Web site navigation : home > Middle East > History

Search this website ::

Middle East


- Mesopotamia amd Egypt -

- The Birth of Judaism -

- Persian, Greek, and Roman Empires -

- Early Christianity -

- The Rise of Islam -

- The Crusades -

- The Mongols and the Mamluks -

- The Ottoman Empire -

- European Interest -

- World War I and Aftermath -

- Uprisings and Independence Movements -

- The Birth of Israel and Ensuing Conflicts -

- Islamic Revival and the Iranian Revolution -

- Iran-Iraq War -

- Persian Gulf War -

- The Middle East in the Late 20th and early 21st Centuries -

⇑ links

Civilization as we know it began in the Middle East. The cultivation of cereals, first undertaken in the Middle East around 8000 bc, led to the creation of the first settled communities with permanent dwellings. Large archaeological mounds called tells contain the remains of some of these communities. Tells have been found in present-day Turkey and throughout the Fertile Crescent, an ancient agricultural region containing parts of present-day Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan. Jericho in the present-day West Bank and Catal Huyuk in present-day Turkey are two of the best known of these sites.

The first civilizations—groups with complex, hierarchical political organizations—began about 3000 bc in the valleys of the Nile and of the Tigris and Euphrates. Civilizations grew out of the need to organize the distribution of water for irrigation and to protect the land around the rivers from floods. These developments improved agricultural yields and made economic diversification possible. Complex urban societies with codified legal systems, often centered on religious-based monarchies, evolved. Their rulers gained control of long-distance trade, which was especially important given the scarcity in the river valleys of mineral resources and of timber for building. Writing systems using hieroglyphs, pictorial characters representing recognizable objects, began as a means of facilitating administration. Alphabets with symbols representing sounds rather than objects evolved about 1500 bc.

Search this website ::