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With a population of 27 million, Uzbekistan is Central Asia's most populous country. Bordered by Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan, Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked, arid country, rich in natural gas but lacking the water supply needed to sustainably support the extensive cotton farming. Ethnically homogeneous, 80% of the population is Uzbek, and almost 90% self-identify as Sunnī (Hanafi) Muslims. Russians who did not emigrate postindependence in 1991 live primarily in the capital, Tashkent, and religiously identify with Russian Orthodox Christianity. The once sizable Jewish population, concentrated in Bukhara, has dwindled, with most Jews having emigrated to Israel or the United States.

The territory of contemporary Uzbekistan consisted of a number of khanates that were centers of trade and periodic conflict. The Bukharan Khanate ...

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