Territory of Kazakhstan has come to be mastered by man nearly a million years ago. As early as the age of Lower Paleolith the ancient man settled down on these Karatau lands fit for normal life, rich with game and wild fruit. It is there that they have found ancient settlements of Stone Age. By and by, in the centuries of Middle and Upper Paleolith the man came to master Central and Eastern Kazakhstan and Mangyshlak area.
As have been shown by excavations of the neolythic settlement Botay in the North Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan constitutes the area of horse-mastering (breeding) and that of formation of nomad civilizations. Archeologists revealed dwellings, numerous hand-made articles of stone and ivory which present the ancient history and archeology of Kazakhstan in the Stone epoch in an altogether new way.
As early as the Bronze Age, some four millenia ago, the territory of Kazakhstan was inhabited by tribes of the so called Andron and Begazy-Dandybay culture. They were engaged in farming and cattle-breeding, they were fine warriors who handled combat chariots marvellously. To this day we can see images of chariots drawn on rocks where ancient people would arrange their tribal temples and sanctuaries with the firmament as their natural cover. On the surfaces of black cliffs burnt with the sun people would chisel out scenes of dances, images of sun-headed deities, mighty camels and bulls as impersonations of ancient gods. Burial mounds of noble warriors scattered all throughout Kazakh steppes are known for magnificient size of mounds and burial vaults proper. Particularly famous are such necropoles in the steppes of Sary-Arka and Tagiskent in the Transaral area. People of that epoch were not only fine warriors, shepherds and farmers but also skilled metallurgists. They would take bronze and manufacture axes, knives, daggers and various decorations thereof.
It were they who initiated development of copper which is being practiced to this day — they are Zhezkazgan and Sayak copper quarries of today. Ancient people lived in large settlements and ancient towns surrounded with walls and fosses. These towns were inhabited with warriors and craftsmen, priests and farmers. These tribes lived on the territory of Kazakhstan for about a thousand years — from the XVIIth century BC to IX-VIII centuries AD.
Later on they were ousted by Saks. Such was the name given to this tribe by ancient Persians. The Chinese called them «se» whereas Greeks chose to call them Scythians. They were essentially nomads, semi-nomads and farmers. Yet, first and foremost, they were excellent horsemen. In fact Saks were the first ever horsemen in the world to master arrow-shooting at full tilt.
In VI-II centuries BC Saks set up their first state with its centre in the Zhetysu (Semirechje) in South-East Kazakhstan. Kings of Saks were at the same time high priests. Saks had written language and mythology of their own, they were known for their well developed art of world standard labelled in research papers as «animal-styled art». Respective subjects were represented by predators and herbivourous animals and the struggle there between. Sheer masterpieces made of gold and bronze serve as worthy exhibits of best museums of the world.
In the Issyk burial mound that harboured the world-famous «Golden Man» they have found a silver bowl whose bottom bore an incription consisting of 26 characters. They have failed to read it to this day. Some think that the incription is made in one of the Iranian languages, others insist on its prothoturkic origin.
The middle of the first millenium AD is a fairly important stage in the history of all Turks in general and Kazakhs in particular. The period is marked with manifest changes in ethnic media: predominant now there become Turkic tribes which chose Altai as their natural centre. Written sources of the VIth century register the term «Tyurk» which is pronounced as «Tutszyue» by the Chinese and as «Turk» by Sogdians.
Starting from the IV-th century up to the beginning of the XIII-th century the territory of Kazakhstan was the seat of West-Turkic, Tyurgesh, Karluk Kaganates, of the state made by Oguzes, Karakhanides, Kimeks and Kypchaks. All of them successively replaced one another up to the very Mongol invasion. After the invasion, i.e. in the beginning of the XIIIth century, there have shaped up uluses of the Mongol Empire of Zhuchi-Khan and Zhagatai which later gave birth to Ak-Orda, Mongolistan and finally to Kazakh Khanate.
Essentially all these states were mixed economies. Tribes of cattle-breeders had farming tribes as their neighbours, steppes and cities supplemented each other. Such cities as Taraz, Otrar, Ispijab, Talkhir were set up right in the way of the Grand Silk Route which served as a reliable link joining antiquity and Middle Ages, the West and the East: Japan, Korea and China with Central Asia, Iran, the State of Seldzhuks, Rus, Byzantium, France and Italy.
On the whole the process of formation of the Kazakh ethnic national group came to completion in XIV-XV centuries.
By virtue of many ethnopolitical and economic factors on the territory of Kazakhstan there formed three ethnoterritorial associations — Senior, Middle and Junior Juzes. Division into juzes was the actual reflection of the complex process — formation of the Kazakh ethnic national group, it left its characteristic stamp on local cultural and every-day specifics of its development.
Kazakh Khanate shaped up in the middle of the XVth century. Extension of estates, consolidation of statehood, active foreign policy pursued by the First Khans, particularly by Kasymkhan in early XVIth century, later on gave way to ever growing intestine wars and mass roamings-off of people.
The aggravated economic and political situation generated the issue of joining Russia, a process that lasted nearly 150 years. Abulkhair, Khan of the Junior Juz exasperated by the ongoing weakening of the Kazakh Khanate as a result of the exhausting war had to accept the terms of the Junior Juz’s joining Russia. Efforts of the «opposition» headed by Sultan Baraka to impede the negotiations and frustrate formalization of the act of the Junior Juz’ joining Russia ended in a failure and on October 10, 1731 a part of the assembly of Kazakh elders supported the decision.
Political and economic status of Kazakhstan in the middle and the end of the XVIIIth century features the following: aggravation of internal discord in the Junior juz; expansion of economic relations with Russia; development of barter trade; aggravation of the land issue; first moves in colonial policies of tsarism in the agrarian issue.
To step up colonization of the territory they introduced a Russian system of administration which resulted in a protest on the part of the Kazakh population which — subsequently — expressed itself in a national-liberation struggle of Kazakhs within the Russian empire. In sum, the Kazakh people raised the banner of freedom more than 300 times. Starting from the second half of the XIXth century Kazakhstan represents a completely shaped up colony of the Russian Empire.
Late in the XIXth century colonial specifics of the agrarian policy of tsarism brought about a gradual shift in the proportion of nomadic and settled population. There have shaped up new forms of economies: a settled cattle-breeding one and a settled farming one. Social differentiation of the Kazakh society becomes ever more pronounced. A part of economies comes to be envolved in market relations. Now quite typical is the engagement of impoverished Kazakhs in various industries that emerged in Kazakhstan in the last quarter of the XIXth century. Local merchants initiated a new practice of trade — they started arranging fairs. Over the last decade of the XIXth century they built some 482 km of railway lines. Development of transit trade is also underway. In context of the Kuldzha Treaty of 1851 trade links with China come to be more intensive. In commercial systems there appear elements of usury and private entrepreneurship.
Colonial oppression weighed hard on the living standards of the Kazakh people. Ever growing taxes and duties, land withdrawal generate aggravation of internal contradictions in the Kazakh countryside, a crisis in cattlebreeding economies.
The war of 1918 crowns the national-liberation movement of Kazakhs within the Russian Empire. Victorious February revolution in Russia brought about an overthrow of the tsarist government. It was a period of dual power in the country: the power of the proletariat and peasantry represented by the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies and the power of bourgeoisie and land-lords represented by the Provisional Government.
Upon the overthrow of tsarism, in Kazakhstan too, they started organizing Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. It went on hand in hand with the emergence of bodies of bourgeois power: all sorts of «executive committees», «civil committees», regional or district commissars appointed by the Provisional Government.
The end of the 20s-30s is marked with an upsurge of peasant uprisings to counter forced collectivization which brought about mass deaths of people. «Kazakhstani tragedy» — such is the name of this man-made disaster in history. The 30s is the period of establishment of totalitarianism in Kazakhstan which entailed massive political repressions, ever-present and omnipotent in all spheres of social and political life.
In 1939-1941 Kazakhstan is transformed into a major basis for production of non-ferrous metals, coal, oil, it becomes a region of developed agriculture.
In 1941-1945 Kazakhstan comes to be envolved in the WWII, more particularly in the Great Patriotic war against the invasion of fascist Germany. In this period practically all Kazakhstani enterprises put out only defence produce. Major industrial facilities and cultural establishments are being evacuated to Kazakhstan from western and central areas of the USSR. The war years are filled with the selfless heroic labour of millions of Soviet people in industries and agriculture. In WWII Kazakhstan lost nearly 425,000 people. The Republic played host to hundreds of thousands of evacuated people;
In 1954 top leaders of the country launch a campaign of massive development of virgin and fallow lands which entails a new influx of people arriving from other republics of the USSR, they boost up housing construction, that of cultural and mass facilities.
The years of the 50s — 80s are those coloured with the struggle between the party-and-state bureaucracy and the people. This 30-year span is characterized by an offensive against the bureaucracy (so called «Khruschev’s thaw») and the bureaucratic retaliation (L.I. Brezhnev, K.U. Chernenko) which brought about a stagnation in the Kazakhstani society.
The course of social and economic transformations announced by Mikhail Gorbachov when he became the topmost leader of the USSR, betrayed, initially, the same tendency as the efforts of his predecessors who did their utmost — when ascending to power — to present themselves as exceedingly active democratic reformers. The system of social, economic and political actions aimed at reforming the society remained in history as a notorious «perestroika».
Elections of the USSR people’s deputies held in spring 1989 proved to be very important in context of eventual transition to genuine democracy. For the first ever time they were conducted on the basis of alternative nomination and voting accompanied by political competition.
The day of August 19, 1991 — the day of the abortive attempt of a coup. President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan addresses the people of Kazakhstan. They issue Presidential Decrees «On the formation of the Security Council of the Kazakh SSR», «On the transition of state-owned enterprises and organizations of Union subordination into that of the Government of the Kazakh SSR», «On establishing the gold and diamond fund of the Kazakh SSR», «On closing of the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing grounds», etc. In September 1991 there has been adopted a
At the moment major world companies open their representations in the Republic, we witness an intensive increase in the number of joint ventures, they elaborate and implement projects of joint development of natural resources and processing raws and materials, introduction of advanced technologies in the agrarian sphere, etc.
Tremendous natural resources of Kazakhstan, social and political stability in the Republic make this region one of the most attractive objects of capital investments among other republics of the late Soviet Union.
Republic of Kazakhstan has become a full-fledged equal member of the world community to enjoy universal recognition and support of absolute majority of the states of the world. As of today Kazakhstan has been recognized by 113 states including 105 ones that maintain diplomatic relations with Kazakhstan.
Today we witness consolidation of interaction, extension of cooperation with most authoritative international agencies. Among them is the UNO, the European Community, the International and European Banks for Reconstruction and Development, the International Monetary Fund, the IAEA, the IFRCRCS, the UNICEF, the UNESCO, the WHO, etc. The Republic has acceeded to more than 40 international conventions, it has signed almost 400 multilateral and over 700 bilateral agreements and treaties.
In 1997 there has been adopted a decision on transferring the capital of the country from Almaty to Akmola, the circumstance conditioned by geopolitical and economic considerations of Kazakhstan’s development.
Finally, there has been elaborated and adopted for realization a Programme «On measures for realization of Kazakhstan’s development up to 2030».