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Central Asia. Afghanistan Mongolia Inner Mongolia 2 Independent countries before 1991 6 former Soviet republics 3 Autonomous regions of China Tibet Xinjiang.

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Presentation on theme: "Central Asia. Afghanistan Mongolia Inner Mongolia 2 Independent countries before 1991 6 former Soviet republics 3 Autonomous regions of China Tibet Xinjiang."— Presentation transcript:

1 Central Asia

2 Afghanistan Mongolia Inner Mongolia 2 Independent countries before former Soviet republics 3 Autonomous regions of China Tibet Xinjiang Kazakhstan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Azerbaijan

3 Introduction  Geopolitical void  Long obscured by Russian and Chinese domination  Low economic link  Arid physical environments  Currently, key area of geopolitical and economic competition  Al Qaeda training camp  Discovery of oil/gas reserves

4 Environmental Geography Steppes, Deserts, and Threatened Lakes of the Eurasian Heartland

5 Central Asia’s Physical Regions Northern Steppes Central Deserts Southern Highlands

6  Highest and most extensive mountains in the world  Collision of the Indian subcontinent into the Asian mainland  Tibetan Plateau  Extensive uplands between Hymalayas and Kunlun Shan; averaged around 15,000 feet  Origin of many rivers  Indus, Ganges, Mekong, Yangtze, and Huang He River

7 Central Deserts  Western desert belt  Lower elevation  Larger rivers  Kara Kum Desert  Kyzyl Kum Desert  Caspian/Aral Sea Basin Tien Shan Pamir Mt.  Eastern desert belt  Higher elevation  Smaller river  Taklamakan Desert  Gobi Desert  Tarim Basin

8 Northern Steppes  Between desert zone and taiga  Extensive pastures  Northern Kazakstan, Northern/central Mongolia

9  Dominance of dry climate  Deserts  Steppes  Arid highlands  Pronounced continentality

10 Environmental issues  Desertification  Salinization  Desiccation Aridity

11 The Shrinking of the Aral Sea

12 The Shrinking of the Aral Sea  Cause  Diversion of rivers nearby (irrigation projects)  eg. Kara Kum Canal  Consequences  Ecological devastation  Economic damage : Fisheries, agricultural yields  Public health : High infant and maternal death

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14 Population and Settlement Settled Oases amid Vacant Lands

15  Most of Central Asia is sparsely populated  Highland is largely uninhabited  Too arid or too high to support human life  Lowland (Desert, Steppe)  Concentrated population along the river valleys

16 Importance of mountains  For migratory pastoralists  Transhumance  For sedentary farmers  Source of water and wood supplies

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18 Tarim Basin  Most of the inhabitants of Central Asian deserts live in the narrow belt where the mountains meet the basins and plains

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20 Farmland in Uzbekistan

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22 Steppe pastoralism

23 Migration of Han-Chinese High TFR in Afghanistan

24  Unparalleled high TFR in Afghanistan  Higher TFR compared to other former Soviet zones  Islam  Different TFR within Islamic countries  urbanization  Low TFR in Tibet  monasticism & polyandry

25 Recent migration and refugee flows  Return of ethnic Russians to Russia  Influx of Han Chinese into western China  Refugees from Afghanistan, and Tibet

26 Urbanization in ancient/medieval time Silk Road Mercantile centers

27 Samarkand, Uzbekistan

28 Urbanization under communist rule Administrative cities

29 Hohot, Inner Mongolia

30 Cultural Coherence and Diversity A Meeting Ground of Disparate Traditions

31 Historic overview of Central Asia 1000 B.C.013c 7c Birthplace of Indo- European peoples? Replaced by Altaic peoples Conquered by Mongol Empire Mongol Empire Tibetan kingdom

32 The Mongol Empire of the 1200s

33 Geography of language Altaic Indo-European Tibetan

34 Geography of language  Influx of Han-Chinese into autonomous regions threatens the sphere of indigenous languages in  Inner Mongolia: Mongolian  Xinjiang: Uygur  Tibet: Tibetan  Crossroad of disparate ethnic groups (Indo-European & Altaic peoples) creates ethnic complexity in  Tajikistan: dialects of Persian, etc…  Afghanistan: Pashtuns, etc… Afghanistan

35 Afghanistan’s ethnic patchwork

36 Geography of religion Islam Lamaist Buddhism

37 Islamic fundamentalism

38 Afghan women in public

39 Lamaist Buddhism  Mongolia, Tibet  Buddhism merged with the indigenous religion  Theocracy  Dedication to monasticism  Persecution under communist rule (1959)

40 Geopolitical Framework Political Reawakening in a Power Void

41 Partitioning of the Steppes  Power struggle between sedentary and nomadic groups (16c ~ 18c)  victory of sedentary states: China and Russia bordering the Steppes  Manchu (Ch’ing) dynasty ( )  Captured Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet, eastern Kazakstan  Russian Empire (17c – 1917)  Kazakstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan

42 Central Asia was partitioned by Russia and China by the early 1900s with buffer states bordering British-ruled states Russia China British

43 Central Asia under communist rule  Soviet Union (1922)  Union republics  became independent states (1991)  Mongolia (1924)  China (1949)  Autonomous regions

44 Current geopolitical tension  The former Soviet republics  Kazakstan: Nationalistic effort of Kazaks against ethnic Russian in north  Tajikistan: war between secular lowland Tajik and Muslim mountain Tajik  Azerbaijan: invasion of Armenia in west  Autonomous regions in western China  Tibet: Tibetan’s protest against Chinese rule  Xinjiang: Uygur’s opposition to Chinese use of their homeland for nuclear testing, and suppression of religion

45 War in Afghanistan  Invasion of Soviet Union  Taliban (young Muslim religious students)  2001 U.S.’s war against Al Qaeda and Taliban  2002 Interim government in Kabul; other areas are controlled by local warlords

46 International dimensions of Central Asian tension  Since 1991, Central Asia emerged as a key arena of geopolitical tension  A number of important countries, including China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and U.S. vied for power and influence in the region  9/11 completely changed the balance of power in the region

47 Economic and Social Development Abundant Resources, Devastated Economies

48  One of the least prosperous regions of the world  Economic collapse in 1990s  end of Soviet subsidies

49 Kazakhstan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Azerbaijan 7 former communist economies Mongolia  Economic liberalization since 1991 With the exception of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan  Agricultural base eg. Uzbekistan (3 rd largest cotton exporter)  Large deposits of oil and natural gas eg. Azerbaijan, Kazakstan, Turmenistan The post-communist economies

50 Oil development in Azerbaijan

51 Tibet Xinjiang Autonomous regions of China  Tibet: Relatively isolated from the Chinese/global economy  Xinjiang: Large oil reserves, Dominance of Han Chinese  New transportation project that connects eastern China The economy of Tibet and Xinjiang

52 Ethnic tension in Xinjiang

53 Afghanistan Afghanistan Economic misery in Afghanistan  One of the weakest economies in the world  Production of illicit drugs in the late 1990s  War-torn economy (Taliban, US bombing campaign)

54 Influential countries have proposed different routes such that they can favor their interests Global linkages: direct foreign investment   

55  High level of social indicator in the former Soviet republics  legacy of social program enacted by socialist regime  Afghanistan ranks the lowest  warfare, low connectivity

56 Social conditions and the status of women in Afghanistan  Afghan women lead highly constrained lives  15 percent adult female literacy  6 million Afghan refugees in neighboring states  Pakistan, Iran…


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