Uzbekistan, officially the Republic of Uzbekistan, is a country in Central Asia. It is surrounded by five landlocked countries: Kazakhstan to the north; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Tajikistan to the southeast; Afghanistan to the south and Turkmenistan to the south-west. Along with Liechtenstein, it is one of two doubly landlocked countries.
As a sovereign state, Uzbekistan is a secular, unitary constitutional republic. It comprises 12 provinces and one autonomous republic, Karakalpakstan. The capital and largest city of Uzbekistan is Tashkent.
What is now Uzbekistan was in ancient times part of the Iranian-speaking region of Transoxiana and Turan. The first recorded settlers 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 Greek rule, was ruled by the Iranian Parthian Empire and later by the Sasanian Empire, until the Muslim conquest of Persia in the seventh century. The Early Muslim conquests converted most of the people, including the local ruling classes, into adherents of Islam.