The Middle East is a contested term that refers to a set of countries around the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Different sources have defined this region and its constituents differently, and it is usually associated with imperialism and colonialism during the 20th century. Instead of using the term Middle East, the World Health Organization refers to this area as the eastern Mediterranean region.

Countries in the Middle East are diverse in their historical, cultural, and/or religious backgrounds.

This region is known as the cradle of civilizations, having been the home of the Sumerian, Egyptian, Phoenician, Roman, Greek, and Persian civilizations and the birthplace for the three major religions, namely Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Depending on the source, the Middle East may include or ...

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