Uzbekistan profile - Timeline

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A chronology of key events

1st century BC - Central Asia, including present-day Uzbekistan, forms an important part of the overland trade routes known as the Great Silk Road linking China with the Middle East and imperial Rome.

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Bukhara: Centre of Islamic culture on the Silk Road

7th-8th centuries - Arabs conquer the area and convert its inhabitants to Islam.

9th-10th centuries - Persian Samanid dynasty becomes dominant and develops Bukhara as important centre of Islamic culture. As it declines, Turkic hordes compete to fill the vacuum.

13th-14th centuries - Central Asia conquered by Genghis Khan, and becomes part of Mongol empire.

14th century - Mongol-Turkic ruler Tamerlane establishes empire with Samarkand as its capital.

18th-19th centuries - Rise of independent Uzbek states of Bukhara, Kokand and Samarkand.

Russian influence

1865-76 - Russians take Tashkent and make it the capital of its Turkestan Province, incorporating vast areas of Central Asia. They also make Bukhara and Khiva protectorates and annex Kokand.

1917-1920 - Bolsheviks gradually conquer Turkestan, Bukhara and Khiva.

1918-22 - New Communist rulers close down mosques and persecute Muslim clergy as part of secularisation campaign.

1921-24 - Reorganisation of Soviet member-states results in the creation of Uzbekistan and its neighbours.

Resettlement of minorities

1930s - Soviet leader Stalin purges independent-minded Uzbek leaders, replacing them with Moscow loyalists.

1950s-80s - Cotton production boosted by major irrigation projects which, however, contribute to the drying up of the Aral Sea.

1966 - Devastating earthquake destroys much of capital Tashkent.

1970s-1980s - Uzbek Communist chief Sharaf Rashidov ensures the promotion of ethnic Uzbek over Russian officials. He falsifies cotton harvest figures in scandal exposed under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost.

1989 - Islam Karimov becomes leader of Uzbek Communist Party.

Violent attacks take place against Meskhetian Turks and other minorities in the Fergana Valley. Nationalist movement Birlik founded.


1990 - Communist Party of Uzbekistan declares economic and political sovereignty. Islam Karimov becomes president.

1991 - President Karimov initially supports the attempted anti-Gorbachev coup by conservatives in Moscow. Uzbekistan declares independence and, following the collapse of the USSR, joins the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Mr Karimov returned as president in direct elections in which few opposition groups are allowed to field candidates.

1992 - President Karimov bans the Birlik and Erk opposition parties, whose members are arrested in large numbers.

1995 - Referendum extends Mr Karimov's term of office for another five years.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Cotton, sheep farming, gas and minerals are mainstays of the economy

Islamist attacks

1999 - Bombs in Tashkent kill more than a dozen people. President blames Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which conducts summer skirmishes with government forces for several years.

2001 June - Uzbekistan, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan launch Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to tackle ethnic and Islamic extremism and promote trade and investment.

2001 October - Uzbekistan allows US to use its air bases for action in Afghanistan against the Taliban.

2002 January - President Karimov wins support for extending the presidential term from five to seven years in a referendum criticised as a ploy to hang on to power.

Image source, AP
Image caption,
Media outlets are tightly controlled; self-censorship is common

2002 March - President Karimov visits US. Strategic partnership agreement signed.

2001 November - IMU military leader Juma Namangani killed.

2003 December - President Karimov sacks long-standing prime minister Otkir Sultanov, citing country's poorest-ever cotton harvest. Shavkat Mirziyoyev replaces him.

Civil unrest

2004 March - At least 47 people killed in shootings and bombings. Authorities blame Islamic extremists.

2004 April - European Bank for Reconstruction and Development slashes aid because of Uzbekistan's poor record on economic reform and human rights.

Image source, AP
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Rights groups say hundreds were killed by troops in Andijan

2004 July - Suicide bombers target US and Israeli embassies in Tashkent, and third blast hits prosecutor-general's office.

2004 November - Restrictions on market traders spark civil disorder in eastern city of Kokand. Thousands take part in street protests.

Andijan killings

2005 May - Troops open fire on anti-government protests in the eastern city of Andijan, killing hundreds of demonstrators. 2005 August - In reaction to US condemnation of Andijan killings, government orders US forces to lave Khanabad air base used for the anti-Taliban campaign in Afghanistan.

2005 November - Supreme Court convicts 15 men of having organised the Andijan unrest and jails them for 14-20 years in trial with little legal credibility.

Image source, AP
Image caption,
Observers of the Andijan trial say it was stage-managed

Agreement signed on closer military cooperation with Russia, signalling move away from alliance with USA.

2006 March - Government critics Sanjar Umarov and Mukhtabar Tojibayeva jailed for eight years on trumped-up ecnomic charges after condemning Andijan killings.

Sanctions eased

2007 August - EU begins easing the sanctions imposed following the crushing of the Andijan unrest.

2008 March - Uzbekistan allows US limited use of its southern Termez air base for operations in Afghanistan, partially reversing its decision to expel US forces from the Khanabad base in 2005.

2009 February - President Karimov confirms that the US will be allowed to transport supplies through Uzbekistan to troops in Afghanistan.

2009 October - The EU lifts the arms embargo that it imposed in 2005 after the Andijan violence.

Tension with neighbours

2009 December - Uzbekistan announces plans to withdraw from a Soviet-era power grid having set up new power lines for its own use. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the poorest nations in the region, rely heavily on gas and electricity supplies sent through the grid and face shortages.

2010 June - Uzbekistan briefly accommodates ethnic Uzbek refugees fleeing communal violence in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan. Closes refugee camps within weeks and forces inhabitants back across border.

2012 June - Government announces plans to sell off hundreds of state assets in a drive to expand the private sector.

Uzbekistan agrees to allow NATO to move its military vehicles and equipment through its territory as NATO-led forces speed up their withdrawal from Afghanistan.

End of Karimov era

2012 September - Government strips largest mobile phone operator, Russian-owned Uzdunrobita, of its license to operate and arrests several managers. Swiss police begin a related money-laundering investigation that eventually involves President Karimov's elder daughter, Gulnara.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Presidential daughter Gulnara Karimov built up a sprawling business empire - as well as a pop and fashion career - before falling foul of corruption allegations, in what was seen as part of an internal power struggle

2013 October - The authorities begin closing down businesses and organisations linked to Gulnara Karimova, who responds by using Twitter to attack rivals in the Uzbek power structure.

2014 January - Swiss prosecutors begin to investigate Gulnara Karimova in a money-laundering probe.

2014 February - Gulnara Karimova is placed under house arrest.

2014 September - Uzbek prosecutors say Gulnara Karimova has been charged with belonging to a crime group that plundered £40bn ($65bn) in assets.

2016 September - President Karimov dies.

2016 December - Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev wins presidential election against token candidates, and sets out to repair relations with neighbouring states, Russia, China and the USA, to open up economy, a relax some of his predecessor's more repressive policies.

2017 February - President Mirziyoyev allows commercial flights to Tajikistan for first time in more than 20 years.

2017 June - Mr Mirziyoyev dismisses key rival Rustam Asimov from the post of first deputy prime minister.2018 January - Powerful and long-serving security chief Rustam Inoyatov is sidelined, marking the culmination of the replacement of senior Karimov-era aides.