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Afghanistan-The Crossroads of History

             Afghanistan is located in central Asia. Its history goes back about 50,000 years ago. In the past centuries, many empires and cultures have affected Afghanistan. Empires in the Middle East, Asia and the Mediterranean world have shaped Afghanistan in some way. .
             About 50,000 years ago, during the Vedic Age, the first group of people settled in Afghanistan "the Aryans. They settled in the Northeast of India, along the Ganges River. The Aryans were warlike people and were the builders of the new Indian civilization. They were among one of the many groups of Indo-European people who migrated across Europe and Asia seeking water and pasture for their horses. Not much is known about this group of people. Most of what we know about the Aryans comes from the Vedas, a collection of prayers, hymns, and other religious teachings. From the Vedas, we learn about their society and religious beliefs. Over time, the Aryans conquered lands in India, especially along the Ganges River. They mingled with the people they conquered and adapted to their culture. In 800 B.C., they learned how to make tools out of iron. By 500 B.C., they developed a written language, called Sanskrit. Priests used Sanskrit to record their sacred texts.
             In the Middle East, around 500 B.C., the Persian Empire came to existence. Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered a wide sweep of territory from Asia Minor to India including what is today Afghanistan and other countries. The Persian emperor Darius accomplished most of the unification of the Persian Empire. He divided the Persian Empire into provinces. Each province was head by a satrap. A satrap may have ruled over what is today Afghanistan. Under his rule, Darius set up a common set of weights and measures to improve trade. He encouraged the use of coins, which replaced the barter economy with the exchange of money. By setting up a single Persian coinage, Darius created economic links among his distant subjects.

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