Uzbekistan

Sharing what is left of the Aral Sea with its neighbor, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan lies on the ancient Silk Road between Asia and Europe. It is the most populous central Asian republic.


Geography:

Arid and semiarid plains in much of the west. 

Fertile, irrigated farmland in the east lies below the peaks of the western Pamirs.

Climate:

Harsh continental climate. 

Summers can be extremely hot and dry; winters are cold. 

People & Society:

Complex ethnic makeup. 

Ex-Communists are in firm control, but traditional social patterns based on clan, religion, and region have reemerged. 

Constitutional measures aim to control the influence of Islam: activities against Islamists have drawn international condemnation. 

Most people live in the fertile east. 

Birth rates are high, and the status of women continues to be low.

Economy:

Highly regulated. 

Reserves of natural gas, oil, coal, gold (has one of the world’s largest gold mines), and other minerals. Cash crop is cotton: requires much irrigation. 

Grain imports necessary.

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