The Middle East (or, formerly more common, the Near East) is a region that encompasses southwestern Asia and Egypt. In some contexts, the term has recently been expanded in usage to sometimes include Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Caucacus, and North Africa. It's often 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 history of the Middle East dates back to ancient times, and throughout its history the Middle East has been a major centre 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 three of the world's major religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Middle East generally has an arid and hot climate, with several major rivers providing for irrigation to support agriculture in limited areas. Many countries located around the Persian Gulf have large quantities of crude oil. In modern times the Middle East remains a strategically, economically, politically, culturally and religiously sensitive region.
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Middle East. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|