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The Middle East
Dictionary of World History
(see other dictionaries)
(See an Overview of Middle East History)
Arab - a member of an Arabic-speaking people
Arabian Peninsula - a peninsula in the Southern part of the Middle East about 1200 miles (1930 kilometers) long & 1300 miles (2090 kilometers) wide including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, & Persian Gulf States
Camels- either of two large ruminant mammals (genus Camelus) used as draft and saddle animals in desert regions especially of Africa and Asia: a : the one-humped camel (C. dromedarius) extant only as a domestic or feral animal -- called also dromedary b : the two-humped camel (C. bactrianus syn. C. ferus) of Chinese Turkestan and Mongolia -- called also Bactrian camel
Christians- one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ
Cross- a structure consisting of an upright with a transverse beam used especially by the ancient Romans for execution b often capitalized: the cross on which Jesus was crucified
Crusades- any of the military expeditions undertaken by Christian powers in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries to win the Holy Land from the Muslims
Desert- a : arid land with usually sparse vegetation; especially : such land having a very warm climate and receiving less than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of sporadic rainfall annually b : an area of water apparently devoid of life
Egypt- country NE Africa bordering on Mediterranean & Red seas capital Cairo area 386,900 square miles (1,002,071 square kilometers), population 57,673,000
Gulf- a part of an ocean or sea extending into the land
Gulf War- A war fought in 1991 in which a coalition of countries led by the United States destroyed much of the military capability of Iraq and drove the Iraqi army out of Kuwait
Hanukah- An eight-day festival beginning on the 25th day of Kislev, commemorating the victory in 165 B.C. of the Maccabees over Antiochus Epiphanes (c. 215-164 B.C.) and the rededication of the Temple at Jerusalem
Iran- country Southwest Asia bordering in North on Caspian Sea & in South on Persian Gulf & Gulf of Oman; an Islamic republic since 1979, formerly an empire capital Tehran area 635,932 square miles (1,647,064 square kilometers), population 59,570,000
Iraq- country Southwest Asia in Mesopotamia; a republic since 1958, formerly a kingdom capital Baghdad area 168,927 square miles (437,521 square kilometers), population 18,838,000
Islam- the religious faith of Muslims including belief in Allah as the sole deity and in Muhammad as his prophet
Israel - A country of southwest Asia on the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It was established in 1948 following the British withdrawal from Palestine, which had been divided by recommendation of the United Nations into Jewish and Arab states. Jerusalem is the capital and Tel Aviv-Yafo the largest city. Population: 5,383,000.
Jerusalem- central Palestine NW of Dead Sea; divided 1948-67 between Jordan (old city) & Israel (new city) capital of Israel since 1950 & formerly capital of ancient kingdoms of Israel & Judah; old city under Israeli control since 1967
Jew- a member of a nation existing in Palestine from the 6th century B.C. to the 1st century A.D. Or one whose religion is Judaism
Jordan- A country of southwest Asia in northwest Arabia. Inhabited since biblical times, the area was conquered by the Romans (first century A.D.), Arabs (seventh century), and Ottoman Turks, who held it from 1516 until World War I. As Transjordan the country became part of the British mandate of Palestine in 1920, gaining independence in 1946. It was renamed Jordan in 1949 after acquiring the West Bank, which it later renounced in 1974. Amman is the capital and the largest city. Population: 5,198,000.
Kibbutzim- a communal farm or settlement in Israel
Koran- the book composed of sacred writings accepted by Muslims as revelations made to Muhammad by Allah through the angel Gabriel
Kuwait- country SW Asia in Arabia at head of Persian Gulf; a sheikhdom, before 1961 under British protection. With its major oil reserves, discovered in 1938, it has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. area 6880 square miles (17,819 square kilometers), population 1,355,827.
Lebanon- country SW Asia bordering on the Mediterranean; a republic since 1944, formerly (1920-44) a French mandate capital Beirut area 3949 square miles (10,228 square kilometers), population 2,909,000
Libya- country N Africa bordering on the Mediterranean; a colony of Italy 1912-43, an independent kingdom 1951-69, a republic since 1969 capital Tripoli area 679,358 square miles (1,766,331 square kilometers), population 4,573,000
Mecca- A city of western Saudi Arabia near the coast of the Red Sea. The birthplace of Muhammad, it is the holiest city of Islam and a pilgrimage site for all devout believers of the faith. Population: 689,010.
Mediterranean Sea- a sea 2300 miles (3700 kilometers) long between Europe & Africa and west of the Middle East connecting with the Atlantic through Strait of Gibraltar & with Red Sea through the Suez Canal
Messiah- the expected king and deliverer of the Jews
Middle East- the countries of Southwest Asia & North Africa -- usually considered as including the countries extending from Libya on the West to Afghanistan on the East
Muhammad - Arab prophet & founder of Islam; received prophetic call in vision and then periodic revelations that he held were from God and were later written down as the Qur'An; preached message of Allah’s power and goodness, the duty of worship and generosity, and doctrine of last judgment.
Natural Gas- gas issuing from the earth's crust through natural openings or bored wells; especially: a combustible mixture of methane and higher hydrocarbons used chiefly as a fuel and raw material
Oil- any of numerous unctuous combustible substances that are liquid or can be liquefied easily on warming, are soluble in ether but not in water, and leave a greasy stain on paper or cloth
Palestine- former country bordering on the Mediterranean on W & Dead Sea on E; a part of the Ottoman Empire 1516-1917, a British mandate 1923-48; now approximately coextensive with Israel with Arab Palestinians in the West Bank having limited self-rule since 1993
Peninsula- a portion of land nearly surrounded by water and connected with a larger body by an isthmus; also: a piece of land jutting out into the water whether with or without a well-defined isthmus
Pilgrimage- a journey of a pilgrim, generally, to a shrine or sacred place.
Prayer- an address (as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought.
Qatar- country E Arabia on peninsula projecting into Persian Gulf; an independent emirate capital Doha area 4400 square miles (11,395 square kilometers), population 539,000
Religion- the service and worship of God or the supernatural
Sabbath- the seventh day of the week observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening as a day of rest and worship by Jews and some Christians b : Sunday observed among Christians as a day of rest and worship
Saudi Arabia- country SW Asia occupying most of Arabian Peninsula; a kingdom, comprising former kingdoms of Nejd & Hejaz & principality of Asir capital Riyadh area 865,000 square miles (2,240,350 square kilometers), population 17,419,000
Suez Cannel- canal over 100 miles (161 kilometers) long NE Egypt traversing Isthmus of Suez
Syria- country SW Asia bordering on the Mediterranean; a republic 1944-58 & since 1961; a province of United Arab Republic 1958-61 capital Damascus area 71,498 square miles (185,180 square kilometers), population 13,398,000
Trade- dealings between persons or groups b the business of buying and selling or bartering commodities
Turkey- A country of southwest Asia and southeast Europe between the Mediterranean and the Black seas. The region was dominated by many ancient civilizations and peoples, among them the Hittites (1800 B.C.), the Greeks (8th century B.C.), and the Persians (6th century B.C.), and in A.D. 395 it became part of the Byzantine Empire. The area was conquered by the Ottoman Turks between the 13th and 15th centuries and remained the core of the Ottoman Empire for more than 600 years. Its modern history dates to the rise of the Young Turks (after 1908) and the collapse of the empire in 1918. Under the leadership of Kemal Atatürk, a republic was proclaimed in 1923. Ankara is the capital and Istanbul the largest city. Population: 61,183,000.
Oman- A sultanate of the southeast Arabian Peninsula on the Gulf of Oman, an arm of the Arabian Sea. Much of the area was controlled by the Portuguese from 1508 to 1659 and the Turks until 1741, when the present royal line was founded. Oman established close ties with Great Britain in the late 18th century. Muscat is the capital. Population: 2,077,000.
U.A.E.- A country of eastern Arabia, a federation of seven sheikdoms on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Converted to Islam in the 7th century, the area later became a base for pirates and was known as the Pirate Coast into the 19th century. The British signed a series of truces with the ruling sheiks between 1820 and 1892, and the area became known as the Trucial States or Trucial Oman. After World War II Britain granted internal autonomy to the sheikdoms or emirates, with the United Arab Emirates being formed in 1971 after Britain withdrew from the area completely. Abu Dhabi is the capital. Population: 1,861,000.
Yemen- country South of Arabia bordering on Red Sea & Gulf of Aden; a republic formed 1990 by merger of Yemen Arab Republic (capital Sanaa), with People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (capital Aden), capital Sanaa area 203,849 square miles (527,969 square kilometers), population 12,961,000