Kazakhstan officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. The ninth largest country in the world by land area, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of 2,727,300 square kilometers (1,053,000 sq mi) is larger than Western Europe. Moreover, lying on both sides of the Ural River makes Kazakhstan one of the only two landlocked countries in the world lying on two continents. It is neighbored clockwise from the north by Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, and also borders on a large part of the Caspian Sea. The terrain of Kazakhstan includes flatlands, steppe, taiga, rock-canyons, hills, deltas, snow-capped mountains, and deserts. With 16.6 million people (2011 estimate) Kazakhstan has the 62nd largest population in the world, though its population density is less than 6 people per square kilometer (15 per sq. mi.). The capital was moved in 1998 from Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, to Astana.
Kazakhstan is one of the active members of the Turkic Council and the TÜRKSOY community. The national language, Kazakh, is closely related to the other Turkic languages, with which it shares strong cultural and historical ties.
For most of its history, the territory of modern-day Kazakhstan has been inhabited by nomadic tribes. By the 16th century, the Kazakhs emerged as a distinct group, divided into three Jüz. The Russians began advancing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th century, and by the mid-19th century all of Kazakhstan was part of the Russian Empire. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, and subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganized several times before becoming the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936, a part of the Soviet Union.
Kazakhstan declared itself an independent country on December 16, 1991, the last Soviet republic to do so. Its communist-era leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, became