Uzbekistan, officially known as The Republic of Uzbekistan (Uzbek: Oʻzbekiston Respublikasi) is a Central Asian country, formerly part of the Soviet Union. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south, being the only one to border all five. It's also one of the only two nations in the world, alongside Liechtenstein, to be doubly-landlocked (i.e. you need to cross two states to find sea). The region of the present-day Uzbekistan has long been the center of civilization in Central Asia. Settled by Iranian peoples including Scythians, Sogdians, and Khwarezms, since ancient times, the region became the center of Islamic activity during its spread to Central Asia and was part of the Silk Road trade route. Some of its cities, including Samarkand and Bukhara, other than serving as education centers, also received multiple cultures through traders who stopped throughout the Silk Road. After the reigns of the Samanids and Timurids, the region was conquered in the early 16th century by Uzbek nomads, who spoke an Eastern Turkic language. Uzbekistan was incorporated into the Russian Empire in the 19th century and in 1924 became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, known as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (Uzbek SSR). It has been an independent republic since December 1991. Uzbekistan's economy relies mainly on commodity production, including cotton, gold, uranium, potassium, and natural gas. Despite the declared objective of transition to a market economy, Uzbekistan continues to maintain rigid economic controls, which often repel foreign investors. The policy of gradual, strictly controlled transition has nevertheless produced beneficial results in the form of economic recovery after 1995. Uzbekistan's domestic policies on human rights and individual freedoms are often criticized by international organizations (when there's a pervasive rumor that your leader enjoys boiling dissidents alive, you have a bit of a problem...). Most of Uzbekistan’s population today belong to the Uzbek ethnic group and speak the Uzbek language, one of the family of Turkic languages. Uzbeks are found in other countries as well — mainly Afghanistan, where they are the third biggest minority group, and other former Soviet republics. Other than Uzbeks, pretty much all peoples from the former Soviet Union are represented here, including Tajiks (showing that the Turkic migrations didn't spell out the death of the Iranians here), Karakalpaks (closely related to Kazakh, who themselves also inhabit the country), Russians, Kyrgyzs, Armenians, Azeris, and, surprisingly, Koreans. In addition, Joseph Stalin mainly resettled the deported Tatars of Crimea in Uzbekistan. Oh, and there's also a once-large community of Jews, most of whom had emigrated after The Great Politics Mess-Up, alongside the aforementioned Crimean Tatars. Uzbekistan is one of Russia's biggest sources of immigrants, legal or otherwise. The Uzbek flag
The flag's sky blue, white and green stripes symbolize the skies and water, peace and purity, and hope and joy, respectively; the red fimbriations symbolize the blood that flows in every human; the crescent at the canton is a Turkic symbol; and the twelve stars denote the months of the year, as well as the astronomical achievements of the land during the Islamic Age.