The two branches of the Barakzai dynasty (Translation of Barakzai: sons of Barak) ruled modern day Afghanistan from 1826 to 1973 when the monarchy ended under Musahiban Mohammad Zahir Shah. The Barakzai dynasty was established by Dost Mohammad Khan after the Durrani dynasty of Ahmad Shah Durrani was removed from power. During this era, Afghanistan saw much of its territory lost to the British in the south and east, Persia in the west, and Russia in the north. There were also many conflicts within Afghanistan, including the three major Anglo-Afghan Wars and the 1929 civil war.
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Native Pashtun areas in orange
The Barakzai dynasty was the line of rulers in Afghanistan in the 19th and 20th centuries. Following the fall of the Durrani Empire in 1826, chaos reigned in the domains of Ahmed Shah Durrani's Afghan Empire as various sons of Timur Shah struggled for supremacy. The Afghan Empire ceased to exist as a single nation state, disintegrating for a brief time into a fragmented collection of small units. Dost Mohammad Khan gained preeminence in 1826 and founded the Barakzai dynasty in about 1837. Thereafter, his descendants ruled in direct succession until 1929, when King Amanullah Khan abdicated and his cousin Mohammed Nadir Shah was elected king. The most prominent & powerful sub-clan of the Barakzai Pashtun tribe is the Musahiban, of which the 1826-1973 Afghanistan ruling dynasty comes.
Mohammadzai are the most prominent & powerful sub-tribe of Barakzai, they belong to the branch of the Durrani confederacy, and are primarily centered around Kandahar. They can also be found in other provinces throughout Afghanistan as well across the border in the Pakistan's Balochistan Province.
Musahiban are the descendants of Sultan Muhammed Khan, ruler of Peshawar, brother of Dost Muhammad Khan. Mohammadzai Barakzai are closely related to Amanullah Khan. The family of Nadir and Zahir Shah. Payendah Khel are descendants of Payendah Khan, head of the Mohammadzai branch of the Barakzai tribe during the reigns of Timur and Zaman Shah, who became rulers with the decline of the Sadozai dynasty.
The principal language of Barakzai is Pashto. Formerly, Dari Persian was used as the language for records and correspondence; until the late nineteenth century tombstones were also inscribed in Dari. The language of the Barakzai tribes in Pishin, Quetta, Gulistan and Dukki (Distt. Loralai) is just like the language spoken in Kandahar. Those who have settled away from Pishin speak local languages (Pushto), such as Multani or Saraiki in Multan, Hindko in Hazara, Urdu in Bhopal and Sindhi in Sindh. Barakzai, a dialect of Pashto, is the language spoken by Harnai Barakzai.
In Pushtun folklore, Barak, Alak and Popol were brothers who went their separate ways to found tribes in their own namesake with the addition of the—zai (son of) suffix, for example, Barakzai.