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Geographic region where Europe, Africa, and Asia meet. It is an unofficial and imprecise term that now generally encompasses the lands around the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean Seanotably Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, and Syriaas well as Iran, Iraq, and the countries of the Arabian Peninsula. Afghanistan, Libya, Turkey, and The Sudan are sometimes also included. The term was formerly used by Western geographers and historians to describe the region from the Persian Gulf to Southeast Asia; Near East is sometimes used to describe the same area.
Variants of MIDDLE EAST
Middle East or Mideast or Near East
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Middle East, visit Britannica.com.