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Modern Historical Mysteries => the Middle East: Past & Present => Topic started by: Elric on April 30, 2007, 10:43:50 pm

Title: Defining the Middle East
Post by: Elric on April 30, 2007, 10:43:50 pm

The term "Middle East" was popularized around 1900 by the British, and has been criticized for its loose definition. The Middle East traditionally includes countries or regions in Southwest Asia and parts of North Africa. The corresponding adjective to Middle East 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. The Middle East generally has an arid and hot climate, with several major rivers providing for irrigation to support agriculture in limited areas.

Many have criticized the term Middle East for what they see as Eurocentrism,[11][12] because it was originally used by Europeans (although Alfred Mahan was American) and reflects the geographical position of the region from a European perspective. It is also criticized due to the fact that the term today is often used to only refer to the Arab world, making the situation more confused.

Title: Re: Defining the Middle East
Post by: Elric on April 30, 2007, 10:46:11 pm
With the disappearance of the Ottoman Turkish Empire in 1918, Near East largely fell out of common use in English, while Middle East came to be applied to the re-emerging countries of the Islamic world. However, the usage of Near East was retained by a variety of academic disciplines, including archaeology and ancient history, where it describes an area identical to the term Middle East, which is not used by these disciplines (see Ancient Near East). So in shorter words, the term Middle East came about when the UK/French part of the world used the term.

The Eisenhower Doctrine, a 1957 policy of the United States government, was the first to officially use the term Middle East.  Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles defined the Middle East as "the area lying between and including Libya on the west and Pakistan on the east and Turkey on the North and the Arabian peninsula to the south, plus the Sudan and Ethiopia."[

Title: Re: Defining the Middle East
Post by: Elric on April 30, 2007, 10:47:12 pm
There are terms similar to "Near East" and "Middle East" in other European languages, but since it is a relative description, the meanings depend on the country and are different from the English terms generally. In German the term "Naher Osten" (Near East) is still in common use (although nowadays the term "Mittlerer Osten" is more and more common) and in Russian Ближний Восток or "Blizhniy Vostok" (Near East), Bulgarian Близкия Изток (Near East) or Polish Bliski Wschód remains as the only appropriate term for the region. However, some languages do have "Middle East" equivalents, such as the French Moyen-Orient and the Italian Medio Oriente.

Perhaps due to the influence of the Western press, the Arabic equivalent of “Middle East,” “‫الشرق الأوسط‬” (“ash-sharq al-’awsaT”), has become standard usage in the mainstream Arabic press, comprehending the same meaning as the term “Middle East” in North American and Western European usage. The Persian equivalent for Middle East is خاورمیانه (Khāvarmiyāneh).

Title: Re: Defining the Middle East
Post by: Elric on April 30, 2007, 10:49:42 pm

Dubai skyline

Title: Re: Defining the Middle East
Post by: Elric on April 30, 2007, 10:51:00 pm

The Burj al Arab artificial island

Title: Re: Defining the Middle East
Post by: Bianca on May 07, 2007, 02:08:33 pm


Thank you very much for the clarification of the term MIDDLE EAST.

What really caught my eye was the picture of the artificial island (last in the set)

I watched its fabrication a couple of times on television, with a mixture of awe and
revulsion........It is good,  in the end, to see one of the buildings.

Title: Re: Defining the Middle East
Post by: Elric on May 17, 2007, 09:00:07 pm

Very ostentatious isn't it?  It's amazing what oil money can do for you.

I heard that Iran also has plans for an island, but in their repressive society, I heard it is supposed to be an island for women alone. I have never understood the repressive attitude that Islam has towards women in it's faith.