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Afghanistan, History

Excavation of prehistoric sites suggests that early humans lived in northern Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago and that farming communities in Afghanistan were among the earliest in the world. After 2000 bc successive waves of people from Central Asia moved into the area. Since many of these settlers were Aryans (speakers of the parent language of the Indo-European languages), a people who also migrated to Persia (now Iran) and India in prehistoric times, the area was called Aryana, or Land of the Aryans.

By the middle of the 6th century bc the Persian Empire of the Achaemenid dynasty controlled the region of Aryana. About 330 bc, Alexander the Great defeated the last Achaemenid ruler and made his way to the eastern limits of Aryana and beyond. After his death in 323 bc several kingdoms fought for control of his Asian empire. These kingdoms included Seleucids, Bactria, and the Indian Mauryan Empire.

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