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Country, Central Asia. The autonomous republic of Qoraqalpoghiston (Karakalpakstan) is within its borders. Area: 172,700 sq mi (447,400 sq km). Population: (2009 est.) 27,606,000. Capital: Tashkent. The Uzbeks constitute three-fourths of the population; Russians, Tajiks, Kazakhs, Tatars, and Karakalpaks make up the remainder. Languages: Uzbek (official), Russian, Tajik, Kazakh. Religions: Islam (predominantly Sunni); also Eastern Orthodox. Currency: sum. Uzbekistan lies largely between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers. Although it contains fertile oases and high mountain ranges in the south and east, almost four-fifths of the country consists of flat, sunbaked lowlands. Two-thirds of the Aral Sea extends into Uzbekistan. It is a major producer and exporter of natural gas and has sizable reserves of petroleum, coal, and various metallic ores. It is a leading grower of cotton and also produces fruits and vegetables and Karakul sheep. It is the main manufacturer of machinery and heavy equipment in Central Asia. It is a republic with two legislative bodies; its head of state and government is the president, assisted by the prime minister. A grandson of Mongol leader Genghis Khan received the territory as his inheritance in the 13th century. The Mongols ruled over a number of Turkic tribes, who would eventually intermarry with the Mongols to form the Uzbeks and other Turkic peoples of Central Asia. In the early 16th century a federation of Mongol-Uzbeks invaded and occupied settled regions, including an area called Transoxania that would become the permanent Uzbek homeland. By the early 19th century the region was dominated by the khanates of Khiva, Bukhara, and Kokand, all of which eventually succumbed to Russian domination. The Uzbek S.S.R. was created in 1924. In June 1990 Uzbekistan became the first Central Asian republic to declare sovereignty. It achieved full independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Its economy subsequently became the strongest in Central Asia.
Variants of UZBEKISTAN
Uzbekistan officially Republic of Uzbekistan
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Uzbekistan, visit Britannica.com.