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North-West Frontier Province,province and historic region (1998 pop. 17,554,674), c.41,000 sq mi (106,200 sq km), NW Pakistan, bounded on the N and W by Afghanistan. PeshawarPeshawar
, city (1998 pop. 988,005), capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North-West Frontier Province), NW Pakistan. A road and rail center near the famed Khyber Pass, Peshawar is an important military and communications center, the historical terminus of the Grand Trunk
..... Click the link for more information. is the capital. An area of high, barren mountains dissected by fertile valleys, it is predominantly agricultural. Wheat is the chief crop; barley, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, and fruit trees are also cultivated, and livestock is raised. Irrigation works supplement the scanty rainfall. Mineral resources include marble, rock salt, gypsum, and limestone. There are some mountain forests. Food processing, cotton and wool milling, papermaking, and the production of cigarettes, textiles, chemicals, and fertilizer are the main industries; handicrafts also flourish. PathansPathans
, group of seminomadic peoples consisting of more than 60 tribes, numbering more than 26 million in Pakistan and more than 11 million in Afghanistan, where they form the dominate ethnic group (historically known as Afghans and now typically as Pashtuns).
..... Click the link for more information. , or Pashtuns, constitute about two thirds of the population.
The region has been historically and strategically important due to passes leading into India, through which came invaders from central Asia. Alexander the GreatAlexander the Great
or Alexander III,
356–323 B.C., king of Macedon, conqueror of much of Asia. Youth and Kingship
The son of Philip II of Macedon and Olympias, he had Aristotle as his tutor and was given a classical education.
..... Click the link for more information. conquered the region c.326 B.C., but his garrisons were unable to hold the region. In the early centuries A.D., KanishkaKanishka
, fl. c.A.D. 120, king of Gandhara. He was the most powerful and renowned ruler of the Kushan dynasty, one of the five tribes of the Yüeh-chih who had divided (1st cent. B.C.) Bactria among them.
..... Click the link for more information. and his Kushan dynasty ruled the area. The Pathans arrived in the 7th cent., and by the 10th cent. conquerors from Afghanistan had made Islam the dominant religion. Under local Pathan rule from the late 12th cent. until BaburBabur
[Turk.,=lion], 1483–1530, founder of the Mughal empire of India. His full name was Zahir ud-Din Muhammad. A descendant of Timur (Tamerlane) and of Jenghiz Khan, he succeeded (1494) to the principality of Fergana in central Asia.
..... Click the link for more information. annexed it to his Mughal empire, the region paid nominal allegiance to the Mughals in the 16th and 17th cent. After Nadir ShahNadir Shah
or Nader Shah
, 1688–1747, shah of Iran (1736–47), sometimes considered the last of the great Asian conquerors. He was a member of the Afshar tribe.
..... Click the link for more information. 's invasion (1738), it became a feudatory of the Afghan Durrani kingdom. The Sikhs later held the area, which passed to Great Britain in 1849. The British maintained large military forces and paid heavy subsidies to pacify the Pathan resistance.
Britain separated the region from the PunjabPunjab
[Pers.,=five rivers], historic region in the NW of the Indian subcontinent. Since 1947 it has been separated into an Indian state and a Pakistani province bearing the same name. The Indus River bounds the region in part of the west and the Yamuna River in part of the east.
..... Click the link for more information. of India in 1901 and constituted the North-West Frontier Province, whose people voted to join newly independent Pakistan in 1947. Following the absorption of the North-West Frontier Province into Pakistan, neighboring Afghanistan engendered the Pushtunistan Controversy (see AfghanistanAfghanistan
, officially Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, republic (2015 est. pop. 33,736,000), 249,999 sq mi (647,497 sq km), S central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Iran on the west, by Pakistan on the east and south, and by Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan on the
..... Click the link for more information. ). From 1955 to 1970 the North-West Frontier Province was a section of the consolidated province of West Pakistan. In 1970, the region was once again granted provincial status.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan caused over 3 million refugees to flee to the province. Peshawar became the military and political center of the Afghan anti-Soviet coalition. The Soviet withdrawal in 1989 raised hopes that the refugees would be repatriated. Although renewed factional fighting in 1992 threatened the process, all Afghan tented refugee camps were closed by 1995. The province was renamed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2010; the change was unpopular with the province's non-Pashto-speaking minorities, especially the Hindkowans. In 2018 Pakistan enacted legislation that would lead to the incorporation of the largely Pathan Federally Administered Tribal Areas (see Tribal AreasTribal Areas,
officially the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), administrative region (1998 pop. 3,176,331), 10,510 sq mi (27,220 sq km), NW Pakistan, comprising seven agencies (or tribal areas) and six generally smaller frontier regions located mainly between
..... Click the link for more information. ) into the province by 2020.