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.
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Famous quotes containing the words middle east, east and/or middle:
“The blood of Abraham, Gods father of the chosen, still flows in the veins of Arab, Jew, and Christian, and too much of it has been spilled in grasping for the inheritance of the revered patriarch in the Middle East. The spilled blood in the Holy Land still cries out to Godan anguished cry for peace.”
—Jimmy Carter (James Earl Carter, Jr.)
“Though the words Canada East on the map stretch over many rivers and lakes and unexplored wildernesses, the actual Canada, which might be the colored portion of the map, is but a little clearing on the banks of the river, which one of those syllables would more than cover.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Our children do not want models of perfection, neither do they want us to be buddies, friends, or confidants who never rise above their own levels of maturity and experience. We need to walk that middle ground between perfection and peerage, between intense meddling and apathythe middle ground where our values, standards, and expectations can be shared with our children.”
—Neil Kurshan (20th century)