The Republic of Tajikistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia, filled with mountains. Over fifty percent of the country is located more than 10,000 feet above sea level, with the Fergana Valley to the north and the Kafirnigan and Vakhsh valleys to the south being the only significant areas of lower land. It is the smallest nation in Central Asia by area.
The population is primarily made up of the Tajik ethnic group, who are culturally and historically linked with the Persian peoples. They speak the Tajik language. Tajikistan was once the location of the Samanid Empire, and became part of the Soviet Union known as the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the country suffered from a civil war that lasted 5 years. In the stability following the end of the war, with help from foreign aid, the country's economy has grown steadily. Its primary resources are cotton and aluminum.