, also known as West Asia
or Southwest Asia
, is the westernmost subregion
of the continent of Asia
. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle East
. It includes Anatolia
, the Arabian Peninsula
, the Levant
region, the island of Cyprus
, the Sinai Peninsula
, and partly Transcaucasia
. The region is considered to be separated from Africa
by the Isthmus of Suez
, and separated from Europe
by the waterways of the Turkish Straits
and the watershed of the Greater Caucasus
. Central Asia
lies to its northeast, while South Asia
lies to its east. Eight seas surround the region (clockwise): the Aegean Sea
, the Black Sea
, the Caspian Sea
, the Persian Gulf
, the Arabian Sea
, the Gulf of Aden
, the Red Sea
, and the Mediterranean Sea
21 countries are located fully or partly in Western Asia, out of which 13 are part of the Arab world
. The most populous countries in Western Asia are Iran
(mostly located on Western Asia's Anatolian peninsula, with a smaller portion on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeastern Europe
, Saudi Arabia
. The total population of Western Asia is estimated to be 300 million (as of 2015).
The term West Asia
is used pragmatically and has no "correct" or generally agreed-upon definition. Its typical definitions overlap substantially, but not entirely, with definitions of the terms Middle East
, Eastern Mediterranean
, and Near East
(which is historically familiar but is widely deprecated today). The National Geographic Style Manual
as well as Maddison
's The World Economy: Historical Statistics
(2003) by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD) only includes Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Palestine (called West Bank and Gaza in the latter), Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, UAE, and Yemen as West Asian countries.
In contrast to this definition, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization
(UNIDO) in its 2015 yearbook also includes Armenia and Azerbaijan, and excludes Israel (as Other) and Turkey (as Europe).
National members of Western Asian sports governing bodies are limited to Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
The Olympic Council of Asia
's multi-sport event West Asian Games
are contested by athletes representing these thirteen countries. Among the region's sports organisations are the West Asia Basketball Association
, West Asian Billiards and Snooker Federation
, West Asian Football Federation
, and the West Asian Tennis Federation
"Western Asia" was in use as a geographical term in the early 19th century, before "Near East
" became current as a geopolitical concept.
In the context of the history of classical antiquity
, "Western Asia" could mean the part of Asia known in classical antiquity, as opposed to the reaches of "interior Asia", i.e. Scythia
, and "Eastern Asia" the easternmost reaches of geographical knowledge in classical authors, i.e. Transoxania
In the 20th century, "Western Asia" was used to denote a rough geographical era in the fields of archaeology
and ancient history
, especially as a shorthand for "the Fertile Crescent
excluding Ancient Egypt
" for the purposes of comparing the early civilizations of Egypt and the former.
There are two wind phenomena in Western Asia: the sharqi
and the shamal
. The sharqi
) is a wind
that comes from the south and southeast. It is seasonal, lasting from April to early June, and comes again between late September and November. The winds are dry and dusty, with occasional gusts up to 80 kilometres per hour (50 miles per hour) and often kick up violent sand and dust storms that can carry sand a few thousand meters high, and can close down airports for short periods of time. These winds can last for a full day at the beginning and end of the season, and for several days during the middle of the season. The shamal
is a summer northwesterly wind blowing over Iraq and the Persian Gulf states (including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait), often strong during the day, but decreasing at night. This weather effect occurs anywhere from once to several times a year.
The population of Western Asia was estimated at 272 million as of 2008, projected to reach 370 million by 2030 by Maddison (2007; the estimate excludes the Caucasus and Cyprus). This corresponds to an annual growth rate of 1.4% (or a doubling time
of 50 years), well above the world average
of 0.9% (doubling time 75 years). The population of Western Asia is estimated at about 4% of world population
, up from about 39 million at the beginning of the 20th century, or about 2% of world population at the time.
The most populous countries in the region are Turkey
, each with around 79 million people, followed by Iraq
and Saudi Arabia
with around 33 million people each, and Yemen
with around 29 million people.
Numerically, Western Asia is predominantly Arab
, and the dominating languages are correspondingly Arabic
, each with of the order of 70 million speakers, followed by smaller communities of Kurdish
. The dominance of Arabic and Turkish is the result of the medieval Arab
invasions beginning with the Islamic conquests of the 7th century AD, which displaced the formerly dominant Aramaic
in the region of Syria
, and Greek
in Anatolia, although Hebrew
became the dominant language in Israel
in the second half of the 20th century, and Neo-Aramaic
(spoken by modern Arameans
, and Chaldeans
) and Greek
both remain present in their respective territories as minority languages.
of Western Asia is diverse and the region experiences high economic growth. Turkey has the largest economy in the region, followed by Saudi Arabia
and Iran. Petroleum
is the major industry
in the regional economy, as more than half of the world's oil reserves
and around 40 percent of the world's natural gasreserves
are located in the region.
Map of Western Asia
^ a b
Jerusalem is Israel's de jure
capital under Israeli law
, as well as its de facto
capital by the location of the presidential residence, government offices, supreme court and parliament (Knesset
). Jerusalem is the State of Palestine's de jure
capital under its "2003 Amended Basic Law"
, but not its de facto
capital as its government branches are based in Ramallah
. The UN and most sovereign states
do not recognize Jerusalem as either state's de jure
capital under the position that Jerusalem's status is pending future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. In practice, therefore, most maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv
and its suburbs, or else in suburbs such as Mevaseret Zion
outside Jerusalem proper. See CIA Factbook
, "Map of Israel" (PDF)
and Status of Jerusalem
for more information.
- ^ "World Population prospects – Population division". United Nations. Archived from the original on 5 February 2019. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
- ^ "Overall total population" (xlsx). United Nations. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
- ^ a b c "World Economic Outlook Database". imf.org. IMF. Outlook Database, October 2020
- ^ Miller, David. "West Asia". National Geographic Style Manual. National Geographic Society. Retrieved 2021-02-16.
- ^ Maddison, Angus (2004). The World Economy: Historical Statistics. Development Centre Studies. Paris, France: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (published 2003). ISBN 978-92-64-10412-9. LCCN 2004371607. OCLC 53465560.
- ^ United Nations Industrial Development Organization Vienna (UNIDO) (2005). International Yearbook of Industrial Statistics 2015. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 9781784715502.
- ^ "Standard Country or Area Codes for Statistical Use". Millenniumindicators.un.org. Retrieved 2012-08-25. The UNSD notes that the "assignment of countries or areas to specific groupings is merely for statistical convenience and does not imply any assumption regarding political or other affiliation of countries or territories."
- ^ "WABSF Member Countries".
- ^ "The West Asian Games". Topend Sports.
- ^ "WAFF Member Associations". The-Waff.com.
- ^ e.g. James Rennell, A treatise on the comparative geography of western Asia, 1831.
- ^ James Rennell, The Geographical System of Herodotus Examined and Explained, 1800, p. 210.
- ^ Hugh Murray, Historical Account of Discoveries and Travels in Asia (1820).
- ^ Samuel Whelpley, A compend of history, from the earliest times, 1808, p. 9.
- ^ e.g. Petrus Van Der Meer, The Chronology of Ancient Western Asia and Egypt, 1955. Karl W. Butzer, Physical Conditions in Eastern Europe, Western Asia and Egypt Before the Period of Agricultural and Urban Settlement, 1965.
- ^ The Tobacco Industry of Western Asia, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, 1964.
- ^ a b Beaumont (1988), p. 22
- ^ Muehlberger, Bill. "The Arabian Plate". NASA, Johnson Space Center. Archived from the original on 2007-07-06.
- ^ a b Beaumont (1988), p. 86
- ^ "Land & Water". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
- ^ "Chapter 7: Middle East and Arid Asia". IPCC Special Report on The Regional Impacts of Climate Change: An Assessment of Vulnerability. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2001. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- ^ Taru Bahl; M H Syed, eds. (2003). Encyclopaedia of the Muslim World. New Delhi: Anmol Publications. p. 20. ISBN 978-81-261-1419-1. Retrieved 1 February 2009.
- ^ Sweeney, Jerry J.; William R. Walter (December 1, 1998). "Region #4 — Red Sea Continental Rift Zone" (PDF). Preliminary Definition of Geophysical Regions for the Middle East and North Africa. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. p. 8.
- ^ "ASTER Image Gallery: The Dead Sea". NASA.
- ^ Data for "15 West Asian countries", from Maddison (2003, 2007).Angus Maddison, 2003, The World Economy: Historical Statistics, Vol. 2, OECD, Paris, ISBN 92-64-10412-7. Statistical Appendix (2007, ggdc.net) "The historical data were originally developed in three books: Monitoring the World Economy 1820–1992, OECD, Paris 1995; The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective, OECD Development Centre, Paris 2001; The World Economy: Historical Statistics, OECD Development Centre, Paris 2003. All these contain detailed source notes." Estimates for 2008 by country (in millions): Turkey (71.9), Iran (70.2), Iraq (28.2), Saudi Arabia (28.1), Yemen (23.0), Syria (19.7), Israel (6.5), Jordan (6.2), Palestine (4.1), Lebanon (4.0), Oman (3.3), United Arab Emirates (2.7), Kuwait (2.6), Qatar (0.9), Bahrain (0.7).
- ^ ""World Population prospects – Population division"". population.un.org. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
- ^ ""Overall total population" – World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision" (xslx). population.un.org (custom data acquired via website). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
- ^ "GDP". IMF. Retrieved 2014-04-16.
- ^ "GDP per capita". IMF. Retrieved 2014-04-16.
Last edited on 3 May 2021, at 23:45
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