History of ancient middle east
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History of Ancient Middle East. Who lives here?. Share common history, but not a common culture Majority practice Islam: Sunni (followed elected leader – chosen in a shura) Shiite (followed Ali, cousin of Muhammad) (Israel is the exception – What do they practice?)

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Who lives here
Who lives here?

  • Share common history, but not a common culture

  • Majority practice Islam:

    • Sunni (followed elected leader – chosen in a shura)

    • Shiite (followed Ali, cousin of Muhammad)

  • (Israel is the exception – What do they practice?)

  • There are also Christian communities

  • Religious identity is closely tied to social status


  • DRY – mostly desert

  • Mountain valley, river valleys and oases


  • Sahara desert – world’s largest hot desert

  • Atlas mountains in North-west Africa

Desertification-Process by which arable land becomes desert-Overgrazing strips land of plant life and exposes soil


  • Often they block moisture coming in off of the Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas

Irrigation importance… can you guess why?

  • Not much arable land – Irrigation needed to sustain agriculture and life in many areas in the Middle East

  • Problem: Too much salt in the soil is drawn up with water, when water evaporates it destroys soil

Rivers importance… can you guess why?

  • Nile – the lifeline of Egypt

    • 96% of Egypt is desert, practically unlivable

    • Floods regularly

  • Tigris & Euphrates

    • River valley formed basis for first civilization

Industry importance… can you guess why?

  • Cash crops – ie: cotton, tobacco on coastal regions

  • Traditional rug making

  • Illiteracy stands in the way of wide-spread industrial success

  • Service Industry – banking, tourism, and communications

  • Desalination – trying to solve water shortage

  • OIL

OPEC importance… can you guess why?

  • Venezuela joined with several Middle Eastern states to form the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries

  • Operates as a cartel – members work together to limit competition and maintain prices

Fertile crescent
Fertile Crescent importance… can you guess why?

  • Heavier rainfall and access to water

  • Extends along Mediterranean Coastal plain in Israel, through Lebanon and Syria, down into northern Iraq

  • Ancient civilizations began here – Mesopotamia in 4,000B.C.

Civilizations of the middle east
Civilizations of the Middle East importance… can you guess why?

  • In the following slides, you will see some of the civilizations that have occupied portions of the Middle East through time. Accomplishments are listed with each civilization.

  • After looking at the civilizations and reading the text book pages, come up with one question concerning the History of the Middle East that you think should appear on a future test. Also, choose which civilization you believe had the biggest impact on this region and why

Egyptians importance… can you guess why?

  • 5,000 BC

  • Developed trade of crafts

  • Pharaoh – ruled as god-king

  • Hieroglyphics

  • Amazing architecture, result of concern with life after death

Sumerians importance… can you guess why?

  • Polytheistic, built Ziggurats as temples to the gods, as well as administrative centers

  • Developed Cuneiform to keep records

  • Warfare broke out over control of land and water

Babylonians importance… can you guess why?

  • Empire in T&E river valley

  • Hammurabi – 1st ever public law code, didn’t create equality but prevented the strong from destroying the weak

    • This is where the saying “an eye for an eye comes from”…literally

Hittites lydians phoenicians
Hittites, Lydians, Phoenicians importance… can you guess why?

  • Hittites used iron – (stronger metal than what they had before, but brittle)

  • Lydians 1st to use coined $

  • Phoenicians lived in Lebanon, traders and navigators, developed alphabet

Hebrews importance… can you guess why?

  • Adopted idea of monotheism

  • One God - Yaweh

  • Old Testament

  • 10 commandments

  • God demands obedience and in turn, protects his people

Diaspora the forced removal of jews from their homeland
Diaspora – the forced removal of Jews from their homeland importance… can you guess why?

  • Hebrews migrated from Palestine due to famine and were enslaved in Egypt – freed by Moses according to Bible

  • Settled in Canaan and set up kingdom of Israel

  • Israel split up by Assyrians and Babylonians – many Jews were exiled, this was the first Diaspora (586 BC)

Persians importance… can you guess why?

  • Conquered huge empire by 500 BC

  • Built roads, “pony express” communication system

  • Lots of cultural diffusion

Greeks and romans
Greeks and Romans importance… can you guess why?

  • Alexander conquers Persia, tried to unite the Greek and Middle Eastern worlds

  • Greek education and culture is spread through the Middle East – more cultural diffusion

  • Romans exerted control over Egypt, Syria and Turkey

Byzantine importance… can you guess why?

  • Rome divided, Constantinople became center of Christianity in Byzantine Empire (Eastern Rome)

  • Fell to Ottoman Turks

Crusades importance… can you guess why?

  • 200 years of warfare

  • Fought for control of the Holy Land (Palestine)

  • Crusaders robbed land and goods, killed Muslims and Jews

Ottomans importance… can you guess why?

  • Suleiman the Magnificent

  • Ruled from 15th to 18th century

Turks from turkey
Turks from Turkey importance… can you guess why?

  • Good soldiers and administrators,

    unified most of the Middle East, North

    Africa and Southeastern Europe

    under their control

    • Ghazis – warriors who defended

      Islam in the region

  • Built mosques, created literature, became powerful empire

    • Ruled by a Sultan

    • Education, religious matters and laws controlled by mullahs

    • 18th century corruption in govt. and loss of trade routes lead to decline in empire’s land and power

Napoleon the brits and the russians
Napoleon, the Brits and the Russians importance… can you guess why?

  • Beginning of European infiltration into M.E.

  • After he defeated Egypt, the British came to the defense of Ottomans – shows them as superior and gave them voice in M.E. affairs

  • Brits also defend Turkey from Russia

Nationalism on the arabian peninsula
Nationalism on the Arabian Peninsula importance… can you guess why?

  • Wahhabis – Anti-Turkish, Anti-Western Muslim movement

    • Angry @ corruption of Ottoman govt. and western reforms

    • Urged strict puritanical devotion to Islam

  • Helped to establish Saudi Arabia

WWI importance… can you guess why?

  • France and Britain take parts of the M.E. in the 1800s.

  • British occupy Egypt and control canal

  • Broken promises of Europeans after the war is won create bitterness

    • Brits had promised M.E. countries independence if they helped

    • After victory, Lebanon and Syria went to France while the British took over Iraq, Palestine, and Transjordan, (as mandates)

      Growth of nationalism results from resentment of European rule and manipulation – demands for independence grow

Sykes picot agreement 1916
Sykes-Picot Agreement, 1916 importance… can you guess why?

Nationalism importance… can you guess why?

  • Mass rallies, strikes and boycotts

  • Arabs engaged in guerilla warfare in Palestine and violent outbursts occur in occupied countries

  • Saudi Arabia and Iraq gain independence, Syria and Lebanon controlled by French until WWII

Opportunity knocks
Opportunity Knocks importance… can you guess why?

  • Britain defends its interests in Egypt in WWII from Italian dictator Mussolini

  • Arabs in the rest of occupied countries try to ally with Axis powers

    • Try to seize opportunity to be rid of European domination

Map of history of empires
Map of History of Empires importance… can you guess why?

  • http://www.mapsofwar.com/images/EMPIRE17.swf

  • Describe one possible result of the information you gather from the map.