discovered by: Ahmad Shah Durrani,
Though the modern state of Afghanistan was founded or created in 1747 by Ahmad Shah Durrani, the land has an ancient history and various timelines of different civilizations. Excavation of prehistoric sites by Louis Dupree, the University of Pennsylvania, the Smithsonian Institution and others suggests that humans were living in what is now Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago, and that farming communities of the area were among the earliest in the world
Darius I and Alexander the Great were the first to use Afghanistan as the gateway to India. Islamic conquerors arrived in the 7th century, and Genghis Khan and Tamerlane followed in the 13th and 14th centuries.
In the 19th century, Afghanistan became a battleground
in the rivalry between imperial Britain and czarist Russia for
control of Central Asia. Three Anglo-Afghan wars (1839–1842, 1878–1880, and 1919) ended incon
clusively. In 1893 Britain established an unofficial borde
r, the Durand Line, separating Afghanistan from British I
ndia, and London granted full independence in 1919. Emir
Amanullah founded an Afghan monarchy in 1926.
The question regarding the origin of the Albanians is still a matter of controversy among ethnologists. The fact that history and legend afford no record of the arrival of the Albanians in the Balkan Peninsula has rendered the question of their origin a particularly difficult one to answer.
A part of Illyria in ancient times and later of the Roman Empire, Albania was ruled by the Byzantine Empire from 535 to 1204. An alliance (1444–1466) of Albanian chiefs failed to halt the advance of the Ottoman Turks, and the country remained under at least nominal Turkish rule for more than four centuries, until it proclaimed i
ts independence on Nov. 28, 1912.
Largely agricultural, Albania is one of the poorest coun
tries in Europe. A battlefield in World War I, after the war it became a republic in which a con
servative Muslim landlord, Ahmed Zogu, proclaimed himself president in 1925 and king (Zog I) in 1928. He ruled until Italy annexed Albania in 1939.
Communist guerrillas under Enver Hoxha seized power in 1944, near the end of World W
ar II. Hoxha was a devotee of Stalin, emulating the
Soviet leader's repressive tactics, imprisoning or ex
ecuting landowners and others who did not conform t
o the socialist ideal. Hoxha eventually broke with Soviet communism in 1961 because of differences with Khrushchev and then aligned himself with Chinese communism, which he also abandoned in 1978 after the death of Mao. From then on Albania went its own way to forge its in
dividual version of the socialist state and became one o
f the most isolated—and economically underdeveloped—countries in the world. Hoxha was succeeded b
y Ramiz Alia in 1982.
discovered by: until now no one knows who discovered algeria but the Berbers have inhabited Algeria since at least 10,000 BC;
Excavations in Algeria have indicated that Homo e
us resided there between 500,000 and 700,000 years ago. Phoenician traders settled on the Mediterranean coast in the 1st millennium B.C. As ancient Numidia, Algeria became a Roman colony, part of what was called Mauretania C
aesariensis, at the close of the Punic Wars (145 B.C. ). Conquered b
y the Vandals about A.D. 440, it fell from a high state of civilization to virtual barbarism, from which it partly recovered after an invasion by Arabs about 650. Christian during its Roman period, the indigeno
us Berbers were then converted to Islam. Falling under the
control of the Ottoman Empire
by 1536, Algiers served for three centuries as the headquarters of the Barbary pirates. Ostensibly to rid the region of the pirates
, the French occupied Algeria in 1830 and made it a part of France in 1848.
Algerian independence movements led to the uprisings of 19
54–1955, which developed into full-scale war. In 1962, Frenc
h president Charles de Gaulle began the peace negotiations, and on July 5, 1962, Algeria was proclaimed independent. In Oct. 1
963, Ahmed Ben Bella was elected president, and the country became Socialist. He began to nationalize foreign holdings and aroused opposition. He was overthrown in a military coup on June 19, 1965, by Col. Houari Boumédienne, who suspended the constitution and
sought to restore economic stability. After his death, Bou
médienne was succeeded by Col. Chadli Bendjedid in 1978. B
erbers rioted in 1980 when Arabic
was made the country's only official language. Algeria entered a major recession after world oil prices plummeted in the 1980s.
Andorra is the last independent survivor of the Marca Hispanica, the buffer states created by Charlemagne to keep the Islamic Moors from advancing into Christian France. Tradition holds that Charlemagne granted a charter to the Andor ran pe ople in return for their fighting the Moors. In the 9th century, Charlemagne's grandson, Charles the Bald, named the Count of Urgell as overlord of Andorra. A descendant of the count later gave the lands to the Diocese of Urgell, headed by Bishop of Urgell.
Angolafounded by: Paulo Dias de Novais
Angola is a country in southwestern Africa. Portugal explored th e region and founded settlements and trading posts. Luanda was founded by Paulo Dias de Novais in the 16th century. The annexed territories in the region were ruled as a colony from 1655, and Angola was incorporated as an overseas province of Portugal in 1951. After the Angolan War of Independence (1961-1974) which ended with a leftist military c oup in Lisbon, Angola's independence from Portugal was achieved on November 11, 1975 through the Alvor Agreement.
Antigua and Barbuda
explored by: Christopher Columbus
The island of Antigua was explored by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and named for the Church of Santa Maria de la Antigua in Seville. Antigua was colonized by Britain in 1632; Barbuda was first colonized in 1678. Antigua and Barbuda joined t
he West Indies Federation in 1958. With the breakup of the federation, it became
of the West Indies Associated States in 1967, self-governing its internal affairs. Full independence was granted Nov. 1, 1981.
The Bird family has controlled the islands since Vere C
. Bird founded the Antigua Labor Party in the mid-194
0s. While tourism and financial services have turned the country into one of the more prosperous in the Caribbean, law enforcement officials have charged that Antigua and Barbuda is a major center of money laundering, drug trafficking, and arms smuggling. Several scandals tainted the Bird family, especially the 1995 conviction of Prime Minister Lester Bird's brother, Ivor, for cocaine smuggling. In 2000, Antigu
a and 35 other offshore bankin
g centers agreed to reforms to prevent money launderin
ArgentinaFirst explored : in 1516 by Juan Diaz de Solis
The history of Argentina is divided by historians into four main sections: the pre-Columbian time, or early history (up to the 16th century), the colonial period (roughly 1516 to 1810), the independence wars and the early po
st-colonial period of the nation (1810 to 1880) and the history of modern Argentina from around 1880.
The beginning of prehistory in the present territory of Argentina began with the first human settlements on the southern tip of Patagonia around 13,000 years ago. The written history began with the arrival of Spanish chroniclers with the expedition of Juan Díaz de Solís in 1516 to Río de la Plata river, which marks the beginning of Spanish domination in this region. In 1776 the Spanish Crown established the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, an umbrella of territories from which, with the Revolution of May 1810, began a process of gradual formation of several independent states, includi
ng that carried the name United Provinces of Río de la
blic of Argentina.
One of the world's oldest civilizations, Armenia once included Mount Ararat, which biblical tradition identifies as the mountain that Noah's ark rested on
after the flood. It was the first country in the world to officially embrace Christianity as its religion (c. A.D. 300).
In the 6th century B.C. , Armenians settled in the kingdom of Urartu (the Assyrian name for Ararat), which was in decline. Under Tigrane the Great (fl. 95–55 B.C. ) the Armenian empire reached its height and became one of the most powerful in Asia, stretching from the Caspian to the Mediterranean seas. Throughout most of its lo
ng history, however, Armenia has been invaded by a succession of empires. Under constant threat of domination by foreign forces, Armenians became both cosmopolitan as well as fierce protectors of their culture and tradition.
Over the centuries Armenia was conquered by Greeks, Romans, Persians, Byzantines, Mongols, Arabs, Ottoman Turks, and Russians. From the 16th century through World War I, major portions of Armenia were controlled by their most brutal invader, the Ottoman Turks, under whom the Armenians experienced discrimination, religious persecution, heavy taxation, and armed attacks. In response to Armenian nationalist stirrings, the Turks massacred thousands of Armenians in 1894 and 1896. The most h
orrific massacre took place in April 1915 during World War I, when the Turks ordered the deportation of the Armenian population to the deserts of Syria and Mesopotamia. According to the majority of historians, between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians were murdered or died of starvation. The Armenian massacre is considered the fi
rst genocide of the 20th century. Turkey denies that a genocide took place and claims that a much smaller number died in a civil war.
The written history of Australia began in 1606, when Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, a Portuguese navigator sailing for the Spanish Crown, reached there in 1606. Fernandes sighted a very large island south of New Guinea, which he named La Australia del Espiritu Santo (now Vanuatu).  After becoming separated from its flagship, a ship in said expedition (commandeered by Spaniard Luis Váez de Torres) passed through Torres Strait, from where he might have sighted Australia's northern coast. . These discoveries inspired several mariners —among them, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman— to further chart the area.
Though Tasman is best known for his voyage of 1642 —in which he became the first known European to reach the islands of Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) and New Zealand, and to sight the Fiji islands— he also contributed significantly to the mapping of Australia proper. With three ships on his second voyage (Limmen, Zeemeeuw and the tender Braek) in 1644, he followed the south coast of New Guinea westward. He missed the Torres Strait between New Guinea and Australia, but continued his voyage along the Australian coast and ended up mapping the north coast of Australia making observations on the land and its people.
In spite of these voyages, however, Australia remained largely unvisited by Westerners up until the first British explorations. In 1769, James Cook sailed the HMS Endeavour in an extensive effort to locate the supposed Southern Continent to the south and west of Tahiti. The expedition eventually led in 1770 to the British discovery and charting of the eastern coastline of Australia.The interpretation of the history of Australia is currently a matter of contention, particularly regarding the British settlement and the early treatment of Indigenous Australians. In light of this, Gavin Menzies (among others) has suggested that the legendary Chinese Admiral Zheng He and his fleet might have come to Australia in the early fifteenth century, about 200 years before any European explorers. But his thesis has been discounted by most professional historians including many Chinese historians.
The earliest Austrian civilisation which can be reconstructed in considerate detail is the so-called "Hallstatt"
The earliest Austrian civilisation which can be reconstructed in considerate detail is the so-called "Hallstatt" civilisation, as revealed by the burial-grounds near Hallstatt in Upper Austria dating from the early Iron age. The prosperity of Hallstatt was based on salt, which was also mined at Dürrnberg near Hallein in the province of Salzburg, Saltzburg itself being the trading center of a whole area, later known as the "Salzkammergut", reserved for the mining and exploitation of salt.
During the Celtic incursions of 279 B.C., the salt-mines are known to have been efficiently operated by the invaders, who gradually extended their hold on the area until by 150 B.C. they had established a kingdom. Noricum, the kingdom, was in Upper Austria south of the Danube, Salzburg, West Styria and Carinthia. The Romans were forced to withdraw southwards because of a Noricum army lead by Hümmgor II. However, the Romans knew of the commercial importance of this area and, first by pacific penetration and later by force gradually ousted the Celts. Prospectors and Consuls from Rome secured a goodly share of the iron, salt and wine trades, the two main traffic arteries being the east-west Danube and the north-south "Amber Road" from Jutland to Rome via the Semmering Pass, along which whale-tusks and amber from the north were traded against bronze swords and oil-pictures, for instance, from the south.
Caius Marius anhilated first the Teutoni and then the Cimbri, the most influent tribes of the zone. Delivered from the threat of barbarian incursions from the north, the area was thoroughly colonised, the twin hallmarks of Roman civilisation being Roman baths and Roman roads. Under the Emperor Augustus, the province of Rhaetia, including what is now North Tyrol and Vorarlberg, was established after prolonged and stubborn resistance, and shortly afterwards, all of Noricum was incorporated into the Roman Empire. The Romans further consolidated their authority along the Danube by establishing the Province of Pannonia, which streched from the eastern frontier of Noricum to roughly the site of present-day Budapest. Under the Emperor Tiberius, the borders got stronger as Roman Legions destroyed hords of wild Barbarians along the Danube.
 Early Middle Ages
During the Migration Period, the Slavic tribe of the Carantanians migrated into the Alps in the wake of the expansion of their Avar overlords during the 7th century, mixed with the Celto-Romanic population, and established the realm of Carantania, which covered much of eastern and central Austrian territory. In the meantime, the Germanic tribe of the Bavarians had developed in the 5th and 6th century in the west of the country and in Bavaria, while what is today Vorarlberg had been settled by the Alemans. Those groups mixed with the Romansh people|Rhaeto-Romanic population and pushed it up into the mountains.
Carantania, under pressure of the Avars, lost its independence to Bavaria in 745 and became a margraviate. During the following centuries, Bavarian settlers went down the Danube and up the Alps, a process through which Austria was to become the mostly German-speaking country it is today.
The Bavarians themselves came under the overlordship of the Carolingian Franks and subsequently a Duchy of the Holy Roman Empire. Duke Tassilo III, who wanted to maintain Bavarian independence, was defeated and displaced by Charlemagne in 789An Eastern March (marchia orientalis) was established in Charlemagne's time, but it was overrun by the Magyars in 909
AzerbaijanAzerbaijan has seen a host of inhabitants and invaders, including Medes, Scythians, Persians, Armenians, Greeks, Romans, Khazars, Arabs, Oghuz Turks, Seljuq Turks, Mongols, and Russians.
Azerbaijan or Azarbaijan (Azerbaijani: آذربایجان Azərbaycan) is a historical and geographic region on the border of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It's bounded by Caspian Sea to the east, Russia's Daghestan region to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia and Turkey to the southwest, and Iran to the south. Azerbaijan is a home to various ethnicities, majority of which are Azeris, an ethnic group which numbers close to 8 million in the independent Republic of Azerbaijan.
During Median and Persian rule, many Albanians adopted Zoroastrianism and then switched to Christianity prior to coming of Muslim Arabs and more importantly Muslim Turks. The Turkic tribes are believed to have arrived as small bands of ghazis whose conquests led to the Turkification of the population as largely native Caucasian and Iranian tribes adopted the Turkic language of the Oghuz and converted to Islam over a period of several hundred years.
After more than 80 years of colonization under the Russian empire in the Caucasus, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was established in 1918. The state was invaded by Soviet forces in 1920, and remained under Soviet rule until the collapse of the USSR in 1991.