Ethnic and Language Map of the Near East


This map, produced in 1943 by the Geographic Service of the Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Office) of Germany, shows the ethnic, linguistic, and religious makeup of the Middle East. Included are the Caucasus and other parts of the Soviet Union, Afghanistan, and parts of present-day Pakistan and India. The map and the explanatory text reflect the Nazi-era obsession with race and ethnicity. The long note at the top of the key states that the map "endeavors to show the Lebensraum [living space] of those oriental peoples located in Europe’s area of interest." It notes that the region is for the most part dry and lightly populated; most of its peoples are settled, but that nomadism persists in the interior of the Arabian Peninsula and in parts of Central Asia. Colors are used to indicate the different ethnic and linguistic groups, which are divided into broad Indo-Germanic (Indo-European) and Turkic categories, the former indicated by the blue-toned, the latter by the red-toned colors. Religious affiliations are shown using the symbols identified at the bottom of the key. The inset map in the lower right shows population densities, which range from 0.1 percent per square kilometer to 50 per square kilometer.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Reich Office, Germany


Title in Original Language

Völker- und Sprachenkarte des Vorderen Orient

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map on 2 sheets : color ; 104 x 110 centimeters, sheets 111 x 63 centimeters


  • Scale 1:4,000,000

Last updated: February 17, 2016