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      eHistory  >  Middle East Search

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The Middle East is a modern term (it was first used by Alfred Mahan in 1902) used to describe the area covering 16 countries and states in northeastern Africa and southwestern Asia.

Countries of the Middle East
Bahrain
Egypt
Iran
Iraq
Israel
Jordan
Kuwait
Lebanon
Oman
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Syria
Turkey
United Arab Emirates
West Bank/Gaza Strip
Yemen

The Middle East is the most ancient region of human civilization. Around 10,000 BC farming first developed in the area referred to as the Fertile Crescent (the area of land arching from the Persian Gulf over the watersheds of the Tigris and Euphrates river in Iraq through the eastern coast of the Mediterranean into Egypt.)

Middle East Timeline
...
1917 Balfour Declaration released from British government
1918 World War I ends; Allies carve up the Middle East; Britain takes control of Palestine
More ...
Over the next 12,000 years many different great civilizations and cultures developed from or invaded the area. The list of ancient empires includes: Egyptians (c. 3000-1000 BC); Assyrians and Babylonians (c. 1000-500 BC); Persians (c. 550-330 BC); Greeks (c. 330-60 BC); and Romans (C. 60 BC - 140 AD).

In modern times, the Ottoman Empire (c. 1300 - 1923) became the largest political entity in Europe and western Asia. The Safavid empire (1501 - 1736) dominated the area of modern Iran.

The Middle East has been the center of more than 20 major conflicts from the Persian-Greek Wars to the Crusades to the Iran-Iraq War. After World War I, the decline and dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire marked the beginning of a new stage of conflict over territory centering around the lands of Palestine.

While today about 92% of the population (292 million people) are Muslims, the Middle East is the geographic and emotional center of three of the world's great religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

Explore our Middle East area.

Introduction by Larry Gormley



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