The Arab World The Arabian Peninsula is located in southwest Asia and is bounded on the west by the Red Sea, on the south by the Arabian Sea, and on the east by the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait are all part of the Peninsula. It is separated from Africa by the Suez Canal and by Turkey through the Bosphorus Strait.
The Middle East The Middle East is a large region in Eurasia, extending from Europe to Asia. It is bordered by Asia on three sides and has two parts: an eastern section containing Iran, Iraq, and Syria; and a western section containing Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, and Kuwait.
Syria is a country located in Western Asia. It is known as the Syrian Arab Republic until 1991, when it adopted a new constitution that defined it as a secular state with Islam as its main religion. Syria is an ancient country that has been inhabited since at least the Paleolithic period. Incorporated into the Ottoman Empire after 1516, it achieved independence in 1946. In the course of several civil wars, Syria was ruled by various military governments between 1949 and 1970. In March 2011, protests against the government broke out in Syria, which escalated into a civil war that continues to this day.
Iran is a country in Western Asia. Located in Eastern Europe for much of its history, Iran is one of the most important countries in the Middle East.
Arabia, often known as the Arabian Peninsula, is a peninsula in Southwest Asia, northeast of Africa, located between the Red Sea to the west and the Persian Gulf to the east. The southern section of the peninsula is surrounded in the southwest by the Gulf of Aden and in the southeast by the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea (Indian Ocean). The region's geography includes deserts, mountains, plateaus, and fertile valleys.
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an Arab state in Western Asia. It is bordered by Jordan to the north, Iraq to the northeast, Kuwait to the east, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen to the south. Its territory covers approximately 1,350,000 km2 (510,000 sq mi), about 16 percent of the total area of the Arabian Peninsula.
Saudi Arabia has an arid climate influenced by its location within the Middle East. Summers are very hot and dry, with daytime temperatures often exceeding 40 °C (104 °F). Winters are cool but not cold, with daytime temperatures rarely falling below 15 °C (59 °F). Rainfall is sparse and occurs mainly during winter storms. About half of Saudi Arabia is covered by desert, mostly barren sand dunes located within a few degrees of latitude of the equator. The remaining rainforest-covered areas contain a variety of trees, including acacia, almond, bamboo, fig, olive, papaya, peppercorn, pine, sycamore, tamarind, and teak.
Arabia's Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula is limited on the west and southwest by the Red Sea, on the south by the Gulf of Aden, on the southeast by the Arabian Sea, and on the east by the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf (also known as the Arabian Gulf). It is home to about 50 million people, mostly Sunni Muslims but also including a large Christian minority.
The peninsula is divided into two main geographical regions: the Sahara Desert in the northwest and northeast, and the Arabian Desert in the southwest. But there are also tropical forests in the north and east.
The capital cities of Saudi Arabia and Yemen are both located in the Arabian Peninsula. Other major cities include Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt, Baghdad and Karbala in Iraq, Beirut and Damascus in Lebanon, Amman in Jordan, and Sana'a in Yemen.
The Arabian Peninsula has been inhabited since at least 400 BC. However, it was not until much later that humans started to settle down and build permanent houses. Archaeologists have found evidence of 12th century BC settlements in what today is Yemen. These were followed by more than 1000 years of relative peace and prosperity. But this all changed with the arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD. This new religion came from the north and was very different from anything ever seen before in the region.
The Arabian Peninsula is the world's biggest peninsula, located in Southwest Asia and bordered by the Red Sea to the southwest, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to the west, and the Arabian Sea to the southeast. It covers an area of 4,590,000 km2 (1,800,000 sq mi), about 12 percent of which is water. The total population is approximately 170 million people, mostly Arabs but also including many other ethnic groups.
The Arabian Peninsula has a long history of human settlement. Archaeologists have found evidence of human activity there as early as 125,000 years ago, when modern humans first appeared in the region. Ancient Egyptians based in what today is Egypt called themselves "men of the south" because they came from southern Arabia. The name "Arabia" is derived from the Arabic al-Jahiliyya, which means "the pre-Islamic period".
In 635 AD the Muslim prophet Muhammad migrated with his followers to Saudi Arabia from the city of Mecca in northwestern Arabia. The new religion soon spread throughout the Arabian Peninsula, and by the end of the 7th century it had become dominant across North Africa and parts of Europe too. Islam continues to be the official religion of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Morocco, and Kuwait. However, many people in the Middle East have different religions or beliefs without necessarily being considered Muslims or Christians.