The Middle East has managed, throughout history, to always be having a war with itself or some of the surrounding countries. The wealth of this area has mostly been controlled by the countries already settled in it, but a few empires have been able to conquer it, and even the most powerful of them, the Ottomans, were only able to subdue it for a short period of time. The areas of the middle east have changed hands many times, and here are some of the people who held it.
The middle east was initially settled by desert nomads and farmers, until they settled down and created the first civilization – Mesopotamia. As Mesopotamia grew, other regions such as Canaan, Syria, Asia Minor, and Egypt showed up on the map. These new regions grew, and eventually shrank the glorious Mesopotamia into a much more recognizable civilization called Babylon. Babylon then split away from the true Mesopotamians, and the Mesopotamians went and reconquered all the areas along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. As all of this happened, the Persians exploded and wiped out all the civilizations except the newly forming Greece and Nubia. Some of the first Arabian kingdoms are starting to grow, and when the Persian Empire shatters like glass, the Arabian kingdoms immediately take out most of the Seleucid kingdoms on the Northeast shore of the Red Sea.
170 years later, Rome has taken over Egypt, Greece, Asia minor, Judaea, and Syria. This leaves Parthia, the Arabian kingdoms, Nubia, the Scythians and Armenia to play defense to the rest of the world. They slowly lose grounds against the powerful armies of the Romans, but the Romans are weakening. Arabia itself is finally formed, as well as Ethiopia. The Persian empire expands and turns into the massive Islamic caliphate. The Caliphate pushes the Byzantines back and expands into Africa after conquering all of Arabia and Yemen, but Oman is left alone on its little peninsula. The Caliphate quickly fragments, splitting into the old countries with some under new names: Persia under the Buyid Emirate, Egypt under the Fatimid Caliphate, and a little studied country called Transoxiana under the Saminid Emirate. Asia Minor falls to the Sultanate of Rum, Persia became the Empire of the Kwarism Shah, and Egypt becomes the Ayyubid Sultanate. The Crusader States are just a borderline including Jerusalem, and the Ayyubid sultanate has conquered Arabia. The Ayyubid then becomes the Mamluq and conquers Nubia while the Black Sheep Turks are over in Iran/Iraq.
The Ottomans slowly creep into the picture, and they immediately take out the Mamluq Sultanate. The Ottomans free Yemen, and take out the Black Sheep Turks, who have become the Safavid Empire and still hold Iran. Now everything except Crete, Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Ethiopia, Funj and the Safavids are under the Ottomans. The first Saudi Kingdom splits away from Arabia, and Kuwait secedes from the Ottomans. Crete has been conquered, and the Safavids have become the Persians again. Afghanistan joins the game, taking the Persians from behind, while Oman sits quietly in its little corner of the world. The Egyptian viceroyalty is started and secedes from the Ottomans, and immediately goes and conquers Saudi Arabia. Oman is still untouched.
The Ottomans take Saudi Arabia and most of Arabia away from the Viceroyalty of Egypt as the Russians cut off the Ottomans from the Northeast. Bahrain is started by the British just off the coast of Ottoman land. Emissaries from Bahrain head over to Egypt, take over the government, and make it British Egypt. As the British take over that area, the Italians take the area right next to Egypt’s modern day West boundary in a shape a lot like Nevada. The Ottomans are shrinking as the Russian Empire expands, and Persia shrinks with the Ottomans. Britain soon loses its colonies in Egypt, Sudan, Muscat, Oman, and Yemen. The Italians lose their colonies too. Persia becomes Iran, and Iraq separates from Iran. The Ottoman Empire is gone, replaced by a fully intact Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, and Yemen. Nothing really changes between 1960 and 2005, except that Yemen has conquered another British colony, and Syria has come back to life. That’s all the last map shows in 2005.
The area of the middle east has changed hands so many times it’s impossible to count. Some countries waited out the wars, like Oman and Ethiopia. Other took large part in it, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. All of it has played a big role in the shapes and strength of countries we have today.