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Geography and Early History of the Middle East

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1 Geography and Early History of the Middle East
Chapter 25 Geography and Early History of the Middle East

2 Section 1 The Land and The People
What is the Middle East? Europeans invented the term to describe the region that lies between Europe and distant parts of Asia “Middle” only in relation to Europe

3 Crossroads of the World
Crossroads of three continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe Connected major trade routes Caravans from India and China brought goods to the busy markets of the Middle East

4 Cultural diffusion Over thousands of years, migrating peoples, traders, and conquerors crossed the Middle East They spread ideas, inventions, and achievements of many civilizations Iron making, the alphabet, religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam Arabic numerals spread to the ME from India and the lateen sail from Southeast Asia

5 Strategic location Some ME nations sit on vital sea routes
Some sit atop vast reserves of oil The ME is important to the world for military and economic reasons Egypt-Suez Canal Turkey-Bosporus and the Dardanelles Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of Persian Gulf-transports huge tankers of oil for industries and homes around the world.

6 Suez Canal


8 Strait of Hormuz

9 Five major regions Northern Tier
Stretches across present-day Turkey and Iran Mountains and plateaus In the West lies the Anatolian Plateau-fertile soil The Anatolian Plateau is located in Asia Minor, a large peninsula that connects Asia and Europe In the East likes the Iranian Plateau-dry

10 Arabian Peninsula A vast plateau that is about 1/3 the size of the US
Borders several important bodies of water: Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and the Persian Gulf Saudi Arabia is the largest nation in the region Small population due to lack of water Mostly a barren desert Most people live around scattered oasis Huge oil deposits Birthplace of Islam

11 Fertile Crescent An arc-shaped region that stretches from the eastern Mediterranean along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to the Persian Gulf Rich soil and abundant water One of the world’s earliest civilizations emerged in the fertile Tigris-Euphrates Valley Few natural barriers allowed for invaders to control its fertile land Wealthiest settlements lay in Mesopotamia “land between rivers” Flooding of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers spread fertile soil over the region Flooding is unpredictable

12 Nile Valley Northeastern Africa was a cradle of ancient civilizations
Deserts in the east and west protect this region from invaders Flooding of the Nile is predictable Trade linked Egyptians in the Nile Valley with the people in the Fertile Crescent Caravans and armies from Egypt crossed the Sinai Peninsula, while ships sailed from Nile delta ports to lands adjoining the Mediterranean

13 The Maghreb Includes the North African nations of Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco “western isle” Chief features of this region are the Sahara and Atlas rugged mountains Major crossroads-commands the southern rim of the Mediterranean and a gateway to the Atlantic Traders exchanged goods from West Africa, Europe, and the Middle East

14 Climate and Resources Climate has dictated where people live in the ME
Nearly all of the region is a desert People clustered in well-watered areas along the coasts and in river valleys where they irrigate and farm Less than 10% of the region receives enough water to farm Irrigation is extremely important for life in the ME Oil is the most important resource in the ME

15 Peoples Many different peoples, languages, religions and traditions
Major languages are: Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, Kurdish, Persian, Greek, and Armenian Major religions are: Islam, Christianity, Judaism 19 countries and almost 350 million people

16 Ethnic diversity Arabs are the majority group in many ME countries
What is an Arab? Mid-600s Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula conquered many different peoples in the ME Arabic language and the religion of Islam Today, the term Arab is used to describe anyone whose native language is Arabic Other groups include Turks, Iranians and Kurds

17 Religious diversity The majority religion is Islam
Most Arabs are Muslim Many non-Arabic people are also Muslim A significant number of Christians live in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria Judaism is the most ancient of the three religions in the ME In Israel, the majority of the people are Jewish

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