Uzbekistan, officially also the Republic of Uzbekistan, is a doubly landlocked Central Asian Sovereign state. It is a secular, unitary constitutional republic, comprising 12 provinces, one autonomous republic, and a capital city. Uzbekistan is bordered by five landlocked countries: Kazakhstan to the north; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Tajikistan to the southeast; Afghanistan to the south; and Turkmenistan to the southwest.
What is now Uzbekistan was in ancient times part of the predominantly Iranian-speaking region of Transoxiana, with cities such as Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva growing rich from the Silk Road. The first settlers to this territory are known as Scythians. The earliest civilizations include Khwarezm, Bactria, Sogdia, Fergana, and Margiana, founded by the East Iranian nomads. The area was incorporated into the Persian Empire, which saw its fall with the Muslim conquest in the 7th century, turning the majority of the population into Islam. Following the succession of the local rulers of Khwarezmian dynasty in the 11th century, the region fell to the Mongol invasion in the 13th century.