Xinjiang

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Xinjiang is an autonomous region (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million sq km. Xinjiang borders Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, has abundant oil reserves and is China's largest natural gas-producing region.
 
Xinjiang was previously known as Xiyu or Qurighar, meaning Western Region, under the Han Dynasty, which drove the Xiongnu empire out of the region in 60 BC. This was in an effort to secure the profitable Silk Road. The name "Xinjiang", which literally means "New Frontier" or "New Border", was given during the Qing Dynasty. It is home to a number of different ethnic groups including the Uyghur, Han, Kazakh, Hui, Kyrgyz and Mongol. More than a dozen autonomous prefectures and counties for minorities are located in Xinjiang. Older English-language reference works often refer to the area as Chinese Turkestan, Sinkiang and East Turkestan. Xinjiang is divided into the Dzungarian Basin in the north and the Tarim Basin in the south by a mountain range. Only about 4.3% of Xinjiang's land area is fit for human habitation.
 
With a documented history of at least 2,500 years, a succession of peoples and empires has vied for control over all or parts of this territory. Prior to the 21st century, all or part of the region has been ruled or influenced at times by the Tocharians, Yuezhi, Xiongnu Empire, Kushan Empire, Han Empire, Former Liang, Former Qin, Later Liang, Western Liáng, Tang Dynasty, Uyghur Khaganate, Kara-Khanid Khanate, Mongol Empire (Yuan Dynasty), Dzungar Khanate, Qing Dynasty, Republic of China and since 1949 People's Republic of China.