Population: 220,000,000 (est.)
List of countries:
- The Middle East has played a formidable part in World history.
- It is the birthplace of the famous Ottoman Empire.
- The Middle East is also the historical origin of three of the world’s major religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
- It is also the origin of centralized government, organized religion, and written language.
- The largest ethnic group in the Middle East are Arabs but there are also other diverse ethnic groups.
- The area’s most abundant (and valuable) natural resource is oil.
- It is said that ‘every 30 years something big happens in the Middle East’.
- The ‘Arab Spring’, a set of revolutions that deposed long-standing Middle-Eastern rulers, began on the 18 December 2010 (still on-going in Syria) and changed, quite considerably, the face of the Middle East.
The Middle East is a region that roughly encompasses Western Asia. The term is considered to be Eurocentric and 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 largest ethnic group in the middle east are Arabs,with Turks, Turkomans, Persians, Kurds, Azeris, Copts, Jews, Maronites, Assyro-Chaldeans, Circassians, Armenians, Druze and numerous other ethnic groups forming other significant populations.
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 ancient history, however, the term Near East is more commonly used. The Middle East is also the historical origin of major religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as well as less common Bahai faith, Mandaeism, Druze faith and others. 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.