Cedid Atlas

Cedid Atlas (or Atlas-ı Cedid) is the first translation of the atlas in the Muslim world, printed and published in 1803 in Constantinople, then the capital of the Ottoman Empire.[1][2][3] The full title name of the atlas reads as Cedid Atlas Tercümesi (meaning, literally, "A Translation of a New Atlas") and in most libraries outside Turkey, it is recorded and referenced accordingly.

Although manuscripts and hand-drawn maps were widely available throughout the Muslim world, the massive printing of books started only in 1729 by Ibrahim Muteferrika and the Cedid Atlas could only be published in 1803 by Müderris Abdurrahman Efendi in a style based on European sources.[1]

The Cedid Atlas includes a monochrome celestial chart and 24 hand-coloured copper engraved maps [4] of various parts of the world; the celestial chart and maps measure at least (53 cm by 72 cm) and all the maps are actually adaptations [5] of William Faden's [6] General Atlas. The maps are preceded by a (1+79) page-long treatise of geography, "Ucalet-ül Coğrafiye" by Mahmud Raif Efendi [7][8] and a title page. The "Ucalet-ül Coğrafiye" of Mahmud Raif Efendi was printed one year later, in 1804, and bound together with the atlas.[9]

From a point of view of art, the atlas is notable for the color of the maps as well as the beauty of the script on the maps.[10]

The Cedid Atlas was published in parallel with the developments of the Ottoman Empire's Nizam-ı Cedid, the "New-Order" or the "New System" ("Cedid" means "new" and "Nizam" means "system", "regime", or "order") and its title-name reflects this clearly. The atlas was new in terms of cartographical knowledge and well suited to the new system which tried to introduce new institutions into the Ottoman Empire while trying to replace existing ones with contemporary counterparts from the West. Introduced by the ruling padishah (the sultan) of the Ottoman Empire, Selim III, the "New-Order" included a series of reforms which mainly modernized and changed the structure of the then existing Ottoman army and changed the administrative structure of the Empire. It was an effort to catch up with technical, military, economic, and administrative achievements of the West against which the Ottoman Empire was losing grounds since the 17th century. New military and engineering schools were established and governmental units related with the foreign relations and affairs were re-organized to align with the new system. For these schools, governmental units, and the wholly re-organized army reformed according to the European practice, a new understanding and applications of geography of the standards of the West were necessary and the Cedid Atlas was translated and printed for this purpose.

Only 50 copies of this atlas (measuring 36 cm x 53 cm) were printed at the press. A copy was presented to Selim III; several copies were also presented to the high-ranking officials of the Empire, some were reserved for the library of Muhendishane (military engineering school of the time), and the remaining were reserved for sale. However, during the "Alemdar Vakası", an uprising of the janissaries in Constantinople during November 15–18, 1808,[11] a fire at the warehouse of the press destroyed an unknown (unaccounted) number of the copies reserved for sale.[12] Based on several estimates and accounting for the single maps (torn-out from bound volumes of the atlas) sold or being sold worldwide, it is believed that a maximum of 20 complete examples could be present in libraries or in private collections [13] whereas some sources suggest that there exist only 10 complete and intact copies in the world.[5][12][14][15] As such, it's one of the rarest printed atlases of historical value.[5][12][14][15][16]

Cedid Atlas Title Page
Title Page of the Cedid Atlas (also known as Cedid Atlas Tercümesi)

Other names

A few sources outside Turkey and the Muslim world also refer to this atlas as the New Great Atlas.[15] In Turkey, since the printing press of the book was located in the historical Üsküdar (Scutari) region (now a municipality) of Istanbul, the atlas sometimes is referred to as the Üsküdar Atlası.[12]

Existing copies

These are the only 12 complete copies known to exist in the world:

  1. Turkey - Topkapı Sarayı (Topkapı Palace) - 1 copy - Complete
  2. Turkey - Library of the Istanbul Technical University (İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi, formerly known as ""Engineering School (Mühendislik Mektebi")) - 2 copies - Complete (presence of copies are not confirmed)
  3. Turkey - Library of the Boğaziçi University (Boğaziçi Üniversitesi, formerly known as Robert College) - 3 copies - Complete (presence of only 1 copy is confirmed)
  4. Turkey - Municipality of Üsküdar(Üsküdar Belediyesi) - 1 copy - Complete
  5. U.S.A. - Library of Congress - 1 copy - Complete
  6. U.S.A. - Princeton University Library - 1 copy - Complete
  7. Netherlands - Leiden University Library - 1 copy - Complete
  8. United Arab Emirates - Antiquarian bookseller; Eqtna for Rare Books. [17]The copy was displayed for sale at the Sharjah Book Fair 2016.[18] - 1 copy - Complete
  9. Swann Auction Galleries, New York - 1 complete copy sold on 26 May 2016.[19]

(Contrary to sources, on-line library search at the library of Boğaziçi University shows only 1 copy according to the records, and an on-line search at the library of the Istanbul Technical University shows no copies according to records. WorldCat union catalogue search of all the libraries confirms this result. Accordingly, there are only 10 complete and intact copies confirmed to exist in the world.)

These are the incomplete copies known to exist in the world:

  1. U.S.A. - John Carter Brown Library (Brown University) - 1 copy (missing 2 maps)
  2. U.S.A. - Newberry Library - 1 copy (missing 1 map and also 1 available map is from another copy)
  3. Turkey - Yapı Kredi Sermet Çifter Araştırma Kütüphanesi - 1 copy (missing several maps)
  4. Turkey - Bursa İnebey Kütüphanesi - 1 copy (missing several maps)
  5. Norway - Nasjonalbiblioteket (National Library of Norway) - 1 copy (missing 2 maps) [20][21]
  6. Sweden - Kungliga Biblioteket (Royal Library of Sweden) - 1 copy (missing the title page) [22]
  7. Austria - Antikvariat InLibris, Vienna - 1 copy (Missing the celestial chart).[23]

The following libraries possess very limited portions of the atlas :

  1. Bibliothèque nationale de France owns the initial (1+79) page-long geographical treatise "Ucalet-ül Coğrafiye" and one map only, title page and the remaining maps of the atlas are missing.
  2. National Library of Australia owns only two maps of the atlas with all the rest missing.

Occasionally, single maps of the Cedid Atlas are presented for sale by on-line book sellers or auctioneers.

Maps in the Cedid Atlas

In addition to the (53 cm x 72 cm) monochrome celestial map, there are 24 coloured maps in the atlas; some of them are larger than (53 cm x 72 cm). In order of appearance, these maps show:

  1. Eastern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere
  2. South Pole and North Pole
  3. The World
  4. Europe (including Iceland)
  5. Anatolia, Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Balkan Peninsula, (heel of) Italy, Iraq/Syria/Lebanon/Jordan/Palestine/Cyprus/Crete (in the south)
  6. Adriatic Coast, Italy, Southern France, Iberian Peninsula, Libya/Tunis/Algeria (in the south)
  7. Anatolia (the) Black Sea, Crimea, Southern Ukraine, (north of) Balkan Peninsula to Hungary
  8. Western Anatolia, Aegean Sea, Crete (in the south), Greece
  9. England (and Wales)
  10. Scotland and Scottish Islands
  11. The Low Countries : Hanau, Luxembourg, Brabant, Flanders, Northern France
  12. France (at the time of the monarchy)
  13. The English Channel and the Channel Islands, Western France Coast
  14. France (at the time of the republic)
  15. Germany (from Brandenburg to Braunschweig)
  16. Poland, Prussia, Lithuania (to the north)
  17. Continent of Asia
  18. Azerbaijan, Armenia, Western Iran, Iraq/Syria/Lebanon/Jordan/Palestine/Cyprus (in the south), Anatolia
  19. Continent of Africa
  20. River Nile in Egypt in detail (including the Nile Delta)
  21. Continents of America (North, Central, South) and (part of) Pacific Ocean
  22. Eastern North America
  23. Central/South America (Guyana) Coast
  24. The Lesser Antilles (including) Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Tobago

Paper used for the maps in the Cedid Atlas

The watermark of the papers on which the maps were printed were examined. While some Princeton University professors believe the papers are Russian-made, John Delaney, the historical maps curator for the Princeton University Library, believes the paper is possibly from Venice, Italy.[10]


Cedid Atlas (World) 1803

World map

Cedid Atlas (Middle East) 1803

The Ottoman controlled Western Asia

Cedid Atlas (Greece and the Balkans) 1803

Balkans and Anatolia

Cedid Atlas (Europe) 1803

Europe, including Ottoman Southeast Europe

Cedid Atlas (Africa) 1803

Africa, including Ottoman North Africa

Articles and papers


  • The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire. Kinross, Patrick. Perennial, London, 1977.
  • İmparatorluğun En Uzun Yüzyılı. Ortaylı, İlber. Hil Yayinları, İstanbul, 1983. (in Turkish)
  • Military, Administrative, and Scholarly Maps and Plans. Karamustafa, Ahmet T. In "The History of Cartography, Vol. 2, Book 1: Cartography in the Traditional Islamic and South Asian Societies, edited by J. B. Harley and David Woodward, pp. 209–28", University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1992.
  • Türk Bilim ve Matbaacılık Tarihinde Mühendishane, Mühendishane Matbaası ve Kütüphanesi (1776-1826). Beydilli, Kemal. Eren Yayıncılık, İstanbul, 1995. (in Turkish)
  • Mühendishane ve Üsküdar Matbaalarında Basılan Kitapların Listesi ve Bir Katolog. Beydilli, Kemal. Eren Yayıncılık, İstanbul, 1997. (in Turkish)
  • History of the Ottoman Empire, Volume 2. Shaw, S.J. and Shaw, E.Z., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1997.
  • Mahmud Raif Efendi ve Nizâm-ı Cedîd'e Dair Eseri. Beydilli, Kemal & Şahin, İlhan. Türk Tarih Kurumu Yayınları, Ankara, 2001. (in Turkish)

See also


  1. ^ a b First Printed Atlas in the Muslim World (in Turkish)
  2. ^ Antique Maps - Timeline of Cartography
  3. ^ "The First World Atlas Printed by Muslims (April 1803 – March 1804)".
  4. ^ Beydilli(1995) (in Turkish)
  5. ^ a b c "Artifacts from the 'New Order' (November 1998) - Library of Congress Information Bulletin".
  6. ^ William Faden's Biography
  7. ^ Mahmud Raif Efendi As The Chief Secretary of Yusuf Agah Efendi, The First Permanent Ottoman-Turkish Ambassador to London (1793-1797)
  8. ^ Mahmud Raif Efendi's Ucalet-ül Coğrafiye Archived 2012-06-28 at the Wayback Machine (in Turkish)
  9. ^ Ottoman Statesmen: Mahmud Raif Efendi Archived 2012-06-28 at the Wayback Machine (in Turkish)
  10. ^ a b "In this map, it's still Constantinople".
  11. ^ Kinross(1977), pp 431-434.
  12. ^ a b c d Municipality of Usküdar-Istanbul Archived 2013-04-18 at Archive.today (in Turkish)
  13. ^ Antique maps Paulus Swaen Auction Galleries. "RAIF EFENDI - Guyana, Surinam, Amapa".
  14. ^ a b Newly acquired: Cedid Atlas Tercümesi (Istanbul, 1803) Archived March 20, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ a b c Allison Rich. "The New Great Atlas: Istanbul, 1803-1804". The John Carter Brown Library. Archived from the original on 2012-06-06.
  16. ^ "[World map in Mercator's projection] [cartographic material] - National Library of Australia".
  17. ^ "Cedid Atlas Tercumesi [ New Atlas, translated ] by Effendi, Mahmoud Raif: Uksudar ( Istanbul) Tabhane-i Humayun press Hardcover, 1st Edition - EQTNA (Rare Books & Manuscripts)". www.abebooks.com. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  18. ^ "Rare 'Arabian Nights' book in Arabic at the Sharjah book fair". The Gulf Today. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  19. ^ "Full Details for Lot 199". catalogue.swanngalleries.com. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  20. ^ "Norway's National Library Discovers Rare Atlas — With A Little Help From Reddit". NPR.org. 15 January 2016.
  21. ^ AbOhlheiser (14 January 2016). "How a karma-seeking Redditor uncovered one of the world's rarest atlases". Washington Post.
  22. ^ "Utställningen". goran.baarnhielm.net. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  23. ^ "Cedid Atlas Terc%FCmesi von Mahmoud". www.zvab.com (in German). Retrieved 2017-02-08.

External links


Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent, being behind Asia in both categories. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With

1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere.

Africa's average population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria is its largest by population. Africa, particularly central Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans and the Hominidae clade (great apes), as evidenced by the discovery of the earliest hominids and their ancestors as well as later ones that have been dated to around 7 million years ago, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster—the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human), found in Ethiopia, date to circa 200,000 years ago. Africa straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones.Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. In the late 19th century, European countries colonised almost all of Africa; most present states in Africa originated from a process of decolonisation in the 20th century. African nations cooperate through the establishment of the African Union, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa.

Boundaries between the continents of Earth

The boundaries between the continents of Earth are generally a matter of geographical convention. Several slightly different conventions are in use. The number of continents is most commonly considered seven but may range as low as four when the Americas and Afro-Eurasia are each considered a single continent. According to the definition of a continent in the strict sense, an island cannot be part of any continent, but by convention and in practice most major islands are associated with a continent.

There are three overland boundaries subject to definition:

between Europe and Asia (dividing Eurasia): along the Turkish Straits, the Caucasus and the Urals (historically also north of the Caucasus, along the Kuma–Manych Depression or along the Don River)

between Asia and Africa (dividing Afro-Eurasia into Africa and Eurasia): at the Isthmus of Suez

between North America and South America (dividing the Americas): the Isthmus of PanamaWhile the isthmus between Asia and Africa and that between North and South America are today navigable, via the Suez and Panama canals, respectively, diversions and canals of human origin generally are not accepted on their own accord as continent-defining boundaries; the Suez Canal happens to traverse the isthmus between the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea, dividing Asia and Africa. The remaining boundaries concern the association of islands and archipelagos with specific continents, notably:

the delineation of Southeast Asia from Australasia (part of Oceania) in the Ceram Sea, Arafura Sea, Timor Sea, Halmahera Sea, and Malay Archipelago

the delineation between Africa, Europe and Asia in the Mediterranean Sea

the delineation between Asia and Europe in the Arctic Ocean

the delineation between Europe and North America in the Atlantic Ocean

the delineation between North and South America in the Caribbean Sea

the delineation of Asia from North America in the North Pacific Ocean


Eyalets (Ottoman Turkish: ایالت‎, pronounced [ejaːˈlet], English: State), also known as beylerbeyliks or pashaliks, were a primary administrative division of the Ottoman Empire.

From 1453 to the beginning of the nineteenth century the Ottoman local government was loosely structured. The Empire was at first divided into provinces called eyalets, presided over by a Pasha of three tails (feathers borne on a state officer's ceremonial staff). The Grand Vizier was responsible for nominating all the high officers of State, both in the capital and the provinces. Between 1861 and 1866, these Eyalets were abolished, and the territory was divided for administrative purposes into Vilayets.The eyalets were subdivided into districts called livas or sanjaks, each of which was under the charge of a Pasha of one tail, with the title of Mira-lira, or Sanjak-bey. These provinces were usually called pashaliks by Europeans. The pasha was invested with powers of absolute government within his province, being the chief of both the military and financial departments, as well as police and criminal justice.At official functions, the order of precedence was Egypt, Baghdad, Abyssinia, Buda, Anatolia, "Mera'ish", and the Capitan Pasha in Asia and Buda, Egypt, Abyssinia, Baghdad, and Rumelia in Europe, with the remainder arranged according to the chronological order of their conquest.


Iraq (, (listen) or ; Arabic: العراق‎ al-'Irāq; Kurdish: عێراق‎ Eraq), officially known as the Republic of Iraq (Arabic: جُمُهورية العِراق‎ Jumhūrīyyat al-'Irāq; Kurdish: کۆماری عێراق‎ Komari Eraq), is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Turkmen, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians and Kawliya. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism and Mandeanism also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.

Iraq has a coastline measuring 58 km (36 miles) on the northern Persian Gulf and encompasses the Mesopotamian Alluvial Plain, the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range and the eastern part of the Syrian Desert. Two major rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, run south through Iraq and into the Shatt al-Arab near the Persian Gulf. These rivers provide Iraq with significant amounts of fertile land.

The region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, historically known as Mesopotamia, is often referred to as the cradle of civilisation. It was here that mankind first began to read, write, create laws and live in cities under an organised government—notably Uruk, from which "Iraq" is derived. The area has been home to successive civilisations since the 6th millennium BC. Iraq was the centre of the Akkadian, Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian empires. It was also part of the Median, Achaemenid, Hellenistic, Parthian, Sassanid, Roman, Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid, Ayyubid, Mongol, Safavid, Afsharid and Ottoman empires.The country today known as Iraq was a region of the Ottoman Empire until the partition of the Ottoman Empire in the 20th century. It was made up of three provinces, called vilayets in the Ottoman language: Mosul Vilayet, Baghdad Vilayet, and Basra Vilayet. In April 1920 the British Mandate of Mesopotamia was created under the authority of the League of Nations. A British-backed monarchy joining these vilayets into one Kingdom was established in 1921 under Faisal I of Iraq. The Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq gained independence from the UK in 1932. In 1958, the monarchy was overthrown and the Iraqi Republic created. Iraq was controlled by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party from 1968 until 2003. After an invasion by the United States and its allies in 2003, Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party was removed from power, and multi-party parliamentary elections were held in 2005. The US presence in Iraq ended in 2011, but the Iraqi insurgency continued and intensified as fighters from the Syrian Civil War spilled into the country. Out of the insurgency came a highly destructive group calling itself ISIL, which took large parts of the north and west. It has since been largely defeated. Disputes over the sovereignty of Iraqi Kurdistan continue. A referendum about the full sovereignty of Iraqi Kurdistan was held on 25 September 2017. On 9 December 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over ISIL after the group lost its territory in Iraq.Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of 19 governorates (provinces) and one autonomous region (Iraqi Kurdistan). The country's official religion is Islam. Culturally, Iraq has a very rich heritage and celebrates the achievements of its past in both pre-Islamic as well as post-Islamic times and is known for its poets. Its painters and sculptors are among the best in the Arab world, some of them being world-class as well as producing fine handicrafts, including rugs and carpets. Iraq is a founding member of the UN as well as of the Arab League, OIC, Non-Aligned Movement and the IMF.


Kurdistan (; Kurdish: کوردستان‎ [ˌkʊɾdɯˈstɑːn] (listen); lit. "region of Kurds") or Greater Kurdistan is a roughly defined geo-cultural historical region wherein the Kurdish people form a prominent majority population and Kurdish culture, languages and national identity have historically been based. Kurdistan roughly encompasses the northwestern Zagros and the eastern Taurus mountain ranges. The territory corresponds to Kurdish irredentist claims.

Contemporary use of the term refers to the following areas: southeastern Turkey (Northern Kurdistan), northern Iraq (Southern Kurdistan), northwestern Iran (Eastern Kurdistan) and northern Syria (Rojava or Western Kurdistan). Some Kurdish nationalist organizations seek to create an independent nation state consisting of some or all of these areas with a Kurdish majority, while others campaign for greater autonomy within the existing national boundaries.Iraqi Kurdistan first gained autonomous status in a 1970 agreement with the Iraqi government, and its status was re-confirmed as an autonomous entity within the federal Iraqi republic in 2005. There is a province by the name Kurdistan in Iran; it is not self-ruled. Kurds fighting in the Syrian Civil War were able to take control of large sections of northern Syria as government forces, loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, withdrew to fight elsewhere. Having established their own government, they called for autonomy in a federal Syria after the war.

Names of Istanbul

The city of Istanbul has been known by a number of different names. The most notable names besides the modern Turkish name are Byzantium, Constantinople, and Stamboul. Different names are associated with different phases of its history and with different languages.

North Africa

North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Morocco in the west, to Egypt's Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. Others have limited it to top North-Western countries like Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, a region that was known by the French during colonial times as “Afrique du Nord” and is known by all Arabs as the Maghreb (“West", The Western part of Arab World). The most commonly accepted definition includes Algeria, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, the 6 countries that shape the top North of the African continent. Meanwhile, “North Africa”, particularly when used in the term North Africa and the Middle East, often refers only to the countries of the Maghreb and Libya. Egypt, being also part of the Middle East, is often considered separately, due to being both North African and Middle Eastern at the same time. North Africa includes a number of Spanish and Portuguese possessions, Plazas de soberanía, Ceuta and Melilla and the Canary Islands and Madeira.

The countries of North Africa share a common ethnic, cultural and linguistic identity that is unique to this region. Northwest Africa has been inhabited by Berbers since the beginning of recorded history, while the eastern part of North Africa has been home to the Egyptians. Between the A.D. 600s and 1000s, Arabs from the Middle East swept across the region in a wave of Muslim conquest. These peoples, physically quite similar, formed a single population in many areas, as Berbers and Egyptians merged into Arabic and Muslim culture. This process of Arabization and Islamization has defined the cultural landscape of North Africa ever since.

The distinction between North Africa, the Sahel and the rest of the continent is as follows:

Nineteenth century European explorers, attracted by the accounts of Ancient geographers or Arab geographers of the classical period, followed the routes by the nomadic people of the vast “empty” space. They documented the names of the stopping places they discovered or rediscovered, described landscapes, took a few climate measurements and gathered rock samples. Gradually, a map began to fill in the white blotch.

The Sahara and the Sahel entered the geographic corpus by way of naturalist explorers because aridity is the feature that circumscribes the boundaries of the ecumene. The map details included topographical relief and location of watering holes crucial to long crossings. The Arabic word “Sahel” (shore) and “Sahara” (desert) made its entry into the vocabulary of geography.

Latitudinally, the “slopes” of the arid desert, devoid of continuous human habitation, descend in step-like fashion toward the northern and southern edges of the Mediterranean that opens to Europe and the Sahel that opens to “Trab al Sudan.” Longitudinally, a uniform grid divides the central desert then shrinks back toward the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea. Gradually, the Sahara-Sahel is further divided into a total of twenty sub-areas: central, northern, southern, western, eastern, etc.

In this way, “standard” geography has determined aridity to be the boundary of the ecumene. It identifies settlements based on visible activity without regard for social or political organizations of space in vast, purportedly “empty” areas. It gives only cursory acknowledgement to what makes Saharan geography, and for that matter, world geography unique: mobility and the routes by which it flows.

The Sahel or “African Transition Zone” has been affected by many formative epochs in North African history ranging from Ottoman occupation to the Arab-Berber control of the Andalus. As a result, many modern African nation-states that are included in the Sahel evidence cultural similarities and historical overlap with their North African neighbours. In the present day, North Africa is associated with West Asia in the realm of geopolitics to form a Middle East-North Africa region. The Islamic influence in the area is also significant and North Africa is a major part of the Muslim world.

Some researchers have postulated that North Africa rather than East Africa served as the exit point for the modern humans who first trekked out of the continent in the Out of Africa migration.

Ottoman Iraq

Ottoman Iraq refers to the period of the history of Iraq when the region was ruled by the Ottoman Empire (1534–1704 and 1831–1920).

Before reforms (1534–1704), Iraq was divided into four eyalets (provinces):

Baghdad Eyalet

Shahrizor Eyalet

Basra Eyalet

Mosul EyaletOttoman Iraq was later (1831–1920) divided into the three vilayets (provinces):

Mosul Vilayet

Baghdad Vilayet

Basra VilayetDuring World War I, an invasion of the region was undertaken by British Empire forces and was known as the Mesopotamian campaign. Fighting commenced with the Battle of Basra in 1914 and continued for the duration of the war. The most notable action was the Siege of Kut, which resulted in the surrender of the British and British Indian Army garrison of the town in April 1916, after a siege of 147 days. Of the 11,800 Allied soldiers who survived to be made prisoners, 4,250 died of disease or at the hands of their Ottoman guards during captivity.

Ottoman Syria

Ottoman Syria refers to divisions of the Ottoman Empire within the Levant, usually defined as the region east of the Mediterranean Sea, west of the Euphrates River, north of the Arabian Desert and south of the Taurus Mountains.Ottoman Syria became organized by the Ottomans upon conquest from the Mamluks in the early 16th century as a single eyalets (province) of Damascus. In 1534, the Aleppo was split into a separate administration. Eyalet of Tripoli was formed out of Damascus province in 1579 and later Eyalet of Adana was split from Aleppo. In 1660, Eyalet of Safed was established and shortly afterwards renamed Eyalet of Sidon; in 1667, Mount Lebanon Emirate was provided a special autonomous status within the Sidon province, but was abolished in 1841 and reinstalled in 1861 as the Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate. The Syrian eyalets were later transformed into the Vilayet of Syria, the Vilayet of Aleppo and the Vilayet of Beirut, following the 1864 Tanzimat reforms. Finally, in 1872, the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem was split from the Syria Vilayet into an autonomous administration with a special status.

Palestine (region)

Palestine (Arabic: فلسطين‎ Filasṭīn, Falasṭīn, Filisṭīn; Greek: Παλαιστίνη, Palaistinē; Latin: Palaestina; Hebrew: פלשתינה‎ Palestina) is a geographic region in Western Asia usually considered to include Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and in some definitions, some parts of western Jordan.

The name was used by ancient Greek writers, and it was later used for the Roman province Syria Palaestina, the Byzantine Palaestina Prima, and the Islamic provincial district of Jund Filastin. The region comprises most of the territory claimed for the biblical regions known as the Land of Israel (Hebrew: ארץ־ישראל‎ Eretz-Yisra'el), the Holy Land or Promised Land. Historically, it has been known as the southern portion of wider regional designations such as Canaan, Syria, ash-Sham, and the Levant.

Situated at a strategic location between Egypt, Syria and Arabia, and the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, the region has a long and tumultuous history as a crossroads for religion, culture, commerce, and politics. The region has been controlled by numerous peoples, including Ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Israelites and Judeans, Assyrians, Babylonians, Achaemenids, ancient Greeks, the Jewish Hasmonean Kingdom, Romans, Parthians, Sasanians, Byzantines, the Arab Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid caliphates, Crusaders, Ayyubids, Mamluks, Mongols, Ottomans, the British, and modern Israelis, Jordanians, Egyptians and Palestinians.

The boundaries of the region have changed throughout history. Today, the region comprises the State of Israel and the Palestinian territories in which the State of Palestine was declared.

Persian Gulf naming dispute

The Persian Gulf naming dispute is concerned with the name of the body of water known historically and internationally as the Persian Gulf (Persian: خلیج فارس‎), after the land of Persia (the traditional name of Iran). This name has become contested by some Arab countries since the 1960s in connection with the emergence of pan-Arabism and Arab nationalism, resulting in the invention of the toponym "Arabian Gulf" (Arabic: الخليج العربي‎) (used in some Arab countries), "the Gulf" and other alternatives such as the "Gulf of Basra", as it was known during the Ottoman rule of the region.

Southern Syria

Southern Syria (سوريا الجنوبية, Suriyya al-Janubiyya) is the southern part of the Syria region, roughly corresponding to the Southern Levant. Typically it refers chronologically and geographically to the southern part of Ottoman Syria provinces.The term was used in Arabic primarily from 1918-20, during the Arab Kingdom of Syria period. Zachary Foster in his Princeton doctoral dissertation has written that, in the decades prior to World War I, the term “Southern Syria” was the least frequently used out of ten different ways to describe the region of Palestine in Arabic, noting that “it took me nearly a decade to find a handful of references”.


Syria (Arabic: سوريا‎ Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic: الجمهورية العربية السورية‎ al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians, Mandeans and Turks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Isma'ilis, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, Yazidis, and Jews. Sunni make up the largest religious group in Syria.

Syria is a unitary republic consisting of 14 governorates and is the only country that politically espouses Ba'athism. It is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement; it has become suspended from the Arab League on November 2011 and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and self-suspended from the Union for the Mediterranean.In English, the name "Syria" was formerly synonymous with the Levant (known in Arabic as al-Sham), while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Aleppo and the capital city Damascus are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. In the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. The modern Syrian state was established in mid-20th century after centuries of Ottoman and a brief period French mandate, and represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the formerly Ottoman-ruled Syrian provinces. It gained de-jure independence as a parliamentary republic on 24 October 1945, when Republic of Syria became a founding member of the United Nations, an act which legally ended the former French Mandate – although French troops did not leave the country until April 1946. The post-independence period was tumultuous, and a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–71. In 1958, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt called the United Arab Republic, which was terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état. The republic was renamed into the Arab Republic of Syria in late 1961 after December 1 constitutional referendum, and was increasingly unstable until the 1963 Ba'athist coup d'état, since which the Ba'ath Party has maintained its power. Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, who was in office from 1971 to 2000.

Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in an armed conflict, with a number of countries in the region and beyond involved militarily or otherwise. As a result, a number of self-proclaimed political entities have emerged on Syrian territory, including the Syrian opposition, Rojava, Tahrir al-Sham and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Syria is ranked last on the Global Peace Index, making it the most violent country in the world due to the war, although life continues normally for most of its citizens as of December 2017. The war caused 470,000 deaths (February 2016 SCPR estimate), 7.6 million internally displaced people (July 2015 UNHCR estimate) and over 5 million refugees (July 2017 registered by UNHCR), making population assessment difficult in recent years.

Syria (region)

The region of Syria (Arabic: ٱلـشَّـام‎, translit. ash-Shām, Hieroglyphic Luwian: Sura/i; Greek: Συρία; in modern literature called "Greater Syria", "Syria-Palestine", or the Levant) is an area located east of the Mediterranean sea. Throughout history, the region has been controlled by numerous different peoples, including ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Israelites, Assyria, Babylonia, the Achaemenid Empire, the ancient Macedonians, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Umayyad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate, the Fatimid Caliphate, the Crusaders, the Ayyubid dynasty, the Mamluk Sultanate, the Ottoman Empire, the United Kingdom and the French Third Republic.

Timeline of the name "Palestine"

This article presents a list of notable historical references to the name Palestine as a place name in the Middle East throughout the history of the region, including its cognates such as "Filastin" and "Palaestina".

The term "Peleset" (transliterated from hieroglyphs as P-r-s-t) is found in five inscriptions referring to a neighboring people or land starting from circa 1150 BC during the Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt. The first known mention is at the temple at Medinet Habu which refers to the Peleset among those who fought with Egypt in Ramesses III's reign, and the last known is 300 years later on Padiiset's Statue. The Assyrians called the same region "Palashtu/Palastu" or "Pilistu", beginning with Adad-nirari III in the Nimrud Slab in c. 800 BC through to an Esarhaddon treaty more than a century later. Neither the Egyptian nor the Assyrian sources provided clear regional boundaries for the term.The first appearance of the term "Palestine" was in 5th century BC Ancient Greece when Herodotus wrote of a "district of Syria, called Palaistinê" between Phoenicia and Egypt in The Histories. Herodotus was describing the coastal region, but is also considered to have applied the term to the inland region such as the Judean mountains and the Jordan Rift Valley. Later Greek writers such as Aristotle, Polemon and Pausanias also used the word, which was followed by Roman writers such as Ovid, Tibullus, Pomponius Mela, Pliny the Elder, Dio Chrysostom, Statius, Plutarch as well as Roman Judean writers Philo of Alexandria and Josephus. The word was never used in an official context during the Hellenistic period, and is not found on any Hellenistic coin or inscription, first coming into official use in the early second century AD. It has been contended that in the first century authors still associated the term with the southern coastal region.In 135 AD, the Greek "Syria Palaestina" was used in naming a new Roman province from the merger of Roman Syria and Roman Judaea after the Roman authorities crushed the Bar Kokhba Revolt. Circumstantial evidence links Hadrian to the renaming of the province, which took place around the same time as Jerusalem was refounded as Aelia Capitolina, but the precise date of the change in province name is uncertain. The common view that the name change was intended "sever the connection of the Jews to their historical homeland" is disputed.During the Byzantine period c. 390, the imperial province of Syria Palaestina was reorganized into: Palaestina Prima, Palaestina Secunda, and Palaestina Salutaris. Following the Muslim conquest, place names that were in use by the Byzantine administration generally continued to be used in Arabic. The use of the name "Palestine" became common in Early Modern English, was used in English and Arabic during the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem. In the 20th century the name was used by the British to refer to "Mandatory Palestine", a mandate from the former Ottoman Empire which had been divided in the Sykes–Picot Agreement. The term was later used in the eponymous "State of Palestine". Both incorporated geographic regions from the land commonly known as Palestine, into a new state whose territory was named Palestine.

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