What is the region of the Middle East?
The geopolitical region of the Middle East depends on the era and user defining it. In the past, the Middle East is a region that composes mainly of the Arabian Peninsula, Asia Minor, and other countries in Western Asia. Today, the definition of the Middle East can be extended to include the edge near Europe such as East Thrace along with parts of North Africa.
The countries usually considered to be a part of the Middle East are the following: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
What is the difference between Near East and Middle East?
In the past, the region of the Middle East was called the Near East. It was believed to come about by the Western World in the 19th century who wanted to describe the area that was the crossroads between Europe, North Africa, and Asia. The area was divided into 3 areas: Near East (Ottoman Empire and the Balkans), Middle East, and Far East (China and Eastern Asia).
After World War I, when the Ottoman Empire located in the Near East fell, the term Middle East became the dominant term to refer to the area. Hence, although Near East and Middle East was different in the past, today the term “Near East” and “Middle East” is sometimes used interchangeably.
Therefore, it can be said that overtime, the definition of the Middle East evolved to include countries with close geographical locations and share similar religions, culture, and policies. Some countries may be grouped in due to the political situation or holding strong ties.
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