Badakhshan, a mountainous country of Central Asia, subject to the Uzbeck chief of Koondooz, situated between lat. 36° and 38° N., and lon. 69° and 73° E., bounded N. by Khokan, E. by the table land of Pamir, S. by Chitral and Kafiristan, and W. by Koondooz; area estimated at 40,000 sq. m.; pop. about 500,000. The country belongs to the basin of the Oxus or Amoo Darya, and is very uneven, with a gradual slope to the west. The principal valleys are those of the Amoo and its tributary the Koksha. The lower valleys and plains are fertile, but the mountains are bare and sterile. The highest central range is the Khoja Moham-med, the peaks of which reach an altitude of 7,000 ft. above the sea, or from 3,000 to 4,000 above the surrounding plains. In the east and south the mountains are higher and more rug-ged. They are composed largely of limestone, containing lapis lazuli. Rubies are found in crystal deposits. The inhabitants are Tajiks, who speak the Persian language and belong to the Shiah sect of Mohammedans. Badakh-shan was a dependency of the Mogul empire, and after its fall paid a doubtful allegiance to Cabool. In 1823 it was reduced by the Uz-becks of Koondooz. Its ancient capital, Fyza-bad, and many other cities and towns were destroyed, and the former still lies in ruins.
A large part of the people were slaughtered or sold into slavery, and in many fertile districts the population is still very thin. The present capital, Jerm, on the left bank of the Koksha, 105 m. E. of Koondooz, is made up of several scattered hamlets, with about 1,500 inhabitants.