The term "the roof of the world" was coined to refer to a region within Asia with exceptionally high mountains. The first time that the word was used in recorded history was in reference to the Pamir Mountains which rise to a height of about 25,095 feet. The Pamir Mountains are located within the Tajikistani province of Gorno-Badakhshan. The term roof of the world was introduced to the English language in 1833 by John Wood, an explorer famous for his travels in the region. He had derived the word from the language of the natives in the area with experts believing that it was the Wakhi language. The term gained popularity among British explorers with Sir Thomas Gordon helping to popularize it among the general public as he used it as the title of his book. The term has also been used to refer to the nation of Tibet due to the elevation of the Tibetan highlands.
Tibet As The 'Roof Of The World'
The nation of Tibet earned the distinction of being the roof of the world because it is the most elevated region within the earth. The average altitude within the nation is approximately 16,000 feet. Another factor that contributed to the country earning the title is that it is the site of the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, which is approximately 29,029 feet. The mountains of Tibet have played an integral role in its history with many communities making their homes within the mountains. Archaeological evidence indicates that some of the earliest human settlements in Tibet occurred approximately 21,000 years ago in the Tibetan Plateau. The Tibetan Plateau was home to some communities who practiced nomadism. The Tibetan Plateau also plays an essential role in the environment as it is the source of the Indus River.
The Pamir Mountains
The residents who lived in the region around the Pamir Mountains christened it the roof of the world because of its height. The Pamir Mountains played an integral role in the area's history as it was considered an essential part of the Northern Silk Road. Due to its strategic location, some communities fought over the control of the area. The historical significance of the Pamir Mountains attracts tourists to the region which contributes to the economy of the area. The arrival of tourists also leads to the development of infrastructure.
Other Regions Referred To As The 'Roof Of The World'
The term the "roof of the world" is also used to describe other areas such as the Himalayan Mountains as well as Mount Everest. One of the most awe-inspiring facts about the Himalayan Mountains is that the height of 25 distinct points exceeds 26,246 feet. The extreme height within the mountain range earned it the title of the roof of the world. The Himalayas are a significant region as they provide a home for over 50 million individuals in five separate nations. Besides, the Himalayas also play an essential ecological role as they provide habitat to a wide range of plants and animals such as the snow leopard and the Himalayan Musk Deer.
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