Meaning of UZBEKISTAN, FLAG OF in English

horizontally striped blue-white-green national flag with red fimbriations (narrow borders) between the stripes. In the upper hoist corner are a white crescent and 12 white stars. The flag's width-to-length ratio is 1 to 2. Uzbekistan legalized the design of its new national flag on November 18, 1991. More than 200 proposals had been submitted in a flag design contest; the winning pattern had five unequal horizontal stripes, as in the flag adopted in 1952 when the country was known as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. The former flag's horizontal stripes of red-blue-red with white fimbriations symbolized communism and the water that allowed for cotton and other agricultural produce. In the new design blue is also for water but corresponds as well to the flag supposedly used by Timur, the great 14th-century ruler of an empire centred on Samarkand. The green stripe in the new flag suggests Islam but officially refers to nature, fertility, and new life. The white stripe is for peace and the striving for moral purity in thought and deeds. The red fimbriations refer to the life force inherent in all humans. In place of the gold hammer, sickle, and star of the 195291 flag, the new design features 12 white stars and a white crescent. The stars correspond to the months of the year and to the constellations in the zodiac, thus recalling the astronomical sciences developed in medieval Uzbekistan. The crescent moon heralds the rebirth of an independent republic, although many Uzbeks and others are likely to see it also as a Muslim symbol. The contest-winning flag of 1991 omitted the crescent and stars from the reverse side of the flag, but they were subsequently added. Whitney Smith History Humans lived in what is now Uzbekistan as early as the Paleolithic Period, some 55,000 to 70,000 years ago. The great states of Bactria, Khwarezm, and Sogdiana emerged during the 1st millennium BC in the fertile region around the Amu Darya, which served as a centre of trade and cultural exchange on the Silk Road between East and West. After the 8th-century introduction of Islam into Central Asia, several streams of population flowed into the territory now forming the land of Uzbekistan. Some migrations contributed to the demographic diversity that characterizes Uzbekistan. Before the lasting conquest by the Russians in the late 19th century, however, military invaders generally soon withdrew from the area. Arabs after AD 711, Mongols under Genghis Khan from the 13th century, Dzungars in the 15th17th centuries, and Persians in the 18th century exerted less impact upon the makeup of the population than upon the social and political systems, because they left behind relatively small, assimilable numbers of their people. The early Uzbeks One great incoming human wave that did substantially change the demography of the region brought the ethnonym Uzbek to the heart of that territory. These Turkic-Mongol tribes came from northwestern Siberia, where they probably adopted the name Uzbek from the admired Muslim ruler of the Golden Horde, z Beg (Uzbek) Khan (reigned 131241). A descendant of Genghis Khan, Abu'l-Khayr Khan, rose to the khanship of the Uzbek confederation in Siberia in 1428 at the age of 17. During his 40-year reign Abu'l-Khayr intervened either against or in support of several Central Asian Timurid princes and led the Uzbek tribes southeastward to the north bank of the Syr Darya. However, a number of Uzbek tribes, adopting the name Kazak, broke away and fled east in the mid-1450s; their departure weakened the Uzbeks. Abu'l-Khayr continued to lead the main Uzbek body until 1468, when he was killed as the Uzbek confederation was shattered in combat with invading Dzungars. Recovering rapidly, the mounted Uzbek tribesmen regrouped, and in 149495 they conquered key portions of Transoxania (the region between the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, roughly corresponding to modern Uzbekistan). The leader of those tribes, Abu'l-Khayr's grandson Muhammad Shaybani Khan (reigned 150010), ejected the last Timurid sultans, Babur and Husayn Bayqara, from Samarkand and Herat. The Uzbeks occupied major cities, including Bukhara, Khiva, Samarkand, and Khujand, and moved their numerous tribes permanently into Mawaraunnahr, Khorasan, and adjacent lands. Muhammad Shaybani established and gave his adopted name to the potent Shaybanid dynasty, which ruled from its capital, Bukhara, for a century. While renowned as military commanders, several Shaybanid khans also gained wide recognition for Sunnite religious orthodoxy and as cultured patrons of the arts; Muhammad Shaybani, for example, was an accomplished poet and wrote pious tracts in the ornate Chagatai literary language. Monuments of architecture erected by the Uzbeks during the Shaybanid period further testify to the aesthetics of the dynasty's rulers. In Bukhara great, well-endowed seminaries and mosques arose under the royal patronage, as did many major buildings and bridges. During the reign of the greatest Shaybanid ruler, 'Abd Allah Khan II (reigned 155798), Shaybanid rule was expanded in Balkh, Samarkand, Tashkent, and Fergana. Uzbek hegemony extended eastward as far as Badakhstan and East Turkistan and westward to Khorasan and Khwarezm. The Shaybanids' successor, the Ashtarkhanid (Janid) dynasty, ruled Transoxania after 1599. From the elevated political and cultural accomplishments of the Shaybanids, the level and extent of Uzbek influence slid into decline under Ashtarkhanid rule, reaching a low point by the mid-1700s. The severe jolt that Iran's Afsharid ruler, Nadir Shah, administered in his quick defeat of Bukhara and Khiva in 1740 decapitated the Ashtarkhanid dynasty, which was finally extinguished in 1785. By then, power in southern Central Asia had already shifted to three energetic tribal formations: the khanates of Bukhara (which included the cities of Bukhara and Samarkand), Khiva (northwest of Bukhara on the Amu Darya), and Kokand (centred in the Fergana Valley in the east). In Bukhara, which became the dominant Central Asian power, Manghit tribal chieftains during the late 18th century energized the khanate and revived its fortunes under the leadership of Emir Ma'sum (also known as Shah Murad; reigned 17851800), a remarkable dervish emir who forwent wealth, comfort, and pomp. In the khanate of Khiva, the Qonghirat tribe succeeded the Ashtarkhanid dynasty and prevailed until 1920, leaving Khiva a museum capital of architectural, cultural, and literary monuments. The Uzbek Ming tribe, imperial in ambition, founded a new dynasty in Kokand about 1710 as the Ashtarkhanids faltered. Known for the elegant civilization at their courts, the rulers 'Umar Khan (reigned 180922) and Muhammad 'Ali Khan (also known as Madali Khan; reigned 182242), gave the Uzbek Ming dynasty and the Kokand khanate a reputation for high culture that joined with an expansionist foreign policy. At its height the khanate dominated many nearby Kazak and Kyrgyz tribes and resisted Russian aggression. Subsequent rulers in the dynasty, however, failed to sustain either the cultural or the political standards of their predecessors. The economy Uzbekistan is among the world's leading cotton producers. The country also produces and exports a large volume of natural gas. Known for its orchards and vineyards, Uzbekistan is also an important region for raising Karakul sheep and silkworms. Uzbekistan's mineral and oil and gas reserves are substantial. Resources The country's resources include metallic ores; in the Olmaliq (Almalyk) mining belt in the Kurama Range, copper, zinc, lead, tungsten, and molybdenum are extracted. Uzbekistan possesses substantial reserves of natural gas, oil, and coal. The country consumes large amounts of its natural gas, and gas pipelines link its cities and stretch from Bukhara to the Ural region in Russia as well. Surveys show petroleum resources in the Fergana Valley (including major reserves in the Namangan area), in the vicinity of Bukhara, and in Qoraqalpoghiston. The modern extraction of coal began to gain importance, especially in the Angren fields, only during World War II. Hydroelectric dams on the Syr Darya, the Naryn, and the Chirchiq rivers help augment the country's nuclear-, coal-, and petroleum-powered generation of electricity. Centuries-old rumours of extensive gold deposits in Uzbekistan evidently arose from a basis in fact. Rich polymetallic ores have been found in the Ohangaron (Akhangaran) field southeast of Tashkent. Miners there extract copper, some gold, lead, molybdenum, tungsten, and zinc. In the Muruntau field in the Kyzylkum Desert of north-central Uzbekistan, the Newmont Mining Corporation in the mid-1990s began construction of a huge plant for heat-leaching gold from low-grade ore; revenue from this project is to be shared with the government. Uzbekistan requires greater water resources. By the early 1980s the government considered the shortage of water desperate. Officials in Moscow and Tashkent developed a plan to divert substantial amounts of water out of the Irtysh River far to the north into a pumped system that would aid in watering parts of lower Russia, Kazakstan, and Uzbekistan. The project was killed, however, before it began, leaving Uzbekistan with chronic water shortages. The land Relief Nearly four-fifths of Uzbekistan's territory, the sun-dried western area, has the appearance of a wasteland. In the northwest the Turan Plain rises 200 to 300 feet (60 to 90 metres) above sea level around the Aral Sea in Qoraqalpoghiston. This terrain merges on the south with the Kyzylkum (Uzbek: Qizilqum) Desert and farther west becomes the Ustyurt Plateau, a region of low ridges, salt marshes, sinkholes, and caverns. Southeast of the Aral Sea, small hills break the flatness of the low-lying Kyzylkum Desert, and, much farther east, a series of mountain ridges partition Uzbekistan's territory. The western Tien Shan includes the Karzhantau, Ugam, and Pskem ranges, the latter featuring the 14,104-foot (4,299-metre) Beshtor Peak, the country's highest point. Also part of the western Tien Shan are the Chatkal and Kurama ranges. The Gissar (Hissar) and Alay ranges stand across the Fergana (Farghona) Valley, which lies south of the western Tien Shan. The Mirzachol desert, southwest of Tashkent, lies between the Tien Shan spurs to the north and the Turkestan, Malguzar, and Nuratau ranges to the south. In south-central Uzbekistan the Zeravshan valley opens westward; the cities of Samarkand (Samarqand) and Bukhara (Bukhoro) grace this ancient cultural centre. The people Uzbeks make up about three-fourths of the population, followed by Russians, Tajiks, Tatars, Kyrgyz, Ukrainians, Kazaks, and Karakalpaks. The Uzbeks speak a language belonging to the southeastern, or Chagatai (Turki), branch of the Turkic language group. The Uzbeks are Sunnite Muslims, and they are considered to be among the most devout Muslims in all of Central Asia. They are also the least Russified of the Turkic peoples formerly under Soviet rule, and virtually all of them still claim Uzbek as their primary language. The majority of Uzbeks live in rural areas. Two-fifths of the population of Uzbekistan lives in urban areas; the urban population has a disproportionately high number of non-Uzbeks. Slavic peoplesRussians, Ukrainians, and Belarusiansheld a large proportion of administrative positions. In the late 1980s and early '90s, many Russians and smaller numbers of Jews emigrated from Uzbekistan and other Central Asian states, changing the ethnic balance and employment patterns in the region. Uzbekistan's population is quite youthful in comparison to those of nationalities of the western parts of the former Soviet Union. This age structure results from the high birth rate: of all the former Soviet republics, Uzbekistan has the greatest number of mothers with 10 or more living children under the age of 20. The cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Tashkent have histories that extend back to ancient times. Andijon (Andizhan), Khiva, and Quqon (Kokand) also have served the region as cultural, political, and trade centres for centuries. Soviet-era architects purposely laid out some newer towns, including Chirchiq, Angren, Bekobod, and Nawoiy (Navoi), close to rich mineral and energy resources. Soviet planners also sited Yangiyul, Guliston, and Yangiyer in areas that produce and process cotton and fruit.

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