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Encyclopedia > Fertile crescent
This map shows the extent of the Fertile Crescent.
This map shows the extent of the Fertile Crescent.

The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped region in the Middle East incorporating the Levant, Ancient Mesopotamia, and Ancient Egypt, known as the "Cradle of Civilization." The term "Fertile Crescent" was coined by University of Chicago archaeologist James Henry Breasted, around 1900. The region was named the "Fertile Crescent" because of its rich soil and half-moon shape. The Fertile Crescent was divided into 1) the eastern portion, consisting of the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys, called Mesopotamia (land between the the rivers), and 2) the western, or Mediterranean, portion. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2000x2454, 989 KB) This map shows the location and extent of the Fertile Crescent, a region in the Middle East incorporating Ancient Egypt, the Levant, and Mesopotamia where civilisation started. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2000x2454, 989 KB) This map shows the location and extent of the Fertile Crescent, a region in the Middle East incorporating Ancient Egypt, the Levant, and Mesopotamia where civilisation started. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ... The Levant The Levant (IPA: ) is an imprecise geographical term historically referring to a large area in the Middle East south of the Taurus Mountains, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and by the northern Arabian Desert and Upper Mesopotamia to the east. ... This is an article about the ancient middle eastern region. ... The pyramids are the most recognizable symbols of the civilization of ancient Egypt. ... This article is about society beginnings. ... For other uses, see University of Chicago (disambiguation). ... Cover of Time Magazine, December 14, 1931 James Henry Breasted (August 27, 1865–December 2, 1935) was born in Rockford, Illinois and was an archaeologist and historian. ... Ğ: For the film, see: 1900 (film). ...


Watered by the Nile, Euphrates and Tigris rivers and covering some 400,000-500,000 square kilometers, the region extends from the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea around the north of the Syrian Desert and through the Jazirah and Mesopotamia to the Persian Gulf. These areas correspond to the present-day Egypt, Israel , and Lebanon and parts of Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, south-eastern Turkey and south-western Iran. The population of the Nile River Basin is about 70 million, the Jordan River Basin about 20 million, and the Tigris and Euphrates Basins about 30 million, giving the present-day Fertile Crescent a total population of approximately 120 million, or at least a quarter of the population of the Middle East. For other uses, see Nile (disambiguation). ... For the song River Euphrates by the Pixies, see Surfer Rosa. ... The Tigris is the eastern member of the pair of great rivers that define Mesopotamia, along with the Euphrates, which flows from the mountains of Anatolia through Iraq. ... For other uses, see River (disambiguation). ... Mediterranean redirects here. ... The Syrian Desert (Arabic: ), also known as the Syro-Arabian desert, is a combination of steppe and true desert that is located in parts of the nations of Syria, Jordan, and Iraq. ... Al Jazira (Arabic, الجزيرة) is the traditional Arabic name for the region of northeastern modern-day Syria and northwestern modern-day Iraq. ... Mesopotamia was a cradle of civilization geographically located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq. ... Map of the Persian Gulf. ...


As crucial as rivers were to the rise of civilization in the Fertile Crescent, they were not the only factor in the area's precocity. Ecologically the area is important as the "bridge" between Africa and Eurasia. This "bridging role" has allowed the Fertile Crescent to retain a greater amount of biodiversity than either Europe or North Africa, where climate changes during the Ice Age led to repeated extinction events due to ecosystems becoming squeezed against the waters of the Mediterranean sea. Coupled with the Saharan pump theory, this Middle Eastern land-bridge is of extreme importance to the modern distribution of Old World flora and fauna, including the spread of humanity. The fact that this area has borne the brunt of the tectonic divergence between the African and Arabian plates, and the converging Arabian and Eurasian plates, has also made this region a very diverse zone of high snow-covered mountains, fertile broad aluvial basins and desert plateaux, which has also increased its biodiversity further and enabled the survival into historic times of species not found elsewhere. For the journal, see Ecology (journal). ... For other uses, see Eurasia (disambiguation). ... Rainforests are among the most biodiverse ecosystems on earth Biodiversity is the variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome or for the entire Earth. ... Variations in CO2, temperature and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 450,000 years For current global climate change, see Global warming. ... Variations in CO2, temperature and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 400 000 years For the animated movie, see Ice Age (movie). ... For other uses, see Extinction (disambiguation). ... The Sahara Pump Theory is one which is used to explain the various phases by which African flora and African fauna have left that continent to penetrate the Middle East and possibly, thereafter, the rest of the world. ... For other uses, see Old World (disambiguation). ... Simplified schematic of an islands flora - all its plant species, highlighted in boxes. ... Fauna is a collective term for animal life of any particular region or time. ... Plate tectonics (from the Greek word for one who constructs, τεκτων, tekton) is a theory of geology developed to explain the phenomenon of continental drift, and is currently the theory accepted by the vast majority of scientists working in this area. ... The tectonic plates of the world were mapped in the second half of the 20th century. ...

Euphrates River in Iraq.
Euphrates River in Iraq.

Furthermore the Fertile Crescent had a climate diversity and major climatic changes which encouraged the evolution of many "r" type annual plants, which produce more edible seeds than "K" type perennial plants, and the region's dramatic variety of elevation gave rise to many species of edible plants for early experiments in cultivation. Most importantly, as Jared Diamond shows in Guns, Germs, and Steel, the Fertile Crescent possessed the wild progenitors of the eight Neolithic founder crops important in early agriculture (i.e. wild progenitors to emmer wheat, einkorn, barley, flax, chick pea, pea, lentil, bitter vetch), and four of the five most important species of domesticated animals — cows, goats, sheep, and pigs — and the fifth species, the horse, lived nearby. For the song River Euphrates by the Pixies, see Surfer Rosa. ... In ecology, r/K selection theory relates to the selection of traits which promote success in particular environments. ... Peas are an annual plant. ... In ecology, r/K selection theory relates to the selection of traits which promote success in particular environments. ... Red Valerian, a perennial plant. ... Jared Mason Diamond (b. ... Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies is a 1997 book by Jared Diamond, professor of geography and physiology at UCLA. In 1998 it won a Pulitzer Prize and the Aventis Prize for Best Science Book. ... The Neolithic founder crops (or primary domesticates) are the eight species of plant that were domesticated by early Holocene (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A and B) farming communities in the Fertile Crescent region of Southwest Asia. ... Binomial name Triticum dicoccon Schrank Emmer wheat is a low yielding, awned wheat. ... Binomial name triticum boeoticum Einkorn wheat is a wild species of wheat, Triticum boeoticum. ... For other uses, see Barley (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Flax (disambiguation). ... Binomial name Cicer arietinum L. The chickpea, garbanzo bean or bengal gram (Cicer arietinum) is an edible pulse of the Leguminosae or Fabaceae family, subfamily India. ... Binomial name L. Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults. ... This article is about the species Lens culinaris. ... The Bitter vetch (Vicia ervilia) is a an ancient grain legume crop of the Mediterranean region (common names are: bitter vetch (English), kersannah (Arabic), yero (Spanish), rovi (Greek), burcak (Turkish)). The nutritional value of the grain for ruminant production has guaranteed the continued cultivation of V. ervilia in Morocco, Spain... COW is an acronym for a number of things: Can of worms The COW programming language, an esoteric programming language. ... This article is about the domestic species. ... Species See text. ... For other uses, see Pig (disambiguation). ... Binomial name Equus caballus Linnaeus, 1758 The horse (Equus caballus, sometimes seen as a subspecies of the Wild Horse, Equus ferus caballus) is a large odd-toed ungulate mammal, one of ten modern species of the genus Equus. ...


As a result the Fertile Crescent has an impressive record of past human activity. As well as possessing many sites with the skeletal and cultural remains of both pre-modern and early modern humans (e.g. at Kebara Cave in Israel), later Pleistocene hunter-gatherers and Epipalaeolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherers (the Natufians), this area is most famous for its sites related to the origins of agriculture. The western zone around the Jordan and upper Euphrates rivers gave rise to the first known Neolithic farming settlements (referred to as Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA)), which date to around 9,000 BCE (and includes sites such as Jericho). This region, alongside Mesopotamia (which lies to the east of the Fertile Crescent, between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates), also saw the emergence of early complex societies during the succeeding Bronze Age. There is also early evidence from this region for writing, and the formation of state-level societies. This has earned the region the nickname "The Cradle of Civilization." Human beings are defined variously in biological, spiritual, and cultural terms, or in combinations thereof. ... Neanderthal Burial of Kebara Kebara Cave ( Hebrew: מערת כבארה Mearat Kebara, Arabic: مغارة الكبارة Mugharet el-Kebara) is an Israeli limestone cave locality of the Wadi Kebara, situated at 60 - 65 metres ASL on the western escarpment of the Carmel Range, some 10km north-east of Caesarea. ... The Pleistocene epoch (IPA: ) on the geologic timescale is the period from 1,808,000 to 11,550 years BP. The Pleistocene epoch had been intended to cover the worlds recent period of repeated glaciations. ... In anthropology, the hunter-gatherer way of life is that led by certain societies of the Neolithic Era based on the exploitation of wild plants and animals. ... The Epipalaeolithic (or Epi-Palaeolithic, Epipaleolithic, or Epi-Paleolithic) was a period in the development of human technology that immediately precedes the neolithic period, as an alternative to mesolithic. ... The Natufian culture existed in the Mediterranean region of the Levant. ... The term origins of agriculture is used principally by archaeologists to describe the processes involved in the transition from subsistence strategies based on the collection of wild plant and animal resources to strategies based on the cultivation of domestic plants and the keeping of domestic animals. ... Farming, ploughing rice paddy, in Indonesia Agriculture is the process of producing food, feed, fiber and other desired products by cultivation of certain plants and the raising of domesticated animals (livestock). ... The Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (short PPNA) represents the early neolithic in the Levantine and upper Mesopotamian region of the Fertile Crescent. ... The Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (short PPNA) represents the early neolithic in the Levantine and upper Mesopotamian region of the Fertile Crescent. ... This article is about the city in the West Bank. ... In anthropology and archaeology, a complex society is a social formation that is otherwise described as a formative or developed state (i. ... Write redirects here. ... For other uses, see State (disambiguation). ... Central New York City. ...


Both the Tigris and Euphrates start in the Taurus Mountains of what is today Turkey. Farmers in southern Mesopotamia had to protect their fields from flooding each year, except Northern Mesopotamia which had just enough rain to make some farming possible.[citation needed]


Since the Bronze Age, the region's natural fertility has been greatly extended by irrigation works, upon which much of its agricultural production continues to depend. The last two millennia have seen repeated cycles of decline and recovery as past works have fallen into disrepair through the replacement of states, to be replaced under their successors. Another ongoing problem has been salination — the gradual concentration of salt and other minerals in soils with a long history of irrigation. The Bronze Age is a period in a civilizations development when the most advanced metalworking has developed the techniques of smelting copper from natural outcroppings and alloys it to cast bronze. ... Soil fertility is the characteristic of soil that supports abundant plant life. ... Irrigation is the artificial application of water to the soil usually for assisting in growing crops. ... Visible salt deposits on the former bed of the Aral Sea Soil salination is the accumulation of free salts to such an extent that it leads to degradation of soils and vegetation. ...


In the contemporary era, river waters remain a potential source of friction in the region. The Jordan lies on the borders of Israel, the kingdom of Jordan and the areas administered by the Palestinian Authority. Turkey and Syria each control about a quarter of the length of the Euphrates, on whose lower reaches Iraq is still heavily dependent. Water disputes are some of the worlds oldest forms of disputes. ... The West Bank The Palestinian National Authority (PNA or PA) is a semi-autonomous state institution nominally governing the bulk of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (which it calls the Palestinian Territories). It was established as a part of Oslo accords between the PLO and Israel. ...


References

See also

The Neolithic Revolution is the term for the first agricultural revolution, describing the transition from nomadic hunting and gathering communities and bands, to agriculture and settlement, as first adopted by various independent prehistoric human societies, in numerous locations on most continents between 10-12 thousand years ago. ... Central New York City. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Custom term paper on History / Fertile Crescent - Custom Essay Writing Services (2055 words)
Still earlier, those who occupied the arch of the Fertile Crescent and nearby territory had discovered metal, realized its potentialities, and worked it into tools and weapons that replaced the more primitive stone implements of the preceding generations.
A minor but distinct unit within the larger one is the Fertile Crescent, a semicircular belt of arable land enclosed on all sides by deserts, mountains and seas.
Assyria, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine may be considered the arc of the Crescent framing the Desert, itself a continuation of the Arabian peninsula.
Fertile crescent - Wikinfo (1182 words)
The Fertile Crescent is a region in the Middle East incorporating present-day Israel, West Bank, and Lebanon and parts of Jordan, Syria, Iraq and south-eastern Turkey.
The term "Fertile Crescent" was coined by University of Chicago archeologist James Henry Breasted.
The Fertile Crescent had a climate which encouraged the evolution of many annual plants, which produce more edible seeds than perennials, and the Fertile Crescent's dramatic variety of elevation gave rise to many species of plants for early man to experiment with.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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