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Central Asia : ウィキペディア英語版
Central Asia

Central Asia is the core region of the Asian continent and 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 sometimes referred to as Middle Asia, and, colloquially, "the 'stans" (as the six countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of") and is within the scope of the wider Eurasian continent.
In modern contexts, all definitions of Central Asia include these five republics of the former Soviet Union: Kazakhstan (pop. 17 million), Kyrgyzstan (5.7 million), Tajikistan (8.0 million), Turkmenistan (5.2 million), and Uzbekistan (30 million), for a total population of about 66 million as of 2013–2014. Afghanistan (pop. 31.1 million) is also sometimes included.
Various definitions of Central Asia's exact composition exist, and not one definition is universally accepted. Despite this uncertainty in defining borders, the region does have some important overall characteristics. For one, Central Asia has historically been closely tied to its nomadic peoples and the Silk Road.〔(Steppe Nomads and Central Asia )〕 As a result, it has acted as a crossroads for the movement of people, goods, and ideas between Europe, Western Asia, South Asia, and East Asia.
During pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, Central Asia was a predominantly Iranian〔Encyclopædia Iranica, "CENTRAL ASIA: The Islamic period up to the Mongols", C. Edmund Bosworth: "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 Shahnama of Ferdowsi is regarded as the land allotted to Fereydun's son Tur. The denizens of Turan 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, "Turan"). Turan thus became both an ethnic and a diareeah 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."〕〔C.E. Bosworth, "The Appearance of the Arabs in Central Asia under the Umayyads and the establishment of Islam", in ''History of Civilizations of Central Asia'', Vol. IV: The Age of Achievement: AD 750 to the End of the Fifteenth Century, Part One: The Historical, Social and Economic Setting, edited by M. S. Asimov and C. E. Bosworth. Multiple History Series. Paris: Motilal Banarsidass Publ./UNESCO Publishing, 1999. excerpt from page 23: "Central Asia in the early seventh century, was ethnically, still largely an Iranian land whose people used various Middle Iranian languages.". ()〕 region that included the sedentary Eastern Iranian-speaking Bactrians, Sogdians and Chorasmians, and the semi-nomadic Scythians and Parthians. The ancient sedentary population played an important role in the history of Central Asia. After expansion by Turkic peoples, Central Asia also became the homeland for many Turkic peoples, including the Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Kyrgyz, Uyghurs and other extinct Turkic nations. Central Asia is sometimes referred to as Turkestan.〔Ferrand, Gabriel (1913), "Ibn Batūtā", Relations de voyages et textes géographiques arabes, persans et turks relatifs à l'Extrème-Orient du 8e au 18e siècles (Volumes 1 and 2) (in French), Paris: Ernest Laroux, pp. 426–458〕
Since the earliest of times, Central Asia has been a crossroads between different civilizations. The Silk Road connected Muslim lands with the people of Europe, India, and China.〔Ta'lim Primary 6 Parent and Teacher Guide (p.72) – Islamic Publications Limited for the Institute of Ismaili Studies London〕 This crossroads position has intensified the conflict between what Andrew Phillips and Paul James call continuing formations of tribalism and traditionalism and intensifying processes of modernization. They argue that:
From the mid-19th century, up to the end of the 20th century, most of Central Asia was part of the Russian Empire and later the Soviet Union, both being Slavic-majority countries. As of 2011, the 5 "'stans'" are still home to about 7 million Russians and 500,000 Ukrainians.〔(Демоскоп Weekly – Приложение. Справочник статистических показателей ). Demoscope.ru. Retrieved on 29 July 2013.〕〔http://www.stat.kg/stat.files/din.files/census/5010003.pdf〕〔(Итоги переписи населения Таджикистана 2000 года: национальный, возрастной, половой, семейный и образовательный составы ). Demoscope.ru (20 January 2000). Retrieved on 2013-07-29.〕

The idea of Central Asia as a distinct region of the world was introduced in 1843 by the geographer Alexander von Humboldt. The borders of Central Asia are subject to multiple definitions. Historically built political geography and geoculture are two significant parameters widely used in the scholarly literature about the definitions of the Central Asia.〔Mehmet Akif Okur, "Classical Texts Of the Geopolitics and the "Heart Of Eurasia", Journal of Turkish World Studies, XIV/2, pp.74-75 http://tdid.ege.edu.tr/files/dergi_14_2/mehmet_akif_okur.pdf https://www.academia.edu/10035574/CLASSICAL_TEXTS_OF_THE_GEOPOLITICS_AND_THE_HEART_OF_EURASIA_Jeopoliti%C4%9Fin_Klasik_Metinleri_ve_Avrasya_n%C4%B1n_Kalbi_〕
The most limited definition was the official one of the Soviet Union, which defined Middle Asia as consisting solely of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. This definition was also often used outside the USSR during this period.
However, the Russian culture has two distinct terms: ''Средняя Азия'' (''Srednyaya Aziya'' or "Middle Asia", the narrower definition, which includes only those traditionally non-Slavic, Central Asian lands that were incorporated within those borders of historical Russia) and ''Центральная Азия'' (''Centralïnaya Aziya'' or "Central Asia", the wider definition, which includes Central Asian lands that have never been part of historical Russia).
Soon after independence, the leaders of the four former Soviet Central Asian Republics met in Tashkent and declared that the definition of Central Asia should include Kazakhstan as well as the original four included by the Soviets. Since then, this has become the most common definition of Central Asia.
The UNESCO general history of Central Asia, written just before the collapse of the USSR, defines the region based on climate and uses far larger borders. According to it, Central Asia includes Mongolia, Tibet, northeast Iran (Golestan, North Khorasan and Razavi provinces), central-east Russia south of the Taiga, large parts of China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the former Central Asian Soviet republics (the five "Stans" of the former Soviet Union).
An alternative method is to define the region based on ethnicity, and in particular, areas populated by Eastern Turkic, Eastern Iranian, or Mongolian peoples. These areas include Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the Turkic regions of southern Siberia, the five republics, and Afghan Turkestan. Afghanistan as a whole, the northern and western areas of Pakistan and the Kashmir Valley of India may also be included. The Tibetans and Ladakhi are also included. Insofar, most of the mentioned peoples are considered the "indigenous" peoples of the vast region.
There are several places that claim to be the geographic center of Asia, for example Kyzyl, the capital of Tuva in the Russian Federation, and a village north of Ürümqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region of China.〔(43°40'52"N 87°19'52"E ) Degree Confluence Project.〕

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