The Russians began advancing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th century, and by the mid-19th century, they nominally ruled all of Kazakhstan as part of the Russian Empire.
Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, and subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganised several times.
Under the Mongol Empire, the largest in world history, administrative districts were established.
These eventually came under the rule of the emergent Kazakh Khanate (Kazakhstan).
Though traditionally referring only to ethnic Kazakhs, including those living in China, Russia, Turkey, Uzbekistan and other neighbouring countries, the term "Kazakh" is increasingly being used to refer to any inhabitant of Kazakhstan, including non-Kazakhs.
Pastoralism developed during the Neolithic as the region's climate and terrain are best suited for a nomadic lifestyle.
Kazakhstan shares borders with Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, and also adjoins a large part of the Caspian Sea.
While ancient cities Taraz (Aulie-Ata) and Hazrat-e Turkestan had long served as important way-stations along the Silk Road connecting Asia and Europe, true political consolidation began only with the Mongol rule of the early 13th century.
In the 19th century, the Russian Empire began to expand its influence into Central Asia.
The "Great Game" period is generally regarded as running from approximately 1813 to the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907.
In 1936, it was made the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, part of the Soviet Union.
Kazakhstan was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence during the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.