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Uzbekistan (alternately Uzbekstan, UZB, or Ozbekistan), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan (Uzbek: O'zbekiston Respublikasi; Cyrillic: Ўзбекистон Республикаси; Russian: Республика Узбекистан), is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia, formerly part of the Soviet Union. 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.

* 1 History
* 2 Geography
* 3 Provinces
* 4 Economy
* 5 Demographics
* 6 Communications
* 7 Transportation
* 8 Military
* 9 Foreign relations
* 10 Culture
* 11 Environment
* 12 Bibliography
* 13 References
* 14 See also
* 15 External links
o 15.1 Official sites

[edit] History

Main article: History of Uzbekistan

The territory of Uzbekistan was already populated in the second millennium BC. Early human tools and monuments have been found in the Ferghana, Tashkent, Bukhara, Khorezm (Khwarezm, Chorasmia) and Samarkand regions.

Alexander the Great conquered Sogdiana and Bactria in 327 BC, marrying Roxana, daughter of a local Bactrian chieftain. However, the conquest was supposedly of little help to Alexander as popular resistance was fierce, causing Alexander's army to be bogged down in the region.

For many centuries the region of Uzbekistan was ruled by Iranian Empires such as the Parthian and Sassanid Empires.

In the fourteenth century AD, Timur, known in the west as Tamerlane, overpowered the Mongols and built an empire. In his military campaigns, Tamerlane reached as far as the Middle East. He defeated Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I, who was captured, and died in captivity.

In the nineteenth century, the Russian Empire began to expand, and spread into Central Asia. The "Great Game" period is generally regarded as running from approximately 1813 to the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907. Following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 a second less intensive phase followed. At the start of the 19th century, there were some 2,000 miles (3,200 km) separating British India and the outlying regions of the Tsarist Russia. Much of the land in between was unmapped.

By the beginning of the twentieth century, Central Asia was firmly in the hands of Russia and despite some early resistance to Bolsheviks, Uzbekistan and the rest of Central Asia became a part of the Soviet Union. On August 31, 1991, Uzbekistan reluctantly declared independence, marking September 1 as a national holiday.

The country now seeks to gradually lessen its dependence on agriculture - it is the world's second-largest exporter of cotton - while developing its mineral and petroleum reserves.

[edit] Geography

Main article: Geography of Uzbekistan
See also: List of cities in Uzbekistan

Map of Uzbekistan
Map of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is approximately the size of Morocco and has an area of 447,400 square kilometers (172,700 sq mi). It is the 56th-largest country.

Uzbekistan stretches 1,425 kilometers (885 mi) from west to east and 930 kilometers (578 mi) from north to south. Bordering Turkmenistan to the southwest, Kazakhstan and the Aral Sea to the north, and Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to the south and east, Uzbekistan is not only one of the larger Central Asian states but also the only Central Asian state to border all the other four. Uzbekistan also shares a short border with Afghanistan to the south.

Uzbekistan is a dry, double-landlocked country; it is one of two double-landlocked countries in the world - the other being Liechtenstein. 10% of its territory is intensely cultivated irrigated river valleys. The highest point in Uzbekistan is Adelunga Toghi at 4,301 meters (14,111 ft).

The Climate in the Republic of Uzbekistan is continental, with little precipitation expected annually (100-200 milimeters, or 3.9-7.9 inches). The average summer temperature tends to be 400C, while the average winter temperature is around -230C. [1]

Major cities include: Bukhara, Samarqand and Tashkent.


Main article: Culture of Uzbekistan
See also: Music of Uzbekistan, Kurash, Islam in Uzbekistan, and Scout Association of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan has a wide mix of ethnic groups and cultures, with the Uzbek being the majority group. In 1995 about 71% of Uzbekistan's population was Uzbek. The chief minority groups were Russians (8%), Tajiks (officially 5%, but believed to be much higher), Kazaks (4%), Tatars (2.5%), and Karakalpaks (2%). It is said however that the number of non-indigenous people living in Uzbekistan is decreasing as Russians and other minority groups slowly leave and Uzbeks return from other parts of the former Soviet Union.

When Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991 it was widely believed that Muslim fundamentalism would spread across the region. The expectation was that an Islamic country long denied freedom of religious practice would undergo a very rapid increase in the expression of its dominant faith. As of 1994 about half of Uzbeks were said to be muslim, though in an official survey few of that number had any real knowledge of the religion or knew how to practice it. However Islam is increasing in the region.

Uzbekistan has a high literacy rate with about 88% of adults above the age of 15 being able to read and write. However with only 76% of the under 15 population currently enrolled in education this figure may drop in the future [citation needed] . Uzbekistan has encountered severe budgeting shortfalls in its education program. The education law of 1992 began the process of theoretical reform, but the physical base has deteriorated, and curriculum revision has been slow.

Uzbek universities churn out almost 600,000 skilled graduates annually.

See also: Education in Uzbekistan

[edit] Environment
This article needs additional references or sources for verification.
Please help this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.(May 2007)

Uzbekistan's environmental situation ought to be a major concern among the international community. Decades of badly thought-out Soviet policies in pursuit of greater cotton production has resulted in a catastrophic scenario. The agricultural industry appears to be the main contributor to the pollution and devastation of the air and water in the country. [30]

The Aral Sea disaster is a classic example. The Aral Sea used to be the fourth largest inland sea on Earth, acting as an influencing factor in the air moisture. [31] Since the 1960s, the decade the misuse of the Aral Sea water began, it has shrunk to less than 50% of its former area, and decreased in volume threefold. Reliable - or even approximate - data has not been collected, stored or provided by any organization or official agency. The numbers of animal deaths and human refugees from the area around the sea can only be guessed at. The question of who is responsible for the crisis - the Soviet scientists and politicians who directed the distribution of water during the sixties, or the post-Soviet politicians who did not allocate sufficient funding for the building of dams and irrigation systems - remains open.

Due to the almost insoluble Aral Sea problem, high salinity is widespread in Uzbekistan. The vast majority of the nation's water resources are used for farming, which consumes nearly 94% of the water usage. [32] This results in a heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers. [33]

[edit] Bibliography

* Chasing the Sea: Lost Among the Ghosts of Empire in Central Asia by Tom Bissell
* A Historical Atlas of Uzbekistan by Aisha Khan
* The Modern Uzbeks From the 14th century to the Present: A Cultural History by Edward A. Allworth
* Nationalism in Uzbekistan: Soviet Republic's Road to Sovereignty by James Critchlow
* Odyssey Guide: Uzbekistan by Calcum Macleod and Bradley Mayhew
* Uzbekistan: Heirs to the Silk Road by Johannes Kalter and Margareta Pavaloi
* "Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?" by Ted Rall
* Murder in Samarkand - A British Ambassador's Controversial Defiance of Tyranny in the War on Terror by Craig Murray

[edit] References

1. ^ July 2007 estimate; CIA World factbook, Uzbekistan
2. ^ 1996 data; CIA World factbook, Uzbekistan
3. ^ D. Carlson, "Uzbekistan: Ethnic Composition and Discriminations", Harvard University, August 2003
4. ^ International Crisis Group, Uzbekistan: Stagnation and Uncertainty, Asia Briefing N°67, 22 August 2007 (free registration needed to view full report)
5. ^ 2003 data; CIA World Factbook, Uzbekistan

* Anora Mahmudova, AlterNet, May 27, 2005, Uzbekistan’s Growing Police State (checked 2005-11-08)
* Manfred Nowak, Radio Free Europe, 2005-06-23, UN Charges Uzbekistan With Post-Andijon Torture,
* Gulnoza Saidazimova, Radio Free Europe, 2005-06-22, Uzbekistan: Tashkent reveals findings on Andijon uprising as victims mourned
* BBC News, 'Harassed' BBC shuts Uzbek office, 2005-10-26 (checked 2005-11-15)
* CIA - The World Factbook — Uzbekistan
* Denial of Justice in Uzbekistan, report to OMCT
* The worst of the worst, the world's most repressive societies, 2005.
* The measures, taken by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the field of providing and encouraging human rights
* Uzbekistan' s Ombudsman reports on 2002 results
* Jeffrey Thomas, US Government Info September 26, 2005 Freedom of Assembly, Association Needed in Eurasia, U.S. Says,
* Robert McMahon, Radio Free Europe, 2005-06-07 Uzbekistan: Report Cites Evidence Of Government 'Massacre' In Andijon
* Amnesty International, public statement "Uzbekistan: Independent international investigation needed into Andizhan events"
* People's Voice, 2005-05-17 Andijan events: truth and lies
* Interview with Akmal Saidov, kreml.org, 2005-10-17 Andijon events are used as a pretext for putting an unprecedented pressure on Uzbekistan
* Worldbank per-country data on GNI and PPP per capita
* UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country Report on Uzbekistan
* Islam Karimov's interview to Rossijskaya Gazeta, 1995-07-07 Principles of Our Reform
* 2005 Index of Economic Freedom, Uzbekistan
* US Department of State, Uzbekistan: 2005 Investment Climate Statement
* The Republic of Uzbekistan Accepts Article VIII Obligations
* US Department of State, 2005-07 Background Note: Uzbekistan
* Asian Development Outlook for 2005, report on Uzbekistan
* IMF , 2005-09-24 Republic of Uzbekistan and the IMF
* Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan report on International Trade
* Uzbekistan: In for the Long Haul: report on the international response to Uzbekistan by the International Crisis Group

[edit] See also

* Agriculture in Uzbekistan
* Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Friendship Bridge
* Companies of Uzbekistan
* Economy of Uzbekistan
* Uzbek cuisine

* Human rights in Uzbekistan
* President of Uzbekistan
* Prime Minister of Uzbekistan
* Politics of Uzbekistan
* Senate of Uzbekistan

* Supreme Court of Uzbekistan
* Trade unions of Uzbekistan
* Transport in Uzbekistan
* Trans-Caspian railway
* Central Asian Union

[edit] External links
Find more information on Uzbekistan by searching Wikipedia's sister projects
Dictionary definitions from Wiktionary
Textbooks from Wikibooks
Quotations from Wikiquote
Source texts from Wikisource
Images and media from Commons
News stories from Wikinews
Learning resources from Wikiversity

[edit] Official sites

* Banknotes of Uzbekistan
* Discover Uzbekistan
* Uzbekistan Government
* Uzbekistan's Ombudsman - Authorized Person for Human Rights of Uzbekistan's Parliament (Oliy Majlis)
* Lower House of Uzbek parliament
* Upper House of Uzbek parliament
* Open Directory Project - Uzbekistan directory category
* Library of Congress - A Country Study: Uzbekistan
* Travel story about Uzbekistan by Ira Spitzer
* Uzbek English online dictionary
* Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty News and Features on Uzbekistan in English.
* Undercover in Uzbekistan Documentary
* Uzbek news web site
* Uzbekistan Daily, news on Uzbekistan
* Uzbekistan travel guide from Wikitravel