Turkmenistan is amongst the most ethnically homogeneous and isolated of the Central Asian republics that emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Through its history, Turkmenistan has come under the rule of a succession of empires, including various Persian, Arab, and the Oghuz Turks before coming under Russian dominance in the late 19th century.
A traditionally nomadic tribal society, Magtymguly Pyragy is considered the spiritual leader of the Turkmen who sought to unify the Turkmen people in the late 18th century. He was also a Sufi poet whose works stemmed from the Turkmen oral tradition of stories and song. Contemporary Turkmen writers include the poet Amangozel Shaguliyeva and writer Tachmammat Jurdekov. Joe and Azat is a graphic novel that gives an outsider's perspective of Turkmenistan, and tells of the friendship between an American traveller and his Turkmen friend.