Capital: Ashgabat (Ashkhabad)
Brief History of Turkmenistan:
Turkmenistan has been inhabited since ancient times. Many times armies moved through the area on their way to Asia or Central Europe. In the 4th century BC, Alexander the Great conquered the land. Later the land was conquered by the Parthian Kingdom and then by the Arabs in the 7th century.
In the 11th century the Seljuk Empire emerged and the Turkish gained power in the area until Genghis Khan and the Mongols arrived and took control.
In 1894, the Russian empire had absorbed Turkmenistan. After the Russian Revolution, in 1924 Turkmenistan became a republic of the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the country gained full independence in 1991. The first president was Saparmyrat Niyazov who was declared president for life.
The Geography of Turkmenistan
Total Size: 488,100 square km
Size Comparison: slightly larger than California
Geographical Coordinates: 40 00 N, 60 00 E
World Region or Continent: Asia
General Terrain: flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes rising to mountains in the south; low mountains along border with Iran; borders Caspian Sea in west
Geographical Low Point: Vpadina Akchanaya -81 m; note - Sarygamysh Koli is a lake in northern Turkmenistan with a water leve
Geographical High Point: Gora Ayribaba 3,139 m
Climate: subtropical desert
Major cities: ASHGABAT (capital) 637,000 (2009)
The People of Turkmenistan
Type of Government: republic; authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch
Languages Spoken: Turkmen 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%
Independence: 27 October 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
National Holiday: Independence Day, 27 October (1991)
Religions: Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%, unknown 2%
National Symbol: Akhal-Teke horse
National Anthem or Song: Garassyz, Bitarap Turkmenistanyn (Independent, Neutral, Turkmenistan State Anthem)
Economy of Turkmenistan
Major Industries: natural gas, oil, petroleum products, textiles, food processing
Agricultural Products: cotton, grain; livestock
Natural Resources: petroleum, natural gas, sulfur, salt
Major Exports: gas, crude oil, petrochemicals, cotton fiber, textiles
Major Imports: machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs
Currency: Turkmen manat (TMM)
National GDP: $43,340,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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