Iranian peoples

The Iranian peoples[1] or Iranic peoples[2][3] are a diverse grouping of Indo-European peoples[1][4] who are identified by their usage of the Iranian languages and other cultural similarities.

Iranian peoples
Iranic peoples
Regions with significant populations
Western Asia and eastern half of Anatolia, Caucasus and Ossetia, Central Asia, western parts of South Asia, western Xinjiang
(Historically also: Eastern Europe)
Iranian languages (a branch of the Indo-European languages)
Islam (Sunni and Shia)
Christianity (Eastern Orthodoxy, Nestorianism, Catholicism, and Protestantism), Judaism, Baháʼí Faith, Yazidism, Yarsanism, Zoroastrianism, Assianism
(Historically also: Iranian paganism, Buddhism, and Manichaeism)

The Proto-Iranians are believed to have emerged as a separate branch of the Indo-Iranians in Central Asia around the mid-2nd millennium BCE.[5][6] At their peak of expansion in the mid-1st millennium BCE, the territory of the Iranian peoples stretched across the entire Eurasian Steppe, from the Great Hungarian Plain in the west to the Ordos Plateau in the east and the Iranian Plateau in the south.[7]

The ancient Iranian peoples who emerged after the 1st millennium BCE include the Alans, the Bactrians, the Dahae, the Khwarazmians, the Massagetae, the Medes, the Parthians, the Persians, the Sagartians, the Sakas, the Sarmatians, the Scythians, the Sogdians, and likely the Cimmerians, among other Iranian-speaking peoples of Western Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Eastern Steppe.

In the 1st millennium CE, their area of settlement, which was mainly concentrated in the steppes and deserts of Eurasia,[8] was significantly reduced as a result of Slavic, Germanic, Turkic, and Mongolic expansions; many were subjected to Slavicization[9][10][11][12] and Turkification.[13][14] Modern Iranian peoples include the Baloch, the Gilaks, the Kurds, the Lurs, the Mazanderanis, the Ossetians, the Pamiris, the Pashtuns, the Persians, the Tats, the Tajiks, the Talysh, the Wakhis, the Yaghnobis, and the Zazas. Their current distribution spreads across the Iranian Plateau, stretching from the Caucasus in the north to the Persian Gulf in the south and from eastern Anatolia in the west to western Xinjiang in the east—a region that is sometimes called the Iranian Cultural Continent,[15] representing the extent of the Iranian-speakers and the significant influence of the Iranian peoples through the geopolitical and cultural reach of Greater Iran.[16]

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