- The Task of World History
- Theories of World History since the Enlightenment
- World Environmental History
- Nomadic pastoralism
- States, State Transformation, and War
- Religions and World History
- Technology, Engineering, and Science
- Advanced Agriculture
- Trade across Eurasia to about 1750
- Biological Exchanges in World History
- Cultural Exchanges in World History
- Pre-modern Empires
- Modern Imperialism
- East Asia and Central Eurasia
- South Asia and Southeast Asia
- The Middle East in World History
- Africa in World History: The Long, Long View
- Europe and Russia in World History
- Mediterranean History
- The Americas, 1450–2000
- The Atlantic Ocean Basin
- Oceania and Australasia
- The pacific Ocean Basin to 1850
Abstract and Keywords
This article describes the role of the Middle East in world history. The Middle East is both a strategic concept and a geo-cultural region. As a concept and a specific label of identification, it is a product of analysts writing about twentieth-century world affairs. However, as a region, its peoples and cultures are associated with the history of humanity from ancient times. This regional name itself shapes a way of understanding the history of the broad region of Southwestern Asia and Northern Africa. Both of the terms in the name — ‘Middle’ and ‘East’ — identify the region in relationship to other world regions and reflect the importance of the region's involvement in broader global historical processes. Along with examining the history of the region, the discussion also notes how the concepts of the historical units involved in that history have changed in the presentations of the history of the Middle East.
John Obert Voll is Professor of History at Georgetown University.
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