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Definition of the realm
The realm can be described as a dry world containing the expansive Sahara and Arabian deserts. The inhabitants of the region are known to live near water sources. They live along the Mediterranean coastal strip of north-west Africa, eastern Asia and north eastern shores of Mediterranean sea, Nile Delta,Tigris-Euphraites basin, oases and along the mountain slopes of Iran(south of the Caspian sea) and northeast of Turkestan. The people in this region lead a nomadic lifestyle and some carryout sedentary farming along the oases and trade.
Generally the realm covers North Africa and Southwest Asia regions. It is believed to be a center of the ancient civilization that thrived from its river valleys and basins. Out of the “realms culture, hearths diffused ideas, innovations, technologies that changed the world and also resulted into three world religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam” (Schaefer 289).
The natural “environment of the realm is majorly comprised of drought and unreliable precipitation” (Schaefer 290). Population settlement is “characterized by clusters around where water supply is adequate to marginal” (Schaefer 290). Some of the countries in this realm have enormous oil reserves that have created wealth for some and on the other hand doing little to raise the living standards for the majority.
The boundaries of North Africa and Southwest Asia realm is composed of volatile transition zones with conflicts over the scarce resources. Religious, “ethnic and cultural differences cause disharmony in the region and especially in the Middle East region where Israel lies at the center of the conflict within the region” (Schaefer 291).
An “Arab world”
This refers to North Africa and south west Asia regions. This term is used to refer to a uniformity that is not in existence. The name Arab is used to refer to the people who speak Arabic and other related languages though some ethnologists associate it to the Arabian Peninsula. The Turks are not Arabs in any case and are neither Iranians nor Israelis. It is a fact that Arabic is spoken across Mauritania in North Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, Syria and Iraq but not spoken some parts of the realm.
For instance, in Turkey, Turkish is the language and has Ural-Altaic other than Arabic, Semitic or Hermitic roots. On the other hand, the Iranian languages belong to the Indo-European linguistic family. The Tuareg, the Jews. Berbers and the people living in the transition zone between the North and South Africa speak different languages though they all belong in the Arab world (MacLeod and Jones 705).
An “Islamic world”
The realm is also called the World of Islam. This is mainly attributed to the expansive spread of Islam into Africa, Asia and Europe during the Arab conquest and expansion age after the death of Prophet Mohammed in 632. However, it is worth to note that today Islam as a faith extends beyond this realm. Moreover other faiths such as Christianity (Egypt and Lebanon), Judaism and others exist in this region.
This is the commonly used name to refer to the realm. It is a name that might sound strange to someone in India who would rather go for Middle West. The Western world which was the source of the name was extremely biased because to them it was a Near East in Turkey, Middle East in Egypt, Arabia and Iraq and finally a Far East in China and Japan. In realty, the name can only be applicable in one region of this expansive realm and not the entire region covered by the realm (Kimble 614).
Kimble, Hebert. “The Inadequacy of the Regional Concept.” London Essays in Geography 2.17 (1951): 601-617. Print.
MacLeod, George and Jones Mother. “Renewing The Geography of Regions.” Environment and Planning 16.9 (2001): 669-800. Print.
Schaefer, Frankline. “Exceptionalism in Geography: A Methodological Examination.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 43.3 (1953): 298-305. Print.