15 Middle East Facts You May Not Know

Asia EDITOR’S PICKS

The Middle East (ME) is constantly on the cover of magazines and in news stories because of oil production and unrest. The region of countries is laden with natural resources, culture and religious devotion. There is more to the Middle East than just oil fields. Here are 20 Middle East facts you may not know.

ME extends from Southern Asia to Northern Africa.

Japan imports nearly all the oil used by the country from the ME.

Turkey, a regional country, is in both Asia and Europe.

Arabs, an ethnic group, make up most of the region, but there are other ethnicities including Kurds, Bedouins and Chaldeans.

There are 15 countries that make up the ME.

One of the earliest trade agreements was between the ME and France. The agreement was signed by Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent in 1526.

In the 1970s, the economy was opened to foreign investors including McDonald’s.

Social spending on education and health care has been hit heavily by wars dating from 1980 to present.

Not all Arabs are Muslim. Some Arabs follow Christianity.

The population of the ME doubles about every 25 years.

The area is known widely as an oil region, but it is also rich in natural gas, phosphate and cotton.

At the start of World War I, Britain controlled oil reserves in the region.

Oil was first discovered in Saudi Arabia in 1936 by Standard Oil in California.

55% of the world’s oil reserves are found there.

Iran, Turkey and Egypt are the only three countries in the region with large supplies of fresh water.

The countries making up the region known as the Middle East have a history and culture many people never learn. While the news may report this financial fact or that battle or war, it is unknown Middle East facts that give the region a face.

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