Uzbekistan, formally the Republic of Uzbekistan (Uzbek: Ozbekiston Respublikasi), is a Central Asian republic with two geographical borders. It is bounded to the north by Kazakhstan, to the northeast by Kyrgyzstan, to the southeast by Tajikistan, to the south by Afghanistan, and to the southwest by Turkmenistan. Tashkent is the country's capital and biggest city. Uzbekistan is a member of the Organization of Turkic States and a member of the Turkic languages world. Uzbek is the most widely spoken language in Uzbekistan. Islam is the primary religion in Uzbekistan, with the majority of Uzbeks being Sunni Muslims.
Eastern Iranian nomads known as Scythians were the first recorded settlers in what is now Uzbekistan, establishing kingdoms in Khwarazm (8th–6th centuries BC), Bactria (8th–6th centuries BC), Sogdia (8th–6th centuries BC), Fergana (3rd century BC – sixth century AD), and Margiana (3rd century BC – sixth century AD). The territory was integrated into the Iranian Achaemenid Empire and thereafter governed by the Iranian Parthian Empire and, later, the Sasanian Empire until the Muslim invasion of Persia in the seventh century. The Early Muslim conquests and the following Samanid Empire converted the majority of the population, including the local governing elites, to Islam. During this time, towns like Samarkand, Khiva, and Bukhara started to prosper as a result of the Silk Road, becoming a hub of the Islamic Golden Age, with luminaries like Muhammad al-Bukhari, Al-Tirmidhi, al Khwarizmi, al-Biruni, Avicenna, and Omar Khayyam.
The Mongol invasion of the 13th century toppled the indigenous Khwarazmian kingdom, resulting in Turkic supremacy. Timur (Tamerlane), who founded the Timurid Empire in the 14th century, was from Shahrisabz, and his capital was Samarkand, which became a center of knowledge under the authority of Ulugh Beg, giving rise to the Timurid Renaissance. The Timurid dynasty's domains were overrun by Uzbek Shaybanids in the 16th century, shifting the center of power to Bukhara. The territory was divided into three states: Khiva Khanate, Kokand Khanate, and Bukhara Emirate. Emperor Babur's conquests in the east led to the establishment of India's most recent invaders as the Mughal Empire. Throughout the nineteenth century, the Russian Empire steadily absorbed all of Central Asia, with Tashkent serving as the political headquarters of Russian Turkestan. National delimitation established the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic as a separate republic inside the Soviet Union in 1924. On August 31, 1991, with the fall of the Soviet Union, it proclaimed independence as the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan is a secular state governed by a presidential constitutional government. Uzbekistan is divided into 12 regions (vilayats), as well as Tashkent City and one autonomous republic, Karakalpakstan. While non-governmental human rights organizations have labeled Uzbekistan as "an authoritarian state with restricted civil liberties," considerable changes have been implemented during Uzbekistan's second president's administration after the death of the country's first president, Islam Karimov. Relations with neighboring nations Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan have greatly improved as a result of these changes. A 2020 United Nations report found significant progress toward the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
The Uzbek economy is gradually transitioning to a market economy, with an import substitution-based international trade strategy. In September 2017, the country's currency became fully convertible at market values. Uzbekistan is a significant cotton grower and exporter. Uzbekistan has become the greatest electricity generator in Central Asia, thanks to massive power-generation infrastructure from the Soviet period and an abundant supply of natural gas. Standard and Poor's (S&P) and Fitch both assigned the republic a BB- rating from 2018 to 2021. According to the Brookings Institution, Uzbekistan has huge liquid assets, fast economic growth, and minimal governmental debt. The republic's low GDP per capita is one of the constraints holding it back. Uzbekistan is a member of the CIS, the United Nations, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.