Kazakhstan (Republic of Kazakhstan)
|Flag of Kazakhstan
The country dominates Central Asia economically and politically, generating 60 percent of the region's GDP, primarily through its oil and gas industry; it also has vast mineral resources. Officially, it is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage, and has the highest Human Development Index ranking in the region. Kazakhstan is a member state of the United Nations, World Trade Organization, Commonwealth of Independent States, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Eurasian Economic Union, Collective Security Treaty Organization, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Organization of Turkic States, and International Organization of Turkic Culture.
The territory of Kazakhstan has historically been inhabited by nomadic groups and empires. In antiquity, the ancient Iranian nomadic Scythians inhabited the land, and the Achaemenid Persian Empire expanded towards the southern territory of the modern country. Turkic nomads, who trace their ancestry to many Turkic states such as the First Turkic Khaganate and the Second Turkic Khaganate, have inhabited the country from as early as the 6th century. In the 13th century, the territory was subjugated by the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan. In the 15th century, as a result of disintegration of Golden Horde, the Kazakh Khanate was established on much of the lands that would later form the territory of modern Kazakhstan.
By the 18th century, Kazakh Khanate disintegrated into three jüz which were absorbed and conquered by the Russian Empire; by the mid-19th century, the Russians nominally ruled all of Kazakhstan as part of the Russian Empire and liberated all of the slaves that the Kazakhs had captured in 1859. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution and subsequent outbreak of the Russian Civil War, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganized several times. In 1936, it was established as the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic within the Soviet Union. Kazakhstan was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence during the dissolution of the Soviet Union from 1988 to 1991. Human rights organizations have described the Kazakh government as authoritarian, and regularly describe Kazakhstan's human rights situation as poor.
The English word Kazakh, meaning a member of the Kazakh people, derives from казах. The native name is қазақ. It might originate from the Turkic word verb qaz-, 'to wander', reflecting the Kazakhs' nomadic culture. The term 'Cossack' is of the same origin. The Persian suffix -stan means "land" or "place of", so Kazakhstan (Қазақстан) can be literally translated as "land of the wanderers".
In Turko-Persian sources, the term Özbek-Qazaq first appeared during the middle of the 16th century, in the Tarikh-i-Rashidi by Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat, a Chagatayid prince of Kashmir. In this manuscript, the author locates Kazakh in the eastern part of Desht-i Qipchaq. According to Vasily Bartold, the Kazakhs likely began using that name during the 15th century.
Though Kazakh traditionally referred only to ethnic Kazakhs, including those living in China, Russia, Turkey, Uzbekistan and other neighbouring countries, the term is increasingly being used to refer to any inhabitant of Kazakhstan, including residents of other ethnicities.
Currency / Language