geographical name

Country, Central Asia. In the southeast the Kok Shaal-Tau Range, part of the Tien Shan, forms the border with China. Area: 77,182 sq mi (199,900 sq km). Population: (2009 est.) 5,345,000. Capital: Bishkek. The Kyrgyz make up about two-thirds of the population; most of the remainder consists of Uzbeks and Russians. Languages: Kyrgyz, Russian (both official). Religions: Islam (mostly Sunni); also Christianity. Currency: som. Kyrgyzstan is a largely mountainous country. At its eastern edge rises Victory (Pobedy) Peak, which at 24,406 ft (7,439 m) is the country's highest point of elevation. The country's valleys and plains, occupying only one-seventh of the total area, are home to most of its people. The economy is based largely on agriculture, including livestock raising and the cultivation of cereals, potatoes, cotton, and sugar beets. Gold mining and industries such as food processing and the production of machinery are also important. It is a unitary multiparty republic with one legislative house; its head of state and government is the president, assisted by the prime minister. The Kyrgyz, a nomadic people of Central Asia, settled in the Tien Shan region in ancient times. They were conquered by Genghis Khan's son Jöchi in 1207. The area became part of the Qing dynasty of China in the mid-18th century. It came under Russian control in the 19th century, and its long rebellion against Russia (and later the Soviet Union) that began in 1916 resulted in a long period of brutal repression. Kirgiziya became an autonomous province of the Soviet Union in 1924 and was made the Kirgiz S.S.R. in 1936. Kyrgyzstan gained independence in 1991. It subsequently struggled with creating a democratic process and with establishing a stable economy.

Variants of KYRGYZSTAN

Kyrgyzstan officially Kyrgyz Republic

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