Kazakhstan

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Kazakhstan (/ˌkɑːzɑːkˈstɑːn/  ( listen)) (Kazakh: Қазақстан, Qazaqstan, قازاقستان, pronounced [qɑzɑqstɑ́n]; Russian: Казахстан [kəzɐxˈstan]) officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country located in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of 2,727,300 km² is greater than Western Europe.[6][7] Kazakhstan is one of the six independent Turkic States. It is neighbored clockwise from the north by Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and also borders on a significant part of the Caspian Sea. The capital was moved in 1997 from Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, to Astana.

Vast in size, the terrain of Kazakhstan ranges from flatlands, steppes, taigas, rock-canyons, hills, deltas, and snow-capped mountains to deserts. With 16.4 million people (2010 estimate)[8] Kazakhstan has the 62nd largest population in the world, though its population density is less than 6 people per square kilometre (15 per sq. mi.).

For most of its history, the territory of modern-day Kazakhstan has been inhabited by nomadic tribes. By the 16th century the Kazakhs emerged as a distinct group, divided into three hordes. The Russians began advancing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th century, and by the mid-19th century all of Kazakhstan was part of the Russian Empire. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, and subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganized several times before becoming the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936, a part of the USSR. During the 20th century, Kazakhstan was the site of major Soviet projects, including Khrushchev's Virgin Lands campaign, the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and the Semipalatinsk "Polygon", the USSR's primary nuclear weapon testing site.

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