Caspian Sea, 1999


Caspian Sea and its natural resources


This poster includes four maps centered on the Caspian Sea:

  • “A Dynamic Landscape” — a topographic map showing groundwater resources and their depletion or pollution.
  • “Major Ethnolinguistic Groups” — an ethnolinguistic map also showing regional conflicts
  • A map showing natural resources (gas, oil, fish), swamps, and pollution
  • A map showing actual and proposed gas and oil pipelines, tanker routes, oil concessions, oil fields and oil ports

The poster also includes two essays (“A Tapestry of Cultures” and “The Struggle for Prosperity”),
and a graph on the Caspian Sturgeon Catch.

“Though called a sea, the landlocked Caspian is geologically the
largest lake on earth, covering more than four times the surface area
of its closest rival, North America’s Lake Superior. Once the
exclusive domain of Iran and the U.S.S.R., the Caspian now figures
prominently in the aspirations of three new coastal states:
Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. Notorious environmental
negligence and long-suppressed ethnic conflicts — the toxic fallout of
decades of communist rule — challenge the former Soviet republics as
they struggle to build viable economies and stable governments.”

The legend of the ethnolinguistic map is as follows:

  • Altaic
    • Azerbaijani
    • Kalmyk
    • Kazakh
    • Kirghiz
    • Turk
    • Turkmen
    • Uzbek
  • Indo-European
    • Armenian
    • Bakhtiari
    • Baluchi
    • Chahar Almak
    • Hazara
    • Kurdish
    • Lur
    • Persian
    • Punjabi
    • Pushtun
    • Russian
    • Sindhi
    • Tajik
  • Caucasian
    • Chechen-Ingush
    • Dagestani
    • Georgian
  • Afro-Asiatic
    • Arabic
  • Other
  • Uninhabited or sparsely populated


National Geographic Magazine, May 1999. Related article by Robert Cullen, The Rise and Fall of the Caspian Sea.

This map is in the collection of copyrighted maps of the Geosciences and Map Library, Fine Hall (B level), Princeton University.

Call number: MC G5692.C3F1.1999.N3


© 1999 National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.