Uzbekistan also the Republic of Uzbekistan, is a landlocked country in Central Asia. The sovereign state is a secular, unitary constitutional republic, comprising 12 provinces, one autonomous republic, a capital city. Uzbekistan is bordered by five landlocked countries: Kazakhstan to the north. Along with Liechtenstein, it is one of the world's only two doubly landlocked countries. What is now Uzbekistan was in ancient times part of the Iranian-speaking region of Transoxiana and Turan; the first recorded settlers were Eastern Iranian nomads, known as Scythians, who founded kingdoms in Khwarezm, Sogdia and Margiana. The area was incorporated into the Persian Empire and, after a period of Macedonian Greek rule, was ruled by the Persian Parthian Empire and by the Sasanian Empire, until the Muslim conquest of Persia in the 7th century; the Muslim conquest in the 7th century converted the majority of the population, including the local ruling classes, into adherents of Islam. During this period, cities such as Samarkand and Bukhara began to grow rich from the Silk Road.
The local Khwarezmian dynasty, Central Asia as a whole, were decimated by the Mongol invasion in the 13th century. After the Mongol Conquests, the area became dominated by Turkic peoples; the city of Shahrisabz was the birthplace of the Turco-Mongol warlord Timur known as one of Genghis Khan's grandchildren, who in the 14th century established the Timurid Empire and was proclaimed the Supreme Emir of Turan with his capital in Samarkand. The area was conquered by Uzbek Shaybanids in the 16th century, moving the centre of power from Samarkand to Bukhara; the region was split into three states: Khanate of Khiva, Khanate of Kokand, Emirate of Bukhara. It was incorporated into the Russian Empire during the 19th century, with Tashkent becoming the political center of Russian Turkestan. In 1924, after national delimitation, the constituent republic of the Soviet Union known as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic was created. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, it declared independence as the Republic of Uzbekistan on 31 August 1991.
Uzbekistan has a diverse cultural heritage due to strategic location. Its first major official language is Uzbek, a Turkic language written in the Latin alphabet and spoken natively by 85% of the population. Russian has widespread use as a governmental language. Uzbeks constitute 81% of the population, followed by Russians, Tajiks and others. Muslims constitute 79% of the population while 5% of the population follow Russian Orthodox Christianity, 16% of the population follow other religions or are non-religious. A majority of Uzbeks are non-denominational Muslims. Uzbekistan is a member of the CIS, OSCE, UN, the SCO. While a democratic republic, by 2008 non-governmental human rights organizations defined Uzbekistan as "an authoritarian state with limited civil rights". Following the death of Islam Karimov in 2016, the second president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, started a new course, described as a A Quiet Revolution and Revolution from Above, he stated he intended to abolish cotton slavery, systematic use of child labour, exit visas, to introduce a tax reform, create four new free economic zones, as well as amnestied some political prisoners.
The relations with neighboring countries of Tajikistan and Afghanistan drastically improved. However, the Amnesty International report on human rights in the country for 2017/2018 described continued repressive measures, including forced labour in cotton harvesting, restrictions on movements of'freed' prisoners; the Uzbek economy is in a gradual transition to the market economy, with foreign trade policy being based on import substitution. In September 2017, the country's currency became convertible in the market rates. Uzbekistan is a major exporter of cotton; the country operates the largest open-pit gold mine in the world. With the gigantic power-generation facilities of the Soviet era and an ample supply of natural gas, Uzbekistan has become the largest electricity producer in Central Asia. Renewable energy constitutes more than 23% of the country's energy sector, with hydroelectricity and solar energy having 21.4% and 2% respectively. Uzbekistan has an area of 447,400 square kilometres, it is the 56th largest country in the 42nd by population.
Among the CIS countries, it is the 2nd largest by population. Uzbekistan lies between latitudes 37° and 46° N, longitudes 56° and 74° E, it stretches 1,425 kilometres from west to east and 930 kilometres from north to south. Bordering Kazakhstan and the Aralkum Desert to the north and northwest and Afghanistan to the southwest, Tajikistan to the southeast, Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, Uzbekistan is one of the largest Central Asian states and the only Central Asian state to border all the other four. Uzbekistan shares a short border with Afghanistan to the south. Uzbekistan is a landlocked country, it is one of two doubly landlocked countries in the world (that is, a country completel
The Aral Sea was an endorheic lake lying between Kazakhstan in the north and Uzbekistan in the south. The name translates as "Sea of Islands", referring to over 1,100 islands that had dotted its waters; the Aral Sea drainage basin encompasses Uzbekistan and parts of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Iran. The fourth largest lake in the world with an area of 68,000 km2, the Aral Sea has been shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects. By 1997, it had declined to 10% of its original size, splitting into four lakes: the North Aral Sea, the eastern and western basins of the once far larger South Aral Sea, one smaller intermediate lake. By 2009, the southeastern lake had disappeared and the southwestern lake had retreated to a thin strip at the western edge of the former southern sea. Satellite images taken by NASA in August 2014 revealed that for the first time in modern history the eastern basin of the Aral Sea had dried up; the eastern basin is now called the Aralkum Desert.
In an ongoing effort in Kazakhstan to save and replenish the North Aral Sea, a dam project was completed in 2005. Salinity has dropped, fish are again found in sufficient numbers for some fishing to be viable; the maximum depth of the North Aral Sea is 42 m. The shrinking of the Aral Sea has been called "one of the planet's worst environmental disasters"; the region's once-prosperous fishing industry has been decimated, bringing unemployment and economic hardship. The water from the diverted Syr Darya river is used to irrigate about two million hectares of farmland in the Ferghana Valley; the Aral Sea region is heavily polluted, with consequential serious public health problems. UNESCO added the historical documents concerning the development of the Aral Sea to its Memory of the World Register as a unique resource to study this "environmental tragedy". Geographer Nick Middleton believes that the Amu Darya did not flow into the shallow depression that now forms the Aral Sea until the beginning of the Holocene, it is known that the Amu Darya flowed into the Caspian Sea via the Uzboy channel until the Holocene.
The Syr Darya formed a large lake in the Kyzyl Kum during the Pliocene known as the Mynbulak depression. Most of the area around the Aral Sea was inhabited by desert nomads who left few written records. However, the Oxus delta to the south has a long history under the name of Khwarezm, it was once the westernmost border of Tang dynasty China. Russian naval presence on the Aral Sea started in 1847, with the founding of Raimsk, soon renamed Fort Aralsk, near the mouth of the Syr Darya. Soon, the Imperial Russian Navy started deploying its vessels on the sea. Owing to the Aral Sea basin not being connected to other bodies of water, the vessels had to be disassembled in Orenburg on the Ural River, shipped overland to Aralsk, reassembled; the first two ships, assembled in 1847, were the two-masted schooners named Mikhail. The former was a warship. In 1848, these two vessels surveyed the northern part of the sea. In the same year, a larger warship, the Constantine, was assembled. Commanded by Lt. Alexey Butakov, the Constantine completed the survey of the entire Aral Sea over the next two years.
The exiled Ukrainian poet and painter Taras Shevchenko participated in the expedition, painted a number of sketches of the Aral Sea coast. For the navigation season of 1851, two newly built steamers arrived from Sweden, again by caravan from Orenburg; as the geological surveys had found no coal deposits in the area, the Military Governor-General of Orenburg Vasily Perovsky ordered "as large as possible supply" of saxaul to be collected in Aralsk for use by the new steamers. Saxaul wood did not turn out a suitable fuel, in the years, the Aral Flotilla was provisioned, at substantial cost, by coal from the Donbass. In the early 1960s, the Soviet government decided the two rivers that fed the Aral Sea, the Amu Darya in the south and the Syr Darya in the east, would be diverted to irrigate the desert, in an attempt to grow rice, melons and cotton; this was part of "white gold", to become a major export. This temporarily succeeded, in 1988, Uzbekistan was the world's largest exporter of cotton. Cotton production in Uzbekistan is still important to the national economy of the country.
Cotton is Uzbekistan's main cash crop, accounting for 17% of its exports in 2006. The construction of irrigation canals began on a large scale in the 1940s. Many of the canals were poorly built, allowing water to evaporate. From the Qaraqum Canal, the largest in Central Asia 30 to 75% of the water went to waste. Today, only 12% of Uzbekistan's irrigation canal length is waterproofed. Of the 47,750 km of interfarm irrigation channels in the basin, only 28% have anti-infiltration linings. Only 77% of farm intakes have flow gauges, of the 268,500 km of onfarm channels, only 21% have anti-infiltration linings, which retain on average 15% more water than unlined channels. By 1960, between 20 and 60 km3 of water eac
The Caspian Sea is the world's largest inland body of water, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. It is an endorheic basin located between Europe and Asia, to the east of the Caucasus Mountains and to the west of the broad steppe of Central Asia; the sea has a surface area of 371,000 km2 and a volume of 78,200 km3. It has a salinity of 1.2%, about a third of the salinity of most seawater. It is bounded by Kazakhstan to the northeast, Russia to the northwest, Azerbaijan to the west, Iran to the south, Turkmenistan to the southeast; the Caspian Sea is home to a wide range of species and may be best known for its caviar and oil industries. Pollution from the oil industry and dams on rivers draining into the Caspian Sea have had negative effects on the organisms living in the sea; the wide and endorheic Caspian Sea has a north–south orientation and its main freshwater inflow, the Volga River, enters at the shallow north end. Two deep basins occupy its southern areas.
These lead to horizontal differences in temperature and ecology. The Caspian Sea spreads out over nearly 750 miles from north to south, with an average width of 200 miles, it covers a region of around 149,200 square miles and its surface is about 90 feet below sea level. The sea bed in the southern part reaches as low as 1,023 m below sea level, the second lowest natural depression on Earth after Lake Baikal; the ancient inhabitants of its coast perceived the Caspian Sea as an ocean because of its saltiness and large size. The word Caspian is derived from the name of the Caspi, an ancient people who lived to the southwest of the sea in Transcaucasia. Strabo wrote that "to the country of the Albanians belongs the territory called Caspiane, named after the Caspian tribe, as was the sea. Moreover, the Caspian Gates, the name of a region in Iran's Tehran province indicates that they migrated to the south of the sea; the Iranian city of Qazvin shares the root of its name with that of the sea. In fact, the traditional Arabic name for the sea itself is Baḥr al-Qazwin.
In classical antiquity among Greeks and Persians it was called the Hyrcanian Ocean. In Persian middle age, as well as in modern Iran, it is known as Daryā-e Khazar. Ancient Arabic sources refer to it as Baḥr Gīlān meaning "the Gilan Sea". Turkic languages refer to the lake as Khazar Sea. In Turkmen, the name is Hazar deňizi, in Azeri, it is Xəzər dənizi, in modern Turkish, it is Hazar denizi. In all these cases, the second word means "sea", the first word refers to the historical Khazars who had a large empire based to the north of the Caspian Sea between the 7th and 10th centuries. An exception is Kazakh, where it is called Kaspiy teñizi. Renaissance European maps labelled it as Mar de Bachu, or Mar de Sala. Old Russian sources call it the Khvalis Sea after the name of Khwarezmia. In modern Russian, it is called Каспи́йское мо́ре, Kaspiyskoye more; the Caspian Sea, like the Black Sea, is a remnant of the ancient Paratethys Sea. Its seafloor is, therefore, a standard oceanic basalt and not a continental granite body.
It became landlocked about 5.5 million years ago due to a fall in sea level. During warm and dry climatic periods, the landlocked sea dried up, depositing evaporitic sediments like halite that were covered by wind-blown deposits and were sealed off as an evaporite sink when cool, wet climates refilled the basin. Due to the current inflow of fresh water in the north, the Caspian Sea water is fresh in its northern portions, getting more brackish toward the south, it is most saline on the Iranian shore. The mean salinity of the Caspian is one third that of Earth's oceans; the Garabogazköl embayment, which dried up when water flow from the main body of the Caspian was blocked in the 1980s but has since been restored exceeds oceanic salinity by a factor of 10. The Caspian Sea is the largest inland body of water in the world and accounts for 40 to 44% of the total lacustrine waters of the world; the coastlines of the Caspian are shared by Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The Caspian is divided into three distinct physical regions: the Northern and Southern Caspian.
The Northern–Middle boundary is the Mangyshlak Threshold, which runs through Chechen Island and Cape Tiub-Karagan. The Middle–Southern boundary is the Apsheron Threshold, a sill of tectonic origin between the Eurasian continent and an oceanic remnant, that runs through Zhiloi Island and Cape Kuuli; the Garabogazköl Bay is the saline eastern inlet of the Caspian, part of Turkmenistan and at times has been a lake in its own right due to the isthmus that cuts it off from the Caspian. Differences between the three regions are dramatic; the Northern Caspian only includes the Caspian shelf, is shallow. The sea noticeably drops off towards the Middle Caspian; the Southern Caspian is the deepest, with oceanic depths of over 1,000 metres exceeding the depth of other reg
Circassia is a region in the North Caucasus and along the northeast shore of the Black Sea. It is the ancestral homeland of the Circassian people; the name Circassia is a Latinisation of Cherkess, the Turkic name for the Adyghe people and according to R. G. Latham originated in the 15th century with medieval Genoese merchants and travellers to Circassia. Another opinion is that "Circassia" and "Cherkess" are distorted variants of Kerketh or Toreatae, one of the names of the tribes of the Adyghe people; the name Cherkess is traditionally applied to the Adyghe by neighbouring Turkic peoples. Another historical name for the country was Zyx or the Zygii, who were described by the ancient Greek intellectual Strabo as a nation to the north of Colchis. At the end of the 15th century, a detailed description of Circassia and of its inhabitants was made by Genoese traveller and ethnographer Giorgio Interiano. Circassia was located near the northeastern Black Sea coast. Before the Russian conquest of the Caucasus, it covered the entire fertile plateau and the steppe of the northwestern region of the Caucasus, with an estimated population of between 3 and 4 million.
Circassia's historical great range extended from the Taman Peninsula in the west, to the town of Mozdok in today's North Ossetia–Alania in the east. Circassia covered the southern half of today's Krasnodar Krai, the Republic of Adygea, Karachay-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, parts of North Ossetia–Alania and Stavropol Krai, bounded by the Kuban River on the north which separated it from the Russian Empire. Sochi is considered by many Circassians as their traditional capital city. According to Circassians, the 2014 Winter Olympic village is built in an area of mass graves of Circassians after their defeat by the Russians in 1864. 1237 – Historian Rashid-ad-Din in the Persian Chronicles, wrote that the Circassian king Tukar was killed in battle against the Mongols. 1333 – In his letter, Pope John XXII, the Rome Pontiff thanks the Governor of Circassians for his assistance in implementing the Christian faith among the Adygs. Verzacht's power and status was so high that his example was followed by the rest of the Circassian princes: They took the Roman Catholic faith.
1471 – A contract was signed between the ruler of Circassia and the ruler of Caffa, naming another ruler Zichia - "Petrezok, the paramount lord of Zichia". Under the contract, Zichia would supply large quantities of grain in the Cаffа; the region was famed for its beautiful women, many of whom were married to the Ottoman sultan and Persian Shahs and had influential positions in the Imperial Harem. Most of the population was expelled from their country to the neighboring Ottoman Empire in the late 19th century after the Russian–Circassian War in the Circassian genocide. Today, about 700,000 Circassians remain in historical Circassia in today's Russia; the 2010 Russian Census recorded 718,727 Circassians, of which 516,826 are Kabardians, 124,835 are Adyghe proper, 73,184 are Cherkess and 3,882 Shapsugs. The largest Circassian population resides in Turkey. In other countries like Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Serbia and Israel Circassian population exists, but is smaller Circassian nationalism has only developed and calls for a restoration of the native homelands.
Under Russian and Soviet rule and tribal divisions between Circassians were promoted, resulting in several different statistical names being used for various parts of the Circassian people. There is an effort among Circassians to unite under the name Circassian in Russian Censuses to reflect and revive the concept of the Circassian nation; the majority of the diaspora tends to call itself "Circassian". Bullough, Oliver. Let Our Fame Be Great: Journeys Among the Defiant People of the Caucasus. Allen Lane, 2010. ISBN 978-1846141416 Jaimoukha, Amjad; the Circassians: A Handbook, London: Routledge, New York: Routledge & Palgrave, 2001. ISBN 978-0700706440 Jaimoukha, Amjad. Circassian Culture and Folklore: Hospitality, Cuisine and Music. Bennett & Bloom, 2010. ISBN 978-1898948407 Richmond, Walter; the Circassian Genocide, Rutgers University Press, 2013. ISBN 9780813560694 Caucasian highlanders. Everyday life of the Caucasian highlanders; the 19th century. Moscow: Molodaya Gvardiy, 2003. ISBN 5-235-02585-7 Journal of a residence in Circassia during the years 1837, 1838, 1839 - Bell, James Stanislaus
Central Asia stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. The region consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, it is colloquially referred to as "the stans" as the countries considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of". Central Asia has a population of about 72 million, consisting of five republics: Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, a part of South Asia, is sometimes included in Central Asia. Central Asia has been tied to its nomadic peoples and the Silk Road, it has acted as a crossroads for the movement of people and ideas between Europe, Western Asia, South Asia, East Asia. The Silk Road connected Muslim lands with the people of Europe and China; this crossroads position has intensified the conflict between tribalism and traditionalism and modernization. In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, Central Asia was predominantly Iranian, populated by Eastern Iranian-speaking Bactrians, Sogdians and the semi-nomadic Scythians and Dahae.
After expansion by Turkic peoples, Central Asia became the homeland for the Kazakhs, Tatars, Turkmen and Uyghurs. From the mid-19th century until the end of the 20th century, most of Central Asia was part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, both Slavic-majority countries, the five former Soviet "-stans" are still home to about 7 million ethnic Russians and 500,000 Ukrainians; the idea of Central Asia as a distinct region of the world was introduced in 1843 by the geographer Alexander von Humboldt. The borders of Central Asia are subject to multiple definitions. Built political geography and geoculture are two significant parameters used in the scholarly literature about the definitions of the Central Asia; the most limited definition was the official one of the Soviet Union, which defined Middle Asia as consisting of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, hence omitting Kazakhstan. This definition was often used outside the USSR during this period. However, the Russian culture has two distinct terms: Средняя Азия and Центральная Азия.
Soon after independence, the leaders of the four former Soviet Central Asian Republics met in Tashkent and declared that the definition of Central Asia should include Kazakhstan as well as the original four included by the Soviets. Since this has become the most common definition of Central Asia; the UNESCO History of the Civilizations of Central Asia, published in 1992, defines the region as "Afghanistan, northeastern Iran and central Pakistan, northern India, western China and the former Soviet Central Asian republics."An alternative method is to define the region based on ethnicity, in particular, areas populated by Eastern Turkic, Eastern Iranian, or Mongolian peoples. These areas include Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the Turkic regions of southern Siberia, the five republics, Afghan Turkestan. Afghanistan as a whole, the northern and western areas of Pakistan and the Kashmir Valley of India may be included; the Tibetans and Ladakhi are included. Insofar, most of the mentioned peoples are considered the "indigenous" peoples of the vast region.
Central Asia is sometimes referred to as Turkestan. There are several places that claim to be the geographic center of Asia, for example Kyzyl, the capital of Tuva in the Russian Federation, a village 200 miles north of Ürümqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region of China. Central Asia is an large region of varied geography, including high passes and mountains, vast deserts, treeless, grassy steppes; the vast steppe areas of Central Asia are considered together with the steppes of Eastern Europe as a homogeneous geographical zone known as the Eurasian Steppe. Much of the land of Central Asia is too rugged for farming; the Gobi desert extends from the foot of the Pamirs, 77° E, to the Great Khingan Mountains, 116°–118° E. Central Asia has the following geographic extremes: The world's northernmost desert, at Buurug Deliin Els, Mongolia, 50°18' N; the Northern Hemisphere's southernmost permafrost, at Erdenetsogt sum, Mongolia, 46°17' N. The world's shortest distance between non-frozen desert and permafrost: 770 km.
The Eurasian pole of inaccessibility. A majority of the people earn a living by herding livestock. Industrial activity centers in the region's cities. Major rivers of the region include the Amu Darya, the Syr Darya, the Hari River and the Murghab River. Major bodies of water include the Aral Sea and Lake Balkhash, both of which are part of the huge west-central Asian endorheic basin that includes the Caspian Sea. Both of these bodies of water have shrunk in recent decades due to diversion of water from rivers that feed them for irrigation and industrial purposes. Water is an valuable resource in arid Central Asia and can lead to rather significant international disputes. Central Asia is bounded on the north by the forests of Siberia; the northern half of Cent
Fort Shevchenko is a military-base town and administrative centre of Tupkaragan District in Mangystau Region of Kazakhstan on the eastern shore of Caspian Sea. Primary industries include the extraction of stone. Population: 5,559; the city was founded as a military stronghold by the Imperial Russian Navy. Until 1857 it was known from 1857-1939 as Fort Aleksandrovskii, it was named for Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko, assigned to military service here during his exile. Today the town is used by the Kazakhstan Navy as a base; the coat of arms of Fort Alexandrovsky was approved October 22, 1908, along with other arms of the Transcaspian field: It is black and silver depicting the fortress and two fish. Fort Alexandrovsky was the site of naval action on 21 May 1919, when a Squadron of the British Caspian Flotilla attacked the port. There are several landmarks of significance; the Shevchenko Memorial Museum opened in 1932 near. There are some remnants of the fortress, a monument to Shevchenko and a state grave of Civil War heroes.
31 km from the city is the necropolis Beysenbay and up the coast the site Bautino. Media related to Fort-Shevchenko at Wikimedia Commons
Kazakhstan the Republic of Kazakhstan, is the world's largest landlocked country, the ninth largest in the world, with an area of 2,724,900 square kilometres. It is a transcontinental country located in Asia. Kazakhstan is the dominant nation of Central Asia economically, generating 60% of the region's GDP through its oil and gas industry, it has vast mineral resources. Kazakhstan is a democratic, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. Kazakhstan shares borders with Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, adjoins a large part of the Caspian Sea; the terrain of Kazakhstan includes flatlands, taiga, rock canyons, deltas, snow-capped mountains, deserts. Kazakhstan has an estimated 18.3 million people as of 2018. Given its large land area, its population density is among the lowest, at less than 6 people per square kilometre; the capital is Astana, where it was moved in 1997 from the country's largest city. The territory of Kazakhstan has been inhabited by groups included the nomadic groups and empires.
In antiquity, the nomadic Scythians have inhabited the land and the Persian Achaemenid Empire expanded towards the southern territory of the modern country. Turkic nomads who trace their ancestry to many Turkic states such as Turkic Khaganate etc have inhabited the country throughout the country's history. In the 13th century, the territory joined the Mongolian Empire under Genghis Khan. By the 16th century, the Kazakh emerged as a distinct group, divided into three jüz; the Russians began advancing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th century, by the mid-19th century, they nominally ruled all of Kazakhstan as part of the Russian Empire. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganised several times. In 1936, it was made part of the Soviet Union. Kazakhstan was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence during the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first President of Kazakhstan, was characterized as an authoritarian, his government was accused of numerous human rights violations, including suppression of dissent and censorship of the media.
Nazarbayev resigned in March 2019, with Senate Chairman Kassym-Jomart Tokayev taking office as Interim President. Kazakhstan has worked to develop its economy its dominant hydrocarbon industry. Human Rights Watch says that "Kazakhstan restricts freedom of assembly and religion", other human rights organisations describe Kazakhstan's human rights situation as poor. Kazakhstan's 131 ethnicities include Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Germans and Uyghurs. Islam is the religion of about 70% of the population, with Christianity practised by 26%. Kazakhstan allows freedom of religion, but religious leaders who oppose the government are suppressed; the Kazakh language is the state language, Russian has equal official status for all levels of administrative and institutional purposes. Kazakhstan is a member of the United Nations, WTO, CIS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Eurasian Economic Union, CSTO, OSCE, OIC, TURKSOY; the name "Kazakh" comes from the ancient Turkic word qaz, "to wander", reflecting the Kazakhs' nomadic culture.
The name "Cossack" is of the same origin. The Persian suffix -stan means "land" or "place of", so Kazakhstan can be translated as "land of the wanderers". Though traditionally referring only to ethnic Kazakhs, including those living in China, Turkey and other neighbouring countries, the term "Kazakh" is being used to refer to any inhabitant of Kazakhstan, including non-Kazakhs. Kazakhstan has been inhabited since the Paleolithic. Pastoralism developed during the Neolithic as the region's climate and terrain are best suited for a nomadic lifestyle; the Kazakh territory was a key constituent of the Eurasian Steppe route, the ancestor of the terrestrial Silk Roads. Archaeologists believe. During recent prehistoric times Central Asia was inhabited by groups like the Proto-Indo-European Afanasievo culture early Indo-Iranians cultures such as Andronovo, Indo-Iranians such as the Saka and Massagetae. Other groups included the nomadic Scythians and the Persian Achaemenid Empire in the southern territory of the modern country.
In 329 BC, Alexander the Great and his Macedonian army fought in the Battle of Jaxartes against the Scythians along the Jaxartes River, now known as the Syr Darya along the southern border of modern Kazakhstan. The Cuman entered the steppes of modern-day Kazakhstan around the early 11th century, where they joined with the Kipchak and established the vast Cuman-Kipchak confederation. While ancient cities Taraz and Hazrat-e Turkestan had long served as important way-stations along the Silk Road connecting Asia and Europe, true political consolidation began only with the Mongol rule of the early 13th century. Under the Mongol Empire, the largest in world history, administrative districts were established; these came under the rule of the emergent Kazakh Khanate. Throughout this period, traditional nomadic life and a livestock-