In a referendum on the preservation of the Soviet Union in March 1991, 88.7% of the voters approved the proposal to retain the Soviet Union as a "renewed federation".Nevertheless, secessionist forces pushed Kyrgyzstan's independence through in August of that same year.Literacy was greatly improved, and a standard literary language was introduced by imposing Russian on the populace. Many aspects of Kyrgyz national culture were retained despite the suppression of nationalist activity under Joseph Stalin, who controlled the Soviet Union from the late 1920s until 1953.

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In the twelfth century the Kyrgyz dominion had shrunk to the Altay Range and Sayan Mountains as a result of the Mongol expansion.

With the rise of the Mongol Empire in the thirteenth century, the Kyrgyz migrated south.

The Russian takeover was met with numerous revolts against Tsarist authority, and many of the Kyrgyz opted to move to the Pamir Mountains and Afghanistan.

In addition, the suppression of the 1916 rebellion against Russian rule in Central Asia caused many Kyrgyz later to migrate to China.

Because of the processes of migration, conquest, intermarriage, and assimilation, many of the Kyrgyz peoples that now inhabit Central and Southwest Asia are of mixed origins, often stemming from fragments of many different tribes, though they now speak closely related languages.

Issyk Kul Lake was a stopover on the Silk Road, a land route for traders, merchants and other travelers from the Far East to Europe.

In December 1990, the Supreme Soviet voted to change the republic's name to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.

(In 1993, it became the Kyrgyz Republic.) The following January, Akayev introduced new government structures and appointed a new government composed mainly of younger, reform-oriented politicians.

Landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west and southwest, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east. Kyrgyzstan's recorded history spans over 2,000 years, encompassing a variety of cultures and empires.

Although geographically isolated by its highly mountainous terrain – which has helped preserve its ancient culture – Kyrgyzstan has historically been at the crossroads of several great civilizations, namely as part of the Silk Road and other commercial and cultural routes.

The Kyrgyz peacefully became a part of Mongol Empire in 1207.