High School > History > Middle Eastern History Videos

The Middle East is home to many of the world’s early successful civilizations. This includes Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, Babylon, Sumeria, and Israel, among others. Many of these civilizations spanned a stretch of land known as the Fertile Crescent, which is where modern-day Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and Egypt are located.

These Fertile Crescent nations were responsible for most of the progress in knowledge that happened in ancient times. They developed lots of new technologies, farming techniques, mathematics, astronomy, trading, and medicine. The concept of religion started out here as well, with Christianity and Islam being two popular ones that sprung up.

Writing was even invented in the Middle East. At about 3100 BCE, the Sumerian people started using the cuneiform script, which was an ancient system of writing using pictographs. Here, symbols represented words. They did not use letters yet. Also, this was a time where there was still no paper, so the ancient Middle Easterners wrote their script on clay tablets. Also, ink was not invented yet, so writers used sharpened reeds (a kind of plant) as pens.

A civilization known as the Ottoman Empire also had a great influence in shaping the history of the Middle East. Founded in Anatolia, which is Turkey today, the Empire thrived by conquering many other states. The series of successful conquests made the Ottoman Empire the most powerful state in the region. They became so powerful that even Europe was concerned that they might invade European territory.

After World War I, however, the Ottoman Empire was defeated, and its residents were scattered and left without leadership. Eventually, after a series of conflicts with other states and the Turkish War of Independence, the Republic of Turkey was established in 1923 from what remained of the fallen empire. This is the same Turkey that the world knows today.

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