Uzbekistan, officially the Republic of Uzbekistan, is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia. It is surrounded by five countries: Kazakhstan to the north; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Tajikistan to the southeast; Afghanistan to the south, Turkmenistan to the south-west. Its capital and largest city is Tashkent. Uzbekistan is part of the Turkic speaking world, as well as a member of the Turkic Council. While the Uzbek language is the majority spoken language in Uzbekistan, Russian has widespread use as an inter-ethnic tongue and in governance. Islam is the majority religion in Uzbekistan, with the majority of Uzbeks being non-denominational Muslims.
The first recorded settlers on what is now Uzbekistan were Eastern Iranian nomads, known as Scythians, who founded kingdoms in Khwarazm, Bactria, Sogdia, Fergana, and Margiana. The area was incorporated into the Iranian Achaemenid Empire and, after a period of Macedonian rule, was ruled by the Iranian Parthian Empire and later by the Sasanian Empire, until the Muslim conquest of Persia in the seventh century.