The Middle East has a population of about 246 million, or nearly as many people as the United States. The distribution of the population varies widely. The fertile regions are very densely settled; many others are only lightly populated; while others, particularly in the deserts, are completely empty of human life. The most populous Middle Eastern countries are Turkey, Egypt, and Iran, each with more than 50 million people. The Persian Gulf states of Bahrain and Qatar have the smallest populations, about 400,000 each. Saudi Arabia, although greatest in area, has a relatively small population for its size, a little more than 10 million, because much of its land is desert.
Since ancient times, the Middle East has attracted migrating peoples. Mixing with the earlier inhabitants of the region, they produced the peoples that make up the Middle East today. They can be classified into three main ethnic groups–Arabs, Turks, and Iranians. There are, in addition, smaller numbers of Kurds, who are scattered across Turkey, Iran, and Iraq; Jews (of varied ethnic origin), who live chiefly in Israel; Pakistanis; Armenians; and Greeks, who live mainly on the island nation of Cyprus.
Language and Religion
Language and religion are basic elements of cultural identity in the Middle East. The major languages of the region, which correspond to the three main ethnic groups, are Arabic, the most widely used language; Turkish; and Persian (or Farsi), the language of the Iranians. Kurdish is related to Persian. The Hebrew spoken in Israel is, like Arabic, a Semitic tongue. Educated people throughout the Middle East frequently speak English or French as well. Islam, the religion of the Muslims, is the predominant faith of the Middle East. There are two main branches: Sunni Islam, the larger branch; and Shi’a Islam, found mainly in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. Christianity is practiced by some Arabs, particularly in Lebanon; by the Greeks of Cyprus; and the Copts in Egypt. Judaism was the faith of ancient Israel and is the religion of the modern state of Israel.
Although only about 15 percent of the land is suitable for farming, agriculture remains the region’s most important economic activity. Wheat, barley, and rice are chief food crops. Figs and dates are grown in desert oases and citrus fruits in the Mediterranean coastal region. The major commercial crops are cotton, coffee, and tobacco. Livestock raising is especially important to the agricultural economy.
Oil and Industry. The discovery of vast oil deposits revolutionized the Middle East’s economy. More than half of the world’s known oil reserves are found in the region, although they are not equally distributed. Saudi Arabia has the largest deposits and is the world’s leading oil producer and exporter. Iran, Iraq, and the small Persian Gulf state of Kuwait are the other major producers. Aside from oil, chrome, coal, sulphur, and magnesium mined in Turkey, and phosphates from Jordan, the region is generally poor in mineral resources.
Turkey, Egypt, and Israel are the most industrially developed countries of the region. The processing of agricultural products, petroleum refining and the production of petrochemicals, textiles, and such traditional crafts as rug weaving are the chief areas of industrial activity. Heavy industry, including machinery and steel production and motor vehicle assembly, is being encouraged.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF MIDDLE EAST
The Middle East has a unique geographical position. It is an area situated at the junction of Asia, Europe and Africa and has easy approach in these three continents. The term of Middle East is invented by the western to describe the geographical region that lies between Asia and Africa. There are different theories about the Origin of the Name of Middle East. It has been assumed that the “Middle East” The name of this region is also the Near East, Far East introduced by British in which especially included the areas of Ottoman Empire and south East Europe and North Africa. The “Near East” and Middle East create a question .Both names or consist of two words. The first which denotes proximity and other shows the direction.
1. This Area also called the Fertile Crescent. The description Middle East has some confusion Before the world war first, Near East was used for Balkans and Ottoman Empire, while Middle East for the Persian and central Asia.
2 But with the disappearance of Ottoman Empire, the term of Near East fell out and the Middle East became common for reorganizing the Islamic World. According to the most widely accepted divinations, the region includes Bahrain, cypress Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordon, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, U-A-E (United Arab Emirate) Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco and the much part of the Sudan is considered Middle East. Including with the countries of North African countries on addition has been occurred in 1996 with name of Greater Middle East.
Geography of Middle East
The areas lying between and including Libya on the west; and Pakistan on the East: Turkey on the North: and the Arabian peninsula in the South,” plus the Sudan and Utopia. There are many deserts and mountains in Middle East that divide the Middle East into different zones that are geographically distinct and have influenced the development and maintains of culture traditions through much of the history of the region. Rub-Al-Khali The first of these zones, the Nile River flows northward from Knourtom, though Sudan and the basis for a wet Nubian and Egyptian civilization. Gold is a very important source from the very history. East of the Nile valley, across the stern desert and the Sinai desert is the Eastern Mediterranean coastal plain the Modern Israel, Lebanon. Western Syria, as well as parts of Jordon and Turkey. Sometimes this area called Levant. Levant has fertile land and proper rainfall, Levant considered the area in which agriculture flourished first time in (11000 Bce) and ancient cultures developed in this region include. Canaanite, Amorite, Israelite and Phoenician. The Levant is bordered on the north by the tours mountain which separates the Levant from Anatolian plateau in Modern Turkey. Southern of the Levant is the Arabian Peninsula with its extensive deserts, oases and coastal regions done the Red sea, Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf.
Today include the countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are in this area. East of the Levant is the area defined by the Euphrates and Tigris rivers that sometimes raid called the “Mesopotamia” now include eastern Iran. Ancient language in the area included Sumerian, Acadian, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Aramaic. Mesopotamia is agricultural zone. Mesopotamia is bordered on the East by the Zagorsk Mountains of western Iran and eastern Turkey. The climate of the Middle East ranges from the warm summers and Gold winters of high and of Turkey and Iran, hotter summer and Cool winters of northern Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean coast and extremist the hottest place of the world is situated in Libya the name is Azizabad. The Middle is a home of many different people with a variety of language, religions and traditions. Arabs are the majority group in the Middle Eastern countries but the middle. East is also home to other group such as Iranians Turks, and Kurds.
English and French are also used in some upper class people. Middle East has connected major trade routes between Asia and Europe over land and seas. Caravans from Indian and China brought the goods in the busy market of Middle East. The shortest and more convenient our and water routs from Asia to Europe go through the Middle East. The Middle East commands vital sea routs especially for oil transportation. Even it has very importance for Russia the area on which can obtain success to warm water.
In addition to geographical uniqueness, it is the center of Islamic world. It has the holiest place of Islam Makkah and Madina. The Muslim learning center Jamia-tul-Azhar. Even the Joint holy land for Muslims Christian and the Jews is situated there. In the Holy land of Palestine the Middle East Possess of a focus of aspirations of Jews and christen alike. Middle East is full of Mercurial sources. Especially it has the major oil reserves in it land. It has very much importance that no one can avoid in foreign policy from East.