This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book begins with a brief historical introduction covering the creation of structures and identities from the Middle Ages through the Soviet period. It offers a number of different perspectives on the development of Central Asia over a long period, both within the broader world of the Middle East and the Eurasian steppe, and within the Russian and Soviet empires. The book addresses the questions, covering a long historical period, from the Mongol Empire up to the present. It describes the further development of ethnic relationships within the Soviet period. The book analyses the national delimitation of 1924 in relation to local and central politics, and has suggested that the outcome was determined less by ethnographic considerations than by political processes, in which Central Asian politicians played a significant part.