North Africa, Southwest Asia & Central Asia

Examining the Region through Geography, History, Culture &
Fertile Crescent
Suez Canal
What factors influence where people live
within a certain area?
Do you think these factors are the same no
matter where you live?
What kind of factors would make you move
somewhere else?
Do you think people move if things change in
their physical environment?
Migration- Influx of new people. They can bring new
beliefs, ideas, practices; immigration vs emigration
War- Causes changes in dominating cultures, political
systems and institutions
Trade- Spreads goods, ideas, beliefs, economics
Innovation- Advances in technology can change
beliefs/cultural practices
Diffusion- Cultural traits spreading from one culture
to another; EX- language, religion, customs
A number of tools are available for
geographers to study settlement patterns.
These include:
 GIS- Geographic Information Systems (a system
designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze,
manage, and present all types of geographical
 Maps (atlas)
 Government data (charts, graphs, reports)
Geographic factors, especially the availability
of water have determined where people have
Disputes have arisen to control water
Levels of urbanization have increased. People
move from rural areas to cities in order to find
Some cities have grown so rapidly, supplies
and jobs are limited
Question: The Middle East and North Africa
are examples of what type of regions?
 A) Formal
 B) Functional
 C) Perceptual
 D) Physical
Stretches from Morocco to Kazakhstan
Bedouin and nomadic herders
Water is the most precious resource
Oil is abundant
Great early civilizations such as the
Egyptians, Sumerians, Persians and
Home to the great three monolithic religions
Mediterranean Sea
(separates Europe & Africa)
Red Sea
(located in Saudi Arabia)
(separates Arabian Peninsula from Africa)
Dead Sea
(sits at mouth of Jordan River)
Caspian Sea
(largest inland body of water on Earth)
Aral Sea
(East of the Caspian, in the heart of Central Asia)
Arabian Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
(located east of Egypt)
(located in Turkey)
Map Study
Key Places to Locate:
Red Sea
Arabian Peninsula
Persian Gulf
Sinai Peninsula
Nile River
Tigris & Euphrates Rivers
Caspian Sea
Aral Sea
The earliest cities have been
uncovered in the Tigris and
Euphrates River valleys.
About 3500 B.C. civilizations
began here due to the rich
soil created by the rivers.
Mesopotamia is the land that
is located between the two
Fertile Crescent refers to an
area of fertile soil stretching
in an arc from the Nile to the
Tigris and Euphrates.
Nile River
The annual flooding of
the river brought
nutrients to the soil and
allowed farmers to grow
crops in abundance.
Farmers were able to
predict the time of the
floods and farming
became more reliable.
People relied less on
nomadic ways of life.
Farmers learned to
retain water for use later
in the year by
developing an irrigation
Suez Canal
An artificial waterway in Egypt,
connecting the Mediterranean Sea
and the Red Sea. Opened in
November 1869 after 10 years of
construction work, it allows
transportation by water between
Europe and Asia without navigation
around Africa
The canal is owned and maintained
by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) of
Egypt. Under international treaty, it
may be used "in time of war as in time
of peace, by every vessel of
commerce or of war, without
distinction of flag.
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf is located
between Iran and the
Arabian Peninsula. It is an
extension of the Indian
The discovery of oil,
transformed the region to
one of desolation to one of
commercial wealth as the
demand for oil globally
Sahara- Once a grassy plain in prehistoric times,
the Sahara is now a hot and dry desert located
across North Africa. It is the largest desert in the
world. Even in the shade, temperatures
throughout the day can reach 120F
Rub’Al Khali- Also known as the “Empty
Quarter” covers the entire southern quarter of
the Arabian Peninsula. It has the largest area of
sand in the region. Experiences some of the
hottest temperatures.
The largest desert in the world.
It stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea.
Temperatures can rise to over 130 degrees.
The desert consists of sand, mountains, gravel, and
rock formations.
Underground water supplies, aquifers can come to the
surface. They can create an oasis.
In an oasis wildlife and vegetation can survive
Sahel means shore of the desert.
The Sahel is a narrow band of dry grassland
that runs east to west along the edge of the
Sahara. It receives very little rainfall.
People use the Sahel for farming and herding.
The Sahara has spread into the Sahel leading
to desertification.
Water Resources- rivers, oases, aquifers
(underground layer that contains water)
Desalinization- Limited freshwater resources have
prompted the development of removing salt content
from water.
Man-made river in Libya has pipelines to draw water
from aquifers under the Sahara to farms near the
Aswan High Dam- located in Egypt; largest man
made lake, Nasser Lake
Water is critical for life, food production, and
industrial processes.
9 of the 14 Southwest Asian states face water
shortage conditions. The most concentrated
region of water scarcity in the world.
The North African states all have rates of
natural increase above 2.0%, increasing the
stress on water sources.
70% of the world’s known oil reserves and 33% of the world’s
known natural gas reserves lie beneath the region.
Turkmenistan has the world’s largest deposits of sulfate and
sulfur which are used to make glass and detergents.
Morocco ranks 3rd in the production of phosphateschemicals used to make fertilizers.
Region holds up to 10% or more of world’s iron ore deposits.
Other countries such as UAE and Libya are decreasing their
reliance on export income and investing in industries such as
banking, infrastructure, agriculture and fishing.
Black Gold
-Oil is vey important. It helps to make
everyday items such as crayons,
household items and paint.
-Arab region contains about 2/3’s
of the
world’s known petroleum reserves.
-Oil profits have turned some countries
into gleaming modern cities relatively
-During the 1950’s oil prices were very
low resulting in cut payments to some
oil producing countries
-1960 – Venezuela joins with the four
gulf states of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and
Saudi Arabia to form OPEC
(Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries). This organization controls
the price of oil as well as its production.
Home to the three great monolithic
religions- Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Jews trace their ancestry to a herder named
Abraham who lived in what is now modern
day Iraq. Believed God would send a
Messiah. Oldest monolithic religion. They
worship is synagogues and read the Torah.
Officiates are called rabbis. Jerusalem is a
holy religious center.
Christians believe Jesus to be the Messiah
and the Son of God. They assemble in a
church and read the Holy Bible. Christians
believe in both the New and Old
Muslims trace their religious origins to the
Prophet Muhammad. Believe Jesus to be a
great prophet but not the son of God.
Today, about 1/5 of the worlds population is
Muslim. Their holy book is called the Koran
or Q’uran. They assemble in mosques and
make yearly pilgrimages to Mecca, Saudi
Arabia, a sacred and religious city.
Prehistoric peoples of this region were traditionally
hunters and gatherers
Farmers in this region were among the first to
domesticate plants and animals.
Area is home to Mesopotamia (land between two
rivers) and the Fertile Crescent.
Two of the most influential civilizations were the
Egyptians and Sumerians who developed forms of
writing such as hieroglyphics and cuneiform as well as
grand buildings such as pyramids and ziggurats.
Arabs- Compromise the majority of the
region. Most are followers of Islam and are
descendents of ancient Egyptians and
Israelis- Live in Israel. Their religious identity
has helped them to keep a link to their
homeland. There are constant hostilities
between Israel and Arabs/Palestinians over
land control (West Bank and Gaza Strip)
Turks- People who live in Turkey or Anatolia. Turkic
people migrated to the peninsula around the AD
1000’s from Central Asia. Ottoman Turks were
responsible for building up the Ottoman Empire. Most
practice Islam and blend their culture with Turkish,
Islamic and Western elements.
Iranians and Afghanis- Iran once called Persia is
home to about 66 million people. They are
descendents of the Indo-European Aryans who
migrated from southern Russia about 1000 BC. The
predominate language is Farsi mixed with other
ethnic languages.
Caucasian- Consists of Armenians and Georgians. Both Armenia
and The Republic of Georgia became independent after the fall
of the Soviet Union in 1991. They also make up some of the
largest ethnic groups.
Turkic- Peoples living outside of Turkey which consists of the
Uzbeks and Kazakhs. Most live in the republics of Central Asia
and are Muslim. Uzbeks make up the largest Turkic group, while
Kazakhs are minorities in their own country of Kazakhstan.
Kurds- Live in areas of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. They speak
Farsi. They do not have their own land and any efforts to win self
rule have been repeatedly crushed by Turkish and Arab rulers.
Agriculture- only a small part of the region’s land is arable
(suitable for farming). Many people including bedouins
herd animals such as sheep and goats. Countries closer to
the Mediterranean yield fruits, olives, dates and cereals.
Fishing- sardines, mackerel and other aquatic exports
Oil, Natural Gas and Mining- petrochemicals, coal,
copper and phosphates
Service- banking, real estate, insurance/investments,
Transportation/Communication- infrastructure, transit
systems, air traffic systems, and expanding wireless and
cell phone industry, satellites, cybercities
Arab-Israeli Conflict: Israel was founded as a Jewish state after WWII in 1948.
From the beginning of time Jews and Palestinians have had disputes and
disagreements about land settlements, borders/boundaries and religion.
Palestinians want their own homeland and continue to seek statehood. They
would like to house their independence in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; both
Israeli occupied.
Throughout the years, both sides have tried to come together and compromise
on a peace settlement, but to no avail.
Wars in Afghanistan: During the later years of Communism, Russia tried to exert
their influence and establish Communistic spheres in Afghanistan. Freedom
fighters known as mujahedeen combated the Communists with the aid of the US
and Pakistan. Since 2001 and the terrorism of 9/11, the US and its allies have been
a military presence in the region to combat the Taliban.
Persian Gulf War of 1991, Sadaam Hussein invaded Kuwait, killings Kurds. The
US and its allies forced him to withdraw.
Traditionally, the region had been ruled under royal
dynasties, but in modern times, the region shares
different types of government:
-Monarchy: Saudi Arabia, UAE,
Morocco and Jordan
-Parliamentary Democracy: Israel (president is head
of state and prime minister is head of the government)
-Republic: Ruling presidents in Egypt, Syria,
Kazakhstan, Georgia
- Military based Dictatorship: Libya under Ghadaffi
and Iraq under Sadaam Hussein
Sadaam Hussein of
Ghadaffi of Libya
All three religions have their unique
Islam- pray 5x a day towards Mecca, Feast of
Sacrifice and Ramadan
Judaism-Yom Kippur is a time for feasting
and fasting, Passover and Hanukkah
Christianity- Christmas and Easter