Ancient country, Central Asia. It was situated between the Hindu Kush and the Amu Darya in parts of modern Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Its capital was the city of Bactra. From the 6th century BC it was controlled by the Achaemenian dynasty; conquered by Alexander the Great, the area was ruled after his death (323 BC) by the Seleucid dynasty and for a time (c. 250 BC) formed an independent kingdom. It was long important as a crossroads for overland trade and as a meeting place for various religious and artistic traditions. The area ultimately came under Muslim control in the 7th century AD.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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