What is the Middle East?
A: The Middle East is a geopolitical region commonly encompassing Arabia, Asia Minor, East Thrace, Egypt, Iran, the Levant, Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), and the Socotra Archipelago (a part of Yemen).
The term came into widespread usage as a replacement of
A: The term Near East (as opposed to the Far East) beginning in the early 20th century.
The term "Middle East" has led to some confusion over
A: It’s changing definitions and has been viewed by some to be discriminatory or too Eurocentric.
The region includes most of the territories included in
the closely associated definition of what?
A: Western Asia (including Iran), but without the South Caucasus, and additionally includes all of Egypt (not just the Sinai Region) and all of Turkey (not just the part barring East Thrace).
Most Middle Eastern countries (13 out of 18) are part
A: The Arab world.
What are the most populous countries in the region?
A: They are Egypt, Iran, and Turkey, while Saudi Arabia is the largest Middle Eastern country by area.
Several major religions have their origins in the
Middle East, including what?
A: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Arabs constitute the main socioethnic grouping in the
region, followed by whom?
A: Turks, Persians, Kurds, Azeris, Copts, Jews, Assyrians, Iraqi Turkmen, Yazidis, and Greek Cypriots.
The Middle East generally has what type of climate?
A: A hot, arid climate, especially in the Peninsula and Egyptian regions.
Several major rivers provide irrigation to support
agriculture in limited areas here such as what?
A: The Nile Delta in Egypt, the Tigris and Euphrates watersheds of Mesopotamia, and most of what is known as the Fertile Crescent.
Conversely the Levantine coast and most of Turkey have
A: More temperate, oceanic, and wetter climates.
Most of the countries that border the Persian Gulf have
vast reserves what?
A: Petroleum, with monarchs of the Arabian Peninsula benefiting economically from petroleum exports.
Because of the arid climate and heavy reliance on the
fossil fuel industry, the Middle East is what?
A: Both a heavy contributor to climate change and a region expected to be severely negatively impacted by it.
The term "Middle East" may have originated in the 1850s
A: The British India Office.
It became more widely known when what American naval
strategist used the term in 1902 to "designate the area between Arabia and
A: Alfred Thayer Mahan.
During this time the British and Russian Empires were
vying for influence in Central Asia, a rivalry which would become known as
A: The Great Game.
Mahan realized not only the strategic importance of the
region, but also of its what?
A: Its center, the Persian Gulf.
He labeled the area surrounding the Persian Gulf as the
Middle East, and said that after Egypt's Suez Canal, it was what?
A: The most important passage for Britain to control in order to keep the Russians from advancing towards British India.
With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, "Near
East" largely fell out of common use in what?
A: English, while "Middle East" came to be applied to the re-emerging countries of the Islamic world.
The first official use of the term "Middle East" by the
United States government was in what?
A: The 1957 Eisenhower Doctrine, which pertained to the Suez Crisis.
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles defined the
Middle East as what?
A: "The area lying between and including Libya on the west and Pakistan on the east, Syria and Iraq on the North and the Arabian Peninsula to the south, plus the Sudan and Ethiopia."
In 1958, the State Department explained that the terms
"Near East" and "Middle East" were what?
A: Interchangeable, and defined the region as including only Egypt, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar.