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The Middle East refers to the “fertile crescent” between the Nile River basins in the west and the Euphrates and Tigris in the east and historically consists of one of the world's most important regions for the emergence of settled life, cities, state institutions, and civilizations. It is the birthplace of three of the most significant global religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all monotheistic. The Middle East has thus had a global impact on human culture and society and has been influenced by global trends and powers from ancient times. The Nile and its fertile flood-plain gave rise to Egyptian civilization beginning around 3500 BCE, which created the world's first imperial orders; and Mesopotamia—which literally means “the area between the two rivers” (Euphrates and Tigris)—became the ...

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