In news– More than fifteen people have been killed during government crackdown on protests in Uzbekistan’s autonomous province of Karakalpakstan.
- The name Karakalpakstan is derived from the Karakalpak people, an ethnic minority group of around 2 million.
- Karakalpakstan, which constitutes approximately 40 percent of Uzbekistani territory, is an ethnically diverse region populated largely by ethnic minorities – Karakalpaks and Kazakhs, who share a lot of cultural and linguistic similarities.
- Karakalpak translates to ‘black hat’, referring to their traditional headgear.
- They consider themselves to be a distinct cultural group in Uzbekistan.
- Their Turkic language – Karakalpak – is closely related to Kazak and is one of the 7 languages of instruction in Uzbekistan’s public schools.
- In their genealogical narrative, the Karakalpaks claim to share a common point of origin with the neighbouring Kazakhs, Uzbeks and Turkmen, but believe that over time they diverged from the others.
- The Karakalpak people settled around the Amu Darya (a river that feeds into the Aral Sea) in the 18th century.
- By 1873, they partly came under Russian rule and by 1920 were completely incorporated into the Soviet Union.
- Their region, Karakalpakstan, was an autonomous area within the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (Russia during 1917-1922), before it was made a part of Uzbekistan as the Karakalpak Autonomous Socialist Republic (ASSR) in 1936.
- When Uzbekistan declared its independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991, Karakalpak ASSR was re-established as the Republic of Karakalpakstan in December of the same year.
- Karakalpakstan was formally recognized as an autonomous republic in Uzbekistan’s constitution of 1992, and has the right to secede from on the basis of a nation-wide referendum.
- It is a Central Asian nation and former Soviet republic.
- It is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and surrounded by five landlocked countries: Kazakhstan to the north; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Tajikistan to the southeast; Afghanistan to the south; and Turkmenistan to the south-west.
- Its capital and largest city is Tashkent.
- Uzbekistan is part of the Turkic world, as well as a member of the Organization of Turkic States.
- The Uzbek language is the majority-spoken language in Uzbekistan, other languages include the Russian language and the Tajik language, in the region of Samarkand and Bukhara.
- Islam is the predominant religion in Uzbekistan, most Uzbeks being Sunni Muslims.
- It includes 12 regions and the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan.
- It’s known for its mosques, mausoleums and other sites linked to the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean.
Source: The Indian Express