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Middle East

The history of the Middle East has been greatly influenced by its geography. The Middle East could reasonably be considered unlucky in its physical and human geographical endowment compared to other major regions of the world, an assertion that is supported by the fact that the Middle Eastern region has been so easily invaded and occupied by other countries throughout early modern history. In the context of endowment as a natural capacity, the Middle East’s human geographical endowment presented an advantage in that it was marked by a firm and largely universal Islamic ideology, which worked to isolate or separate the peoples of the Middle East from other religions or societies.

Middle EastThe Middle East could reasonably be considered unlucky in its physical and human geographical endowment compared to other major regions of the world, an assertion that is supported by the fact that the Middle Eastern region has been so easily invaded and occupied by other countries throughout early modern history. In the context of endowment as a natural capacity, the Middle East’s human geographical endowment presented an advantage in that it was marked by a firm and largely universal Islamic ideology, which worked to isolate or separate the peoples of the Middle East from other religions or societies.

Although the human geographic endowment of the Middle East may have had a unifying effect on the region, its physical geographical endowment or location made it vulnerable to the expansionist endeavors of the Ottoman, British and French empires in the last two centuries. In the case of the invasion and occupation of the Middle East by the Ottoman Empire, a contemporary survey might indicate that the Arab people view the Ottoman experience with hostility or as a negative or even irrelevant period in the history of the Middle East.

In contrast, Cleveland’s analysis would suggest that the Arabs that lived during the Ottoman occupation considered Ottoman rule a benefit to the region primarily because they exhibited a clear support for the Ottoman state at the time. The Ottoman Empire was the world’s leading Islamic state, which might have contributed to the wide support offered by the Arab people. The solidarity and significance of the Islamic state that was manifested by Arabs in the Ottoman-occupied Middle East would be duplicated by Arabs in the modern Middle East.

Paper Masters would suggest that the Middle East has been unlucky because the geographical elements of the region are so diverse rather than alike. For example, Drysdale and Blake maintain that the political and cultural characteristics of the numerous states in the region contribute to the conclusions that “there is no standard definition of the Middle East” and that “no [other] grouping of states can claim to belong to so many geopolitical realms”.

In the context of the Middle East’s physical geographical endowment or location, Drysdale and Blake emphasize the region’s early misfortune by pointing out that the Middle East can be sharply contrasted with the two continents it stands between. For example, Western Europe and the Indian subcontinent to the Far East have had much larger concentrations of population while the Middle East, which “stands astride the routes between the two”, is much more sparsely populated and has a much more severe geographic climate.

Middle Eastern History and its Geography

In the context of the history of the Middle East, thephysical geographical endowment or location, Drysdale and Blake emphasize the region’s early misfortune by pointing out that the Middle East can be sharply contrasted with the two continents it stands between. For example, Western Europe and the Indian subcontinent to the Far East have had much larger concentrations of population while the Middle East, which “stands astride the routes between the two”, is much more sparsely populated and has a much more severe geographic climate.

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