The Middle East (Arabic: الشرق الأوسط, alshrq alāwsṭ; Armenian: Միջին Արևելք, Merdzavor Arevelk’; Azerbaijani: Orta Şərq; French: Moyen-Orient; Georgia: ახლო აღმოსავლეთში, akhlo aghmosavlet’shi; Greek: Μέση Ανατολή, Mési Anatolí; Hebrew: המזרח התיכון, hmzrẖ htykhvn; Kurdish: Rojhilata Navîn; Persian: خاورمیانه, khevrmyenh; Somali: Bariga Dhexe; Soranî Kurdish: ڕۆژھەڵاتی ناوین, rrojhellatî nayn; Turkish: Orta Doğu; Urdu: مشرق وسطی, hshrq vsty) is a region that encompasses Western Asia and all of or part of North Africa, depending on the context. The term is considered to be Eurocentric and 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 largest ethnic group in the middle east are Arabs.
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 major religions such as 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 which has resulted in much wealth particularly for nations in the Arabian peninsula. In modern times the Middle East remains a strategically, economically, politically, culturally and religiously sensitive region. The Middle East's expected economic growth rate is at about 4.1% for 2010 and 5.1% in 2011.
Famous quotes containing the words middle and/or east:
“It is not possible to create peace in the Middle East by jeopardizing the peace of the world.”
—Aneurin Bevan (18971960)
“The East is the hearthside of America. Like any home, therefore, it has the defects of its virtues. Because it is a long-lived-in house, it bursts its seams, is inconvenient, needs constant refurbishing. And some of the family resources have been spent. To attain the privacy that grown-up people find so desirable, Easterners live a harder life than people elsewhere. Today it is we and not the frontiersman who must be rugged to survive.”
—Phyllis McGinley (19051978)