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Kazakhstan History Timeline

500 BC - 200 BC
  • (500 BC) Sakas inhabited present-day southern Kazakhstan
  • (200 BC) Eastern Kazakhstan under control of the Hsiung-nu, ancestors of the Huns
700 AD - 1900s
  • (700s AD) Arab invaders introduced Islam
  • (1219 - 1224) Mongol-Tatar tribes, led by Genghis Khan, invaded Kazakhstan and Central Asia
  • (1400s) Kazakh entity formed, Kazakhs became a strong ethnic group
  • (1600s) Kazakhs split into three groups: Elder, Middle and Lesser Zhuzes
  • (1731 - 1742) Three Zhuzes became part of Russia, sought protection from the Mongols
  • (1735) Orsk, the first Russian outpost was built
  • (1822 - 1868) Russia kept control of Kazakh tribes, in spite of many uprisings
  • (1832) Akmolinsk (present-day Astana) founded
  • (1868 - 1916) Thousands of peasants from Russia and Ukraine settled in Kazakhstan, set up industrial enterprises
1900s
  • (1916) Kazakhs revolt against Russian Czar, more than 300,000 flee, 150,000 people killed
  • (1917) Following Bolshevik revolution in Russia, civil war broke out in Kazakhstan
  • (1917) Kazakh nationals set up independent state
  • (1919) Kazakh nationals surrendered to Bolsheviks
  • (1920) Kazakhstan became autonomous republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)
  • (1924) Women's suffrage enacted
  • (1930 - 1960) Millions of people, including German and Russian dissidents, died due to starvation and torture in gulag camps
  • (1936) Kazakhstan became full USSR union
  • (1940s) USSR Premier Stalin ordered mass deportation of hundreds of thousands of Koreans, Crimean Tatars, Germans to Kazakhstan
  • (1949) Nuclear test conducted in eastern Kazakhstan at Semipalatinsk testing ground
  • (1954-1962) Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, initiated campaign to develop virgin lands in Kazakhstan; nearly 2 million people, mostly Russians, moved; ethnic Kazakhs reduced to minority population
  • (1961) First manned spacecraft launched from Baikonur site in central Kazakhstan
  • (1965) USSR conducted nuclear test in eastern Kazakhstan
  • (1968) Soviet engineers diverted water from two feeder streams, Amu Darya and Syr Darya, causing Aral Sea to begin shrinking
  • (1971) Soviets tested weaponized smallpox, outbreak killed two children and one woman
  • (1986) Kazakh Dinmukhamed Kunaev, head of Communist Party of Kazakhstan (CPK) was replaced by Gennady Kolbin, an ethnic Russian, protests broke out in Almaty, at least two killed
  • (1989) Nursultan Nazarbayev, replaced Kolbin as head of CPK
  • (1989) Parliament proclaimed Kazakh as official state language and Russian the inter-ethnic communication language
  • (1990) Aral Sea split in two between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, left patch of desert between the two countries
  • (1990) Nursultan Nazarbayev elected first Kazakh president by Supreme Soviet
  • (1991) CPK withdrew from the Soviet Union's Communist Party
  • (1991) President Nazarbayev closed Semipalatinsk nuclear testing ground
  • (1991) Nursultan Nazarbayev reelected in uncontested presidential election
  • (1991) Kazakhstan declared independence from Soviet Union
  • (1991) Kazakhstan was one of the 12 former Soviet republics to join the Commonwealth of Independent States, ended the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
  • (1992) Kazakhstan joined United Nations and Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe
  • (1993) New constitution adopted, increased presidential power, launched privatization program
  • (1994) President Nazarbayev appointed Akezhan Kazhegeldin as prime minister
  • (1995) Economic and military cooperation pact signed with Russia, nuclear-free status obtained
  • (1995) President Nazarbayev's term extended until December 2000
  • (1995) New constitution adopted
  • (1995) Private ownership of land legalized
  • (1996) Swarms of locusts threatened two million acres of farmland in the Atyrauz and Kokchetav regions and along the Caspian Sea
  • (1997) China and Kazakhstan secured major oil agreements
  • (1997) Capital moved from Almaty to Admola in the northern part of the country
  • (1997) Admola renamed Astana
  • (1997) Amendments to constitution included extending president's term from five to seven years, removed upper age limit for president
  • (1997) President Nazarbayev fired Prime Minister Kazhegeldin, appointed Nurlan Balgimbayev as new prime minister
  • (1998) Russia, Kazakhstan signed agreement dividing northern part of Caspian Sea into Russian and Kazakh sectors
  • (1999) Nursultan Nazarbayev reelected president for a seven-year term
  • (1999) Kazakh authorities detained members of Russian nationalist group who were planning secessionist uprising
  • (1999) Switzerland froze over a dozen Kazakhstan bank accounts for alleged money laundering

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.