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Brief History of Kazakhstan:
Kazakhstan was originally inhabited by nomadic tribes. In the 13th century the land was invaded by the Mongol Empire and became territories of the Kazakh Khanate. During this time the cities of Taraz and Turkestan were established as trade cities along the Great Silk Road. When the Kazakh Khanate began to break up in the 1700s, the area began to be colonized by the Russian Empire. After the fall of the Russian Empire, the Kazakhs experienced a brief time of independence, but soon became part of the Soviet Union. In 1953, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev started the Virgin Lands program. This was an effort to take Kasakhstan's agricultural based economy and industrialize it.
In 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan became an independent nation. The country has since made great strides in developing a market economy and has had strong economic growth since 2000.
The Geography of Kazakhstan
Total Size: 2,717,300 square km
Size Comparison: slightly less than four times the size of Texas
Geographical Coordinates: 48 00 N, 68 00 E
World Region or Continent: Asia
General Terrain: extends from the Volga to the Altai Mountains and from the plains in western Siberia to oases and desert in Central Asia
Geographical Low Point: Vpadina Kaundy -132 m
Geographical High Point: Khan Tangiri Shyngy (Pik Khan-Tengri) 6,995 m
Climate: continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid
Major cities: Almaty 1.383 million; ASTANA (capital) 650,000 (2009)
The People of Kazakhstan
Type of Government: republic; authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch
Languages Spoken: Kazakh (Qazaq, state language) 64.4%, Russian (official, used in everyday business, designated the language of interethnic communication) 95% (2001 est.)
Independence: 16 December 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
National Holiday: Independence Day, 16 December (1991)
Religions: Muslim 47%, Russian Orthodox 44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%
National Symbol: golden eagle
National Anthem or Song: Menin Qazaqstanim (My Kazakhstan)
Economy of Kazakhstan
Major Industries: oil, coal, iron ore, manganese, chromite, lead, zinc, copper, titanium, bauxite, gold, silver, phosphates, sulfur, iron and steel; tractors and other agricultural machinery, electric motors, construction materials
Agricultural Products: grain (mostly spring wheat), cotton; livestock
Natural Resources: major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, uranium
Major Exports: oil and oil products 58%, ferrous metals 24%, chemicals 5%, machinery 3%, grain, wool, meat, coal (2001)
Major Imports: machinery and equipment 41%, metal products 28%, foodstuffs 8% (2001)
Currency: tenge (KZT)
National GDP: $216,800,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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