Independent republic bordered by Russia on the N, China on the E, Kyrgizstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan on the S, and the Caspian Sea on the W. After the original Turkish tribe had been brought under Mongol control in the 13th century, Kazakhstan was settled and dominated by the Golden Horde. It was gradually conquered by Russia from 1730 to 1853. A Western-style state was evolving at the time of the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. An autonomous republic after 1920, it became a constituent republic in the USSR in 1936. In the early 1960s some parts of Kazakhstan were extensively developed as part of the Soviet Virgin Land s agricultural development program.
Kazakhstan declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and Kazakhstan became a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Nursultan Nazarbayev was the country’s first president and began a series of market reforms. In 1994, the United States agreed to help Kazakhstan remove and destroy Soviet-era weapons of mass destruction. After resistance from the parliament on reform measures in 1994, Nazarbayev dissolved parliament, ruled by decree, and moved to consolidate his power. In 1996, Kazakhstan signed an economic treaty with Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus. In 1997 the capital was moved from Almaty to the more centrally located city of Astana. In 2003, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Russia, and the Ukraine signed an agreement to create a common economic space.