Central Asia stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. It is also colloquially referred to as the -stans as the five countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix -stan, meaning land of. Central Asia s five former Soviet republics are Kazakhstan (pop. 17 million), Kyrgyzstan (5.7 million), Tajikistan (8.0 million), Turkmenistan (5.2 million), and Uzbekistan (30 million), giving a total population of about 66 million. (source: Wikipedia.org)
List of Central Asia states, Central Asian countries flags
Central Asia has historically been closely tied to its nomadic peoples and the Silk Road. It has acted as a crossroads for the movement of people, goods, and ideas between Europe, Western Asia, South Asia, and East Asia. The Silk Road connected Muslim lands with the people of Europe, India, and China. This crossroads position has intensified the conflict between tribalism and traditionalism and modernization. In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, Central Asia was predominantly Iranian, peopled by Eastern Iranian-speaking Bactrians, Sogdians and Chorasmians and the semi-nomadic Scythians and Parthians. After expansion by Turkic peoples, Central Asia also became the homeland for the Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Kyrgyz and Uyghurs and Turkic languages largely replaced the Iranian languages spoken in the area. Central Asia is sometimes referred to as Turkestan. From the mid-19th century until almost the end of the 20th century, most of Central Asia was part of the Russian Empire and later the Soviet Union, both Slavic-majority countries, and the five former Soviet -stans are still home to about 7 million Russians and 500,000 Ukrainians. (source: Wikipedia.org)
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