The Middle East is an intercontinental area which is centered on North Africa (Egypt), Turkey (which is in both Europe and Asia) and Western Asia. The phrase ''the Middle East'' came into wider usage during the early twentieth century as a replacement of the name ‘’Near East’’. Some of the main ethnic groups in the Middle East include Azeris, Persians, Turks, Kurds, and Arabs among others. The Middle East occupies an area of about 2,782,860 sq miles with a population of over 371 million people. There are over sixty languages in the Middle East.
Middle Eastern Countries
Bahrain is an island nation which is between the Northeastern coastal region of Saudi Arabia and the Qatar peninsula. It is an Arabic constitutional monarchy state in the Persian Gulf. It is the third smallest Middle Eastern nation right after Singapore and Maldives which occupies an area of about 295.5sq miles. Bahrain had a population of approximately 1,234,571 people by 2010, and this included the 666,172 foreigners. Bahrain was a British protectorate which became independent in 1971. It declared a kingdom in 2002.
Cyprus is an island nation in the Eastern Mediterranean which occupies an area of about 3,572sq miles. It is on the southeastern parts of Greece, northwestern side of Israel, south of Turkey, west of Lebanon and Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third populous and third largest island in the Mediterranean. Cyprus has a population of over 1,170,125 people. The United Kingdom officially annexed Cyprus in 1914 after being placed under their rule in 1878. They gained their independence in 1960 after the nationalist violence of the 1950s. The country joined the eurozone on January 1, 2008.
Egypt is an intercontinental state which spans from the southeastern parts of Asia to northeastern parts Africa through a bridge created by the Sinai. Egypt is a Mediterranean nation which is surrounded by Libya, Sudan, Red Sea, the Gulf of Aqaba, Israel and the Gaza strip. Across the Sinai lies Saudi Arabia and across the Aqaba Gulf lies Jordan. It is one of the largest Middle Eastern nations which occupy an area of about 390,121sq miles with a population of approximately 97,292,000 Egyptians. It is a regional power in the Middle East, Muslim world, and North Africa. The Egyptians gained their independence from the British on February 28, 1922, but became a republic on June 18, 1953.
Iran is a sovereign nation in the Middle East with a population of over 81million people. Iran occupies an area of about 636,372sq miles making it the seventeenth largest country in the world and the second biggest in the Middle Eastern nation. It is the eighteenth most populous nation globally. Iran is surrounded by Iraq, Turkey, the Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Caspian Sea. Iran is a significant regional power with vast fossil fuels reserves which have contributed to the nation’s influence in the global economy and international energy security. Iran has the fourth biggest oil reserve on the planet, and it is the largest natural gas supplier.
Iraq is an Asian nation which is bordered by Iran, Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria. It is home to diverse racial groups which includes Arabs, Armenians, Yazidis, Shabakis, Turkmen and Assyrians among others. The country occupies an area of about 168,754sq miles with a 36miles long coastline. Iraq has a population of over 37,202,572 people. Iraq gained their independence from the British on October 3, 1932, and was declared republic on July 14, 1958. It is the founding member of the Arab league as well as the United Nations.
Israel is a Middle Eastern nation which is bordered by Egypt, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria, West Bank (Palestine territory) and Lebanon. It is on the northern coast of the Red Sea and the southeast shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Israel occupies an area of about 8,019sq miles and has a population of over 8,888,770 people. The UN recommended the creation of independent Jewish and Arab states in 1947, but the Arab leaders rejected the proposal while the Jewish Agency accepted. Therefore the Jewish Agency declared the independence of Israel on May 14, 1948, and the 1948 Israeli-Arab war saw them take over their previous territory. Israel has the thirty-third largest economy in the world.
Jordan is an independent Arab nation on the Eastern banks of River Jordan in Western Asia. It is bordered by Palestine, Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. It has a small shore with the Red Sea on the Southwestern part, and the Dead Sea is on its western border. Jordan is a semi-arid nation which occupies an area of about 34,495sq miles and has a population of over 10,171,480 people. Jordan was part of the Ottoman Empire which was partitioned after the First World War by the French and the British. Jordan became a British protectorate which gained their independence in 1946. Jordan is the founding member of Islamic Co-operation organization and the Arab League.
Kuwait is a western Asian nation which is on the northern edge of Eastern Arabia right on the tip of the Gulf OF Persia. The country shares a border with Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Kuwait had a population of over 2.9million expatriates and 1.3million Kuwaitis (a total of 4.2 million). The expatriates account for over 70% of the citizens of Kuwait. The country occupies an area of about 6,880sq miles. It has a high-income economy which is backed by their vast oil reserves. It is a democratic nation with a semi-democratic political system.
Lebanon is a sovereign state in the Middle East which is surrounded to the south by Israel and the east by Syria, while Cyprus is to the western side right across the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon is the smallest recognized nation in Asia which occupies an area of about 4,0452sq miles. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Lebanon became one of the provinces to fall under the French rule. The Lebanese gained their independence from the French in 1943 and created a consociationalism-kind of a political system which involved power sharing based on the religious groups.Lebanon has the highest GDP per capita and Human Development Index in the Arab world.
Oman is an Arab nation which holds a strategically crucial position at the mouth of the Gulf of Persia. Oman is on the southeastern coast of Arabia in West Asia. Oman shares a marine boundary with Pakistan and Iran and a land border with Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.It is a total monarchy nation under Sultan Qaboos. The country occupies an area of about 119,500sq miles and has a population of over 4,424,762 people.
Palestine is a sovereign Middle Eastern state which claims the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as its capital even though their administrative center is in Ramallah. Majority of the regions claimed by Palestine have been part of Israel since 1967. Palestine occupies an area of about 2,320sq miles and has a population of over 4,816,503 people. Present-Day Palestine was created after the creation of the Jewish state on May 14, 1948. The Arab League established the All-Palestine government on September 22, 1948.
Qatar is a small west Asian state occupying the Qatar peninsula. It is in the northeastern parts of Arabia. Qatar is surrounded by Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf of Persian. Qatar occupies an area of about 4,471sq miles with a population of over 2,641,669 people. The state has over 2.3million expatriates and 313,000 Qatari citizens. Qatar has the highest per capita income on earth. The official religion of the country is Islam. It has vast natural gas reserves and the third biggest oil reserves on earth.
13) Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab nation which occupies a bigger part of the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Arabia is the biggest nation in the Middle East which occupies an area of about 830,000sq miles.Geographically it is the twelfth largest in the world, second-largest in the Arab World and the fifth largest in Asia. It is bordered by United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Yemen, Oman, and Jordan. It is the only Asian country with both the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea coasts.Petroleum was discovered in 1938 in Saudi Arabia, and since then it has become the leading oil exporter and producer which controls the sixth biggest gas reserves and one of the vast oil reserves on earth. It has a population of over 33,000,000.
The Syrian Arab Republic borders the Mediterranean Sea as well as Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Israel. Syria covers 71,500 sq mi and has a population of over 17 million. Damascus is not only the capital but also the largest city. Syrian Arabs are the largest ethnic group and 87% of the population are muslims. Arabic is the official language of the country. Syria has been engaged in armed conflict with nearby nations since March 2011.
The Republic of Turkey is a transcontinental country spanning both eastern Europe and western Asia. The bulk of the nation sits in Anatolia. The country borders the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, and Mediterranean Sea, as well as eight nations namely Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Turkey has a population of 80,810,525 as of 2017 and covers 302,455 sq mi. Ankara is the capital city and Istanbul is the largest city. Turkish is the official language and Turks, Kurds, and Arabs are the largest ethnic groups.
16) United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates are composed of seven emirates covering 32,300 sq mi at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula. The country borders the Persian Gulf as well as Oman and Saudi Arabia. Abu Dhabi is the capital while Dubai is the largest city. Of the UAE's 9.2 million population, only 1.4 million are Emirati citizens, the rest being expatriates. Arabic is the official language and Islam the official and largest religion. The nation is home to the seventh-largest oil reserves in the world as well as the seventeenth-largest national gas reserves.
Covering 203,850 sq mi, Yemen is the second-largest country of the Arabian Peninsula after Saudi Arabia. Yemen is bordered by several water bodies, namely the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Guardafui Channel, and the Arabian Sea. Sitting at the southwestern tip of the peninsula, Yemen's only land borders are with Saudi Arabia to the north and Oman to the east. Sana'a is the capital and largest city of Yemen. The official language is Arabic and Islam is the official religion. Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East and was decreed the country the most in need of humanitarian aid by the United Nations in 2016.
Other Definitions of Middle East
Although the countries listed above are the most commonly included in the term "Middle East," various interpretations include additional countries. Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia are sometimes included due to their location in the Southern Caucus region bordering Turkey as well as Azerbaijan's majority muslim population. The Middle East, especially when used by the American government, is used interchangeable with the "Muslim World" and tends to include Afghanistan and Pakistan.