The Geography Of The Middle East

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The Geography of the Middle East
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The Middle East is a large and diverse geographical area located in southwest Asia and northeast Africa. It extends over 2,000 miles from the Black Sea in the north to the Arabian Sea in the south, and about 1,000 miles from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the mountains of Iran. The term “Middle East” came into common use in the early twentieth century, but remains loosely defined.
One term sometimes applied to part of this area is “Fertile Crescent,” which was coined by James Henry Breasted in 1914 to refer to the arc of fertile agricultural zones that formed the basis for early civilizations, in what is now Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. Scholars studying the ancient past usually use the term “Near East” for this area.

Map of the Middle East
Mountains and deserts divide the Middle East into six zones that are both geographically distinct and have influenced the development and maintenance of cultural traditions through much of the history of the region.
In the first of these zones, the Nile River flows northward through the Sahara Desert from Khartoum in Sudan (where its two major tributaries join), through Egypt, and to the Mediterranean Sea. As a source of water, food, and fertile soil deposited in annual floods as well as a transportation route, it was the ecological basis for ancient Nubian and Egyptian civilization. In the southern part of this region, the broad alluvial plain is broken by six “cataracts”—areas in which the narrow river valley, strong current, islands, and rapids make navigation difficult. The rich mineral resources of the deserts around the Nile, particularly gold, have historically been important to economic development in this area.

Eastern Mediterranean—Mountains
East of the Nile Valley, across the Eastern Desert and the Sinai Peninsula, is the eastern Mediterranean coastal plain, which has historically been connected with mountains and river valleys that run parallel to it. Comprising

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