Difference Between Near East and Middle East

Right from the Ancient period, the naming and distribution of different parts of the world is essential for location detection.


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Before the world war, the Orient was broadly divided into two main areas. The two types are the Near East and the Middle East. Both have varied cultural differences.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Near East includes regions like Egypt, Israel, and Turkey, whereas the Middle East extends from Iran to the Arabian Peninsula.
  2. The term Near East originated in the 19th century and is less commonly used today than in the Middle East.
  3. Both regions have a rich history and cultural diversity, but the Middle East is more geopolitically significant due to its oil reserves.

Near East vs Middle East

The Near East is a term that was commonly used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to describe the countries and regions located in the eastern Mediterranean and adjacent areas. The Middle East is a term used to describe a large and diverse region that spans parts of Western Asia and North Africa.

Near East vs Middle East

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Near East is a term that originated in the year the 1890s. However, the term was popularised through an article written by D.G. Hogarth.

The term Near East has become obsolete after the Ottoman Empire disappeared in 1918. Hence the time has only historical contexts and has been adopted by various influential agencies.

On the other hand, the Middle East is a term that originated in the year the 1850s. However, the popularisation of the time was done by Alfred Thayer Mahan.

After the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the Middle East refers to the entire region covering Near East and the Middle East.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonNear EastMiddle East
LocationIt is the area of the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, like Southwestern Asia, northeastern Africa, and even the Balkan peninsula.The time is still used
TimezoneFollows UTC+03:00 Follows UTC+02:00
UsageThe term is not used anymore D. G. Hogarth popularised the term Near East
Popularization of the term The time the Middle East was popularised by Alfred Thayer Mahan The term the Middle East was popularised by Alfred Thayer Mahan
Natural resources Iron and farmland Petroleum

What is Near East?

Near East is a region that refers to transcontinental Western Asia. Initially, the area was a historical Fertile Crescent, and later, the area became the Levant section of the Byzantine and Roman empires.

Near East comprises Egypt, Turkey, and even the Sinai Peninsula. The original application of the Near East was to refer to the Ottoman Empire.

In the 19th century, Near East was known as the Levant. It included areas in the Ottoman government’s or Ottoman Porte’s jurisdiction.

Some other areas were also included, which were beyond the Ottoman Empire. Such regions include North Africa, the West of Egypt, Iran, and others. The Romans used the term nearest four areas near Gaul, Spain, and its surroundings.

The term Near East is generally applied mainly in historical contexts, as the time does not provide a specific indication.

In historical context, it mainly describes the countries of western Asia, which begin from the Mediterranean and extend up to Iran. There is no fixed boundary in the Near East. Some agencies in the United States still have the concept of the Near East.

Exemplary agencies using the term Near East are – the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (NESA), Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), and other influential departmental agencies.

Ancient Near East is commonly abbreviated as Near East. Some inventions that have originated from Near East are investment banking, Greek fire, poison gas, metal water pipes, mirrors, and others.

What is the Middle East?

The Middle East refers to the region which covers Arabian Peninsula, Levant, Anatolia, Iran, Egypt, and Iraq. It mainly includes Western Asia without the Caucasus.

The Middle East has over 60 languages spoken. The largest cities of the Middle East include Baghdad, Cairo, Riyadh, Tehran, Istanbul, Jeddah, and others. Middle Eastern countries are usually a part of the Arab world.

The most populous regions of the Middle East include Turkey, Iran, and Egypt. The largest country by area of the Middle East is Saudi Arabia. The Middle East has also originated religions like Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and others.

Apart from Arabs, the Middle East has other socio-ethnic groups like Persian, Jews, Turks, Kurds, Greek Cypriots, Azeris, Iraqi Turkmen, Copts, and Assyrians.

The origin of the Middle East is in the 1850s by the British India office. Some major rivers of the Middle East are the Tigris, the Nile Delta, and the Euphrates. These are the source of irrigation to support agriculture.

The Middle East also has a hot and arid climate. The Middle East is a rich source of petroleum as the countries bordering the Persian Gulf have vast reserves of national resources.

The Middle East is also a heavy contributor to the changes in climate as it has an arid environment and solely depends on the fossil fuel industry.

The popularisation of the term the Middle East was done by American naval strategies Alfred Thayer Mahan in the year 1902. He designated the time to the area between India and Arabia.

Main Differences Between Near East and the Middle East

  1. Near East refers to southwest Asia, while the Middle East refers to South-Eastern Europe, western Asia, and North Africa.
  2. Near East is no longer used and has only historical context, while the middle east is still used to refer to the Orient area.
  3. The term Near East was first used in the 1890s while the Middle East was first used in the 1850s.
  4. Near east covers the Ottoman Empire and the Welcome, while Middle-East covers the Persian Gulf to Southeast Asia.
  5. The climate of the Near East ranges from semi-arid to arid type, while the Middle East’s climate ranges from hot to arid.
  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=lang_en&id=1jE5k5qeKbgC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=near+east+and+middle+east&ots=1Gl5NwYjNs&sig=dp5IAgoTx9VGrGiqR_IU8T4qTpU
  2. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/fora38&section=62
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