26th Century BC to 10th Century
BactraBactria was an ancient region in Central Asia. Bactria proper was north of the Hindu Kush mountain range and south of the Oxus river (modern Amu Darya), covering the flat region that straddles modern-day Afghanistan. More broadly, Bactria was the area which was located north of the Hindu Kush, west of the Pamirs and south of the Tian Shan, covering modern-day Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as well, with the Amu Darya flowing west through the center. Bactria is mentioned in the Behistun Inscription of Darius the Great as one of the satrapies of the Achaemenid Empire; it was a special satrapy and was ruled by a crown prince or an intended heir. Bactria was the center of Iranian resistance against the Macedonian invaders after the fall of the Achaemenid Empire in the 4th century BCE.
Bactrians were the inhabitants of Bactria. Several important trade routes from India and China passed through Bactria and, as early as the Bronze Age, this had allowed the accumulation of vast amounts of wealth by the mostly nomadic population. The first proto-urban civilization in the area arose during the 2nd millennium BCE.
Following the conquest of Bactria by Alexander the Great in 323 BC, for about two centuries Greek was the administrative language of his Hellenistic successors, that is, the Seleucid and the Greco-Bactrian kingdoms.
Daxia, Ta-Hsia, or Ta-Hia was the name given in antiquity by the Han Chinese to Tukhara or Tokhara the central part of Bactria. The name "Daxia" appears in Chinese from the 3rd century BCE to designate a little-known kingdom located somewhere west of China.
The Greco-Bactrians, also known in Sanskrit as Yavanas, worked in cooperation with the native Bactrian aristocracy. By about 135 BCE, however, this kingdom had been overrun by invading Yuezhi tribes, an invasion that later brought about the rise of the powerful Kushan Empire.