As a country located in central Asia according to COUNTRYAAH, Kazakhstan covers an area of 2.7 million km². This makes the country about four times the size of France and the ninth largest country in the world. The continent of Asia accounts for 95% of the total area. The lowlands on the Caspian Sea west of the Ural River are part of Eastern Europe. Kazakhstan has an approximately 7000 km long border with Russia in the north. Other neighboring countries are China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
Large parts of the country are occupied by lowlands and plains. In the central part of Kazakhstan, the ridge of the Kazakh threshold rises to 1559 m above sea level. In the far east, Kazakhstan is part of the glaciated high mountains of Tian Shan and Altai.
There is a dry continental climate with great temperature differences between summer and winter. The average July temperatures in the north are 19 ° C, in the south 29 ° C, the average January temperatures in the north -18 ° C, in the south -3 ° C. Annual rainfall decreases from north to south to less than 100 mm. The steppes in the north, which still receive more than 200 mm of annual precipitation, change to semi-deserts and deserts to the south. The large sandy deserts of Kyzylkum and Mujunkum extend here. Semi-deserts and deserts occupy over half of the country.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the Soviet government had the steppe areas in the north converted into arable land. However, storms cause great damage in the fields if they blow away the fertile topsoil, which is unprotected after plowing. Great ecological damage has also occurred in the southern parts of the country, where agriculture can only be carried out with the help of artificial irrigation. A lot of water was taken from the tributaries of the Aral Sea and the Balkhash Sea, so that the lakes continued to shrink.
Until 1991, the Soviet Union carried out nuclear weapons tests near the city of Semei in the northeast of the country, thereby causing radioactive contamination of the area.
Prehistory and early history
Finds from the Paleolithic Age (especially from the Middle Paleolithic) testify to the early settlement of today’s Kazakh territory. In the 2nd millennium BC The Andronovo culture spread here. Since around the 7th century BC In BC nomadism prevailed, which led to the penetration of the steppe areas of Kazakhstan and made patriarchy as well as tribal and clan structures the basis of social organization. As a collective term for the autochthonous riding nomads of Central Asia, the term Saken found its way into sources.
Territory of different peoples
Subjugated by the Huns , the area was part of subsequent empires. In the 5th century AD, the tribes of the Great Steppe (Tolös tribes) were under the influence of Altaic Turkic tribes (Turkut) who established a nomadic empire; with its disintegration in 582, the Altai separated the spheres of influence into east and west. Associations of several tribes of the nomads (Ulus) were subordinate to a Khan, who led his followers in endless wars for herds, pastures and water points. In 10./11. Century the area belonged to the empire of the Qarakhanids; It was conquered by the Mongols under Genghis Khan in 1219–21. The disintegration of the Golden Horde was accompanied by the rise of the Timurids (14th / 15th century), which brought partial Islamization among the sedentary population.
From the first khanate to the integration of Kazakhstan into the Russian Empire
In the 15th century a “Kazakh” khanate emerged for the first time, which extended its influence from the southern Urals and the Caspian Sea to the Altai and Tian Shan and reached the height of its power under Kasim Khan (1511-18). Soon after, however, it fell apart; In the territory of Kazakhstan, three relatively independent tribal associations (hordes) were formed: the Small or Younger Horde in the west, the Middle Horde in central and northeastern Kazakhstan, and the Large or Elderly Horde in the east.
1723-27 (in the “years of great hardship”) incursions by the Western Mongols (Kalmyks, Djungars / Oirats) devastated the Seven Rivers and displaced the Kazakhs and Caracalpaks, who sought a defensive alliance from their western neighbor, Russia. Russian influence was gradually shifted southwards via Cossack stans; between 1731 and 1742 the khans of the Small and Middle Horde and some clan leaders of the Great Horde swore the oath of allegiance; Complete integration into the Russian Empire did not take place until the middle of the 19th century, after uprisings and attempts to reestablish the Kazakh khanate under the national hero Kenisary Kasymow (* 1802, † 1847) had failed and by 1848 the remaining parts of the Great Horde had also been incorporated. The southern areas on Syr Darja and the Seven Rivers were assigned to the newly created General Government of Turkestan in 1867, while the north was divided into two areas and in 1868 subordinated to the General Government of Orenburg and Western Siberia (from 1892 the steppe). Under the Russian name of “Kirghiz” the Kazakhs wanted to be “civilized” as “inorodzy” (legal category for nomads); the intermediary function used by the Tatarsat the same time brought another wave of Islamization and, as a result, the spread of Islamic-protonational ideas among the nomads who were influenced by animism. The drastic curtailment of Kazakh land ownership (steppe statute 1892), the massive settlement of Russian peasants and the introduction of compulsory military service for Muslims in 1916 led to uprisings that were brutally suppressed.
As a result of the February and October revolutions in 1917, citizens’ committees and soviets were founded. At the end of 1917, the Alasch Orda, supported by the tribal elite (Beis, Mullahs) and bourgeois nationalists, proclaimed the autonomy of Kazakhstan and fought against the Bolsheviks; During the civil war, clashes took place in the west and north-west of the country. a. with the White Guard army of A. W. Kolchak .