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Physical Geography of North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia

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1 Physical Geography of North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia

2 Section 1 Physical Features: The people of Turkey’s Göreme Valley dwell in cliff-side apartments carved by nature. These mountain homes have storerooms on lower levels and family living quarters that include kitchens. Telephone-like devices allow family members to communicate from different floors. Wind and rain, as well as volcanoes and earthquakes, have shaped the rock and valleys of this land. Read on to find out about the landforms of North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia.

3 The Region’s Landforms
Main Idea This region includes a variety of landforms that affect how and where people live. Geography and You When you hear about floods, do you picture terrible damage and loss of life? Read to learn why people in ancient Egypt welcomed, rather than feared, river floods.

4 Main Idea Main Idea This region includes a variety of landforms that affect how and where people live. Geography and You When you hear about floods, do you picture terrible damage and loss of life? Read to learn why people in ancient Egypt welcomed, rather than feared, river floods.

5 Seas and Waterways Look at the physical map in the Regional Atlas to see the oceans and seas that surround North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia. These bodies of water have helped people trade more easily with the rest of Africa, Asia, and Europe. Four waterways control access to these seas. In the west, the Strait of Gibraltar—separating Africa and Europe—links the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. In the north, the Dardanelles (dahrd·uhn·EHLZ) Strait, the Sea of Marmara (MAHR·mah·rah), and the Bosporus (BAHS·puh·ruhs) Strait together link the Mediterranean and Black Seas and separate Europe from Asia.

6 Seas and Waterways On North Africa’s eastern edge, there is a human-made waterway called the Suez Canal. Ships use this canal to pass from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. North of the Arabian Peninsula, the Strait of Hormuz (HAWR·muhz) allows oil tankers to enter and leave the Persian Gulf.

7 Mountains, Plateaus, and Lowlands
All three areas within the region have somewhat similar landscapes. In North Africa, the Atlas and Ahaggar Mountains extend across much of the west. The rest of North Africa is covered by low plains and low-lying plateaus.

8 Rivers Because of the region’s rugged and dry land, people have long settled in river valleys to take advantage of the rich soil. Early civilizations developed along Egypt’s Nile River and Southwest Asia’s Tigris and Euphrates Rivers

9 Rivers The ancient Egyptians relied on the
Nile’s yearly flooding. The floods not only supplied water, but also carried silt—small particles of rich soil. The silt made the land fertile for growing crops.

10 Rivers Flooding of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, in a region called Mesopotamia, also led to a civilization based on farming. Mesopotamia was located on an alluvial (uh·LOO·vee·uhl) plain, an area of fertile soil left by river floods. Farmers built channels and ditches to bring water to their fields.

11 Natural Resources Oil and Gas
The largest reserves of petroleum and natural gas can be found in the area of the Persian Gulf. Oil is common here because the land is made up of sedimentary rock. This rock is created when layers of material are hardened by the intense weight of more materials piled above. Over millions of years, heat and pressure below the Earth’s surface helped turn the remains of sea animals and plants into oil. The oil collected in the gaps between the rock.


13 Other Resources In addition to oil and natural gas, the
region has other important resources. Both coal and iron ore are found in the region. Morocco and Kazakhstan have rich deposits of phosphates, which are mineral salts used to make fertilizer.

14 Environmental Concerns—The Seas
The region’s two inland seas, the Caspian (KAS·pee·uhn) and the Aral, have suffered greatly in recent decades. In the Caspian Sea, poaching, which is illegal fishing or hunting, has decreased the number of sturgeon, the fish whose eggs are used to make caviar. This drop has hurt the fishing industry in countries around the Caspian Sea.

15 The Aral Sea, which is shared by Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, has also been badly damaged. During the 1960s, irrigation projects, mainly for cotton production, drained water from the two main rivers that feed the sea. Inadequate amounts of rainfall could not restore the sea’s water level, and it began drying up. In addition, the sea’s water became saltier and unfit for drinking. This change also harmed the sea’s fish populations.

16 Other Environmental Issues
The misuse of water has also harmed the land throughout North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia. Because the climate is so dry in much of the region, irrigation water often evaporates. This can leave behind a deposit of salt that makes the land less fertile. In some cases, the damage is so great that the land can no longer be farmed.

17 Nile Dams built to control flooding have both benefited and harmed the environment. In 1968 Egypt’s government opened the Aswˉan High Dam on the upper Nile River. By controlling the river’s floodwaters, crops can be grown and harvested throughout the year. In addition, the dam provides electric power to Egypt’s growing cities and industries.

18 Air pollution also is a growing problem. A large number of cars in the region are older, and they release more polluting fumes. Refineries, the facilities that turn petroleum into gasoline and other products, also pollute the air.

19 Section 2 Climate Regions
A Dry Region Main Idea Large areas of desert greatly affect life in the region. Geography and You What would it be like to live through a long period without rain? Read to find out how a generally dry climate affects vegetation and human activities.

20 A Dry Region Dry continental air masses warmed by the sun blow over much of North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia. As a result, much of the land is desert with a dry, hot climate.

21 The Sahara The vast Sahara, the world’s largest desert, covers much of North Africa. Summer temperatures can reach scorching highs. The highest temperature ever recorded, 136°F (58°C), was measured at Al-‘Azˉızˉıyah (al·a·ZEE·zee·yuh), in Libya. Winter temperatures are cooler, averaging about 55°F (13°C).

22 wadis Only about 3 inches (8 cm) of rain fall each year in the Sahara. Rain usually falls in the winter months, but occasional violent thunderstorms in summer can cause flooding. Dry riverbeds called wadis fill with water when it rains.

23 Most of the Sahara is dry land covered with rock or gravel
Most of the Sahara is dry land covered with rock or gravel. About 20 percent of the desert is covered by large sand dunes, which are called ergs. The Sahara also contains oases where the land is fertile as a result of water from a spring or well. Villages, towns, and cities have grown around many Saharan oases.

24 Desert and Steppe Areas
The region has other desert areas besides the Sahara. The Arabian Peninsula is nearly covered by deserts. In the south lies the vast Rub’ al Khali, or Empty Quarter. About the size of Texas, this sandy area averages only about 4 inches (10 cm) of rainfall per year.

25 In Central Asia rain shadow areas created by high peaks along with dry continental winds have formed large deserts—the Kara-Kum and the Kyzyl Kum. Both deserts have hot summers but very cold winters. That is because these areas are in the middle latitudes.

26 steppes Bordering the region’s deserts are dry, treeless, but grassy plains called steppes. Steppes are found in areas north of the Sahara, Turkey, and to the east in Central Asia. Steppe areas receive more rainfall— between 4 and 16 inches (10 and 41 cm) per year—than do deserts. Some people on the steppes live as nomads, moving across steppe areas to find food and water for their herds. Others practice dry farming, a method in which land is left unplanted every few years so that it can store moisture.

27 Other Climate Areas Coastal areas in North Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, and Turkey have Mediterranean climates. These warm areas receive enough rain to support agriculture and therefore have more people than other parts of the region.

28 Main Idea The lack of water is a growing problem in this region.
The Need for Water Main Idea The lack of water is a growing problem in this region. Geography and You How much water do you use each day? How might your life be different if the amount of water you used daily was limited? Read to learn how people try to make the best use of limited water resources.


30 Rainfall is sparse Rainfall is sparse over much of the region. Also, high temperatures cause surface water to evaporate rapidly. As a result, the growing population does not have adequate water to meet its needs. A large amount of water is used to irrigate dry farmland. Some countries, such as Libya, now draw water from aquifers, or underground rock layers through which water flows. Figure 1 on the previous page shows aquifers in a part of the region.

31 In addition, countries often compete for scarce water resources, increasing the chance of conflict. For example, dams that Turkey is building on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers redirect water that in the past would have flowed to Syria and Iraq. Some governments, such as those of Jordan and Syria, are dealing with water shortages by rationing. Rationing means that a resource is made available to people in only limited amounts.

32 desalinization Another approach to managing water use is desalinization. This process treats seawater to remove salts and minerals and make it drinkable. Oil-rich countries have built desalinization plants, making Southwest Asia the world’s leader in creating usable water from seawater. Desalinization is costly, however, so poor countries are not able to use this process and will continue to face water shortages.

33 Chapter 17 History and Cultures of North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia Place: The region of North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia is the birthplace of three world religions— Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Since their beginnings thousands of years ago, these religions have spread throughout the world. They also have had a great impact on the history of the region. How does religion affect the lives of people today?

34 Section 1: History and Religion
BIG IDEA The characteristics and movement of people affect physical and human systems. The people of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia built civilizations in fertile river valleys. They made many advances that spread to neighboring areas. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have greatly influenced culture and politics over the centuries. In recent times, political unrest and conflict have troubled the region.

35 History and Religion The words and pictures that are carved into the stone describe a great famine on the Egyptian island of Sehel. Stone markers, called stelae (STEE∙lee), were often used in ancient Egypt to honor the dead or to remember special events. Egypt is one of the world’s earliest civilizations and is known for its achievements in language, arts, and trade. To learn more about Egypt’s history, read Section 1.

36 markers, called stelae

37 Early Civilizations Main Idea The early civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt had a great impact on later civilizations. Geography and You What do you view as the greatest human achievement? Sending people to the moon, perhaps, or inventing the computer? Read to learn about the accomplishments of two early civilizations.

38 world’s oldest civilizations
Two of the world’s oldest civilizations arose in Southwest Asia and North Africa about 5,000 years ago. Egypt, in North Africa, developed along the banks of the Nile River. The other civilization, Mesopotamia (____suh_puh_TAY_mee_uh) in Southwest Asia, arose on a flat plain between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

39 world’s oldest civilizations
Mesopotamia— located in present-day Iraq—lay in the Fertile Crescent, a strip of land that curves from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. Around 4000 _._., people began settling along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. There they farmed the fertile soil left behind by yearly floods. To control flooding and carry water to their fields, they built walls, waterways, and ditches. This method of watering crops is called irrigation. Irrigation allowed the people to grow a larger, more stable supply of food. More food, in turn, supported a larger population. By 3000 _._., cities had developed in southern Mesopotamia in a region known as Sumer (SOO_muhr).

40 Sumerian city Each Sumerian city and the land around it formed its own government and came to be called a city-state. At the center of each city was a large, step like temple dedicated to the city’s chief god. Mesopotamia’s religion was based on polytheism, or the worship of many gods and goddesses. At first, each city-state was a theocracy, or a government controlled by religious leaders. Later, military leaders took power.

41 writing The Sumerians developed a number of remarkable inventions. They created one of the first calendars and were the first people known to use the wheel and the plow. They also developed cuneiform, which was an early form of writing. Cuneiform consists of wedge- shaped markings made with sharp reeds on clay tablets.

42 Religion was at the center of Egyptian society
Religion was at the center of Egyptian society. Egyptians worshiped many gods and goddesses. Like Mesopotamia, Egypt was a theocracy. Egyptian rulers were called pharaohs, and the Egyptians believed that they were gods as well as rulers. The pharaohs owned the land and ordered thousands of people to build temples and tombs. The largest tombs, the pyramids, belonged to the pharaohs. Later, pharaohs were buried in tombs built into cliffs.

43 hieroglyphics The Egyptians also developed a system of writing called hieroglyphics, which used pictures for words or sounds. The Egyptians carved and painted these symbols on the walls of the magnificent stone temples they built to honor their gods.

44 Connecting Ancient Lands
Trade was very important to the people of Mesopotamia. They traded with people from the eastern Mediterranean region to India. Through trade and conquest, the achievements and ideas of Mesopotamia spread to other lands. Some still shape life today. For example, the 60-second minute, 60-minute hour, 24-hour day, and 12-month year that we use today were developed by the Sumerians.

45 Phoenicians One of the greatest trading empires of the ancient world developed in the land of Phoenicia. Around 1000 b.c., the Phoenicians—who lived in what is now Lebanon—engaged in trade all across the Mediterranean Sea. They traveled and traded as far west as present-day Spain.

46 Three World Religions Main Idea Three major world religions began in Southwest Asia. Geography and You Is there a synagogue, a church, or a mosque in your community? These places of worship represent three major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Read to find out about these three religions that began in Southwest Asia.

47 one God. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have become major world faiths. All three religions are examples of monotheism, or the belief in one God.

48 Judaism The oldest of the three religions is Judaism. It was first practiced by a small group of people in Southwest Asia called the Israelites. The followers of Judaism today are known as Jews. We know about the early history of the Jewish people and their religion from their holy book—the Tanakh, or the Hebrew Bible.

49 Abraham According to Jewish belief, the Jews are descended from Abraham, a herder who lived in Mesopotamia about 1800 b.c. The Tanakh states that God made a covenant, or agreement, with Abraham. If Abraham moved to the land of Canaan, he and his descendants would be blessed. Abraham’s descendants, later called the Israelites, believed they would continue to be blessed as long as they followed God’s laws.

50 Moses Jews believe that God revealed the most important of these laws to a prophet, or messenger of God, named Moses. According to the Hebrew Bible, Moses led the Israelites from Egypt. The Israelites had moved to Egypt to escape a long drought and were forced into slavery there. On their way from Egypt, at the top of Mount Sinai (SY∙ny) in the desert, Moses received

51 God’s laws , including those known as the Ten Commandments. These rules differed from the laws of neighboring peoples because they were based on the worship of one god. The Israelites were not to worship other gods or human-made images. Also, all people—whether rich or poor—were to be treated fairly.

52 King David About 1000 b.c., the Israelites under King David created a kingdom in the area of present-day Israel. The kingdom’s capital was the city of Jerusalem. By 922 b.c., the Israelite kingdom had split into two states—Israel and Judah. The people of Judah came to be called Jews. In later centuries, the Jews were conquered and many were forced to leave their homeland. Eventually, many Jewish people moved to countries in other parts of the world.

53 Diaspora This scattering of the Jews was called the Diaspora (dy∙AS∙pruh). In many areas, the Jews were treated cruelly. In other areas, they were treated with tolerance and understanding.

54 Christianity Judaism gave rise to another monotheistic religion—Christianity. About a.d. 30, a Jewish teacher named Jesus began preaching in what is today Israel and the West Bank. Jesus taught that God loved all people, even those who had sinned. He told people that if they placed their trust in God, their sins would be forgiven.

55 Christianity Some Jews greeted Jesus as a savior sent by God to help them. This acceptance worried other Jews, as well as the Romans who ruled their land. Jesus was convicted of treason under Roman law and was crucified, or executed on a cross. Soon afterward, Jesus’ followers declared that he had risen from the dead and was the Son of God.

56 Christianity Jesus’ followers spread his message throughout the Mediterranean world. Jews and non-Jews who accepted this message became known as Christians. They formed churches or communities for worship. Stories about Jesus and the writings of early Christians—known as the New Testament— became part of the Christian Bible. Today, it is the world’s largest religion, with about 2.1 billion followers.

57 Islam Islam The third major monotheistic religion to develop in Southwest Asia was Islam. Islam began in the a.d. 600s in the Arabian Peninsula with the teachings of Muhammad. Muslims, or followers of Islam, believe that Muhammad was the last and greatest prophet of Islam—following Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.

58 Islam Born about a.d. 570, Muhammad was a merchant in Makkah (Mecca), a trading center in western Arabia. According to Islamic teachings, Muhammad heard messages from an angel telling him to preach about God. He told people that there is only one God, Allah, before whom all believers are equal. Muslims later wrote down Muhammad’s messages. These writings became the Quran (kuh∙RAN), or holy book of Islam.

59 Islam After Muhammad died in a.d. 632, leaders known as caliphs ruled the Muslim community. Under their leadership, Arab Muslim armies conquered neighboring lands and created a vast empire. Over several centuries, Islam expanded into areas of Asia, North Africa, and parts of Europe, as shown in Figure 2. As time passed, many of the people in these areas accepted Islam and the Arabic language.

60 Islam

61 Islam: leading merchants
From the _._. 700s to the _._. 1400s, Muslims were the leading merchants in many parts of Asia and Africa. Muslim caravans passed overland from Southwest Asia to China, and Muslim ships sailed the Indian Ocean to India and Southeast Asia. Muslim traders enjoyed success for several reasons. Merchants all across the Islamic Empire used coins, which made trade easier. Also, Muslim merchants kept detailed records of their business deals and profits. In time, these practices developed into a new business—banking.

62 Islam: leading merchants
Trade helped leading Muslim cities grow. Located on important trade routes, the cities of Baghdad, Cairo, and Damascus became centers of government and learning. Muslim scholars made many contributions to mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, and medicine. They also preserved the writings of the ancient Greek philosophers. Later, Muslims passed on this knowledge. In fact, the system we use today for writing numbers and the concept of zero were brought by Muslims from India to Europe. Muslims also introduced the compass and several foods, including rice and sugar, to Europe.

63 The Region in the Modern World
Main Idea In modern times, ethnic, cultural, and economic differences have led to conflict in the region. Geography and You Do you think people of very different backgrounds can live together peacefully? Read to see how this issue affects the region today.

64 Arab Empire By the end of the a.d. 900s, the Arab Empire had broken up into smaller kingdoms. During the next few centuries, waves of Mongol invaders swept into the Muslim world from Central Asia, ending the Arab Empire. In the late 1200s, another Muslim empire arose, led by a people known as the Ottoman Turks. The Ottoman Empire lasted until the early 1900s.

65 OIl The discovery of oil brought wealth to several of these new nations. Disputes within the region affected the rest of the world because of the global demand for oil and the region’s importance as a crossroads, or meeting point, of trade.

66 Independence At the end of World War I, the Ottoman Empire broke apart as a result of its defeat in that conflict. By this time, European powers had gained control of large areas of North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia. The region’s people, however, resented European rule and cultural influences. They turned to nationalism, or the belief that every ethnic group has a right to have its own independent nation. Through wars and political struggles, most countries in Southwest Asia and North Africa won political freedom by the 1970s. After the Soviet Union’s fall in 1991, several Muslim nations in Central Asia also gained their independence.

67 Kurds & Palestine Today, some groups in the region see themselves as stateless nations, or people with strong ethnic loyalties but no country of their own. For example, an ethnic group known as the Kurds has long sought nationhood. Some Kurds dream of creating a Kurdish nation that would unite the 25 million Kurds living in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and other lands. Palestinian Arabs also want to create an independent nation of Palestine. This wish has led to conflict with Israel, which was formed as a country for the Jews in part of the same area.

68 Arabs and Israelis In recent years, the region has been torn by conflict between Arab countries and Israel, which was founded in As you read earlier, most Jews were driven from their homeland centuries ago and settled in other lands, where they often suffered hardships. In the late 1800s, some European Jews moved back to the area where Judaism began, which was called Palestine at the time. These settlers, known as Zionists, wanted to set up a safe homeland for the Jews.

69 Peace in the middle East
Steps toward peace began when Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in In a 1993 agreement, Palestinian Arab leaders said they would accept and work with Israel. Israel in return agreed to give the Palestinians control of the Gaza Strip and some areas of the West Bank. Both sides were to reach a permanent peace agreement within five years, but many issues remained unsettled. As frustration grew, peace efforts had halted by Violence and distrust continue between Israelis and Palestinians.

70 Iran In 1979 an Islamic revolution in Iran overthrew that country’s shah, or king. Muslim religious leaders, such as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (eye·uh·TOH·luh ru·HAWL·la koh·MAY·nee), then made Iran an Islamic republic. They enforced the strict laws of a traditional Islamic society. Iran clashed with Iraq, which was led by a dictator named Saddam Hussein (hoo∙SAYN). From 1980 to 1988, Iran and Iraq fought a war in which 1 million people died.

71 Terrorism Terrorism Since the 1990s, both Southwest Asia and other areas of the world have seen the dramatic growth of terrorism. Terrorism is the use of violence against civilians to achieve a political goal. A Muslim terrorist group called al-Qaeda (al∙KY∙duh) was formed by a Saudi Arabian named Osama bin Laden (oh∙SAHM∙uh bihn LAHD∙uhn). Its goal is to remove American and European influences from the Muslim world. Al-Qaeda trained its fighters in the country of Afghanistan. There, it was helped by a militant Muslim government called the Taliban.

72 War In 2001 troops from the United States and other countries attacked Afghanistan. They defeated the Taliban and helped set up a democratic Afghan government. In 2003 a group of countries led by the United States invaded Iraq. The Iraqi army was quickly defeated. Saddam Hussein was later captured, put on trial, and executed.

73 Section 2: Cultures and Lifestyles
BIG IDEA Culture groups shape human systems. Throughout North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia, religious beliefs and traditions have influenced the language, arts, and daily lives of people.

74 Religion, Language, and Arts
Main Idea Religion, especially Islam, remains extremely important throughout the region. Geography and You What are the main religions in your community? What practices do their believers follow? Read to find out how religion influences life in North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia.

75 As in the past, religion plays an important role in the region today
As in the past, religion plays an important role in the region today. Islam is the major faith. It is divided into two major groups: Sunni (SU∙nee) and Shia (SHEE∙ah). Both groups follow the Quran and share many beliefs, but they disagree on how the Muslim faithful should be governed. Most Muslims in the region and throughout the world are Sunni. In Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, and parts of Lebanon and Syria, however, most Muslims are Shia.

76 One God Islam, Judaism, and Christianity have some beliefs in common. They all believe in one God who holds all power and who created the universe. They also believe that God determines right and wrong. People are expected to love God, obey God’s will, and show kindness to others.

77 Religious Practices Religious Practices Each of the three religions has its own unique practices. Muslims strive to fulfill the Five Pillars of Islam—acts of worship that are required from the faithful. The first duty is to make the statement of faith: “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.” Second, Muslims must pray five times a day while facing Makkah. The third duty is to give money to help people in need. The fourth duty is to fast, or not eat or drink, during daylight hours of the holy month of Ramadan. This is the month, according to Muslim beliefs, in which Muhammad received the first message from God. The last pillar of faith is to undertake a holy journey, or hajj. Once in each Muslim’s life, he or she must, if able, journey to Makkah to pray.

78 Saints Christians in the region celebrate Easter as their major holy day. They also set aside special days to honor saints, or Christian holy people.

79 Pork In Israel, where three-quarters of the population is Jewish, people follow the traditional practice of marking the Sabbath from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. For Jews, the Sabbath is the weekly day of worship and rest. The holiest of Jewish holy days is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. On this day, Jews fast from sunset to sunset and attend services, asking God’s forgiveness for their sins. Both Jews and Muslims have dietary laws that state which foods they can and cannot eat and how food should be prepared and handled. For instance, people of both religions are forbidden to eat pork. Muslims are also banned from drinking alcohol.

80 A number of great works of literature have been written in the languages of the region. Many of these works are exciting epics—tales or poems about heroes and heroines. The Thousand and One Nights, a well-known collection of Arab, Indian, and Iranian stories, reflects life during the period of the Arab Empire.

81 Daily Life Main Idea Living standards vary widely in the region, as do the effects of European and American culture. Geography and You How different do you think urban and rural families are in your community or state? Read on to find out more about lifestyles in North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia today.

82 Lifestyles Rural and Urban Lifestyles In the past, most people in the region lived in small villages and farmed the land. During the last century, many people moved to cities. Today, more than 50 percent of the region’s people live in urban areas. In the region’s largest cities, many people live in high-rise apartments. In older city neighborhoods, however, people may live in stone or mud-brick buildings that are hundreds of years old. Some of these dwellings still lack running water and electricity

83 Living Standards Israel, for example, has a strong economy. Its workers are highly skilled, and the country exports a number of high-technology products. In other wealthy countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar (KAH•tuhr), citizens have prospered from oil production. Their governments have used oil revenues, or income, to build schools, hospitals, roads, and airports. Many people in these prosperous nations live in modern cities, work in manufacturing or service jobs, and receive free education and health care from their governments.

84 Family Life and Education
People in this region place great value on family life. Many families gather at midday for their main meal. In many countries of the region, men traditionally have the dominant role in the family. Wives are expected to obey their husbands, stay home, and raise children. Marriages arranged by parents are quite common. Also, women are expected to dress modestly. Many Muslim women, for example, wear a head scarf or veil in public, a practice that began in the area long before the rise of Islam.

85 Women Some countries are more traditional than others in their attitudes toward women. In Saudi Arabia, for example, women are not allowed to vote, to drive, or to travel unless accompanied by a male relative. Women are allowed to attend universities but must go to classes separate from men. Although women are allowed to work, they can do so only in professions such as teaching and medicine in which they can avoid close contact with men. Children go to school primary school but girls are often separate from boys

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