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Turkic language, Uzbeks, Muslim people, Bishkek, Russian Empire

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Kyrgyzstan, officially Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyz Kyrgyz Respublikasy), landlocked republic in the eastern part of Central Asia that is bordered on the north by Kazakhstan, on the east by China, on the south by China and Tajikistan, and on the west by Uzbekistan. Bishkek is the capital and largest city.

The Kyrgyz, a Muslim people who speak a Turkic language that is also called Kyrgyz, constitute a majority of the population of Kyrgyzstan. Uzbeks and Russians form the largest ethnic minorities. Kyrgyzstan became part of the Russian Empire in the late 1800s. In 1924 it became an autonomous region of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and in 1936 its status was upgraded to make it one of the 15 constituent republics of the USSR. Officially known as the Kirgiz Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR), it was also commonly known as Kirgizia. Kyrgyzstan became an independent nation in 1991. In 1993 the country ratified its first post-Soviet constitution.


For younger readers

Cartlidge, Cherese. The Central Asian States. Lucent, 2001. Discussion of Kyrgystan and the other former Soviet Central Asian republics, for readers in grades 6 to 12.

Kort, Michael. Central Asian Republics. Facts on File, 2003. For readers in grade 7 and up.

Lerner Geography Department. Kyrgyzstan: Then & Now. Lerner, 1993. For readers in grades 5 to 8.


Anderson, John. Kyrgyzstan: Central Asia's Island of Democracy? Gordon & Breach, 1999. Introduction to the history, politics, and people of this new Central Asian state.

Allworth, Edward, ed. Central Asia. 130 Years of Russian Dominance, A Historical Overview. Duke University Press, 1994. This book covers five dramatic years (1989-1993) of disintegration of the Soviet Union and of challenges facing the newborn Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan.

Curtis, Glenn E., ed. Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan: Country Studies. Library of Congress, 1997. A concise survey of the history, economy, society, and culture of each country.

Gleason, Gregory. The Central Asian States: Discovering Independence. Westview, 1997. The problems of post-Soviet Central Asia.

Olcott, Martha Brill. Central Asia's New States: Independence, Foreign Policy, and Regional Security. U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 1997. Ethnicity and politics in three breakaway Soviet republics, including Kyrgyzstan.

Rashid, Ahmed. The Resurgence of Central Asia, Islam or Nationalism? Oxford University Press, 1994. An overview of the current problems of the five Central Asian republics from a journalistic rather than an academic standpoint.

Thomas, Paul. The Central Asian States: Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan. Millbrook, 1992. For the younger reader.


Huskey, Eugene, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Professor of Political Science and Director of Russian Studies, Stetson University.

Microsoft Encarta 2009. 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.

Article key phrases:

Turkic language, Uzbeks, Muslim people, Bishkek, Russian Empire, Kyrgyz Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR, autonomous region, Central Asia, largest city, Russians, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, China, Uzbekistan, status, west, east, country, majority

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