Ak Orda (“the white horde”) Presidential Palace, located in the capital city of Astana. *Photo from Wikipedia
December 16 is Republic Day of Kazakhstan, celebrating the independence of the country from the Soviet Union.
The territory of Kazakhstan has historically been inhabited by nomadic tribes. This changed in the 13th century, when Genghis Khan occupied the country as part of the Mongolian Empire. Following internal struggles among the conquerors, power eventually reverted to the nomads.
By the 16th century, the Kazakh emerged as a distinct group, divided into three jüz (main territorial and tribal division in the Kypchak Plain area that covers much of the contemporary Kazakhstan).
The Russians began advancing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th century and, by the mid-19th century, they nominally ruled all of Kazakhstan as part of the Russian Empire.
Following the 1917 Russian Revolution and subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganized several times. In 1936 it was made the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, considered an integral part of the Soviet Union.
In the waning days of Soviet rule, individual republics of the Soviet Union sought greater autonomy. The Soviet Union agreed in early 1990 to give up its monopoly of political power. Following the lead of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR), the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (SFSR) and others, the Kazakh SSR declared its sovereignty on October 25, 1990, and Kazakhstan subsequently became independent on December 16, 1991 as the Soviet Union collapsed.
Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a country in Central Asia. It’s the world’s largest landlocked country by land area and the 9th largest country in the world. It has borders with Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, and also adjoins a large part of the Caspian Sea.