Uzbekistan - Country history and economic development

100s B.C. The territory that is now Uzbekistan becomes a part of the Silk Road, linking China with the Middle East and Europe.

600s A.D. Arab invaders conquer Uzbekistan and introduce Islam.

1300s. The land is ruled by the empire of Tamerlane. Samarqand becomes the capital in 1369. Nomadic Turkic tribes form the Uzbek confederation and start moving south into Uzbekistan.

1700s. The Kokand principality emerges in the Fergana Valley. The Turkic-speaking Karakalpaks in the Amu Darya delta are subjugated by the new khanate of Khiva. Feudal agricultural economy develops.

1850. Russian forces march on Kokand, Tashkent, Bukhoro, and Khiva and take them over by 1876. A modern commodity economy starts developing but many locals resent the non-Muslim administration and colonists.

1916. Burdened with Russian demands to aid in its World War I effort, the locals revolt against a military draft but are suppressed.

1917. The Bolsheviks seize power in Russia and establish new political divisions in central Asia ruled by local soviets (councils), which are opposed by guerrillas of the Action for National Liberation party (called Basmachi by the Russians).

1918. Southern central Asia, including part of Uzbekistan, is organized into the Turkistan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR) within the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic.

1919. The Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic is carved out from Turkestan (with the Bukharan and the Khorezmian republics), officially becoming a republic of the Soviet Union in 1922.

1928. Land is collectivized into state farms.

1931. The Uzbek S.S.R. is enlarged with the addition of the Karakalpak ASSR.

1941. In World War II, many industries are relocated to Uzbekistan from the western regions of the Soviet Union. Many non-Uzbek nationals immigrate to the republic.

1960s. Excessive irrigation brings an ecological disaster in the Aral Sea basin.

1991. Uzbekistan declares independence from the Soviet Union and joins the new Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Presidential elections, in which most opposition groups are not allowed to participate, leave Islam Karimov—the incumbent president and former communist leader—in office. Karimov establishes an authoritarian regime, banning opposition parties and claiming that more democracy would render the country vulnerable to Islamic fundamentalism.

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