The Middle East typically refers to the region stretching from the northern part of eastern Africa all the way to Pakistan. The region is centered around the Arabian peninsula with the Persian Gulf being the critical component of the region.

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Who owns the Saudi-Iraqi neutral zone after the 1991 Gulf War?

According to Wikipedia, the Saudi-Iraqi neutral zone was created in 1922 by the British-controlled Iraq and the Sultanate of Nejd (the predecessor of Saudi Arabia). The same article continues: As ...
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How stable was the Middle East under Ottoman rule?

Since the outbreak of WWI, the Middle East has been a strategic area; many powers have vied for control. How stable was the region under Ottoman rule? Stable is, for the purposes of this question, ...
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Did the biblical apostle James visit Ireland?

I remember reading in a magazine that the biblical apostle James visited Ireland 400 years before Saint Patrick. Is it true that he went on a mission to Northern Ireland? Forgive me if I overlooked ...
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The monumental/architectural sculptures of Petra - has there been any research on the likely craftsmen who executed them?

The Nabatean people who founded Petra are described as a pre-Islamic Arab people. Centrally located on the spice trade routes, they achieved fabulous wealth and settled in the city of Petra. A recent ...
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233 views

How did Urdun come to be called Jordan?

In the Middle East, everybody calls this country something more like "Urdun" or "Ordon". How did it come to be called "Jordan" in the West? What is the history of the name of this country?
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Cultural history of Saudi Arabian rulers' uniform beard style?

Why is it that all Saudi Arabian rulers and prices both of the present and past generations apparently wear the same style of chin beards? (Yes, they wear the same styles of headdresses as well.) Is ...
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126 views

Primary sources from Umayyad times

Background Most narratives about the events during the Umayyad rule come from sources that were compiled during the succeeding Abbasid rule. Since the Abbasids came to power through armed ...
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229 views

What responsibility did Golda Meir have for the Yom Kippur war?

I read in the book "The Iron Wall" by Avi Shlaim, there was a description of the Yom Kippur war that happened due to Golda Meir's insistence on keeping parts of Sinai and not trading them to Egypt ...
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397 views

Why did Christianity disappear in North-Western Africa?

During Roman times North-Western Africa had a thriving Christian community, giving birth to Saint Augustine and a long lasting heresy. This is similar to many Christian communities of the time, from ...
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210 views

Baldwin IV, the Leper King

Baldwin IV was crowned King of Jerusalem, from 1174 until his death in 1186 at the ripe old age of 24. As a child, his tutor, William of Tyre, discovered he had leprosy. Understanding that he was the ...
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What property relations existed between peasants and those who took from peasants in early Ottoman rule in Anatolia?

What property relations existed between peasants and those who took from peasants in early Ottoman rule (1300-1450) in Anatolia? How was social surplus extracted from peasants, by who, with what ...
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180 views

Why did Nebuchadnezzar keep King Jeconiah alive?

When Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem he appointed Zedekiah as his puppet-king and took King Jeconiah and his sons home with him. For what reasons would the king of a large empire of antiquity, ...
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Is there a correlation between modern Middle East uprisings/wars and Ramadan?

One cannot help but notice that the current shelling of Israel by Hamas has started in the month of Ramadan. So did the war of 1973 and a few other troubles. Is this just a coincidence, or is there ...
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394 views

How many Jewish refugee have been expelled out of Arab lands and when?

Were the Jews in Arab countries driven out after the Six Days War or in 1948 like some Palestinians in Israel? Did they lose their land? I checked this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_refugees
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Which is the Historical Khorasan

The word Khorasan finds mention in many ancient texts pointing to a place in Middle east to Afghanistan . The question is what were the boundaries of the historical Khorasan which parts of the middle ...
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Why didn't Turkish become an official language in former Ottoman colonies in the Middle-East and North Africa?

The main language in the Middle East is Arabic, however English and French considered as a secondary language. Especially in Algeria, Morocco and Lebanon (there are other countries..) people still use ...
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2answers
203 views

What historical evidence do we have for the Prophet Muhammed? [closed]

In the Sahih-Bukhari, a generally accepted collection of the times and sayings of the Prophet, there are a number of reports of contacts with other nations & empires; for example: Allah's ...
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What is the origin of the Arabs in pre-Islamic Yemen and Arabia?

Genetically speaking, who are the pre-Islamic Arab tribes who lived in Yemen and Arabia in many centuries B.C. closest to? Where did the first Arab settlers in Yemen come from? I know that Arabs claim ...
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4answers
881 views

Did Arab policymakers have plans for the Jewish population, in case of victory in 1948 War?

Presumably the Arab goal in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war was to defeat Israel. Total victory would probably mean the total control of the whole Mandatory Palestine, which at this point already contained ...
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2answers
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Josephus' writings about Kafr Yasif

I was reading the Wikipedia page on Kafr Yasif where it is stated that: Kafr Yasif appears in the writings of the Roman Jewish historian Josephus Flavius. without providing a reference. I googled ...
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Why does the map of Jordan look as it does?

Most countries land borders are somewhat rounded, and it's easy to guess why - it's eazy to defend a rounded shape, and it's hard to defend "bulges" because it can be easily surrounded and occupied. ...
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Is there any evidence of STD's in ancient times?

Are there any ancient texts that show or imply that their authors knew that certain diseases were spread through sexual activity? It seems like sexual contagion was recognized in the 16th century ...
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Has there been other settlements in occupied territories in recent history?

The issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank (and other territories) is quite controversial, including its legality and its impact on the peace process. I'm wondering if there was any similar ...
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Asir's role in the Arab Revolt

The Arab Revolt against the Ottomans is portrayed as being primarily a Hejazi phenomenon but I have read (briefly) that Asir, a territory between Hejaz and Yemen revolted first and the Sherif of Mecca ...
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How did Saudi Arabia become and remain strongly Wahhabi?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia staunchly follow Wahhabism, a very conservative and strict brand of Islamism that probably is the major factor of Saudi's strict policy and harsh implementation of Sharia. ...
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Why didn't the European Christians take back Constantinopole?

Constantinopole was the focal point for the Fourth Crusade. The Christians lost and Constantinopole went to the Ottoman Empire. Then, the European Christians became stronger and went about colonizing ...
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Historical causes of the civil wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria? [closed]

Based on historic trade and migration routes between the Mediterranean and Persia, India, and China, are the populations in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria more heterogeneous than that of their neighbors? ...
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374 views

What evidence is Chomsky alluding to when he states the US is preventing a settlement between Israel & Palestine?

Chomsky in his book Neccesary Illusions, published in 1989 says: U.S. ... efforts to prevent a political settlement of the Arab–Israeli conflict over many years, readily documented, but unwelcome ...
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How prevalent was pork in Arabia before Arabs conversion to Islam?

Before Islam and its prohibition of pork, was it a commonly eaten food? Or was it already prohibited by other religions/cultures? Or was it a kind of uncommon food, which was then prohibited? We also ...
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249 views

When and why was Seleucia ultimately abandoned?

The ancient Seleucia was founded along the Tigris river around the year 305 BC, and abandoned in 165 AD, due to the river mutating its course (Wikipedia). However in 780 AD the Catholicos ...
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529 views

What did the Phoenician sailor trader eat?

I am not a historian my self, but I like to read history, ancient history. I am reading now about Phoenician civilization. I noticed in Wikipedia : the Phoenicians were the major naval and trading ...
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Origin of land-lottery system

A report from 1894 describes the Musha'a land tenure system in the Arab villages of Palestine: the agricultural lands of the village are considered common property, and they are divided each year ...
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651 views

Why didn't the Arab states industrialize?

Why didn't the states of the Arabian peninsula industrialize around the time that Europe and East Asia were? Was it simply a lack of accessible natural resources? Why not import coal?
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Why did the Arabs start the 1973 War during Ramadan, and did it affect their performance?

The Arab-Israeli War in 1973, besides the Jewish Holiday, also took place during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, during which practicing Muslims observe mandatory daytime fasting. Did this affect ...
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Military training in the Hijaz during early Islamic era

The expansion of the Islamic rule during early Islamic era was quite impressive. Before 629, Muhammad's rule was limited to one city Medina. 15 years later, at the end of Umar's rule, the Caliphate ...
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263 views

Why did Egypt forbid entry of Israeli ships into the Suez canal in 1956?

In 1956, as a response to withdrawal of American aid for the High Aswan dam, Nasser nationalized the Suez canal giving freedom of transit through it to all countries except Israel. Why did they do ...
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How did Bedouins exercise tribal governance?

According to the Wikipedia article Bedouins travel together in groups of 1-2 family units however in the same article it mentions the presence of a Tribe who share common descent and are led by a ...
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883 views

Could medieval European merchants travel through the Islamic world?

I've heard that the Islamic world was closed to European merchants in the Middle Ages. Is this true? If so, when did it close and when did it open again?
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Why has bidet use not spread to the northern countries of Europe? [closed]

As wikipedia states, the bidet is quite common in southern European countries (in Italy for example, it is found in 95% of households), in the Middle East and in East Asia. Conversely, bidets are ...
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What are the reasons of the ethnical fragmentation of the Caucasus?

While investigating on Albania, I kept finding peoples I never heard of before. Notwithstanding my vast ignorance, this was systematic to the point that I started investigating. Take a look at this ...
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How were the British and French Mandates in the Levantine area involved in WWII?

We all know the role of Egypt as a British protectorate at the time in WWII and the many battles fought in there. My question is, what is the role of the other British and French possessions in the ...
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1answer
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Ancient and medieval canteens (water-bottles)

Nowadays, water-bottles, aka canteens, are routinely issued to soldiers who serve in warm climates. Was it the case in ancient times? In the Middle Ages? The case I have in mind is the Battle of ...
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Recognition of Palestine?

What was Palestine before, if not a country? Could you give me some history on this? Also, the recent recognition of Palestine as a country in the UN could have far reaching implications. Are there ...
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4answers
745 views

Who are the modern descendants of the Khazar people?

The Khazars where a people who built an empire centred North of the Caucasus Range, between the 7th and 11th centuries. They are not at all mainstream (at least in Europe), even though, defeating the ...
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530 views

Middle east and North africa population during the high middle ages

I am looking for this information everywhere, but I can't seem to find the population of anyone else but the Europeans during the middle ages. We know that the population of the European countries ...
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2answers
240 views

History of the Levant and Israel - 2000 BCE to the bronze age collapse - where to find info?

Where can I find information about the period 2000 BCE - 1300 BCE in the Levant with focus on Caanites and (possibly) proto-Hebrews? Period from the very beginning of the tribal organization of what ...
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Pre-islamic cultural inheritance in contemporary Iran

In contemporary Iran, what are the effect of pre-Islamic Persian cultural heritage that are not linked to islamic culture, religion and literature? In a previous question, I asked about ...
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471 views

Iran: Zoroastrianism and Islam

If Zoroastrianism is so strong in Iran, why was there an Islamic revolution? Why is it proclaimed as the Islamic Republic of Iran?
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What was President Jimmy Carter's role in the Iranian Revolution?

Iran was a friend to the USA until Carter traveled to Iran and immediately afterwards Iran faced revolution. Khomeini went to Iran from France. On November 4, 1979, an angry mob of young Islamic ...
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Are there any existing foreign language teaching texts from the Ancient Near East?

The various cultures of the Ancient Near East spoke a wide array of languages and we know that there was plenty of communication between cultures. We even have a language like Akkadian that served as ...