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Uzbekistan is the only landlocked country in Central Asia and one of only two such countries worldwide, along with Liechtenstein. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south. And before 1991, it was part of the Soviet Union.
Once part of the Persian Samanid and later Timurid empires, the region which today includes the Republic of Uzbekistan, which was conquered in the early 16th century by nomads who spoke an Eastern Turkic language. This region was added into the Russian Empire in the 19th century, and in 1924, it became a republic of the Soviet Union, known as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (Uzbek SSR). It became the independent Republic of Uzbekistan on 31 August 1991 (officially, from the following day). Most of Uzbekistan’s population today belong to the Uzbek ethnic group and speak the Uzbek language, one of the family of Turkic languages.