Located in the north-west of Uzbekistan in the lower reaches of the Amudarya River and along the south-west coast of the Aral Sea, the Karakalpakstan republic borders Kazakhstan on the north, north-east, and west, and Turkmenistan in the south and southeast. In 1925 the Karakalpak Autonomous Region was established within the Kazakhstan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1930 it became subordinate to the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and in 1936 the Karakalpak ASSR became part of the Uzbek Republic. In 1990, at the session of the Supreme Council of the Karakalpak ASSR, the Declaration on State Sovereignty was adopted, in 1993 an interstate agreement was signed for 20 years on the entry of Karakalpakstan into Uzbekistan with the right to exit through a referendum.
The share of the titular ethnic group (Karakalpaks) is about one-third of the population; the rest are Uzbeks and Kazakhs. These numbers are rough estimates because there is no census data since 1989. 60% of the population is employed in cotton industry. A severe problem is the Aral Sea as a zone of ecological disaster. The Uzbekistan law guarantees the representation of the Republic of Karakalpakstan in the national authorities. One of the Vice-Chairmen of the Parliament is the Chairman of Jokargy Kenes (parliament) of Karakalpakstan.
The Karakalpak language is official in the region. It is closer to Kazakh than to Uzbek. At school, teaching is conducted in the language of parents' choice, but pupils study Karakalpak anyway. The term of the treaty with Uzbekistan is over, and the new agreement is not yet achieved. This situation causes discussions, but not very intense.