Middle East  

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Vestiges of the Alamut Castle (photo Payampak)
Vestiges of the Alamut Castle (photo Payampak)

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Middle East is a region that roughly encompasses a majority of Western Asia (excluding the Caucasus) and Egypt. The term is used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East. The corresponding adjective is Middle-Eastern and the derived noun is Middle-Easterner.

The history of the Middle East dates back to ancient times, and throughout its history, the Middle East has been a major center of world affairs. When discussing its ancient history, however, the term Near East is more commonly used. The Middle East is also the historical origin of major religions including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Middle East generally has an arid and hot climate, with several major rivers providing for irrigation to support agriculture in limited areas, especially in Mesopotamia and the rest of the Fertile Crescent. Many countries located around the Persian Gulf have large quantities of crude oil, which has resulted in much wealth particularly for nations in the Arabian peninsula. In modern times the Middle East remains a strategically, economically, politically, culturally and religiously sensitive region.


Post-World War II

The most chaotic part of Asia in the post-World War II world was the Middle East. Following World War II, Britain had granted independence to Mesopotamia, which became Iraq, Kuwait, and Transjordan, which became Jordan. France also granted independence to Syria and Lebanon. British Palestine, however, presented a unique challenge. Following World War I, when Britain gained the colony, Jews, mostly from Europe, began immigrating to Palestine, since it was the land of their ancestors. This immigration increased as anti-Semitism became more prevalent in the 1930s. However, as the numbers of Palestinian Jews increased, conflicts with Arab Palestinians occurred. The UN proposed Palestine be divided into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Arabs objected, however. Feeling it could do nothing to resolve the conflict, Britain withdrew and Jewish Palestinians declared the state of Israel. The Israelis immediately found themselves at war with their Arab neighbors. Israel survived the war and won two subsequent wars with neighboring Arab nations. Unfortunately, as a result of these wars, Israel found itself occupying the lands of the Arab Palestinians, called simply Palestinians today. This would lead to ongoing problems in the region.




Organizations, programs, and media

See also

Arab culture, Arabian mythology, Arabian Nights

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Middle East" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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