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Frangistan (Persian: فرنگستان) was a term used by Muslims and Persians in particular, during the Middle Ages and later historical periods to refer to Western or Christian Europe.

Origin and meaning

During the Crusades, the Muslims of the Middle East came to call all Western European Christians Franks, originally the name for inhabitants of the largest of the Christian realms in Europe, Francia. Since very few Muslims ever travelled to Western Europe and the term Frank could mean any Western European Christian (whether Frankish, Saxon, Flemish, etc.), Frangistan was no clearly defined area and may have referred to any land perceived to be Christian by contemporary Muslims. Frangistan literally means "Land of the Franks", from Farang which is the Persianized form of Frank plus the suffix -istan coming from the Persian language.[1]

In a similar way, Rûm (derived from "Rome") came to mean the Byzantine Empire and Greek Christians were "Rumis", and Christians generally called Muslims Saracens or Moormen, the former deriving from a tribe that once lived near the Roman province of Arabia.

The term was still in use in the time of the Ottoman Empire, in sources as late as the seventeenth century.[2] However, in Persia it remained in use until the end of the Qajar dynasty as observed in various correspondences and administrative documents of that era to refer to European countries. [3] Other derivatives of this word such as Farang (noun), Farangi (adj.), and compound words like Farangi Ma'āb (literally French-styled), are used with lower frequency in Modern Persian, though without any negative connotation. [4] In Urdu in present-day Pakistan, all the Europeans including the British were referred to as Franghis.

See also


  1. ^ Dehkhoda Persian Dictionary
  2. ^ Bernard Lewis, "Some Reflections on the Decline of the Ottoman Empire", Studia Islamica, No. 9. (1958), pp. 111-127.
  3. ^ روزنامه خاطرات ناصرالدين شاه در سفر سوم فرنگستان (Chronicles of Nasser al-Din Shah from His Third Journey to Farangestān (Europe)), edited by Dr. Mohammad Esmā'eel Rezvāni & Fātemeh Ghāzihā, Iranian National Documents Organization Publishing, Tehran, 1378 Solar A.H. (1999).
  4. ^ Dehkhoda Persian Dictionary


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