Location: North Africa and Southwest Asia
Crossroads: 3 continents meet (Europe, Asia, Africa) Trade routes = cultural diffusion
Climate: Arid (vast deserts) People live along rivers/coasts
Rivers: Tigris & Euphrates
Sumerians (Cuneiform writing), wheel
Babylonians: Written Laws (Code of Hammurabi)
River: Nile (Floods – fertile soil left)
Egypt: Hieroglyphics, Pyramids, afterlife
Judaism: Abraham/ Moses
Covenant with Yahweh
Hebrews believed they were the chosen people
Moral code (10 commandments)
Old Testament/ Torah
Jesus seen as Son of God (Messiah
Moral life means salvation
Persecuted by Romans
Spread throughout empire
Bible ( Old & New Testament)
Equality of all believers
Mohammed: Submission to Allah
5 Pillars (Faith, Prayer, Fasting, Charity, Pilgrimage)
Influence: Spread throughout Middle East and part of Europe. Ottoman Empire defeated Christian Byzantine Empire in 1453
“Golden Age”: Advancements in arts & science: surgery, Algebra, astronomy. Preserved Greek & Roman culture during Europe’s dark ages. Introduced Numbers.
Britain & France: Took control of most land – trading advantages
Suez Canal: connects Red & Mediterranean Sea
After WWI: Br. & Fr. Divided Ottoman territories after promising Arabs independence.
Nationalist Movements: desire by Arabs for own country. Ataturk in Turkey won independence in 1923
Arab-Israeli Conflict - causes
Zionism: international movement for Jewish homeland
Balfour Declaration: Britain promised Jews Palestine (90% Arab)
Holocaust: WWII – 6 million Jews Dead – worldwide sympathy
UN Decision: Palestine divided between Jews and Arabs
Israel founded, Arabs reject
Palestine Refugees: Arabs who left, expecting to return, settle in camps.
Wars: Arab nations attacked Israel; Israel won more land (Gaza, Golan etc)
Arab-Israeli Conflict - Results
PLO: used terrorism to crush Israel: Failed.
Camp David Accords: Egypt recognizes Israel’s right to exist. Sadat assassinated.
Yasir Arafat: Head of PLO began talks with Begin; opposed by militants
Sharon: current president, talking harder line, violence continues.
Return to the strict laws of the Koran.
Iran: 1979 revolution; Khomeini established Islamic theocracy; women’s rights limited; took US hostages; war War w/ Iraq.
Islamic Jihad: terrorist group; attacks enemies of Islam, esp. US & Israel. Pan Am flight, 1st World Trade Center bombing
Taliban: Afghanistan fundamentalist regime after Soviet Union left.
Al Quida: Terrorist organization – Ossama Bin Ladin.
2/3 of world’s supply
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Gulf States.
OPEC: controls supply and price of oil on world market.
Persian Gulf War: 1990 Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait; 1991 – Desert Storm; Hussein still in power.
Iraq War: 2003 US invaded Iraq as part of the War on Terror and removed Saddam Hussein from power. Search for weapons of Mass Destruction continues. Currently attempting to form a democratic government. Resistance within Iraq continues.
When describing the ME remember that Israel is very different. It is Jewish, a democracy, has no oil, women are given equal rights. It is an industrial nation with a high standard of living and good educational system.