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The Republic of Uzbekistan is a Central Asian nation that includes the largest part of the Aral Sea, which is shared with Afghanistan, Kazakhstan. Bordering nations include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

Other lakes within Uzbekistan include Aydar Lake, Lake Charvak, Sarygamysh Lake, Tuzkan Lake, Akchakol Lake, Arnasay Lakes, Ayazkala Lake, Batakol Lake, Karateren Lake, Tudakul Lake, and Zhyltyrbas Lake.

Two of the largest mountain ranges in Central Asia, the Pamirs and the Tien Shan, are partly in Uzbekistan, but most of the country is taken up with the Kyzyl Kum Desert, situated between the Amudarya River and the Syrdarya River. Thus, only about 10% of its land is irrigated, which are the river valleys and oases that host the country's cities and the bulk of its population.

The Karakalpak Autonomous Republic, in western Uzbekistan, accounts for 37% of the country's land mass but less than 6% of its population, while the Ferghana Valley, in the east, takes up only 5.1% of its territory but houses about 30% of the population.

Uzbekistan's mountain ranges, although not high, split the country into different regions, particularly in the south and east, and make travel between them difficult. Mountains nearly surround the Ferghana Valley, as well as its smaller valleys in the south, forming natural barriers between Jizzakh, Samarkand, and Shakhrisabz. The desert separates Khoresm from the rest of the country. Although its rivers are not easily navigable, they form communication lines for travelers to follow on land.

The curious, sprawling shape of Uzbekistan reflects the desire on the part of the Soviet Union to give its newly formed Soviet nations their own land, but without the intention of dividing the people of the USSR. Drawn for administrative purposes, these borders became a reality in 1991 when these Soviet states became independent nations.

The climate of Uzbekistan is hot during the summer, with unpredictable winters, and very little rain. The average high temperatures in the summer are above 100 degrees F, while winter temperatures are generally above 30 degrees F. Spring and fall tend to be milder. In the desert and mountain areas, the climate is more extreme.

Ethnic Uzbeks make up about 70% of the population, but Uzbekistan includes Russian, Tajik, Kazakh, Karakalpak, Korean, Jewish, Armenian, and Tartar communities. The Uzbeks themselves are made up of various ethnicities that came together under one name in the early 20th century.

The dominant religion in Uzbekistan is Islam, which claims more than 95% of its population, the largest minority religion being Russian Orthodox Christian. There was once a sizable Jewish community in Uzbekistan, but most of them emigrated to Israel or the United States in the late 1980s, although a few smaller communities remain.

Uzbek is the common language of the country, although Russian is widely used. There are no specific language requirements for citizenship.

The original inhabitants of the region now known as Uzbekistan were probably the Scythians. They constructed an irrigation system along the rivers in the 1st millennium BC. The first cities, Bukhara and Samarkand, were established as centers of government during this period.

In 327 BC, Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire, which included Uzbekistan. Resistance to Macedonian rule was fierce, however. Various Persian empires ruled the area, among others.

In the 8th century AD, the land between the Amudarya and Syrdarya rivers, then known as Transoxiana, was taken over by Arab invaders, who eventually developed notable scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, poets, and artists. Transoxiana became part of the Samanid State in the 9th and 10th centuries.

The Mongol invasions and eventual conquest by Genghis Khan displaced many of the Iranian-speaking people in the region, but also resulted in wanton destruction and mass murders. Following the death of Genghis Khan in 1227, his empire was divided among various family members, but most of Transoxiana remained in the hands of the Khan family. In the 14th century, it broke up into several parts, and the dominant power in Transoxiana was Timur, a chieftain who was not a descendant of Genghis Khan, but he went on to conquer all of western Central Asia, and invaded Russia before dying during an invasion of China in 1405, after which his kingdom split.

In the 1800s, the Russian Empire expanded into Central Asia, eventually resulting in the creation of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic in 1924, which became independent in 1991 after a failed coup attempt in Moscow. The government of Uzbekistan is a unitary authoritarian presidential republic.

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