The Uzbekistan Portal

Uzbekistan, officially the Republic of Uzbekistan, is a doubly landlocked country located in Central Asia. It is surrounded by five countries: Kazakhstan to the north, Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, Tajikistan to the southeast, Afghanistan to the south, and Turkmenistan to the southwest, making it one of only two doubly landlocked countries on Earth, the other being Liechtenstein. Uzbekistan is part of the Turkic world, as well as a member of the Organization of Turkic States. Uzbek is the majority language, while Russian is widely spoken and understood. Islam is the predominant religion, and most Uzbeks are Sunni Muslims.

The first recorded settlers in the land of what is modern Uzbekistan were Eastern Iranian nomads, known as Scythians, who founded kingdoms in Khwarazm, Bactria, and Sogdia in the 8th–6th centuries BC, as well as Fergana and Margiana in the 3rd century BC – 6th century AD. The area was incorporated into the Achaemenid Empire and, after a period of Greco-Bactrian rule, was ruled by the Parthian Empire and later by the Sasanian Empire, until the Muslim conquest of Persia in the seventh century. The early Muslim conquests and the subsequent Samanid Empire converted most of the people into adherents of Islam. During this period, cities began to grow rich from the Silk Road, and became a center of the Islamic Golden Age. The local Khwarazmian dynasty was destroyed by the Mongol invasion in the 13th century, leading to a dominance by Turkic peoples. Timur (Tamerlane) in the 14th century established the Timurid Empire. Its capital was Samarkand, which became a centre of science under the rule of Ulugh Beg, giving birth to the Timurid Renaissance. The territories of the Timurid dynasty were conquered by Uzbek Shaybanids in the 16th century. Conquests by Emperor Babur towards the east led to the foundation of the Mughal Empire in India. All of Central Asia was gradually incorporated into the Russian Empire during the 19th century, with Tashkent becoming the political center of Russian Turkestan. In 1924, national delimitation created the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic as a republic of the Soviet Union. It declared independence as the Republic of Uzbekistan in 1991. (Full article...)

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On 13 May 2005, protests erupted in Andijan, Uzbekistan. At one point, troops from the Uzbek National Security Service (SNB) fired into a crowd of protesters. Estimates of those killed on 13 May range from 187, the official count of the government, to several hundred. A defector from the SNB alleged that 1,500 were killed. The bodies of many of those who died were allegedly hidden in mass graves following the massacre.

Three narratives concerning the events exist:

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