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The Western Iranian Persian Empires came to dominate much of the ancient world from the 6th century BC, leaving an important cultural legacy, while the Eastern Iranians of the steppe played a decisive role in the development of Eurasian nomadism, the Silk Route and later significantly contributed to the Islamic Golden Age in Khorasan.Ancient Iranian peoples who emerged after 1000 BC include the Persians, Parthians, Medes, Scythians, Alans, Bactrians, Dahae, Massagetae, Khwarezmians, Saka, Sarmatians, Sogdians, Sagartians, probably Cimmerians and other peoples of Central Asia, the Caucasus, Eastern Europe and the Iranian Plateau.

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D.) and who passed on their name to the country; the name of the tribe likely comes from the Slavic "pole" (field or plain), indicating the flat nature of their country conventional long form: Portuguese Republic conventional short form: Portugal local long form: Republica Portuguesa local short form: Portugal etymology: name derives from the Roman designation "Portus Cale" meaning "Port of Cale"; Cale was an ancient Celtic town and port in present-day northern Portugal conventional long form: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico conventional short form: Puerto Rico abbreviation: PR etymology: Christopher COLUMBUS named the island San Juan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist) and the capital city and main port Cuidad de Puerto Rico (Rich Port City); over time, however, the names were shortened and transposed and the island came to be called Puerto Rico and its capital San Juan conventional long form: State of Qatar conventional short form: Qatar local long form: Dawlat Qatar local short form: Qatar note: closest approximation of the native pronunciation is gattar or cottar etymology: the origin of the name is uncertain, but it dates back at least 2,000 years since a term "Catharrei" was used to describe the inhabitants of the peninsula by Pliny the Elder (1st century A.

D.), and a "Catara" peninsula is depicted on a map by Ptolemy (2nd century A.

D.) conventional long form: none conventional short form: Romania local long form: none local short form: Romania etymology: the name derives from the Latin "Romanus" meaning "citizen of Rome" and was used to stress the common ancient heritage of Romania's three main regions - Moldavia, Transylvania, and Wallachia - during their gradual unification between the mid-19th century and early 20th century conventional long form: Russian Federation conventional short form: Russia local long form: Rossiyskaya Federatsiya local short form: Rossiya former: Russian Empire, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic etymology: Russian lands were generally referred to as Muscovy until PETER I officially declared the Russian Empire in 1721; the new name sought to invoke the patrimony of the medieval eastern European Rus state centered on Kyiv in present-day Ukraine; the Rus were a Varangian (eastern Viking) elite that imposed their rule and eventually their name on their Slavic subjects conventional long form: Republic of Rwanda conventional short form: Rwanda local long form: Republika y'u Rwanda local short form: Rwanda former: Ruanda, German East Africa etymology: the name translates as "domain" in the native Kinyarwanda language conventional long form: Overseas Collectivity of Saint Barthelemy conventional short form: Saint Barthelemy local long form: Collectivite d'outre mer de Saint-Barthelemy local short form: Saint-Barthelemy abbreviation: Saint-Barth (French); St. Barths (English) etymology: explorer Christopher COLUMBUS named the island in honor of his brother Bartolomeo's namesake saint in 1493 conventional long form: Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha conventional short form: none etymology: Saint Helena was discovered in 1502 by Galician navigator Joao da NOVA, sailing in the service of the Kingdom of Portugal, who named it "Santa Helena"; Ascension was named in 1503 by Portuguese navigator Afonso de ALBUQUERQUE who sighted the island on the Feast Day of the Ascension; Tristan da Cunha was discovered in 1506 by Portuguese explorer Tristao da CUNHA who christened the main island after himself (the name was subsequently anglicized) conventional long form: Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis conventional short form: Saint Kitts and Nevis note: Nevis is pronounced neevis former: Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis etymology: Saint Kitts was, and still is, referred to as Saint Christopher and this name was well established by the 17th century (although who first applied the name is unclear); in the 17th century a common nickname for Christopher was Kit or Kitt, so the island began to be referred to as "Saint Kitt's Island" or just "Saint Kitts"; Nevis is derived from the original Spanish name "Nuestra Senora de las Nieves" (Our Lady of the Snows) and refers to the white halo of clouds that generally wreathes Nevis Peak conventional long form: none conventional short form: Saint Lucia note: pronounced saynt-looshya etymology: named after Saint LUCY of Syracuse by French sailors who were shipwrecked on the island on 13 December 1502, the saint's feast day conventional long form: Overseas Collectivity of Saint Martin conventional short form: Saint Martin local long form: Collectivite d'outre mer de Saint-Martin local short form: Saint-Martin etymology: explorer Christopher COLUMBUS named the island after Saint MARTIN of Tours because the 11 November 1493 day of discovery was the saint's feast day conventional long form: Territorial Collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon conventional short form: Saint Pierre and Miquelon local long form: Departement de Saint-Pierre et Miquelon local short form: Saint-Pierre et Miquelon etymology: Saint-Pierre is named after Saint PETER, the patron saint of fishermen; Miquelon may be a corruption of the Basque name Mikelon conventional long form: none conventional short form: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines etymology: Saint Vincent was named by explorer Christopher COLUMBUS after Saint VINCENT of Saragossa because the 22 January 1498 day of discovery was the saint's feast day conventional long form: Independent State of Samoa conventional short form: Samoa local long form: Malo Sa'oloto Tuto'atasi o Samoa local short form: Samoa former: Western Samoa etymology: the name "Samoa" is composed of two parts, "sa" meaning sacred and "moa" meaning center, so the name can mean Holy Center; alternatively, it can mean "place of the sacred moa bird" of Polynesian mythology conventional long form: Republic of San Marino conventional short form: San Marino local long form: Repubblica di San Marino local short form: San Marino etymology: named after Saint MARINUS, the traditional founder of the country conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe conventional short form: Sao Tome and Principe local long form: Republica Democratica de Sao Tome e Principe local short form: Sao Tome e Principe etymology: Sao Tome was named after Saint THOMAS the Apostle by the Portuguese who discovered the island on 21 December 1470 (or 1471), the saint's feast day; Principe is a shortening of the original Portuguese name of "Ilha do Principe" (Isle of the Prince) referring to the Prince of Portugal to whom duties on the island's sugar crop were paid conventional long form: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia conventional short form: Saudi Arabia local long form: Al Mamlakah al Arabiyah as Suudiyah local short form: Al Arabiyah as Suudiyah etymology: named after the ruling dynasty of the country, the House of Saud; the name "Arabia" can be traced back many centuries B.

C., the ancient Egyptians referred to the region as "Ar Rabi" conventional long form: Republic of Senegal conventional short form: Senegal local long form: Republique du Senegal local short form: Senegal former: Senegambia (along with The Gambia), Mali Federation etymology: named for the Senegal River that forms the northern border of the country; many theories exist for the origin of the river name; perhaps the most widely cited derives the name from "Azenegue," the Portuguese appellation for the Berber Zenaga people who lived north of the river conventional long form: Republic of Serbia conventional short form: Serbia local long form: Republika Srbija local short form: Srbija former: People's Republic of Serbia, Socialist Republic of Serbia etymology: the origin of the name is uncertain, but seems to be related to the name of the West Slavic Sorbs who reside in the Lusatian region in present-day eastern Germany; by tradition, the Serbs migrated from that region to the Balkans in about the 6th century A. conventional long form: Republic of Seychelles conventional short form: Seychelles local long form: Republic of Seychelles local short form: Seychelles etymology: named by French Captain Corneille Nicholas MORPHEY after Jean Moreau de SECHELLES, the finance minister of France, in 1756 conventional long form: Republic of Sierra Leone conventional short form: Sierra Leone local long form: Republic of Sierra Leone local short form: Sierra Leone etymology: the Portuguese explorer Pedro de SINTRA named the country "Serra Leoa" (Lion Mountains) for the impressive mountains he saw while sailing the West African coast in 1462 conventional long form: Republic of Singapore conventional short form: Singapore local long form: Republic of Singapore local short form: Singapore etymology: name derives from the Sanskrit words "singa" (lion) and "pura" (city) to describe the city-state's leonine symbol conventional long form: none conventional short form: Sint Maarten local long form: Land Sint Maarten (Dutch); Country of Sint Maarten (English) local short form: Sint Maarten (Dutch and English) former: Netherlands Antilles; Curacao and Dependencies etymology: explorer Christopher COLUMBUS named the island after Saint MARTIN of Tours because the 11 November 1493 day of discovery was the saint's feast day conventional long form: Slovak Republic conventional short form: Slovakia local long form: Slovenska republika local short form: Slovensko etymology: related to the Slavic autonym (self-designation) "Slovenin," a derivation from "slovo" (word), denoting "people who speak (the same language)" (i.e., people who understand each other) conventional long form: Republic of Slovenia conventional short form: Slovenia local long form: Republika Slovenija local short form: Slovenija former: People's Republic of Slovenia, Socialist Republic of Slovenia etymology: related to the Slavic autonym (self-designation) "Slovenin," a derivation from "slovo" (word), denoting "people who speak (the same language)" (i.e., people who understand each other) conventional long form: none conventional short form: Solomon Islands local long form: none local short form: Solomon Islands former: British Solomon Islands etymology: Spanish explorer Alvaro de MENDANA named the isles in 1568 after the wealthy biblical King SOLOMON in the mistaken belief that the islands contained great riches conventional long form: Federal Republic of Somalia conventional short form: Somalia local long form: Jamhuuriyadda Federaalkaa Soomaaliya local short form: Soomaaliya former: Somali Republic, Somali Democratic Republic etymology: "Land of the Somali" (ethnic group) conventional long form: Republic of South Africa conventional short form: South Africa former: Union of South Africa abbreviation: RSA etymology: self-descriptive name from the country's location on the continent; "Africa" is derived from the Roman designation of the area corresponding to present-day Tunisia "Africa terra," which meant "Land of the Afri" (the tribe resident in that area), but which eventually came to mean the entire continent conventional long form: South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands conventional short form: South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands abbreviation: SGSSI etymology: South Georgia was named "the Isle of Georgia" in 1775 by Captain James COOK in honor of British King GEORGE III; the explorer also discovered the Sandwich Islands Group that year, which he named "Sandwich Land" after John MONTAGU, the Earl of Sandwich and First Lord of the Admiralty; the word "South" was later added to distinguish these islands from the other Sandwich Islands, now known as the Hawaiian Islands conventional long form: Republic of South Sudan conventional short form: South Sudan etymology: self-descriptive name from the country's former position within Sudan prior to independence; the name "Sudan" derives from the Arabic "bilad-as-sudan" meaning "Land of the Black [peoples]" etymology: the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) included the ocean and its definition as the waters south of 60 degrees south in its year 2000 revision, but this has not formally been adopted; the 2000 IHO definition, however, was circulated in a draft edition in 2002 and has acquired de facto usage by many nations and organizations, including the CIA conventional long form: Kingdom of Spain conventional short form: Spain local long form: Reino de Espana local short form: Espana etymology: derivation of the name "Espana" is uncertain, but may come from the Phoenician term "span," related to the word "spy," meaning "to forge metals," so, "i-spn-ya" would mean "place where metals are forged"; the ancient Phoenicians long exploited the Iberian Peninsula for its mineral wealth conventional long form: none conventional short form: Spratly Islands etymology: named after a British whaling captain Richard SPRATLY, who sighted Spratly Island in 1843; the name of the island eventually passed to the entire archipelago conventional long form: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka conventional short form: Sri Lanka local long form: Shri Lanka Prajatantrika Samajavadi Janarajaya/Ilankai Jananayaka Choshalichak Kutiyarachu local short form: Shri Lanka/Ilankai former: Serendib, Ceylon etymology: the name means "resplendent island" in Sanskrit conventional long form: Republic of the Sudan conventional short form: Sudan local long form: Jumhuriyat as-Sudan local short form: As-Sudan former: Anglo-Egyptian Sudan etymology: the name "Sudan" derives from the Arabic "bilad-as-sudan" meaning "Land of the Black [peoples]" conventional long form: Republic of Suriname conventional short form: Suriname local long form: Republiek Suriname local short form: Suriname former: Netherlands Guiana, Dutch Guiana etymology: name may derive from the indigenous "Surinen" people who inhabited the area at the time of European contact conventional long form: none conventional short form: Svalbard (sometimes referred to as Spitsbergen, the largest island in the archipelago) etymology: 12th century Norse accounts speak of the discovery of a "Svalbard" - literally "cold shores" - but they may have referred to Jan Mayen Island or eastern Greenland; the archipelago was traditionally known as Spitsbergen, but Norway renamed it Svalbard in the 1920s when it assumed sovereignty of the islands conventional long form: Kingdom of Sweden conventional short form: Sweden local long form: Konungariket Sverige local short form: Sverige etymology: name ultimately derives from the North Germanic Svear tribe, which inhabited central Sweden and is first mentioned in the first centuries A. conventional long form: Swiss Confederation conventional short form: Switzerland local long form: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German); Confederation Suisse (French); Confederazione Svizzera (Italian); Confederaziun Svizra (Romansh) local short form: Schweiz (German); Suisse (French); Svizzera (Italian); Svizra (Romansh) abbreviation: CH etymology: name derives from the canton of Schwyz, one of the founding cantons of the Old Swiss Confederacy that formed in the 14th century conventional long form: Syrian Arab Republic conventional short form: Syria local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Arabiyah as Suriyah local short form: Suriyah former: United Arab Republic (with Egypt) etymology: name ultimately derived from the ancient Assyrians who dominated northern Mesopotamia, but whose reach also extended westward to the Levant; over time, the name came to be associated more with the western area conventional long form: none conventional short form: Taiwan local long form: none local short form: Taiwan former: Formosa etymology: "Tayowan" was the name of the coastal sandbank where the Dutch erected their colonial headquarters on the island in the 17th century; the former name "Formosa" means "beautiful" in Portuguese conventional long form: Republic of Tajikistan conventional short form: Tajikistan local long form: Jumhurii Tojikiston local short form: Tojikiston former: Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic etymology: the Persian suffix "-stan" means "place of" or "country," so the word Tajikistan literally means "Land of the Tajik [people]" conventional long form: United Republic of Tanzania conventional short form: Tanzania local long form: Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania local short form: Tanzania former: German East Africa, Trust Territory of Tanganyika, United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar etymology: the country's name is a combination of the first letters of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, the two states that merged to form Tanzania in 1964 conventional long form: Kingdom of Thailand conventional short form: Thailand local long form: Ratcha Anachak Thai local short form: Prathet Thai former: Siam etymology: "Land of the Tai [People]"; the meaning of "tai" is uncertain, but may originally have meant "human beings," "people," or "free people" conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste conventional short form: Timor-Leste note: pronounced TEE-mor LESS-tay local long form: Republika Demokratika Timor Lorosa'e [Tetum]; Republica Democratica de Timor-Leste [Portuguese] local short form: Timor Lorosa'e [Tetum]; Timor-Leste [Portuguese] former: East Timor, Portuguese Timor etymology: "timor" derives from the Indonesian and Malay word "timur" meaning "east"; "leste" is the Portuguese word for "east", so "Timor-Leste" literally means "Eastern-East"; the local [Tetum] name "Timor Lorosa'e" translates as "East Rising Sun" conventional long form: Togolese Republic conventional short form: Togo local long form: Republique Togolaise local short form: none former: French Togoland etymology: derived from the Ewe words "to" (river) and "godo" (on the other side) to give the sense of "on the other side of the river"; originally, this designation applied to the town of Togodo (now Togoville) on the northern shore of Lake Togo, but the name was eventually extended to the entire nation conventional long form: Kingdom of Tonga conventional short form: Tonga local long form: Pule'anga Fakatu'i 'o Tonga local short form: Tonga former: Friendly Islands etymology: "tonga" means "south" in the Tongan language and refers to the country's geographic position in relation to central Polynesia conventional long form: Republic of Trinidad and Tobago conventional short form: Trinidad and Tobago etymology: explorer Christopher COLUMBUS named the larger island "La Isla de la Trinidad" (The Island of the Trinity) on 31 July 1498 on his third voyage; the tobacco grown and smoked by the natives of the smaller island or its elongated cigar shape may account for the "tobago" name, which is spelled "tobaco" in Spanish conventional long form: Republic of Tunisia conventional short form: Tunisia local long form: Al Jumhuriyah at Tunisiyah local short form: Tunis etymology: the country name derives from the capital city of Tunis conventional long form: none conventional short form: Turkmenistan local long form: none local short form: Turkmenistan former: Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic etymology: the suffix "-stan" means "place of" or "country," so Turkmenistan literally means the "Land of the Turkmen [people]" conventional long form: none conventional short form: Turks and Caicos Islands abbreviation: TCI etymology: the Turks Islands are named after the Turk's cap cactus (native to the islands and appearing on the flag and coat of arms), while the Caicos Islands derive from the native term "caya hico" meaning "string of islands" conventional long form: none conventional short form: Tuvalu local long form: none local short form: Tuvalu former: Ellice Islands etymology: "tuvalu" means "group of eight" or "eight standing together" referring to the country's eight traditionally inhabited islands conventional long form: Republic of Uganda conventional short form: Uganda etymology: from the name "Buganda," adopted by the British as the designation for their East African colony in 1894; Buganda had been a powerful East African state during the 18th and 19th centuries conventional long form: none conventional short form: Ukraine local long form: none local short form: Ukrayina former: Ukrainian National Republic, Ukrainian State, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic etymology: name derives from the Old East Slavic word "ukraina" meaning "borderland or march (militarized border region)" and began to be used extensively in the 19th century; originally Ukrainians referred to themselves as Rusyny (Rusyns, Ruthenians, or Ruthenes), an endonym derived from the medieval Rus state (Kyivan Rus) conventional long form: United Arab Emirates conventional short form: none local long form: Al Imarat al Arabiyah al Muttahidah local short form: none former: Trucial Oman, Trucial States abbreviation: UAE etymology: self-descriptive country name; the name "Arabia" can be traced back many centuries B.

C., the ancient Egyptians referred to the region as "Ar Rabi"; "emirates" derives from "amir" the Arabic word for "commander," "lord," or "prince" conventional long form: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; note - the island of Great Britain includes England, Scotland, and Wales conventional short form: United Kingdom abbreviation: UK etymology: self-descriptive country name; the designation "Great Britain," in the sense of "Larger Britain," dates back to medieval times and was used to distinguish the island from "Little Britain," or Brittany in modern France; the name Ireland derives from the Gaelic "Eriu," the matron goddess of Ireland (goddess of the land) conventional long form: none conventional short form: Baker Island; Howland Island; Jarvis Island; Johnston Atoll; Kingman Reef; Midway Islands; Palmyra Atoll etymology: self-descriptive name specifying the territories' affiliation and location conventional long form: United States of America conventional short form: United States abbreviation: US or USA etymology: the name America is derived from that of Amerigo VESPUCCI (1454-1512) - Italian explorer, navigator, and cartographer - using the Latin form of his name, Americus, feminized to America conventional long form: Oriental Republic of Uruguay conventional short form: Uruguay local long form: Republica Oriental del Uruguay local short form: Uruguay former: Banda Oriental, Cisplatine Province etymology: name derives from the Spanish pronunciation of the Guarani Indian designation of the Uruguay River, which makes up the western border of the country and whose name later came to be applied to the entire country conventional long form: Republic of Uzbekistan conventional short form: Uzbekistan local long form: O'zbekiston Respublikasi local short form: O'zbekiston former: Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic etymology: a combination of the Turkic words "uz" (self) and "bek" (master) with the Persian suffix "-stan" (country) to give the meaning "Land of the Free" conventional long form: Republic of Vanuatu conventional short form: Vanuatu local long form: Ripablik blong Vanuatu local short form: Vanuatu former: New Hebrides etymology: derived from the words "vanua" (home or land) and "tu" (stand) that occur in several of the Austonesian languages spoken on the islands and which provide a meaning of "the land remains" but which also convey a sense of "independence" or "our land" conventional long form: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela conventional short form: Venezuela local long form: Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela local short form: Venezuela etymology: native stilt-houses built on Lake Maracaibo reminded early explorers Alonso de OJEDA and Amerigo VESPUCCI in 1499 of buildings in Venice and so they named the region "Venezuola," which in Italian means "Little Venice" conventional long form: Socialist Republic of Vietnam conventional short form: Vietnam local long form: Cong Hoa Xa Hoi Chu Nghia Viet Nam local short form: Viet Nam abbreviation: SRV etymology: "Viet nam" translates as "Viet south," where "Viet" is an ethnic self identification dating to a second century B.

At their peak of expansion in the mid-1st millennium BC, the territory of the Iranian peoples stretched across the Iranian Plateau and the entire Eurasian Steppe from the Great Hungarian Plain in the west to the Ordos Plateau in the east.

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