Marijuana grows openly in many parts of Kyrgyzstan. The Lake Issyk-Kul area of Kyrgyzstan is particularly famous for hashish. The country's climate is exceptionally well suited to cultivation of opium poppies and wild marijuana, producing unusually pure final products from both types of plant. Kyrgyzstan is said to produce even better poppies than does nearby Afghanistan.

According to the CIA World Factbook: There is limited illicit cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy for CIS markets and limited government eradication of illicit crops. Kyrgyzstan is a transit point for Southwest Asian narcotics bound for Russia and the rest of Europe and a major consumer of opiates. [Source: CIA World Factbook =]

According to Sensi Seeds: “Kyrgyzstan has a small illicit trade in opium, cannabis and ephedra, which it produces, as well as in amphetamines. Domestic production of opium is small-scale, and cannabis and ephedra cultivation is far more prevalent and widely-distributed. The southern borders are prone to illicit trafficking of hashish and opium from Afghanistan and Pakistan, which travels through Tajikistan or even the lawless western reaches of China’s Xinjiang province to reach Kyrgyzstan, before leaving the country once more via its northern and western borders with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.- [Source: Sesheta, September 16, 2014, Sensi Seeds -]

“Kyrgyzstan has relatively light sentences for narcotics offenses. Possession or cultivation of small quantities with no intent to supply typically results in community service or a fine, but may be punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment. Trafficking or production of narcotics including cannabis and hashish is punishable by between four and eight years’ imprisonment.-

Drug Trade in Kyrgyzstan

Researcher Alexander Kupatadze wrote: “Kyrgyzstan is a significant actor in trans-national drugs trafficking due to its geopolitical location, insecure borders and corruption in law enforcement. Drugs transiting Kyrgyzstan are mainly distributed in the Russian market, especially to Siberia and the Ural region although trafficking to China is already a problem and is expected to grow in the coming years considering opiate and heroin trafficking has become more professional and international and the increasing drugs market in China. [Source: Alexander Kupatadze, PhD candidate, School of International Relations St. Andrews University, UK, 2007 ^^^]

“There are 7300 officially registered drug consumers in Kyrgyzstan, however unofficial estimates range from 70 thousand up to 250 thousand. Local production is limited and mainly includes cannabis, marihuana and opium. Thus Kyrgyzstan is not considered to be a major producer of drugs, although in Soviet times, about 98 collective farms (kolkhoz) in the Issyk-Kul region of Kyrgyzstan provided 80% of the Soviet Union’s legal supply of opium, or 16% of the world’s legal supply from roughly 1916 to 1973. Opium poppies were widely cultivated in the South and the city of Osh was previously known as the “Bogota of the East”. Drugs are still produced in both regions, involving numbers of impoverished people. For instance, in Issyk-Kul region, cannabis is grown on around 4353 hectares of land that can be used to produce around 3 thousand tons of marihuana and 100 tons of hashish. The criminal groups have divided the plantations among themselves and mobilize around 200 peasants daily to work on the plantations. The drugs are then trafficked through Kazakhstan to Russia. Likewise, in Osh entire families go to plantations to pick opium poppies. The parents make hashish and marihuana and the children sell it.^^^

“ Nevertheless the main problem is the trafficking of Afghan drugs through Kyrgyzstan. The drugs mainly pass through the Osh region, the so-called “Osh knot”, along the Osh-Bishkek highway or the Talas region to Kazakhstan and Russia. Basically, the drugs trafficking routes to the North coincide with the trade routes for goods arriving from China. ^^^

“According to different estimates 60 thousand kg of heroin is trafficked through Kyrgyzstan annually, however seizures are minor. For instance in 2005 202 kg and in 2006 – 260 kg of heroin was seized in Kyrgyzstan, that means that only 0.34% in 2005 and 0.43% in 2006 of overall heroin traffic was detected. As one knowledgeable journalist from Osh argued ‘only small portions of drugs are seized; the big ones pass freely’. The big seizures take place when competing groups “inform the law enforcement agencies about the location of future shipments”.”^^^

Drug Related Crime in Kyrgyzstan

While the use of narcotics and illegal drugs is relatively low, it is a problem. Because of porous borders and close proximity to Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan is a transit country for illegal drugs, which are smuggled to Russia, Europe, and occasionally North America. Corruption and lack of training/equipment for law enforcement agencies hamper efforts to control the flow of drugs. [Source: “Kyrgyzstan 2015 Crime and Safety Report,” Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State]

According to the United Nations: “In 2006, 31,392 drug related crimes were recorded in Kyrgyzstan. All subcategories of drug related crime declined between 2005 and 2006, with the exception of smuggling. Drug related crime in Kyrgyzstan reflects the same inverted-U trend seen in other countries in Central Asia. In 2006, the recorded number of drug related crimes was 38 percent lower than its peak in 2000. However, the number of offences for the sale of drugs has steadily increased: 46 percent from 2001 to 2005. [Source: “Illicit Drug Trends in Central Asia”, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Office for Central Asia, April 2008 |~|]

Drug Related Crimes in Kyrgyzstan: 1,901 in 1992; 2,146 in 1993; 2,544 in 1994; 2,623 in 1995; 2,922 in 1996; 3,103 in 1997; 3,227 in 1998; 3,459 in 1999; 3,538 in 2000; 3,205 in 2001; 3,018 in 2002; 3,106 in 2003; 3,090 in 2004; 2,565 in 2005; 2,437 in 2006.

Drug Related Crime Offenders in Kyrgyzstan: 1,293 in 1992; 1,371 in 1993; 1,751 in 1994; 2,065 in 1995; 2,212 in 1996; 2,519 in 1997; 2,633 in 1998; 2,650 in 1999; 2,951 in 2000; 2,537 in 2001; 2,339 in 2002; 2,403 in 2003; 2,056 in 2004; 1,783 in 2005; 1882 in 2006.

“Sub-nationally, in 2005 there was a significantly greater prevalence of drug related crimes in Issyk-kul (115 per 100,000 or 506 crimes), Chui (87 per 100,000 675), Osh city (78 per 100,000 202), Bishkek city (74 per 100,000 or 605) than anywhere else in Kyrgyzstan. Issy-kul also has the highest drug related crime prevalence in Central Asia. This pattern conforms to the trend seen in Kyrgyzstan with crime, opiate seizures, and registered drug users concentrated in a few select locations. |~|

Main Drug Related Crimes Registered in Kyrgyzstan: A) Smuggling: 75 in 2005; 96 in 2006; B) Storage: 1685 in 2005; 1642 in 2006; C) Distribution: 578 in 2005; 464 in 2006; D) Cultivation: 99 in 2005; 94 in 2006; E) Brothel Maintenance: 64 in 2005; 66 in 2006.

Cannabis and Hashish in Kyrgyzstan

According to the United Nations: “Cannabis surveys conducted by UNODC in 1998 and 1999 suggest that wild growth and cultivation occurred in Yssyk-Kul (2,444.2 ha), followed by Jalal-Abad (333.5 ha), Talas (93.9 ha), Chui (87.4 ha) and Osh oblast (15.8 ha). In addition, Issyk-Kul and Jalal-Abad were noted for producing cannabis with a higher THC which is preferred by traffickers. In 2004, the OSCE estimated that cannabis was growing on 6,000 ha. In 2006, Kyrgyzstan reports 537.5 ha of wild cannabis growth and no illicit cultivation. [Source: “Illicit Drug Trends in Central Asia”, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Office for Central Asia, April 2008 |~|]

According to Sensi Seeds: “Kyrgyzstan has a long history of cannabis use. Cannabis is indigenous to the region and Kyrgyz tribes still utilise cannabis for fibre, food and drug purposes. It is thought that the cannabis plant evolved in the mountainous regions that lie between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, political upheaval caused the modern cannabis trade to thrive. [Source: Sesheta, September 16, 2014, Sensi Seeds -]

“The bulk of the cannabis harvested is simply dried and sold; however, there is also a lively culture of hashish-making that has endured for centuries, if not thousands of years. “Traditionally, hashish production in central Asia may have involved a certain unique ritual: naked horsemen (rider and horse both freshly washed) would ride repeatedly through the fields until both were covered with a sticky layer of hashish, which was then scraped off and pressed into blocks. “Now, however, it seems that the most common technique is to simply rub the plants between the palms of the hands to collect the sticky resin before scraping it off with a knife and packaging it into matchboxes for sale. It typically takes around thirty minutes to produce a palm’s worth of resin, which is known as a ‘chocolate’; each matchbox contains three or four ‘chocolates’ (typically 15-25g) and takes a total of two hours for one person to produce. Now that hashish production is illegal in Kyrgyzstan, observers will note the location of likely-looking plants during the day, and at night will return to hand-rub the plants where they grow—sometimes remaining at the arduous task throughout the entire night.”-

Cannabis Use in Kyrgyzstan

According to Sensi Seeds: “In Issyk-Kul or Chui, cannabis may easily be procured for next-to-nothing—or even free, if one knows where to look and who to ask. A matchbox full of hashish typically costs 300-350 soms (€4-5) at the point of origin, but may cost €20-25 elsewhere. If it makes it as far as Russia, the same matchbox may cost €200-250.Cannabis and hashish are easy to find in almost every part of Kyrgyzstan, although care should always be taken to avoid attracting unwelcome attention from law enforcement. The price, quality and origin of the product available will vary according to location—in the south, Afghan hashish is very common, whereas in the northern regions, domestically-produced cannabis and hashish dominates. [Source: Sesheta, September 16, 2014, Sensi Seeds -]

“UNODC estimates from 2001 place annual cannabis use prevalence at 6.2 percent of the adult population, the highest in Central Asia. In comparison, UNODC estimates in 2006 suggest that 0.9 percent of the adult population use opiates. “Results of the 2006 school survey “Lifetime use of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances” indicates 8 percent of boys and 1.3 percent of girls have used cannabis in their lifetime. The percentage of young people who had used cannabis ten times or more in their lifetime was 1.9 percent for boys and 0.4 percent for girls. Within the past 30 days, 2.6 percent of boys and 0.7 percent of girls reported using cannabis. This indicates that cannabis use is minimal among youth in Kyrgyzstan, with lifetime use prevalence lower than inhalant use. |~|

Cannabis use among registered drug users in Kyrgyzstan in 2006: registered cannabis users: 2155; cumulative total percent of all RDUs: 27 percent; prevalence per 100,000 population: 41.0; total registered drug users (RDUs): 7842. Estimated annual prevalence of cannabis use as a percentage of the adult population (annual prevalence, year of estimate): 6.4, 2001. Percentage of students age 16 who reported using cannabis by frequency; lifetime use: boys: 8.0; girls: 1.7; use in the past 12 months: boys: 4.2; girls: 1.1; use in the past 30 days: boys: 2.6; girls: 0.7.

Wild Cannabis in Kyrgyzstan

According to Sensi Seeds: Cannabis grows abundantly in the wild in Kyrgyzstan, and laws against cultivation are relatively strict; thus, the vast majority of the harvest each year is taken from wild plants. The epicentre of wild cannabis in Kyrgyzstan is the area surrounding Lake Issyk-Kul, a popular tourist destination situated 225km southeast of the capital Bishkek and 100km south of Kazakhstan’s former capital Almaty; cannabis also thrives in the Chui Valley, which straddles the border between northern Kyrgyzstan and southern Kazakhstan.- [Source: Sesheta, September 16, 2014, Sensi Seeds -]

“It is estimated that wild cannabis covers up to 6,000 hectares in the Chui Valley and 7,000 hectares in the Issyk-Kul region. As well as the Chui and Issyk-Kul, cannabis also grows in Talas and Jalal-Abad provinces; rarely, cases of illicit cannabis cultivation have been reported in other remote regions, usually in locations inaccessible to law enforcement. In total, approximately 40,000 hectares of wild cannabis is believed to grow in Kyrgyzstan.-

“The wild cannabis that grows in Kyrgyzstan is primarily C. ruderalis, although (as in Kazakhstan) genetics from India and Pakistan have been introduced over the centuries, leading to significant genetic and morphological diversity between populations. Typically, wild plants are reported to reach 1-2.5 metres in height and produce up to 4 percent THC in the female flowers, and often exhibit visible and abundant resin production.-

Harvesting of the wild crop typically begins in early August, when resin production has peaked. It is reported that once the buds have been stripped from the branches, the plant continues to produce flowers and can be harvested a second time in late August or early September. This may well be a feature of its ruderalis ancestry, as many growers of modern autoflowering strains have found the same occurs with their own plants.-

“The harvest is of great significance to the local rural economy, particularly in times of poorer-than-average tourism (which often occur due to political upheaval in the region). In recent years, would-be harvesters have become increasingly open about their activities, and it is reportedly not uncommon to see whole families out in the fields, from children to the elderly. Women are also increasingly favoured for the task of harvesting, as they are generally less likely to be suspected of wrongdoing by the authorities.-

“Wild cannabis is often found sprouting in villagers’ gardens, in which case they must decide between uprooting the valuable crop to avoid police attention, or allowing it to grow unhindered; if the latter, the resulting harvest is usually sold on to local dealers.-

Cannabis Trafficking in Kyrgyzstan

According to Sensi Seeds: “It is estimated that up to 80 percent of families in the Issyk-Kul and Chui regions are involved in illicit harvesting of cannabis, of which around 40 percent is consumed locally and the rest trafficked on to neighbouring countries, including Russia. Typically, small-scale local dealers purchase cannabis and hashish directly from the villagers that harvested it. The contraband is then sold on to larger regional and international trafficking organisations, which then oversee its journey out of Kyrgyzstan. [Source: Sesheta, September 16, 2014, Sensi Seeds -]

“Local harvesters of Kyrgyzstan’s wild cannabis are often armed with sticks, knives and (less commonly) guns. Occasionally, tensions have been known to rise between the harvesters and the police sent to stamp down on the trade, which have spilled over into violence on several occasions. Firearms are more likely to be shot into the air as a deterrent than used as a weapon, but knife and stick skirmishes can reach intense levels. In 2005, a local counternarcotics official stated that two of his agents had been stabbed during an effort to arrest cannabis harvesters in Issyk-Kul the previous autumn.-

“Although police operations in Kyrgyzstan’s cannabis regions are regular, there is very little hope of any serious damage being done to the industry, both due to the tenacity of the plant itself and that of the locals involved in the trade, who in many cases depend on it utterly in order to generate the income needed to support their families. Counternarcotics divisions are hugely underfunded, and officials recognise the significance of the industry to Kyrgyzstan’s rural poor—and according to various reports, are often not averse to taking bribes in return for allowing the trade to continue unhindered. According to anecdotal reports, an unofficial ‘fine’ of 1,000 Kyrgyz soms (around €14.50) will secure one’s release if arrested—if offered immediately. If the bribe is not offered, police are then likely to demand tribute of a cow, a horse, or the equivalent of $1,000 (€745).-

Eradication and Seizures of Cannabis in Kyrgyzstan

According to Sensi Seeds: “Just as in neighbouring Kazakhstan, the Soviet authorities made ongoing efforts to eradicate cannabis in the Chui Valley—burning the fields, applying pesticides, and uprooting it entirely—but their efforts were unsuccessful, and the plants simply returned and grew even more vigorously. Following the collapse of the Soviet regime and the resulting economic and political upheaval in the region, unemployment soared and many rural people turned to cannabis as a means of generating much-needed income. In response to the rapid growth of the cannabis trade, Kyrgyz authorities renewed efforts to stamp out the industry. In 1994, it was estimated that 60,000 hectares of cannabis grew in Kyrgyzstan; that year, Kyrgyz authorities reported eradication of 15,000 hectares. [Source: Sesheta, September 16, 2014, Sensi Seeds -]

“Although their efforts show little sign of destroying the industry, Kyrgyz authorities continue to pursue ongoing eradication efforts. In 2008, officials in Issyk-Kul announced the commencement of ‘Operation Poppy-Seed 2008’, a move to destroy opium and cannabis in the region; in 2009, anti-drug police in Issyk-Kul destroyed 152kg of cannabis plants in one operation. In 2013, Kyrgyz authorities stated that 154 metric tons of cannabis had been eradicated in the eight months up to and including August in Issyk-Kul alone.-

“In February 2014 in Osh, a city in southern Kyrgyzstan that has been the scene of significant ethic clashes in recent years, a Tajik citizen was detained while driving a car with over 20kg of Afghan hashish concealed within it, while just days earlier, another Tajik citizen was arrested for possession of 690g of hashish. In 2009, the largest-ever bust in Kyrgyzstan led to the seizure of 172kg of hashish.-

According to the United Nations: “In 2006, law enforcement agencies in the Kyrgyz Republic seized over 2 tons (2,399.8 kilograms) of cannabis. While this figure represents a 21 percent increase from 2005, it is more accurately seen as part of a wider trend of fluctuating volumes of cannabis seizures between 1996 and 2006. Cannabis seizures peaked in 2000 at 3,748.2 kilograms, and bottomed out 1997 at 110.2 kilograms, just three years earlier. |~|

“The majority of seizures in 2006 took place in Chui (1,160.4 kilograms) and Issyk-kul (620.1 kilograms), together accounting for 74 percent of total cannabis seizures. For Issyk-kul, this represents a six-fold increase over the volume seized in 2005. Osh oblast, which had recorded the second highest volume of cannabis seizures in 2005, saw a significant 72 percent decrease. |~|

Hashish seizures in Kyrgyzstan, 2004-2010 (in tons): A) 0.2 tons in 2004; B) 0.1 tons in 2005; C) 0.2 tons in 2006; D) 0.4 tons in 2007; E) 0.5 tons in 2008; F) 0.7 tons in 2009; G) 0.5 tons in 2010.

Synthetic Drugs and Inhalants in Kyrgyzstan

According to the United Nations: “A substantial amount of wild growing Ephedra can be found in Kyrgyzstan. The most recent UNODC survey (1998) observed wild growing Ephedra on 46,433 ha. Similarly, OSCE estimates for 2004 indicate that Ephedra was growing in 55,000 ha. In 2006, Kyrgyzstan seized 233.8 kilograms of drugs classified as “other”, possibly synthetic drugs or inhalants. Among registered drug users 8 are reportedly Ephedra addicts, 11 are sedative addicts, 80 are solvent and tranquilizer addicts, and 708 are poly-drug addicts, possibly including synthetic drugs and inhalants. [Source: “Illicit Drug Trends in Central Asia”, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Office for Central Asia, April 2008 |~|]

“Results of the 2006 school survey “Lifetime use of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances” suggest that synthetic drug use is not common among youth in Kyrgyzstan. Lifetime drug use was limited to 4.9 percent of students with 1.3 percent using 10 times or more. The most frequent drug used was inhalants (5.4 percent), followed by cannabis, ecstasy (0.7 percent) and anabolic steroids (0.5 percent). Within the past 12 months, 2.4 percent of boys and 1.7 percent of girls had used inhalants. |~|

Percentage of students in Kyrgyzstan who reported synthetic drug use within the past 12 months and 30 days: Used once or more in the past 12 months: inhalants: boys: 2.4; girls: 1.7; ecstasy: boys: 0.1; girls: 0; steroids: boys: 0.2; girls: 0.1; Used once or more in the past month: inhalants: boys: 1.6; girls:

Synthetic drug use among registered drug users, 2006: Ephedra: 8; Hallucinogens: 0; Sedatives: 11; Solvents & Tranquilizers: 80; Polydrugs: 708; Other: 0. The generic categories “other” and “poly-drug” may or may not include synthetic drug use. |~|

Percentage of students age 16 who reported never using drugs in their lifetime: any drug use: 95.1; amphetamine: 99.6; LSD: 99.5 crack: 99.6; ecstasy: 99.3; GHB: 99.7; inhalants: 94.6; steroids: 99.5.

Heroin and Opium Abuse in Kyrgyzstan

According to the United Nations: “The vast majority of Kyrgyz opiate abusers are located along what is believed to be the major drug trafficking routes through the country which enter Kyrgyzstan in Osh and transit Jalal-Abad and Chui oblasts en route to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Conversely, drug abuse tends to be low in regions isolated from the major transportation network and drug trafficking routes, such as Naryn and Issyk-kul. [Source: “Illicit Drug Trends in Central Asia”, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Office for Central Asia, April 2008 |~|]

“In Kyrgyzstan there were 5,387 registered injecting drug users in 2006, the majority of whom are located in the urban centres of Bishkek (2,742) and Osh city (1,061). The Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, located on a major drug trafficking route in the northern Chui oblast, is reported to have the single largest population of registered drug users in the country. In 2006 there were 381 registered drug users per 100,000 people, of which almost one quarter were heroin users and 41 percent were opium users. In Bishkek, UNODC estimates that 1.6 percent of the total adult population (15 – 64 years) or approximately 6,000 persons are regular opiate users. The estimated opiate use prevalence in Bishkek is among the highest of any location in the region. Alarmingly, all were injecting opiates. |~|

“Osh oblast is central to many of the drug trafficking routes through Central Asia due to its proximity to the Ferghana Valley, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan’s eastern Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region. In 2005, 36 people per 100,000 population were registered as drug users; out of these more than a quarter were registered as heroin users and 11 percent as opium users. It is estimated that 0.2 percent of the adult population, or around 2,000 people, in the Osh oblast are regular opiate users. Of these, 96 percent administer the drug through injection. However, within the oblast, almost half of the estimated opiate users are in Osh City which has an estimated prevalence of 0.8 percent opiate users. In contrast to Bishkek where only a quarter of registered drug users have been registered as heroin users, in Osh City, the proportion of heroin users is more than 85 percent. Contrary to common perceptions that places associated with drug trafficking would also have high prevalence of drug use, noticeable exceptions are observed in the region, as for example in the Osh (excluding Osh city) and the Jalal-Abad oblasts. These are located on what are believed to be major heroin trafficking routes but have reportedly low prevalence rates of opiate use. The same holds true for the corresponding regions of Namangan and Andijon in Uzbekistan. |~|

“The majority of registered drug users (93 percent in 2005) were male. Unlike in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, where the most frequently used opiate is heroin, in Kyrgyzstan the total number of registered heroin and opium users are similar, with the majority of opium users concentrated in the northern Chui oblast and Bishkek City. As in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, injecting is the most frequently used method of administering opiates (approximately 96 percent). In contrast to the total number of registered drug users, UNODC estimates that 0.8 percent of the total adult population between 15 - 64 years of age, equating approximately 26,000 people, are dependent on opiates. |~|

Kyrgyzstan has launched a progressive needle exchange program to combat drug-related diseases. A report from the 1990s indicated that 70 percent of the 44,000 crimes reported in the republic in 1992 had a connection to drugs in one way or another. The number of drug related crimes increased from 904 in 1990 to 2,623 in 1996.

Drug Production in Kyrgyzstan

Perhaps the most lucrative, and certainly the most problematic, of Kyrgyzstan's exports is narcotics, particularly opium and heroin. Government officials believe that the narcotics industry presents the greatest challenge to the internal security of Kyrgyzstan because of its capacity to destabilize the country. [Source: Library of Congress, March 1996 *]

In the Soviet era, the Kyrgyz Republic was a legal producer of opium, with about 2,000 hectares of land planted to poppies in 1974, the last year before world pressure forced such farms to be closed. At that point, an estimated 16 percent of the world's opium came from Kyrgyzstan.

In 1992 Kyrgyzstan applied to the World Health Organization for permission to reinstitute the production of medicinal opium as a means of generating desperately needed revenue. The plan was to increase the planting in the northeastern Issyk-Kul area to about 10,000 hectares and to open plantations in Talas and Naryn as well, yielding a projected annual profit of about US$200 million. Under pressure from the world community, the plan was dropped. *

According to the United Nations: “As evidenced in the 1999 UNODC survey, Kyrgyzstan had the lowest level of opium poppy cultivation of the three Central Asian states surveyed at 0.08 ha. Cultivation reported in the 1999 study occurred primarily in Chui oblast (267.4 m2). All the poppy plots were located in house gardens with the largest single cultivation plot measuring only 203 m2 in size. The majority of cultivation was reportedly for personal use rather than for distribution. In 2006, Kyrgyzstan did not report any illicit cultivation of opium poppy or any production facilities. |[Source: “Illicit Drug Trends in Central Asia”, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Office for Central Asia, April 2008 |~|]

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, U.S. government, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

Last updated April 2016

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