Hello fellow explorers!
This topic was made with the intention of sharing some unknown civs options from the region of Central Asia.
Why is that region rarely discussed? As a landlocked region of the World, the Central Asians states had barely any interactions with most powers of the time, with the notable exceptions of the close ones: Persia, China, India and most importantly, Russia. They made wars and trade with them, but can be also considered as colonized territories, as all the region was eventually part of the Russian Empire (and later USSR).
Disclaimer: all generic information can easily be found on Wikipedia, while most of the photographies shared here come from the Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) collection that you can consult for yourself. Those colored pictures are real and were not edited. However, as the places showed were under Russian rule at the time, there is no focus on military costumes (those would have been from a period outside the time frame of the game). I also avoided buildings, as most of the famous Timurid and other famous exemples of architecture were in very bad condition at the time: the pictures date from the beginning of the 20th century, just before WW1.
Intro Following the slow erosion of the Mongol power in the World from the 1400 onward, many new states emerged. In Central Asia, those were strongly linked to various Mongols factions that had power in the area, though those ties would eventually disappear. Of those, we could discuss possibly two major factions.
A) The Kazakhs
The Kazakh Khanate existed from the 15th century to his incorporation in the Russian Empire (mid-19th)
Today, Kazakhstan is the ninth biggest country in the World. The creation of the Khanate, whose borders closely match the modern country, is considered to be the first real Kazakh state.
That landlocked steppe country had major interactions with its neighbours, most importantly Russia and the other Central Asian states. Kazaks raided the Russian territory well into the 19th century, plundering and famously continuing to captures slaves. The population of a large and in part nomadic state is difficult to know, but it was estimated to be between 2.5 to 3 millions in the 19th century (source wikipedia).
Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what a civ based on the Kazakh Khanate could look like. (Use the arrow to unhide them). This is as close to a Mongol civ we could ever get in the game.
B) The Uzbeks
Between Persia and the Kazakh territories existed various Uzbeks states. The Bukhara Khanate (1506–1785) is the most important one during the beginning of the game period, though many other existed, especially in the 19th century, preceding their incorporation in the Russian Empire.
Though the glorious Empire of Tamerlane was long gone, the historic cities of Samarkand and Bukhara were in those states. Uzbeks were far from the only inhabitants of the area, you’ll find Persians, Tadjiks, Turkmens, Jews and way more. However, Uzbeks dynasties controlled most of the political power either directly or indirectly thought Mongol puppet rulers for exemple.
Though smaller, the Uzbek territory was probably much more populous than the Kazakh Khanate, as it had major urban centers as well as nomadic tribes roaming its territory. The military history of the region is rather complex, but you’d note many wars with all the neighbouring states, most famously with Persia’s ruler, Nadir Shah.
Alim Khan, last Emir of Bukhara, 1911
Please note that I am not suggesting that either Kazakhs or Uzbeks are the most needed civilisations at this point in the game (so please, don’t make this topic another civ popularity contest). However, I hope these briefs introductions were an interesting read and that I at least managed to intrigue you on the subject. If you are interested to know more about this, you’ll be able to find detailed histories of any of those states easily online.
All discussion is welcomed as always.