Map of Kafiristan


The term Kafiristan (“The land of the infidel” in Persian) refers to the fact that the inhabitants of this region in the northeast of Afghanistan were non-Muslims, following Buddhism and other pre-Islamic religious practices long after neighboring regions had converted to Islam. Indeed, the region as a whole did not adopt Islam until late in the 19th century, when it was forcibly converted by the Afghan emir ʻAbd al-Rahman Khan (also called Abdur Rahman, reigned 1880–1901). The term Kafiristan has become obsolete, and the area is now referred to as Nuristan (“The land of light”). Nestled within the Hindu Kush mountain range, the area remains remote and underdeveloped, and local traditions live on in the form of the Nuristani languages, a group of Indo-Iranian languages spoken by more than 100,000 inhabitants of the area. The map was produced by Edward Stanford (1827–1904), a prominent 19th century cartographer best known for his Library Map of London, first published in 1862. This map dates from 1881 and was produced for the Royal Geographical Society. Elevations on the map are shown in feet and the scale of distances is one inch to 15 miles (2.54 centimeters to 24.14 kilometers).

Last updated: September 30, 2016