Sistan corresponds roughly to ancient Drangiana. In the 2d–3d cent. AD it was held by the Scythians and was called Sakastan, from which the modern name derives. From the 4th–7th cent. the region was the center of Zoroastrian worship. Sistan prospered under the Arabs from the 8th cent. AD until 1383, when Mongol conquerors destroyed the Helmand River control system and ended Sistan's prosperity. The area was disputed between Persia and Afghanistan from the 16th to early 20th cent. In times of drought, when the lake itself may dry up, water rights are still contested.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: South Asia Physical Geography