Nathan's Uzbekistan site

A site about Uzbekistan and its culture

Blog Post #3: News Article

Uzbekistan is the one of the leaders in cotton exports in the world and it is all picked by hand.  It is all picked by the hands of citizens being forced to work in the fields.  Uzbek officials force their citizens to work in cotton fields by hanging severe punishments over their head if they refuse.  The worst part, is that the government pockets most of the money made from these cotton exports.  Other countries are refusing to buy cotton from Uzbekistan and most are trying to pressure Uzbekistan into stopping forced labor, but nothing has really happened to stop it. (Forced Labor in Uzbekistan, Washington Post)

Cotton grows on shrub-like plants that grow in (not done)

Post #2 : Background Information

The population of Uzbekistan is 32 million and is 447,400 km2 in area.  In comparison, Utah has a population of 3.2 million and is 136,631.7 km2 in area.  The United States has a population of 328.2 million and has an area of 6,110,679.2 km2 .  Thus it is considerably larger in population and area than Utah, but considerably smaller than the United States.  It is similar to the area of France and the population of Saudi Arabia.  A lot of the population live in cities in the east side of the country.

The most populated city, though, is Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent, with just over 3 million inhabitants located in the northern tip of the “crook-neck”.  It is the oldest city in Uzbekistan dating back to 3,000 years ago.  It was located along the Silk Road, which was the path of travel various artifacts (mainly silk from China and metals from the Roman Empire) as they were being traded.  The city fell into many hands until it was taken from Khanate of Kokhand by Russian forces.  The capital was then switched from Smarakand to Tashkent.  It is the largest city in Central Asia and possesses the main transportation for that area.  It was struck in 1966 by an earthquake, which destroyed much of the old city, but has and is being rebuilt.

Although Tashkent is a very historical city, two other cities emerge as important cities to recognize.  The first is Bukhara, located in the central south of Uzbekistan.  It also was a major stop along the Silk Road and has been inhabited for 2,300 years.  It has been conquered many times.  Alexander the Great, first, then the Kushan Empire, and finally the Samanids.  During the 19th century, Russia and Britain were fighting over Central Asia, but they could not get control over Bukhara.  Because of the high walls surrounding the city, the citizens inside kept an anti-westerner attitude even to this day.

The second important city to mention is Smarakand.  Smarakand, like Bukhara and Tashkent, was also along the Silk Road, but is more North-east than Bukhara.  It was founded around 2,500 years ago and was considered—among other titles—”Pearl of the Muslim World.”  It also has been conquered by many including Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Tamerlane.  When the Russian Empire took it over, many buildings and statues were destroyed as the city was turned into a military fortress.  Despite this, it is still one of the most fascinating and beautiful cities in Uzbekistan.

There are three major languages spoken in Uzbekistan: Uzbek, Russian, and Tajik.  Uzbek is thought to originate from Turkish, another language that is used throughout Central Asia, and uses symbols similar to Arabic to represent different letters or sounds.  It is the second most used language in Central Asia, second to Turkish.  Tajik is spoken mainly by Tajiks in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan (which borders Uzbekistan), and Afghanistan.  It originates from an early variety of Persian and is spoken by 8 million, most of them living in Tajikistan.

During Soviet Rule, poverty was common among Uzbeks, but since 2001, poverty has continued to fall.  It has fallen from 30% of people living under the poverty line to only 13.7%.  This is because of the increase in urbanization.  More jobs are being created and wages have doubled as economic growth is predicted to grow 8%.  They have been reclassified by The World Bank as a lower-middle income country instead of a low-income country.  Farmers are being more educated on pest control and strategies to improve crops.  This allows them to produce more and increase their income.  Uzbekistan’s trade has also quadrupled in the past 15 years, decreasing poverty in many households.  Education rates have improved drastically, as well, rising to 99.8% of children and youth in school as of 2013.

Although the increasing incomes in Uzbekistan, health is still a problem.  It starts with children.  17.4 children out of 1,000 will die before they reach the age of 5.   15.6 out of every 1,000 babies will die before their first birthday, with 6.5 of them, on average, will be born stillborn.  These numbers have been decreasing slowly over the past years, but these numbers are pretty high, especially when you compare it to the US, who has only 6 children die before the age of 5.  Even if you survive you first 5 years in Uzbekistan, the pollution is very high.  Uzbekistan’s concentration of particulate matter (the amount of solid particles in the air) is on average 25.3, which is very high.  This is causing health problems that killing people.  On average, 46 people out of 100,000 will die and 14,414 yearly.  Out of those 46 people, 3 of them die because of lower respiratory infections and 33 of them die because of heart disease.  These numbers are just for air pollution, water pollution is also a problem, especially among children.  53 out of 1,000 people died in 2016 because of diarrhea caused by inadequate water.  50 of them are less than 5 years of age.  Water pollution is also shortening the country’s average life span.  5,702 people had their lives shortened because they got diarrhea from polluted water.  Air and water pollution explain the country’s low life expectancy of 68 years for men and 74 years for women.  Despite these large numbers, the health in Uzbekistan has been improving over the years.  The amount of money they put into their health care each year proves this.  In 2004, the government spent 7.04% of their funds on health.  10 years later, they are spending 10.74%, 3.7% more than before.  This shows a general trend that government officials in Uzbekistan have been increasing their support in healthcare for their citizens.

92% of Uzbekistan’s population practices the religion of Islam.  It was introduced to the Uzbeks by the Arabs that conquered Uzbekistan in the 8th century.  It was accepted well and even following conquerors built many mosques and religious structures.  Their religion was minimally challenged by outsiders until the Russians conquered them.  The Russians destroyed many mosques and Islamic texts.  After the Soviet Union fell apart, Uzbekistan returned to having their main religion Islam.

The 1st century BC was a major part of Uzbekistan culture because that is when they gained their wealth and beauty from the Silk Road.  The 18th century was when the Russians conquered Uzbekistan and 1991 was when Uzbekistan gained its independence.  In 2001, Uzbekistan allowed the US to use its air bases for action in Afghanistan.

Their first president’s name was Islam Karimov and when he died in 2016, Shavkat Mirziyoyev took over.  Mirziyoyev restored relations with neighboring countries, Russia, China, and the United States.  Their currency is an Uzbek som.





Post #1: Introduction

Image of a city in Uzbekistan.

I chose Uzbekistan as my country to research.  I chose it because my brother and I like to joke around about it and it has always been a country that I don’t really know about.  It is not in the news very often and I really don’t know much about it.  I am hoping to learn more about their history and their culture.  I also want to know what religion they have so I can relate it to my life and to other civilizations that I know of.

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