What is the Middle East? Is Morocco and Algeria part of this collective region? Can Turkey, Afghanistan and India be included, too? You’d be surprised.
It’s an age old question that has never properly been settled. Luckily, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations has put together a thought provoking and interactive slideshow that highlights the countries that have been added and removed (figuratively speaking, of course) from the region we know (or thought we knew) as the “Middle East”. Even for those who that have studied the Middle East such as myself, many colleagues and friends, it is very dizzying and complex to weave through the slideshow, which only tells but a small slice of a larger, complicated and rich historical narrative.
According to the first slideshow:
"The term "Middle East" was coined in 1902 by American naval officer Alfred T. Mahan, who was regarded as an expert in sea power and world affairs. Writing for London’s National Review, Mahan used the new term in calling for the British to strengthen their naval power in the Persian Gulf. As scholar Roderic Davison explains, Mahan’s Middle East “was an indeterminate area guarding a part of the sea route from Suez to Singapore.” The new coinage played off the terms “Near East” and “Far East,” already in use.”
See the slideshow here: http://www.unc.edu/mideast/where/mahan-1902.shtml