Uzbekistan (US: /ʊzˈbɛkᵻˌstæn, -ˌstɑːn/, UK: /ʊzˌbɛkᵻˈstɑːn, ʌz-, -ˈstæn/), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan (Uzbek: Oʻzbekiston Respublikasi, Ўзбекистон Республикаси; Russian: Республика Узбекистан), is one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world. Located in Central Asia, it is a secular, unitary constitutional republic, comprising 12 provinces, one autonomous republic, and a capital city. Uzbekistan is bordered by five landlocked countries: Kazakhstan to the north; Tajikistan to the southeast; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Afghanistan to the south; and Turkmenistan to the southwest.
What is now Uzbekistan was in ancient times part of the predominantly Persian-speaking region of Transoxiana, with cities such as Samarkand growing rich from the Silk Road. The area was later conquered by a succession of invaders including the Arab Caliphate and Turkic states such as the Göktürk Khaganate, after which it was laid waste by the Mongols. The city of Shahrisabz was the birthplace of Timur. The region was conquered in the early 16th century by Eastern Turkic-speaking nomads, and was gradually incorporated into the Russian Empire during the 19th century. In 1924, the constituent republic of the Soviet Union known as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (Uzbek SSR) was created. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, it declared independence as the Republic of Uzbekistan on 31 August 1991 (officially celebrated the following day).
Uzbekistan has a diverse cultural heritage due to its storeyed history and strategic location. Its official language is Uzbek, a Turkic language written in the Latin alphabet and spoken natively by approximately 85% of the population; however, Russian remains in widespread use. Uzbeks constitute 81% of the population, followed by Russians (5.4%), Tajiks (4.0%), Kazakhs (3.0%), and others (6.5%). A majority of Uzbeks are non-denominational Muslims. Uzbekistan is a member of the CIS, OSCE, UN, and the SCO. While officially a democratic republic, non-governmental human rights organizations define Uzbekistan as "an authoritarian state with limited civil rights".
Uzbekistan's economy relies mainly on commodity production, including cotton, gold, uranium, and natural gas. Despite the declared objective of transition to a market economy, its government continues to maintain economic controls which imports in favour of domestic "import substitution".