Cultural Geography of
North Africa
Ch 18 section 1
Countries of North Africa
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Egypt
Morocco
Algeria
Tunisia
Libya
Ethnic Groups of North Africa
Lots of Europeans along the coastal regions
Indigenous people to North Africa before Arab
invasions were the Berbers
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Most of the 15 million exist today as farmers
Previously they were pastoral nomads
Mostly found in Atlas Mts and in Sahara
The other principal ethnic group is the Arab people
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First migrated from Arabian Peninsula in 600s
Most passed through Egypt and many settled there
The nomadic bedouin (BEHDOOIHN) came from the
deserts of the Arabian Peninsula and can still be
found herding in the Sahara desert near oases
Europeans in North Africa
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Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia have had the
most continuous contact with Europe
French, Spanish Muslims, Romans and
Jews have all influenced the culture of N.
Africa.
Population Distribution
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Because its scarce availability of water is the main influence of
where people settled in N. Africa
People settle along seacoasts and in river deltas
90% of people in Egypt live along the Nile making it the
most densely populated region of the world
Areas with LARGE populations
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Casablanca, Morroco
Algiers, Algeria
Tunis, Tunisia
Tripoli in Libya
Cairo in Egypt which is it’s the primate city and dominates social
and cultural life in the country
Rapid Urbanization
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Urban areas of North Africa are rapidly
growing
In some cases it is happening too quickly to
to support enough jobs, housing, or to
develop infrastructure
Buzz Word Infrastructure
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basic urban necessities needed to function
right
Includes streets, traffic signs, education,
sanitation, power and water lines, prisons,
mail service
History and Government of North
Africa
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The Sahara and Nile River Valley has
influenced culture here
Location near Europe and Southwest Asia
has made it vulnerable to numerous
migrations and invasions over the years
European, Arab, and Berber influences
exist here.
Earliest Peoples
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10000 years ago
Hunters and gathers
By 6000 BC farming communities had
developed
These people were among the first to
domesticate plants and animals.
Egyptian Civilization
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6000 years ago developed in fertile Nile River
valley
Annual floods from Nile deposited rich soils on the
floodplain
During dry season they used sophisticated
irrigation systems to water groups and could grow
2 crops each year
Created 365 day calendar
Built impressive pyramids as tombs for their
rulers
invented a form of picture writing called
hieroglyphics
Arab Invaders in the 600s
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From Arabian Peninsula
In Algeria and Morocco the Berbers
assimilated and became like the Arabs
In Tunisia there was more resistance
Exiles from Spain in the 1400s
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Many Jewish and Muslim exiles came in
1400s
Settled in Morocco and Spain
Ottoman Empire in the 1500s
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Took over in Algeria
Gave them freedom in 1800s
European Conquests and Rule in the
1800s
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European colonial rule also affected people and
cultures in N. Africa.
Geometric boundaries were created
Often follow straight lines and do not account for
natural and cultural features
Exist b/t Libya, Egypt, and Algeria
Drawn by European nations
Created conflict b/t the new countries because
local practices of govt were not the same as
European ideas about governing
Rise of Nationalism in the 1800s
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A well educated urban middle class trained in
European ways developed in N. Africa
These people adopted ideas about nationalism
This is the belief that ethnic groups have the
right to their own independent country
People began to demand self rule
Gaining Independence in the 1900s
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Egypt gained independence from the UK in 1922___. It contains the
SUEZ CANAL (important shipping lane that connects Med Sea to Red
Sea across Eypgt)__which makes it a key regional power and is also an
important center for Arab nationalism__.
Algeria gained independence from France in 1962 after strong nationalist
movement led to civil war in mid-1900s___. Describe life there since.
Has developed resources and increased standard of living
A civil war in 1990s killed over 100,000 people
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Other countries also gained independence in the 1950s and 1960s.
Libya won independence from Italy__in 1951 but was then ruled by a
strong Western friendly monarchy__. In 1969 who overthrew it and still
rules the oil rich country today?a coup led by Colonel Muammar al
Qaddafi and he rules the oil rich country still
Tunisia __separated from France in 1956 and Morrocco__won
independence from France in 1956__ and is today a constitutional
monarchy.
Culture of North Africa
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What cultures shaped the lives of the people in N.
Africa?(442)
Indigenous, Arab and European cultures
Religion
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What religion did the Arabs bring when they invaded N. Africa?
Islam Most belong to the Sunni branch which believs that the
leadership should be in the nads of the Islamic community at
large
Describe some of their practices.
Worship 5 times a day
A muezzin (or crier) calls the faithful to prayer
from the minaret or tower of each local mosque
(church)
Following the movements of the imam(prayer
leader) they bow and kneel touching their
foreheads to the ground in the direction of the
holy city of Makkah (Mecca) in Saudi Arabia
Language
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The Arabic __language is also the region’s
main language. Many non-Mulsim learned
it in order to read the Quran (the holy
book) and so the language spread as well
as the religion
Education
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Most young people attend school
it is free enrollment
Increasing literacy rates
Vary widely
52% in Morocco
82% in Libya (higher sol with oil)
Healthcare
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Has also improved in recent decades
People often go to govt owned hospitals
Doctor shortages mean limited care for
rural people
Arts
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Egyptians built pyramids as tombs for royal
dead
Weaving, embroidery, and metalwork
influenced by Islam
Most popular form of music in Algeria is
rai=various instruments and poetic lyrics.
Cultural Geography of
Eastern Mediterranean
Ch 18 section 2
Countries in Eastern Mediterranean
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Israel
Lebanon
Syria
Jordan
Effected Population of Eastern
Mediterranean
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Migration
Claims to ancestral homes
Boundary disputes
Religion: millions are either Araba or Jews
Arabs
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Ancestor from Arabian Peninsula
Share similar customs
Speak Arabic (originated from Arabian
Pen)
Usually are followers of Islam (Muslim)
Jews
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Speak Hebrew
Practice Judaism
About a million are in Israel (Israelis)
Can trace their heritage to the Israelites
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lived in Canaan which today is part of both Israel and
Lebanon
believe that GOD had given the area as a permanent
homeland
Wars, forced exile, persecution and trade forced the
Jews to settle in other countries
BW: Cultural Identity
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Something that connects you to other people or
places
in this region religion links both the Jews and the
Arabs to their ancestral home! (Israel)
In 1948 Israel was re-created and given to the Jews
The Arabs in the region think did not want it in the
territory that had been THEIR homeland for 100s
of years
Many Arabs live in what is now a territory of Israel
called Palestine & some have had to move to Syria,
Lebanon, and Jordan because of the many wars.
Population Distribution
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Most people live along coastal plains and in
Euphrates River Valley cause of dry desert
climate
Small land areas, lack of water and large
numbers = some of highest pop densities in
SW Asia
Lebanon 941 per sq mile
This area is predominately urban.
Immigration to Israel
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HUGE since 1948
Now at over one million Jews
Increase in 1989 when Soviet Union allowed
people to leave
Jews from over 100 other countries (diverse
culture)
History and Government of Eastern
Mediterranean
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Eastern Mediterranean is like a bridge
between Europe, Africa, and Asia
Also is home to the 3 major world
religions
Early Civilizations
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One of the oldest and most continuously
settled cities in the world is Damascus,
Syria.
This area was an important commercial
trade center by 3000 BC
100s of thousands of people lived in this
Jewish (Semitic) empire by 2400 BC.
World Religions
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3 major religions began in eastern
Mediterranean:
 Judaism
 Christianity
 Islam
All believe in one god
Jerusalem is holy city to all three
Judaism
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One of oldest faiths
Ancient Israelites were first to create the kingdom of Israel
with Jerusalem as its capital
Teaches obedience to gods laws and creation of a just
society
Holy book is called the Torah (Old testament to Christians)
Original followers were called the Hebrews and now are
called Jews
Christianity
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30 ad in land of Israel
Jewish guy named Jesus began preaching and gathered
followers
Taught that those who put faith in him and followed
teaching would go to heaven after death
After death of Jesus new religion was created on his life
and teachings called Christianity
Holy Bible=Old Testament and New Testament
Islam
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610 AD
revelations of God came to Muhammad in Mecca in Ar. Pen
he began preaching for people to turn from sin and worship one true
God
followers claimed that he was last in line of prophets
By 700s spread into parts of Europe and N Africa
Effects way dress and politics
The mosque=house of worship where Muslims pray
Islamic empires in this region rose and fell as
centuries passed.
European Conquests/Rule in the
1800s
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Region’s economic development was limited
by its physical geography
Western European nations took over areas to
control minerals, wood and coal to fuel their
industrial revolution
Gaining Independence
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Around time of WWII (1940s)
Lebanon France in 1943
Syria from France in 1946
Algeria from France
Jordan from British in 1946
Re-creation of Israel
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Jews had settled into communities scattered all over the world
after being kicked out of their homeland (Israel) by the
Romans
Weren’t treated well where they settled)
In the late 1800 many Zionists began to call for a return to
their homeland
Problem it was now Palestine and Arabs lived there and
considered it their homeland
British was still in control of it in the early 1900s
After WWII, fighting broke out b/t Jews, Arabs, and British
force.
The UN decided in 1947 to divide Palestine into a Jewish
State and a Arab state
Once British got out Jews claimed Israel independent in 1948
Fighting b/t the Israelis and the
Palestinians
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Six wars fought over next 25 years
Israelis are the Jews and want Arabs out
Palestinians are the Arabs and many want to return home and have an
independent state of their own
By 1990s Palestinians were getting closer to limited self rule and
acknowledging Israel’s right to exist.
Israel was removing troops and handing control of the West Bank and
Gaza Strip to the Palestinians.
Peace stalled in 2002.
The chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization 2004 died in 2004
and the Islamic group the Hamas won election sin 2006 in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip.
The Hamas oppose Israel and supported armed attacks on Israeli
territory
(map page 446)
Culture of Eastern Mediterranean
Religion
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The majority of people who practice Islam follow the Sunni
branch of religion
Though Arabs in Syria and Lebanon follow the Shia
Followers of Judaism and Christianity make up _only a
small % of the population.
Most Jews live in Israel
Large groups of Christians live in Lebanon and Syria but
are still a minority.
Family life usually includes extended family an often
involves religious worship
During Ramadan, Muslims fast during daylight hours.
Dress
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Western style dress is becoming more common
in the area especially among Christian and
Jewish
Most Muslims dress modestly with some
women wearing a veil over face and
completely cover their hands and feet.
Language
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Hebrew is spoken in Israel
Primary language in all other areas is Arabic
English is also spoken in some areas.
Education
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Compulsory and free
Literacy rates vary from 76% in Syria to
96% in Israel
Healthcare
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Healthcare has improved recently
hospitals are often govt owned
Arts
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For thousands of years the peoples of this area
expressed themselves through arts and architecture
Artists and writers later found inspiration in religion
Muslim scholars write about Islamic achievements
and translated Greek writings into Arabic
Later works added European knowledge about the
ancient world.
Syrian arts and scholarly works rivaled those of
Mesopotamia and influenced Roman culture and
thought
Cultural Geography of
the Northeast
Chapter 18 section 3
The countries in the Northeast
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Turkey
Iraq
Iran
Original Settlers
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Migrated from Central Asia and the Arabian
Peninsula
Languages and customs connect with their
ancestral homes
Religion of Islam is a dominant aspect of
these cultures
the Turks
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Occupied for past 8000 years the Peninsula of
Anatolia (present day Turkey) by many peoples
Turks migrated there in 1000 Ad from Central
Asia
One group the Ottoman Turks later built the
Ottoman Empire which ruled much of the eastern
Med world for more than 600 years
Must practice Islam and speak Turkish language
Their cultures blend Turkish, Islamic and Western
elements
Iran
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Almost 67 million people
Once called Persia
Has been invaded numerous times over the
centuries.
Speak Farsi (Persian)
90% practice the Shia branch of Islam
Iraq
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The majority of people living in Iraq are
Arabs
Most are Shia Muslims and about 35% are
Sunni Muslims.
Arabic is most common language spoken.
The Kurds
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Lived for over 2000 years in the mountainous
border areas of Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.
Most are Sunni Muslims
Speak Kurdish language related to Farsi
Customs and dress differ from the those of the
Arabs
Have no country of their own but often participate
in efforts to win self rule but are repeatedly crushed
by Turkish and Arab rulers
Population
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Turkey and Iran have about 70 million
people
Iraq 29 million
Majority live in large cities or towns
Most of population of Iraq lives in the area
that stretches from Baghdad to the Persian
Gulf
Population density is higher in Turkey than
in Iran.
Large Urban Areas
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Istanbul, Turkey
Tehran, Iran
Baghdad, Iraq
Problem in many cities
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Becoming overcrowded due to number of
migrating there in search of better life
How some are dealing with problems
with infrastructure
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Installing traffic control systems
Improving public transportation
In Iran are moving some govt offices to
various towns and villages away from
capital of Tehran and improving services in
outlying areas to slow Tehran’s grow
History and Government
Mesopotamia
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area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers
Sumerian Civilization developed here
Mastered farming by growing crops year
round and using canals to irrigate them.
Advances in math and engineering
Created a code of law.
Kept records using writing system called
cuneiform wedged shaped symbols written
on clay tablets.
Phoenician civilization
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Began along the eastern Mediterranean coast
around 3000 BC.
Traded widely across the Sea
Developed revolutionary new alphabet in
which letters stood for sounds that formed
the basis for many modern alphabets
Persian Empire
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Extended across the region in the 500s BC.
great achievement was building qanats:
underground canals so that the water
would not evaporate and could go from
mts to their farmlands
Ottoman Empire
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Lasted for 600 years and was centered in
present day Turkey.
Included Northern Africa, western Asia,
and southeastern Europe
Came to an end during WWI
The country of Turkey was established out
of its center in 1923 and is now a candidate
to join the EU
European Control in the 1800s
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Controlled large areas in the late 1800s.
Areas won independence from them in the
1900s
1900s Independence
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Iraq
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Britain controlled it till 1932
Since then it has experienced periods of turmoil including
recent the Gulf War and the recent Iraq War with the
US
Iran
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Borders Iraq on eastern side of the Zagros Mts which
provided a physical boundary.
Its people have experienced lots of political and social
upheavals as well.
The Islamic Revolution occurred in 1979 clerics (religious
leaders) came to power and continue to dominate the
country’s politics.
Early 1900s: the Oil Era
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Overtime the wells produced a large quantity and
came under the control of regional powers__.
In the late 1950s OPEC (Organization of
Petroleum Exporting Countries) was created
Members are Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia,
Venezuela
OPEC regulates the production of oil in order to
keep prices high
In 1973 OPEC placed embargoes on many nations
when it got mad about war b/t Arabs and Israelis
Culture
RELGION
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The most populous religious group in both
Iraq and Iran are the Shia Muslims (believe
ruler of nations should descend from
Muhammad)
In Turkey the majority who practice Islam
are Sunni Muslims(believe rulers should be
followers of Muhammad; most are this
branch)
LANGUAGE
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Most people in Iraq speak Arabic
In Iran the people speak Farsi (Persian)
In Turkey Turkish
Kurds speak language similar to Farsi
EDUCATION
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Education is required through grade 6 in Iraq
Education is required through grade 8 in
Turkey.
The literacy rate is 80% in Iran
The literacy rate is 86% in Turkey
Before the Islamic Revolution in 1979 less
than 50% of Iranians could read or write but
since then efforts have been made to reform
education from a secular to a religious focus.
HEALTHCARE
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Healthcare in this sub region varies
Iraq is struggling to rebuild its hospitals
since the Persian Gulf War in 1991
In Iran and Turkey, hospitals are govt owned
but suffer from doctor shortages in rural
areas
ARTS
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Early civilizations of this sub region created
sculptures, fine metalwork and large buildings.
In Mesopotamia, the Sumerians built ziggurats:
which are large mud bricked temples shaped like
pyramids and rose above flat landscape there.
Literature is based on strong oral traditions, epics
and poetry.
Iran is famous for its rugs handmade of fine
wools
Essay Questions
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Describe at least two problems that exist when an
infrastructure is not built properly because of rapid
urbanization. (2 pts each)
Explain, briefly, what all the drama in Israel is
about. (include the groups involved and what they
don’t agree on)(6 pts) Do you think this will ever
be settled?(2 pts) Explain why or why not. (3 pts)
Explain two things that the majority of nations of
this region have in common regarding their cultural
geography. (3 pts each)
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Cultural Geography of the Northeast