Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a contiguous transcontinental country in Central Asia, with its smaller part west of the Ural River in Europe. Kazakhstan is the world's largest landlocked country by land area and the ninth largest country in the world; its territory of 2,727,300 square kilometres is larger than Western Europe. It has borders with Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, and also adjoins 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 17 million people Kazakhstan has the 62nd largest population in the world, though its population density is less than 6 people per square kilometre. The capital is Astana, where it was moved from Almaty in 1997.
The territory of Kazakhstan has historically been inhabited by nomadic tribes. This changed in the 13th century, when Genghis Khan occupied the country. When his ruling family fought for power, power generally switched back to the nomads. 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.