Central Asia was once a very rich part of the world. Because Central Asia was in the middle of Asia, they could sell things west on the Silk Road to Mesopotamia, south to India, and east to China.
First, Central Asia was the home of herders. People rode horses and herded cattle across huge grasslands. They ate yogurt and cheese and steak. They hunted and fought with bows and arrows. Sometimes people left Central Asia and moved to other places: first the Yamnaya, the Indo-Europeans, then in the Middle Ages the Turks and the Mongols. But by that time, many of them were farmers. They grew peaches and melons and apples, and sold them to their neighbors. They invented bowed instruments like violins. They built big cities – Samarkand and Merv and Tashkent and Kandahar. They manufactured and exported high quality steel and carpets. They were very rich.
But then things changed. New kinds of ships, compasses and clocks made it safer to travel on the oceans than it had been before. Ships moved steel and cotton and sugar much cheaper than camels and donkeys did, so more and more trade went by ship. Central Asia’s position in the middle of the land was a disadvantage now. And they were much poorer than they had been before.