asia saw much industrialization and construction of infrastructure,
but also the suppression of local cultures, hundreds of thousands of
deaths from failed collectivization programs, and a lasting legacy of
ethnic tensions and environmental problems. With the collapse of the
Soviet Union, five Central Asian countries gained independence,
although none of the new republics could be considered a functional
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Emperor Atahualpa was executed by Conquistadors in Cajamarca during
the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire.
Frederick II of Prussia launched an invasion of Saxony, starting the
Seven Years' War.
The Quebec Bridge, the longest cantilever bridge in the world,
collapsed during construction, killing 75 workers.
Slovak troops turned against the pro-Nazi regime of Jozef Tiso and the
German Wehrmacht, starting the Slovak National Uprising.
Storm surges of Hurricane Katrina caused multiple breaches in levees
around New Orleans, flooding most of the city.
Wikiquote of the day:
"Religion, which should most distinguish us from the beasts, and
most particularly elevate us, as rational creatures, above brutes, is
that wherein men often appear most irrational, and more senseless
beasts." -- John Locke