|Area||4,003,451 km2 (1,545,741 sq mi)|
|Population||72,960,000 (2019) (16th)|
|Population density||17.43 km2 (6.73 sq mi)|
|GDP (PPP)||$1.0 trillion (2019)|
|GDP (nominal)||$300 billion (2019)|
|GDP per capita||$4,000 (2019; nominal)|
$14,000 (2019; PPP)
|Languages||Russian, Karakalpak, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Turkmen, Uzbek, and others|
|Internet TLD||.kg, .kz, .tj, .tm, .uz|
|Calling code||Zone 9 except Kazakhstan (Zone 7)|
|UN M49 code|
a With population over 500,000 people
Central Asia is a subregion of Asia that stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north. The region consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It is also colloquially referred to as "The -Stans" as the countries all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of".
In the pre-Islamic and early Islamic eras (c. 1000 and earlier) Central Asia was inhabited predominantly by Iranian peoples, populated by Eastern Iranian-speaking Bactrians, Sogdians, Chorasmians and the semi-nomadic Scythians and Dahae. After expansion by Turkic peoples, Central Asia also became the homeland for the Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tatars, Turkmen, Kyrgyz, and Uyghurs; Turkic languages largely replaced the Iranian languages spoken in the area, with the exception of Tajikistan and areas where Tajik is spoken.
From the mid-19th century until almost the end of the 20th century, Central Asia was colonised by the Russians, and incorporated into the Russian Empire, and later the Soviet Union, which led to Russians and other Slavs emigrating into the area. Modern-day Central Asia is home to a large population of European settlers, who mostly live in Kazakhstan; 7 million Russians, 500,000 Ukrainians, and about 170,000 Germans. Stalinist-era forced deportation policies also mean that over 300,000 Koreans live there.
Central Asia (2019) has a population of about 72 million people, in five countries: Kazakhstan (pop. 18 million), Kyrgyzstan (6 million), Tajikistan (9 million), Turkmenistan (6 million), and Uzbekistan (35 million).
In early Islamic times Persians tended to identify all the lands to the northeast of Khorasan and lying beyond the Oxus with the region of Turan, which in the Šāh-nāma of Ferdowsī is regarded as the land allotted to Ferēdūn's son Tūr. The denizens of Tūrān were held to include the Turks, in the first four centuries of Islam essentially those nomadizing beyond the Jaxartes, and behind them the Chinese (see Kowalski; Minorsky, "Tūrān"). Tūrān thus became both an ethnic and a geographical term, but always containing ambiguities and contradictions, arising from the fact that all through Islamic times the lands immediately beyond the Oxus and along its lower reaches were the homes not of Turks but of Iranian peoples, such as the Sogdians and Khwarezmians.
In Central Asia the collision of modernity and tradition led all but the most deracinated of the intellectuals-clerics to seek salvation in reconstituted variants of traditional identities rather than succumb to the modern European idea of nationalism. The inability of the elites to form a united front, as demonstrated in the numerous declarations of autonomy by different authorities during the Russian civil war, paved the way, in the early 1920s for the Soviet re-conquest of the Central Asia in the early 1920s.