After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the 1990s a slew of new countries came into being that ended with -stan: Uzbekistan, Kazahkstan, Tajikstan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan. This Central Asian quintet joins two existing -stans, Pakistan and Afghanistan, bringing the total to seven. They are known collectively as “The Stans.”
And what does -stan, or more precisely, -istan, mean, anyway? Well, it’s from the Persian language, meaning nothing more than “land.” So, Uzbekistan is the land of the Uzbeks, Kazahkstan the land of the Kazahks, and so on.
By this definition, there are plenty of other -stan locales that never made it to full country status, such as Baluchistan (which gave its name to the world’s largest land mammal, the Baluchitherium), Nurastan, Dagustan, Uyghuristan (better known as Xinjiang) and Turkestan, which often serves as a catch-all name for the entire Central Asian region. The Persians also refer to Western countries by -stan suffixes. India was Hindustan, Hungary Majarestan, etc.
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Central Asian Nations