Talk:Near East

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Near East[edit]

generally east is consider as contries like pakistan ,india etc but this concept is actually wrong....... This is actually incorrect, the 'Near East' was the region today we call the Balkans, while the region described here was the 'Middle East', to the east of the 'Near East' (and the 'Far East' is further to the east of that - from a Eurocentric standpoint). Someone should take the time to fix this.

It is not incorrect, there is simply no consensus on the use of these terms. It was used by 19th-century geographers to refer mainly to the Turkish-Ottoman Empire that included parts of the Balkans but also lands on the Mediterrean shores of Asia. I recommend using the less ambiguous term 'Southwest Asia' in any discipline.

In german language Naher Osten is basically the eastern shore of the mediteranian see. Where as Mittlerer Ostens means Irak and Iran and the arabic peninsula.Stone 18:34, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
Not only in germany, almost throughout Europe, the Near East seen as a part outside europe.-- (talk) 19:16, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Historically, the term Near East referred to the European portion of the Ottoman Empire, and the term Middle East to the Asiatic portion of that empire and contiguous territories such as Persia. The application of the term Near East to the "Middle East" initially reflected an American perspective. US foreign policy was not much concerned with the Ottoman Empire and became more engaged with those territories only after the First World War, when the Ottoman Empire had ceased to exist and oil became a major economic commodity. It was, therefore, little concerned with the nuances that caused European diplomacy to distinguish between "Near" and "Middle" East, and tended to see the East simply in terms of "Near" and "Far". I cannot speak to current European usage, but it strikes me that Americans tend nowadays to use Middle where forty years ago they were more likely to use Near. pmr (talk) 12:40, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Timeline Issue[edit]

I'm not understanding these two sentences under Background: "The term Near East came into use in the 1890s, when European powers were faced with two critical situations in the "east".[1] The Sino-Japanese War in 1894–1895 occurred in the Far East, while an Armenian Genocide ..." The Armenian Genocide wasn't in the 1890's, it was from 1915-1917. If the author is intending to reference some earlier massacre, they need to clarify this paragraph. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:42, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Near or Middle?[edit]

How can near be alternative to middle? User:Karim Alameddine

I was surprised about the same. I thought that "Middle East" meant between the "Near East" and the "Far East" and that the "Near East" was used for the Balkan region.--Vitzque (talk) 11:30, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

I think the two articles should be merged. Adlihtam (talk) 16:17, 16 April 2016 (UTC)

To replace "near" by "middle" is an absolute misnomer, because "middle" should be in the MIDDLE between NEAR and FAR East. Thus the inventor of this nonsense is seriously asked for better arguments or to change their error. 2003:7A:9F33:EC3F:C141:550E:55B9:52BA (talk) 07:32, 30 March 2017 (UTC)

Map request[edit]

See e.g. Middle East. -- Beland 02:52, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Done.Kmusser 18:46, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
The map contradicts the article. Notably, Georgia and even the small part of Armenia that comprises historical Armenia, are not indicated. Also, I've issued a citation request for the assertion that the "non-Eurocentric" name "Southwest Asia" is synonymous with "Near East", here. Note that a large part of my commentary is in the form of an HTML comment. Cheers, Tomertalk 03:47, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:NearEast2.png[edit]

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I have a paper cite that says Rudyard Kipling coined the term "Near East" in his 1891 book Beast and Man in India. The term "Middle East" arrived in 1902. "Far East" had been around since 1852. -- JackofOz (talk) 09:31, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

According to Google Books, the term "near east" doesn't appear in that book

[1] vap (talk) 18:45, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. Just shows you can't believe everything you read in the papers. -- JackofOz (talk) 21:43, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Came across this exchange quite accidentally. I doubt that the attribution of "Near East" to Kipling (1891) has any validity. According to Oxford English Dictionary the term appeared in the literature as early as 1856: "1856 Fraser's Mag. Nov. 574 The Far East—in contradistinction to the Near East—for the integrity of which we went to war with Russia—contains a population of six hundred millions of people, or perhaps more." And again in 1894: "1894 G. N. CURZON Probl. Far East i. 9 In the Near East population is sparse and inadequate." And then of course the book Beast and Man in India is by John Lockwood Kipling, not Rudyard Kipling. Finally, "Middle East" predates 1902 by a good margin: OED cites quotations with "Middle East" from 1876, 1897, 1900 (and then 1903). --Zlerman (talk) 03:30, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Here's a quote from the OED publisher: "The Oxford English Dictionary was originally published in fascicles between 1884 and 1928." If this is true, I'd like to know how the Middle East can appear in 1876 in any OED. To extend something said above, I don't see how you can believe anything you see in the papers. For that reason Stonewall Jackson refused to read the papers (According to Kidd). You undoubtedly have better luck flipping a coin or turning the pages of the Bible at random. The news media do not have a mandate to report news, only to sell papers. If any have a concern for the truth that is only because required by law. The myth of the noble reporter struggling against evil to bring the truth to the people is about like the knights of the round table, a total crock. People believe what they want to believe and the job of the reporter is to find that out and sell it back to them. If any have some different ideas their editors soon straighten them out. Call me a cynic if you like. Bow wow. In any case I find that misattribution is common. You single out the person who ought to have said that and then attribute it to him or her. Classical literature is full of that c. Thucydides, one of the best historians, freely admits that in the reporting of speeches he had no idea what was said so he filled in the appropriate words. You can see it all going on in living color right here on WP. I don't find anything on Middle East before 1900 except the middle east of someone's garden, park or suburb.Dave (talk) 03:08, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

French use[edit]

In French, the term most commonly used to refer to the Middle East is Proche-Orient, which is arguably more aligned to the original sense of Near East, instead of the contemporary Anglo-Saxon usage of Middle East. On the other hand, nowadays the expression Moyen Orient tends to replace more and more the older form of Proche-Orient. ADM (talk) 09:20, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Certainly in English the area meant by the "Middle East" seems to have moved west over time - I think I've seen old sources that used "Middle East" to mean India & its neighbours. This would suggest there was a time when the "Near East" just mean the Balkans - perhaps after the Ottoman Empire collapsed? - and the term "Middle East" in turn drifted into its modern day definition. And then after the Second World War the geopolitics were different again such that the "Near East" was now split between west, east and Yugoslavia, so no-one needed a single term to describe them all. But it all seems to have happened very quickly. Timrollpickering (talk) 09:47, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Your speculations are all very interesting. I'm interested. I think it's a great theory. It contradicts all the known facts, but it is a wonderful theory. When available, sources supersede theories. In this case they are available. In cases where they are not, too bad for us, as we are likely to think just about anything.Dave (talk) 03:28, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Adding Cyprus to the Map[edit]

As the map dictates the definition of the Near East based on its "archeological and historical context", should Cyprus be added as it is often included in the area on this basis (cf. sources on Cyprus in the article)? If someone could edit the map, it would be most helpful. Thanks Olympian (talk) 09:14, 16 August 2009 (UTC)


Eric Hobsbawn, The Age of Empire: 1875-1914, p.17, clearly state that in the late 19th century Balkans were seen as "Near East" in Europe. This should be noted in the article; also, the map needs to be adjusted, as it seems to show the modern - but not historical - definition of the Near East. I will do so now. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 23:37, 17 September 2009 (UTC)


Swithered a bit about taking out this cat, would prefer to see a bit more meat in the article about why the term is Eurocentric, rather as there is over at Middle East. At the moment the article seems to be about the geographical area, and the Eurocentric tag casts a somewhat out-of-the-blue (if accurate) POV over the whole thing. Declan Clam (talk) 07:16, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

  • The same as "Middle East". It's completely obvious. The terms, the concept - is as eurocentric as it gets. [2], [3]. Izzedine (talk) 07:56, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps you failed to understand my (rather basic) point - I wasn't quibbling about the meaning of the term, rather over the content of the article. Wikipedia is chock-full of unreferenced errors, bits of POV and incorrect categorisation that people no doubt thought were "completely obvious" at the time. This one was too easy to back up for there to be any reason not to do so. Declan Clam (talk) 16:25, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
This topic is more relevant under Western Asia due to the criticisms of the first prime minister of India, Nehru, You didn't think some objective scientist in the sky showed unusually acute perception, did you? Nehru took a vigorous stand against the British Empire at the time of Suez. Eurocentrism is still mainly preached by the Indian government. I don't see it as an especially objective argument. He argued that the middle east was only middle to an oberver in Europe. To Indians it belongs in Siam. Naturally he saw no point in continuing to use the definitions of the British. Naturally. He preferred to use another European concept, Western Asia. He did not see a need to relocate the prime meridian, which passes through Britain. If Middle East is Eurocentric, then the Prime Meridian is also. With all due respect to our Indian friends and neighbors and with all due lip service to the demise of the British Empire, let's just minimize the eurocentrism, shall we? It's either that or start agitating to put the Prime Meridian in Pakistan.Dave (talk) 03:22, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

The map[edit]

There are various definitions but a single map. As far as I can see the map matches no definition. For example while all definitions consider North Africa as a part of near East, map does not. Why do we keep the map ? Nedim Ardoğa (talk) 07:58, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Maybe the caption on the map should qualify its use. All definitions range from only Anatolia (the Turkish Republic) to the entire vast domain of the Ottomans, including North Africa. Maybe we should have more than one map. I hate to have no map. Maybe you could find a better or a creative solution? If you have a good solution and you want to try it and the article is locked to you you can either contact the locker or if it looks good to me I can put it in. Ciao.Dave (talk) 11:04, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Changes to intro[edit]

The intro as it stood before I expanded a little missed the whole point of the term "near east." The background section however does capture it. Thus I see that the map is questioned. It is an accurate map. Definitions of Near East do vary. There is an underlying principle, which should be brought out. The eastern question specifically involves the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Such questions only arose prior to WWI. The Near East is the range of the Ottomans. As such it went from the gates of Vienna to the tip of the Arabian Peninsula, from Algeria to the limits of the former Persian Empire. I'm going to expand the background slightly to bring that out. It is perfectly legitimate to ask for an expansion of the subsequent "Middle East" and variations based on the current range of the Republic of Turkey. I see the article has been locked just after my changes to "ancient near east" and my comments there. Whether there are sock puppet changes here I do not know. I hope no one thinks they are going to lock me out. I am autoconfirmed and a reviewer. I respond well to discussion. I'm flexible, reasonable. I do not respond well to reversion. I will make an effort to deal with the questions that have been inserted at the beginning. If you got a problem with the concept of Near East, bring it up!Dave (talk) 11:04, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Removed section of intro[edit]

"The term, as used by Western archaeologists, geographers, and historians, refers to the region encompassing the subregions of Asia Minor (the Asian portion of modern Turkey, and parts of ancient Armenia and Georgia), the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Cyprus, Israel and the Palestinian territories), and Mesopotamia (Iraq) and, according to conclusions of some geographers, Transcaucasia (modern Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan). Since the First World War, in political and journalistic contexts, this region is usually subsumed into the wider Middle East through inclusion of the British-occupied Egypt[clarification needed] [citation needed], while the terms Near East or West Asia are preferred in archaeological, geographic and historical contexts. The Atlas of Canada and the World uses the term to label its maps of Israel and Lebanon."

I removed this because it is not compatible with the table and discussions of the subsequent sections. We present the meaning of "Near East" as being variable and dependent on the views of different agencies. This removed section, however, presents it as "this is the way it is" purporting to take the view that there is agreement on what the Near East is and this section presents it. As a result it was questioned right away. If you say the Near East is x, the whole x and nothing but x, and it isn't, you are setting yourself up for someone to say, no it isn't, it is y, or prove that it is x. If you emphasize the variability to begin with, then there is no need to question the views presented because they are just someone's opinions. All you have to do is prove it. If we are going to do it that way, let's do it that way. We are not telling them what the near East is, only what certain people think it is, take it or leave it. And, we are going to get into that in the very next section.Dave (talk) 03:06, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

The Balkan baloney[edit]

The Oxford and the other major dictionaries copying and pasting their stuff stated that the "Near East" originally had Balkan connotations. I think someone on the staff had secret desires to go into drama, or maybe the Internet was not invented then. I've followed it all the way back to the 1850's. The meaning is quite general. You could go to Egypt or Algeria and be in the Near East. I think the Ottomans ported it along in a little suitcase with a crescent insignia on it. The suitcase contained a flag that said "this is the Near East." Even in the time to which the dictionary refers, Armenia was in it. Is Armenia a Balkan State? Not that I know of. The Balkans got emphasized for a time because that is where all the British agents posing as journalists and travel writers went. Britain was interested at the time. It turned out to be a pretty expensive interest all the way around. In any case the dictionary's interest is not warranted. There are people defining the Near East as Iran decades before. However it is listed as a source and I guess it is. You can prove anything at all on Wikipedia. So, I have kept it as a source but I am going to downplay and divert the phony Balkan business.Dave (talk) 03:38, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

The davison debacle[edit]

I don't know what Davison (not Davidson) could have said to make us think "Near East" originated in the 1890's. It seems hard to believe he would say a thing like that. I doubt he did. I don't know because we have to buy that article. Only the first page is free. What I do know is, "Near East" did not originate in the 1890's. If he said that he was wrong. But as I say, far more likely WP is wrong. Whoever is wrong, it is a wrong statement and cannot be used here without contradicting proved statements I am going to quote. So, he is going at least for the near east.Dave (talk) 02:02, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

The - table - the - table[edit]

Nice table no doubt. The groupings of these nations are somewhat different for different agencies leading to repetitions. Iran, for example, is a Gulf state but also has its own entry. So it is in two entries. We could load the thing up with notes explaining what we mean. I think the best way to handle it is the least common denominator method. Expand that out by several countries each with its own unique entry. One of these agencies is under the State Department of the United States. So, don't we owe it to the country to try to get this comprehensible and correct? Moreover, there are international agencies, and what about the agencies of our cultural parent country and sibling countries and cousin countries? We're a pretty big family. Not to mention our good friend countries such as Turkey and Greece must have something to say. Of course we cannot fit them all into one table. However, if we codify the names of the agencies we can fit a whole lot more in there. I am sure these changes cannot be made overnight. However that is the direction in which I plan to take it unless someone has a better idea or one of equal weight. So if it starts looking a bit ragged be patient. We don't want to disappoint the State Department, do we?Dave (talk) 20:39, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

The Hobsbawn ref[edit]

Too hasty. P 17 of that work only states that SW Asia became the Middle east because the Balkans were still named the Near East. Hobsbawm does not mention Hogarth. We're going into more detail than this shallow and inaccurate one-liner by Hobsbawm. Hogarth did do a well-known geographical assessment and his book is readily available so I propose we get rid of Hobsbawm in favor of Hogarth himself. All in favor? Aye. Any opposed? Nay.Dave (talk) 09:54, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

Extraneous text[edit]

"The Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus is also included in several definitions of the Near East, based on its geographical location as well as its cultural and historical background.[1][2][3] USAID places Cyprus in their reports on the Near East.[4] Additionally, the Near East University is situated in the country's capital, Nicosia."

This text seems extraneous. A lot of words are spent elaborating the proof that Cyprus is considered by some to be in the Near East. The point is not contended as far as I know. A lot of different people have a lot of different views. We already make this point in the table. As in the discussion above, there is no point in telling them what is in the table when they can look for themselves. For Simmons book, well, there is a long list of famous archaeological books utilizing the term "Near East." Why Simmons? He's a late-comer on the scene. I created a section that covers the scholarly uses of the term and cites a few major references. Nobody is interested in what Simmons thinks as opposed to V Gordon Childe and a great many others. We don't have to prove that the archaeologists have used and are using the term. A couple of major references are all I see as being necessary; otherwise, we would have a bibliography here many pages long. The point is not contended. Simmons is not a major reference. For the Washington Post, well, dingies. Their definitions change practically minute by minute. They don't have a consistent definition. It all depends on the articles that have been written recently. If an article was not written a chunk of the Near East does not go in. They make it up article by article. This is neither a major reference nor a stable source. I'm not saying they are not a great newspaper, I'm only saying, the newspapers are not interested in stable definitions. They report on those of others. For the University of the Near East, well, that was never placed at all until there was a question about the Turkish presence in Cyprus. I'd rather see how the Turkish governemnt defines it. While we are at it we should check the Greek government, the Israeli government and some others. The table gives us room for 4 or 5 more. I will be checking into that. We should get the most influential agencies but no matter how we cut it a table of only 10 or so columns is going to omit many.Dave (talk) 14:13, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

USAID coming out of table[edit]

I looked over their site pretty carefully and they do not mention the term Near East in any way whatsoever. They have a Middle East and Africa. That is it. They have even less than the CIA and I am not putting in the CIA. This removal temporarily reduces the table to three columns. I am having trouble finding anyone who still wants to use Near East outside of ancient near east contexts. There must be others in the English-speaking world. I guess it is too much associated with the days of empire. I can find lots of people who do NOT use it. This agreement that the earlier editor was talking about, I suppose he saw that mainly in the ancient near east. If you remove them, there is no agreement. I will keep looking though. Plenty of column space left in the table.Dave (talk) 01:27, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Changing outlook[edit]

When I first started looking at this article weeks ago the previous editor(s) was/were taking the view that there was essential agreement on what the Near East is. The table was devised with that in mind. After weeks of looking at web sites and books I would have to strongly disagree and further I can say what went wrong. The initial work was done by skimming the first 20 or so web sites in English. All the uses of Near East were combined and they were all in English. The State Department came to the fore. If you have a hundred or so sites of all kinds of definitions of Near East then naturally you can skim off the ones that seem to support your point of view and that appears to have been the case.

First - the State Department and those agencies that feed from it are the only ones I know that use this term extensively. Everyone else has abandoned it. The former structure of the Ottoman Empire is simply not of much use practically speaking today. Outside the State Department there is no agreement at all on any such diplomatic region. No one you would expect to use it uses it: the British, the Greeks, the Turks, the French, the United Nations, the European Union. The diplomatic site of France had a map that says Proche Orient on it but it never lists any countries under it, only an alphabetic list of all the countries. If you really scrounge you can find an area "the Near East and Africa" but unfortunately the list does not distinguish which is which. The French are only using vague and general geographic terms here. They have no Near East region either. The status of Near East is exactly that, apart from the US State Department it is a vague and general term about which there is no agreement at all.

If we look for some relief of this vaguary, some clear definitions from the experts, we find that Near East is a very common term in academic-world. All the major universities and museum departments seem to use it. So, I looked at a large selection, several of which I put on here as external links. I will put more on. It seems that what they measn is what they have; that is, whaever collections and people they have in their inventory. That becomes the Near East for them. They are making it up as they go along. True, there is a vague and undefined sense of what might be Near Eastern. Vague and undefined. None are identical. It seems to be a posh term, a refinement that smacks of aristocracy in the British Empire, the upper class colonial officers, the ultimate taste of refinement among those who can afford it. That ain't us. We're looking for science, precision, careful definitions. We're the Thomas A Edisons of the world. We define everything and there is no universal definition of Near East.

So, slap my hands if you want, but I am changing the outlook of the article to the diversity mentioned in the intro. As for the table, well, it only demonstrates the power and influence of the State Department. It can keep that. That leaves three columns, as USAID has adopted the practical rather than the ideological approach. I am despairing of finding another. The list of agencies that di not use Near East, and wouldn't care to use it, is staggering. I have to cut it off. If you don't like my selection, put your own in, but try not to use local or less weighty agents.Dave (talk) 18:43, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

                           women of mashriq(east)

as a pakistani i consider that mashriq consist of contries like pakistan, india etc as i consider pakistani women is much better then then western women because she has openmindedness and shyness same time. in west momen has to do both work of women and man.she has gave birth of child and take care of them as a mother and work in the office like a man so she has a dual duty. eastern women has only work of women but as the modern eastern women want liberlization,modernity and she is losing his status as women and going towards west women. so, this is alarming situation for women i say to women think of it ........... by Rana yasir iqbal university college of agriculture ,sargodha ,pakistan.

What is this mess?[edit]

Half this article could be excised without losing relevant information. (talk) The 'Eastern Questions' section in particular seems a bit iffy. I really didn't get much info out of it, other than the author didn't like the Ottoman Empire. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:41, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

Middle East = Israel[edit]

Bad enough that middle and near are interchangeable. I'm fairly old and this has been bugging me since youth. Thanks for the article. To show how laughable this can all get: People talking about Israel like to say "the middle east" instead. They WILL NOT utter the word Israel. As a teenager someone told me how in the middle east sellers of souvenirs to tourists would inflate prices to outlandish levels, and would expect the tourist to "bargain". Otherwise he was just a sucker. I said that's an interesting point about Arab bazaars. He said "not Arabs". I said but the middle east is Arab countries. He said "not Arabs". He WOULD NOT say Israel. Have you noticed how some things sink in about 20 years later in life? George Slivinsky (talk) 10:08, 17 May 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by George Slivinsky (talkcontribs) 09:56, 17 May 2014 (UTC)


The definition of the near east that supposedly comes from the Encyclopædia Britannica includes Gaza, the West Bank and Palestine but not Israel, which seems odd. The source that is given leads to an article from the Encyclopædia Britannica with completely different definition. The inclusion of both Palestine as well as the names of both the Palestinian territories is also odd, since usually one or the other is used. This makes it seem to me like the name Israel has simply been changed to Palestine in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:24, 28 October 2015 (UTC)

That Britannica link in the intro, which supposedly supports the current list, does not even mention a single country by name. Clearly a fake citation.--Damianmx (talk) 09:00, 8 May 2016 (UTC)


Act of vandalism where, in the lede, "Saudi Arabia" has been changed into "saudia Arabia"? Carlotm (talk) 10:26, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Simmons, Alan H., The Neolithic Revolution in the Near East: Transforming the Human Landscape, (2007)
  2. ^ Washington Post: Near East
  3. ^ Hall, H. R., The Ancient History of the Near East: From the Earliest Times to the Battle of Salamis, Methuen, (1913)
  4. ^ United States. Agency for International Development [AID]. Office of Development Information and Utilization, "Near East, Afghanistan: selected statistical data by sex" which states that: "...individual reports have been prepared for the following countries of the Near East: Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and the Yemen Arab Republic."