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7: North Africa and Southwest Asia

  • Page ID
    21094
    • 7.1: North Africa and Southwest Asia's Key Geographic Features
      Africa is almost entirely surrounded by water except for a small land connection with Asia at Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. But Sub-Saharan Africa is physiographically, culturally, and linguistically distinct from the African countries north of the Sahara. In fact, North Africa has much more in common in terms of its physical and religious landscape with the Arabian Peninsula and Southwest Asia than some of its continental neighbors to the south.
    • 7.2: Cultural Adaptations in North Africa and Southwest Asia
      The climate and physical geography of North Africa and Southwest Asia have shaped population patterns and culture in the region. People in the region are generally clustered around the region’s sparse water resources reflecting ancient patterns of human settlement. Four regions in particular stand out as having high population densities: the Nile River valley, the coastal Mediterranean Sea, the Euphrates and Tigris river basins, and valleys of northwestern Iran.
    • 7.3: The Religious Hearths of North Africa and Southwest Asia
      North Africa and Southwest Asia is considered one of the great cradles of human civilization. It is also the hearth area for several of the world’s major religions. These religions have changed the global cultural landscape, but have also led to tension and conflict throughout the region. Three religions in particular, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, trace their ancestry through the tribal patriarch Abraham, who may have lived sometime in the 2nd millennium BCE.
    • 7.4: Conquest in North Africa and Southwest Asia
      After Muhammad’s death, Arab military forces carried Islam across the region. At its greatest extent, the Islamic Empire under the Umayyad Caliphate of the 7th and 8th centuries stretched across 15 million square kilometers (5.79 million square miles), from the Iberian Peninsula, the southwest corner of Europe containing Spain and Portugal, all the way across North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and into Pakistan. No empire would be larger until the Mongols in the 13th century.
    • 7.5: The Modern Political Landscape of North Africa and Southwest Asia
      Today’s political map of North Africa and Southwest Asia reflects superimposed boundaries and a legacy of colonialization. The countries of this region have often been prone to political instability and conflict, and religious tension both between Muslims in this region as well as with the region’s many religious minorities has often led to violence.
    • 7.6: Religious Conflict in North Africa and Southwest Asia
      ISIS represents a fundamentalist view of Islam, known as Islamism. Islamism is characterized by a strict, literal interpretation of the Qur’an, conservative moral values, and the desire to establish Islamic values across the entire world. Militant Islamist movements have inspired the violent ideology of jihadism, which seeks to combat threats to the Muslim community.

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