Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyz Republic)
|Flag of Kyrgyzstan
Ethnic Kyrgyz make up the majority of the country's 6.6 million people, followed by significant minorities of Uzbeks and Russians. The Kyrgyz language is closely related to other Turkic languages.
Kyrgyzstan's history spans a variety of cultures and empires. Although geographically isolated by its highly mountainous terrain, Kyrgyzstan has been at the crossroads of several great civilizations as part of the Silk Road along with other commercial routes. Inhabited by a succession of tribes and clans, Kyrgyzstan has periodically fallen under larger domination, for example the Turkic nomads, who trace their ancestry to many Turkic states. It was first established as the Yenisei Kyrgyz Khaganate later in the 13th century. Kyrgyzstan was conquered by the Mongols; it regained independence, but was later invaded by Dzungar Khanate. After the fall of Dzhungars, Kyrgyz and Kipchaks were an integral part of Kokand Khanate. In 1876, Kyrgyzstan became part of the Russian Empire, and in 1936, the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic was formed to become a constituent republic of the Soviet Union. Following Mikhail Gorbachev's democratic reforms in the USSR, in 1990 pro-independence candidate Askar Akayev was elected president. On 31 August 1991, Kyrgyzstan declared independence from Moscow and a democratic government was established. Kyrgyzstan attained sovereignty as a nation state after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
After independence, Kyrgyzstan was officially a unitary presidential republic; after the Tulip Revolution it became a unitary parliamentary republic, although it gradually developed an executive president and was governed as a semi-presidential republic before reverting to a presidential system in 2021. Throughout its existence, the country has continued to endure ethnic conflicts, revolts, economic troubles, transitional governments and political conflict.
Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organisation of Turkic States, the Türksoy community and the United Nations. It is a developing country ranked 118th in the Human Development Index, and is the second poorest country in Central Asia. The country's transitional economy is heavily dependent on deposits of gold, coal and uranium.
Kyrgyz is derived from the Turkic word for "We are forty", believed to refer to the forty clans of Manas, a legendary hero who united forty regional clans. -Stan is a suffix in Persian meaning "place of".
The 40-ray sun on the flag of Kyrgyzstan is a reference to those same forty tribes and the graphical element in the sun's center depicts the wooden crown, called tunduk, of a yurt—a portable dwelling traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia.
The country's official name is "Kyrgyz Republic", used in international arenas and foreign relations. In the English-speaking world, the spelling Kyrgyzstan is commonly used, while its former name Kirghizia is rarely used.
Currency / Language