Republic of Karakalpakstan
|Motto: Jayhun jagasinda o'sken bayterek (Karakalpak)|
|Anthem: Qaraqalpaqstan Respublikasınıń Mámleketlik Gimni (Karakalpak)|
"State Anthem of the Republic of Karakalpakstan"
|Official languages||Karakalpak, Uzbek|
|Ethnic groups |
|Autonomous republic of||Uzbekistan|
• Chairman of Parliament
• Chairman of the Council of Ministers
|Legislature||Supreme Council of Karakalpakstan|
|19 February 1925|
|20 July 1932|
• Republic of Karakalpakstan
|9 January 1992|
• Constitution adopted
|9 April 1993|
|166,590 km2 (64,320 sq mi)|
• 2022 estimate
|11.26/km2 (29.2/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+5:00 (Uzbekistan Standard Time)|
Karakalpakstan,[a] officially the Republic of Karakalpakstan,[b] is an autonomous republic of Uzbekistan. It occupies the whole northwestern part of Uzbekistan. The capital is Nukus (Nókis / Нөкис). The Republic of Karakalpakstan has an area of 166,590 km2 (64,320 sq mi), and a population of about two million. Its territory covers the classical land of Khwarezm, which in classical Persian literature was known as Kāt (کات).
From about 500 BC to 500 AD, the region of what is now Karakalpakstan was a thriving agricultural area supported by extensive irrigation. It was strategically important territory and fiercely contested, as is seen by the more than 50 Khorezm Fortresses which were constructed here. The Karakalpak people, who used to be nomadic herders and fishers, were first recorded by foreigners in the 16th century. Karakalpakstan was ceded to the Russian Empire by the Khanate of Khiva in 1873. Under Soviet rule, it was an autonomous area within the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic before becoming part of Uzbekistan in 1936 as the Karakalpak ASSR. The region was probably at its most prosperous in the 1960s and 1970s, when irrigation from the Amu Darya was being expanded. However, the evaporation of the Aral Sea has made Karakalpakstan one of Uzbekistan's poorest regions. The region is suffering from extensive drought, partly due to climate patterns, but also largely because the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers are mostly diverted in the eastern parts of Uzbekistan. Crop failures have deprived about 48,000 people of their main source of income and shortages of potable water have created a surge of infectious diseases.
Karakalpakstan is now mostly desert and is located in western Uzbekistan near the Aral Sea, in the lowest part of the Amu Darya basin. It has an area of 164,900 km2 and is surrounded by desert. The Kyzyl Kum Desert is located to the east and the Karakum Desert is located to the south. A rocky plateau extends west to the Caspian Sea.
The Republic of Karakalpakstan is formally sovereign and shares veto power over decisions concerning it with Uzbekistan. According to the constitution, relations between Karakalpakstan and Uzbekistan are "regulated by treaties and agreements" and any disputes are "settled by way of reconciliation". Its right to secede is limited by the veto power of Uzbekistan's legislature over any decision to secede. Article 74, chapter XVII, Constitution of Uzbekistan, provides that: "The Republic of Karakalpakstan shall have the right to secede from the Republic of Uzbekistan on the basis of a nationwide referendum held by the people of Karakalpakstan."
In July 2022, large protests broke out in the region over a proposed constitutional change which would strip Karakalpakstan of its autonomy. The proposed change was later scrapped in response to the demonstrations.
The population is estimated 1,948,488 (2022), with 51% living in rural areas. In 2007 it was estimated that about 400,000 of the population are of the Karakalpak ethnic group, 400,000 are Uzbeks and 300,000 are Kazakhs. The Karakalpak language is closer to Kazakh than to Uzbek. The language was written in a modified Cyrillic in Soviet times and has been written in the Latin alphabet since 1996.
The median age was 27.7 years old in 2017, which is younger than the rest of Uzbekistan (median age of 28.5 countrywide). Men are 27.1 years old, while women are 28.2 years old.
Dynamics of the number and ethnic composition of the population of Karakalpakstan according to the All-Union censuses of 1926–1989:
|Nationality||1926 (people)||%||1939 (people)||%||1959 (people)||%||1970 (people)||%||1979 (people)||%||1989 (people)||%|
|Total||304 539||100.00%||469 702||100.00%||510 101||100.00%||702 264||100.00%||905 500||100.00%||1 212 207||100.00%|
|Uzbeks||84 099||27.62%||116 054||24.71%||146 783||28.78%||212 597||30.27%||285 400||31.52%||397 826||32.82%|
|Karakalpaks||116 125||38.13%||158 615||33.77%||155 999||30.58%||217 505||30.97%||281 809||31.12%||389 146||32.10%|
|Kazakhs||85 782||28.17%||129 677||27.61%||133 844||26.24%||186 038||26.49%||243 926||26.94%||318 739||26.29%|
|Turkmens||9686||3.18%||23 259||4.95%||29 225||5.73%||37 547||5.35%||48 655||5.37%||60 244||4.97%|
|Russians||4924||1.62%||24 969||5.32%||22 966||4.50%||25 165||3.58%||21 287||2.35%||19 846||1.64%|
The economy of the region used to be heavily dependent on fisheries in the Aral Sea. It is now supported by cotton, rice and melons. Karakalpakstan is well known for its fruits, such as plums, pears, grapes, and apricots, in addition to all kinds of melons. Hydroelectric power from a large Soviet-built station on the Amu Darya is also important.
The Amu Darya delta was once heavily populated and supported extensive irrigation based agriculture for thousands of years. Under the Khorezm, the area attained considerable power and prosperity. However, the gradual climate change over the centuries, accelerated by human induced evaporation of the Aral Sea in the late 20th century has created a desolate scene in the region. The ancient oases of rivers, lakes, reed marshes, forests and farms are drying up and being poisoned by wind-borne salt and by fertilizer and pesticide residues from the dried bed of the Aral Sea. Summer temperatures have risen by 10 °C (18 °F) and winter temperatures have decreased by 10 °C (18 °F). The rate of anemia, respiratory diseases and other health problems has risen dramatically.
- Delta Blues (documentary film)
- Human rights in Uzbekistan
- Karakalpak Autonomous Oblast, a short-lived Soviet entity
- Karakalpak Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, an autonomous republic of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and then the Uzbek SSR
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- Official website of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan (in English)
- Tours to Karakalpkstan
- Karakalpak music