Uzbekistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia, formally known as the Republic of Uzbekistan. It is bordered on the north by Kazakhstan, the northeast by Kyrgyzstan, the southeast by Tajikistan, the south by Afghanistan, and the south-west by Turkmenistan and the autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan. It is one of only two doubly landlocked nations, along with Liechtenstein. In ancient times, what is now Uzbekistan was part of the Iranian-speaking Transoxiana and Turan region. Eastern Iranian nomads known as Scythians were the first documented settlers, establishing kingdoms in Khwarazm, Bactria, Sogdia, Fergana, and Margiana. The region was incorporated into the Iranian Achaemenid Empire and governed by the Iranian Parthian Empire and later the Sasanian Empire until the Muslim conquest of Persia in the seventh century, after a period of Macedonian rule. During the early Muslim conquests, the majority of the population, including the local ruling classes, converted to Islam. Cities like Samarkand, Khiva, and Bukhara started to prosper as a result of the Silk Road, and key figures from the Islamic Golden Age emerged, including Muhammad al-Bukhari, Al-Tirmidhi, Ismail Samani, al-Biruni, and Avicenna. The Mongol invasion in the 13th century decimated the local Khwarazmian dynasty, as well as Central Asia as a whole, and the region was subsequently ruled by Turkic peoples. The Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur was born in the city of Shahrisabz, who founded the Timurid Empire in the 14th century and was proclaimed the Supreme Emir of Turan with his capital in Samarkand, which became a center of science under the rule of Ulugh Beg, giving birth to the Timurid Renaissance. In the 16th century, the Uzbek Shaybanids invaded the Timurid dynasty's lands, relocating the center of power to Bukhara. The area was divided into three states: Khiva Khanate, Kokand Khanate, and Bukhara Emirate. Emperor Babur's conquests in the east contributed to the creation of the Mughal Empire, India's most recent invasions. During the 19th century, the Russian Empire eventually absorbed much of Central Asia, with Tashkent serving as the political capital of Russian Turkestan. The Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic was founded as an autonomous republic within the Soviet Union in 1924 as a result of national delimitation. On August 31, 1991, it proclaimed independence as the Republic of Uzbekistan, following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Because of its long history and strategic position, Uzbekistan has a rich cultural heritage. Uzbek is the country's official language, a Turkic language written in a modified Latin script and spoken by around 85% of the population. Russian is widely spoken among ethnic groups and in government. Uzbeks make up 81% of the population, with Russians, Tajiks, Kazakhs, and others making up the rest.