Reviews

This synthetic study on the Hisar Valley—anciently divided into Shuman and Akharun —, in the upper course of the Surkhan-Darya and the Kafirnihan rivers, reconstructs the valley’s medieval history from the Samanids, through the penetration of Turkic groups under the Qarakhanids, until the emergence of the name of Hisar, in Timur’s time, as that of a plain, of a a province, and of a city—under the denomination “Hisar-i Shadman” (Hisar the Joyous), a probable interpretation of the earlier “Shuman”.  These statements are followed by a chronicle of the rivalries for the prosperous Hisar until the Uzbek conquest, with data on the gradual Turkicisation of the valley’s population (mainly through the settlement of the Uzbek tribes Yüz and Laqay).  The study goes on with elements on the city’s rulers under the Shaybanid and Astarkhanid periods, and the emergence of a regional power under Yüz leadership after the collapse of the central authority in Bukhara in the early eighteenth century.  Except during the city’s bloody but ephemeral occupation by Muhammad-Rahim Khan in 1171/1758, and its conquest by Muzaffar al-Din from 1866 to 1868, Hisar enjoyed independence from the Emirate of Bukhara, until its final incorporation into the latter in 1870 as a result of Russia’s territorial division of its newly conquered Central Asian dominions.  During the revolutionary decade 1917 to 1927 Hisar became a centre of Basmachi resistance against the Red Army under the leadership of Ibrahim Bek Laqay.  With the creation of the Soviet Republics from 1924 onwards, it formed the core region of Tajikistan—a region the complex ethnic composition of which bears testimony of its violent modern history, the Laqay continuing to endure ostracism on behalf of present-day Tajikistani authorities.  

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-2.4-132