Kyrgyz family in a region of Kyrgyzstan. *Photo from Wikipedia
August 31 is Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Kyrgyzstan from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Although geographically isolated by its mountainous location, it had an important role as part of the historical Silk Road trade route. In between periods of self-government it was ruled by Göktürks (突厥, a nomadic confederation of Turkic peoples in medieval Inner Asia), the Uyghur Empire, and the Khitan (契丹) people, before being conquered by the Mongols in the 13th century; subsequently it regained independence but was invaded by Kalmyks (the Oirats in Russia), Manchus (滿族) and Uzbeks.
In 1876 it became part of the Russian Empire, remaining in the USSR as the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic after the Russian Revolution. Following Mikhael Gorbachev’s democratic reforms in the USSR, in 1990 pro-independence candidate Askar Akayev was elected president of the SSR.
On August 31, 1991, Kyrgyzstan declared independence from Moscow, and a democratic government was subsequently established.
Kyrgyzstan, officially the Kyrgyz Republic, formerly known as Kirghizia, is a landlocked country located in Central Asia. It is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west and southwest, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east.