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The Levant () is an
approximate An approximation is anything that is intentionally similar but not exactly equality (mathematics), equal to something else. Etymology and usage The word ''approximation'' is derived from Latin ''approximatus'', from ''proximus'' meaning ''very n ...
historical geographical term referring to a large area in the
Eastern Mediterranean Eastern Mediterranean is a loose definition of the eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Lines, a defunct Amer ...

Eastern Mediterranean
region of
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...

Western Asia
. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria, which included present-day
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
,
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part ...

Lebanon
,
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In ge ...

Jordan
,
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
,
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
and most of
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
southwest of the middle
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia (the "Land Between the Rivers"). O ...
. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the
Eastern Mediterranean Eastern Mediterranean is a loose definition of the eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Lines, a defunct Amer ...

Eastern Mediterranean
with its islands;. that is, it included all of the countries along the Eastern Mediterranean shores, extending from
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
to
Cyrenaica Cyrenaica ( ; ar, برقة, Barqah; grc-koi, Κυρηναϊκή παρχία Kurēnaïkḗ parkhíā after the city of Cyrene, Libya, Cyrene) is the eastern coastal region of Libya. Also known as ''Pentapolis'' ("Five Cities") in A ...

Cyrenaica
in eastern
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
. The term entered English in the late
15th century The 15th century was the which spans the years () to (). The term is often used to refer to the 1400s, the century between 1400 and 1499. In , the 15th century includes parts of the , the , and the . Many technological, social and cult ...
from French. It derives from the Italian , meaning "rising", implying the rising of the Sun in the east, and is broadly equivalent to the term '''' ( ar, ٱلْمَشْرِق, ), meaning "the eastern place, where the Sun rises". In the 13th and 14th centuries, the term ''levante'' was used for Italian maritime commerce in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Greece,
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
, Syria-Palestine, and Egypt, that is, the lands east of
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding ...
. Eventually the term was restricted to the Muslim countries of Syria-Palestine and Egypt. In 1581, England set up the
Levant Company The Levant Company was an English chartered company A chartered company is an association with investors or shareholder A shareholder (also known as stockholder) is an individual or institution (including a corporation) that legally owns one ...
to monopolize commerce with the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
. The name ''Levant States'' was used to refer to the French mandate over Syria and Lebanon after
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
. This is probably the reason why the term ''Levant'' has come to be used more specifically to refer to modern Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Cyprus. Some scholars mistakenly believed that it derives from the name of Lebanon. Today the term is often used in conjunction with prehistoric or ancient historical references. It has the same meaning as "Syria-Palestine" or ''Ash-
Shaam The region of Syria ( ar, ٱلشَّام, '; Hieroglyphic Luwian: ''Sura/i''; gr, Συρία), known in modern literature as Greater Syria (, '), "Syria-Palestine", or the Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical ...
'' ( ar, ٱلشَّام, ), the area that is bounded by the
Taurus Mountains The Taurus Mountains (Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Gr ...
of Turkey in the North, the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
in the west, and the north
Arabian Desert The Arabian Desert ( ar, ٱلصَّحْرَاء ٱلْعَرَبِيَّة) is a vast desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab Emirates">Rub'_al_Khali.html" ;"title="Sand ...

Arabian Desert
and
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
in the east. Typically, it does not include
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
(also called Asia Minor), the
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe and Asia. It is situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. It is home to ...
Mountains, or any part of the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...
proper.
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
(in Asia Minor) and the
Sinai Peninsula The Sinai Peninsula, or simply Sinai (now usually ) (, ), is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other ...

Sinai Peninsula
(Asian Egypt) are sometimes included. As a name for the contemporary region, several dictionaries consider Levant to be archaic today. Both the noun ''Levant'' and the adjective ''Levantine'' are now commonly used to describe the ancient and modern culture area formerly called Syro-Palestinian or Biblical: archaeologists now speak of the Levant and of Levantine archaeology; food scholars speak of
Levantine cuisine Levantine cuisine is the traditional cuisine of the Levant, known in Arabic as the Bilad al-Sham, which covers a large area of the Eastern Mediterranean. It is found in the modern states of Cyprus, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, State of Palestine, Pal ...
; and the Latin Christians of the Levant continue to be called Levantine Christians. The Levant has been described as the "crossroads of
western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...

western Asia
, the eastern Mediterranean, and
northeast Africa Northeast Africa, or ''Northeastern Africa'' or Northern East Africa as it was known in the past, is a geographic regional term used to refer to the countries of Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous contine ...
", and the "northwest of the
Arabian plate The Arabian Plate is a minor tectonic plate in the northern and eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Line ...
". The populations of the Levant share not only the geographic position, but cuisine, some customs, and
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...
. They are often referred to as ''Levantines''.


Etymology

The term ''Levant'' appears in English in 1497, and originally meant 'the ' or 'Mediterranean lands east of Italy'. It is borrowed from the French 'rising', referring to the rising of the sun in the east, or the point where the sun rises. The phrase is ultimately from the Latin word , meaning 'lift, raise'. Similar etymologies are found in Greek (''Anatolē'', ''cf.''
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
), in
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
''Morgenland'' (), in Italian (as in 'Riviera di Levante', the portion of the Liguria coast east of
Genoa Genoa ( ; it, Genova ; locally ; lij, Zêna ; English, historically, and la, Genua) is the capital of the Regions of Italy, Italian region of Liguria and the List of cities in Italy, sixth-largest city in Italy. In 2015, 594,733 people lived ...

Genoa
), in
HungarianHungarian may refer to: * Hungary, a country in Central Europe * Kingdom of Hungary, state of Hungary, existing between 1000 and 1946 * Hungarians, ethnic groups in Hungary * Hungarian algorithm, a polynomial time algorithm for solving the assignmen ...
''Kelet'', in
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
and
Catalan Catalan may refer to: Catalonia From, or related to Catalonia: * Catalan language, a Romance language * Catalans, an ethnic group formed by the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia * Països Catalans, territories where Catalan is spoken * C ...
''Levante'' and ''Llevant'', ("the place of rising"), and in Hebrew (, ''
mizrah ''Mizrah'' ( he, ''mīzrāḥ'') is the Hebrew word for "east" and the direction that in the west of Israel face during . Practically speaking, Jews would face the city of when praying, and those north, east, or south of Jerusalem face so ...

mizrah
'', 'east'). Most notably, "Orient" and its
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
source ''oriens'' meaning "east", is literally "rising", deriving from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
''orior'' "rise". The notion of the Levant has undergone a dynamic process of historical evolution in usage, meaning, and understanding. While the term "Levantine" originally referred to the European residents of the eastern Mediterranean region, it later came to refer to regional "native" and "minority" groups. The term became current in
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
in the 16th century, along with the first English merchant adventurers in the region; English ships appeared in the Mediterranean in the 1570s, and the English merchant company signed its agreement (" capitulations") with the
Ottoman Sultan The sultans of the Ottoman Empire ( tr, Osmanlı padişahları), who were all members of the Ottoman dynasty (House of Osman), ruled over the transcontinental empire from its perceived inception in 1299 to Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, it ...
in 1579. The English
Levant Company The Levant Company was an English chartered company A chartered company is an association with investors or shareholder A shareholder (also known as stockholder) is an individual or institution (including a corporation) that legally owns one ...
was founded in 1581 to trade with the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
, and in 1670 the French Compagnie du Levant was founded for the same purpose. At this time, the
Far East The Far East is a term to refer to the geographical regions that includes East and Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nati ...

Far East
was known as the "Upper Levant". In early 19th-century
travel writing The genre of travel literature encompasses outdoor literature, guide books, nature writing, and travel memoirs. One early travel memoirist in Western literature was Pausanias (geographer), Pausanias, a Greek geographer of the 2nd century AD. In t ...

travel writing
, the term sometimes incorporated certain Mediterranean provinces of the
Ottoman empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
, as well as independent
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
(and especially the
Greek islands Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2018; Athens is ...
). In 19th-century archaeology, it referred to overlapping cultures in this region during and after prehistoric times, intending to reference the place instead of any one culture. The
French mandate of Syria and Lebanon The Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon (french: Mandat pour la Syrie et le Liban; ar, الانتداب الفرنسي على سوريا ولبنان ') (1923−1946) was a League of Nations mandate A League of Nations mandate was a legal status ...
(1920–1946) was called the Levant states.


Geography and modern-day use of the term

Today, "Levant" is the term typically used by archaeologists and historians with reference to the history of the region. Scholars have adopted the term Levant to identify the region due to it being a "wider, yet relevant, cultural corpus" that does not have the "political overtones" of Syria-Palestine. The term is also used for modern events, peoples, states or parts of states in the same region, namely
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or poli ...

Cyprus
,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
,
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
,
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
,
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In ge ...

Jordan
,
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part ...

Lebanon
,
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
, and
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
are sometimes considered Levant countries (compare with
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
,
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
,
Eastern Mediterranean Eastern Mediterranean is a loose definition of the eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Lines, a defunct Amer ...

Eastern Mediterranean
and
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...

Western Asia
). Several researchers include the island of
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or poli ...

Cyprus
in Levantine studies, including the
Council for British Research in the LevantThe Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL) is a non-profit organisation that promotes humanities Humanities are academic disciplines An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge that is Education, taught ...
, the
UCLA The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organ ...
Near Eastern Languages and Cultures department, '' Journal of Levantine Studies'' and the UCL Institute of Archaeology,The Ancient Levant
UCL Institute of Archaeology, May 2008
the last of which has dated the connection between Cyprus and mainland Levant to the early
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
. Archaeologists seeking a neutral orientation that is neither biblical nor national have used terms such as Levantine archaeology and archaeology of the
Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environ ...

Southern Levant
.Dever, William G. "Syro-Palestinian and Biblical Archaeology", pp. 1244-1253.Sharon, Ilan "Biblical archaeology" in ''Encyclopedia of Archaeology'' Elsevier. While the usage of the term "Levant" in academia has been restricted to the fields of archeology and literature, there is a recent attempt to reclaim the notion of the Levant as a category of analysis in political and social sciences. Two academic journals were launched in the early 2010s using the word: the ''Journal of Levantine Studies'', published by the
Van Leer Jerusalem Institute The Polonsky Academy for Advanced Studies building, behind the main Van Leer Jerusalem Institute building. The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute (VLJI) is a center for the interdisciplinary study and discussion of issues related to philosophy, socie ...
and ''The Levantine Review'', published by
Boston College Boston College (BC) is a private university, private research university in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Founded in 1863 as a Society of Jesus, Jesuit school, the university has more than 9,300 full-time undergraduates and nearly 5,000 gradua ...
. The word ''Levant'' has been used in some translations of the term ''ash-Shām'' as used by the organization known as ISIL, ISIS, and other names, though there is disagreement as to whether this translation is accurate.


History


Demographics and religion

The largest religious group in the Levant are the
Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", ...

Muslim
s and the largest cultural-linguistic group are
Arabs The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technica ...

Arabs
. Muslim Arabs became the majority due to the
Muslim conquest of the Levant The Muslim conquest of the Levant ( ar, اَلْـفَـتْـحُ الْإٍسْـلَامِيُّ لِـلـشَّـامِ, ''Al-Fatḥ ul-Islāmiyyu lish-Shām''), also known as the Arab conquest of the Levant ( ar, اَلْـفَـتْـحُ ...
in the 7th century and subsequent
Arabization Arabization Ise vs ize, or Arabisation ( ar, تعريب ') describes both the process of growing Arab influence on non-Arab populations, causing a language shift by their gradual adoption of the Arabic language and their incorporation of the cultu ...
of the region. The majority of Muslim Levantines are
Sunni Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch Image:Tree Leaves.JPG, The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany as a ramus) is a woody structural member connected to but not part o ...
with Alawi and
Shia Shia Islam or Shi'ism is the second largest Islamic schools and branches, branch of Islam. It holds that the Prophets and messengers in Islam, Islamic prophet Muhammad in Islam, Muhammad designated Ali, Ali ibn Abi Talib as his Succession to Mu ...
minorities. Other large ethnic groups in the Levant include
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...

Jews
,
Maronites The Maronites ( ar, الموارنة; syr, ܡܖ̈ܘܢܝܐ) are an ethnoreligious Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christi ...
,
Kurds Kurds ( ku, کورد ,Kurd, italic=yes, rtl=yes) or Kurdish people are an Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ...
, Turks,
Turkmens Turkmens ( tk, , , , ; historically the Turkmen), also known as Turkmen Turks ( tk, , ), are a Turkic ethnic group native to Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primari ...
,
Antiochian Greeks Antiochian Greek Christians, (Arabic language, Arabic: مسيحيو أنطاكية اليونانيون; Greek language, Greek: Ρωμιοί της Αντιοχείας) also known as Rûm, are a Levantine Arabic-speaking ethnoreligious Eastern Chri ...
,
Assyrians Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disambiguation) * SS Assyrian, SS ''Assyrian'', seve ...
,
Yazidi Yazidis, also written as Yezidis (, ku, ئێزیدی, ), are an endogamous Endogamy is the practice of marrying within a specific social group, caste Caste is a form of social stratification characterized by endogamy, hereditary tr ...
Kurds Kurds ( ku, کورد ,Kurd, italic=yes, rtl=yes) or Kurdish people are an Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ...

Kurds
,
Druze Druze (; ar, درزي ' or ', plural ') are members of an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Mi ...
and
Armenians Armenians ( hy, հայեր, ''Romanization of Armenian, hayer'' ) are an ethnic group native to the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia. Armenians constitute the main population of Armenia and the ''de facto'' independent Republic of Artsakh, A ...
. There are many Levantine Christian groups such as
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
,
Oriental The Orient is a term for the East East is one of the four cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite ...
Orthodox (mainly
Syriac Orthodox#REDIRECT Syriac Orthodox Church , native_name_lang = syc , image = Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate 2k18.jpg , imagewidth = , alt = Cathedral of Saint George , caption = Cathedral of Sain ...
,
Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century * Coptic alphabet, th ...

Coptic
,
Georgian Georgian may refer to: Common meanings * Anything related to, or originating from Georgia (country) **Georgians, an indigenous Caucasian ethnic group **Georgian language, a Kartvelian language spoken by Georgians **Georgian scripts, three scripts ...
, and
Maronite The Maronites ( ar, الموارنة; syr, ܡܖ̈ܘܢܝܐ) are an ethnoreligious Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christ ...
),
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...
,
Nestorian Nestorianism is a polysemic Polysemy ( or ; from grc-gre, πολύ-, , "many" and , , "sign") is the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple meanings, usually related by contiguity of meaning within a semantic field. Polysemy is thus ...
, and
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
.
Armenians Armenians ( hy, հայեր, ''Romanization of Armenian, hayer'' ) are an ethnic group native to the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia. Armenians constitute the main population of Armenia and the ''de facto'' independent Republic of Artsakh, A ...
mostly belong to the
Armenian Apostolic Church , native_name_lang = hy , icon = Armenian Apostolic Church logo.png , icon_width = 100px , icon_alt = , image = Էջմիածնի_Մայր_Տաճար.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , al ...
. There are Levantines or Franco-Levantines who are mostly
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman Catholic
. There are also
Circassians The Circassians (also referred to as Cherkess or Adyghe; ; ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certai ...

Circassians
, Turks,
Samaritans Samaritans (; ; he, שומרונים, translit=Shomronim; ar, السامريون, translit=as-Sāmiriyyūn) or Samaritan people are members of an originating from the of historical . They are native to the and adhere to , an , and in t ...

Samaritans
, and Nawars. There are Assyrian peoples belonging to the Assyrian Church of the East (autonomous) and the Chaldean Catholic Church (Catholic). In addition, this region has a number of sites that are of religious significance of the Syrian region, religious significance, such as Al-Aqsa Mosque, Antioch in Hatay Province, Hatay, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Western WallFrishman, Avraham; ''Kum Hisalech Be’aretz'', Jerusalem, 2004 in Jerusalem.


Language

Most populations in the Levant speak Levantine Arabic (, ), usually classified as the varieties North Levantine Arabic in Lebanon, Syria, and parts of Turkey, and South Levantine Arabic in Palestine and Jordan. Each of these encompasses a spectrum of regional or urban/rural variations. In addition to the varieties normally grouped together as "Levantine", a number of other varieties and dialects of Arabic are spoken in the Levant area, such as Levantine Bedawi Arabic and Mesopotamian Arabic. Among the languages of Israel, the official language is Hebrew language, Hebrew; Arabic was until July 19, 2018, also an official language. The Arab citizens of Israel, Arab minority, in 2018 about 21% of the population of Israel, speaks a dialect of Levantine Arabic essentially indistinguishable from the forms spoken in the Palestinian territories. Of the languages of Cyprus, the majority language is Greek, followed by Turkish (in the north). Two minority languages are recognized: Armenian, and Cypriot Maronite Arabic, a hybrid of mostly medieval Arabic vernaculars with strong influence from contact with Greek, spoken by approximately 1,000 people. Some communities and populations speak Western Neo-Aramaic, Aramaic, Greek language, Greek, Armenian language, Armenian, Circassian language, Circassian, French language, French, Russian language, Russian, or
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
.


See also

Overlapping regional designations * Fertile Crescent * Mashriq *
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
*
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
*
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
*
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...

Western Asia
Subregional designations *
Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environ ...

Southern Levant
Others * French post offices in the Ottoman Empire ("Levant" stamps) * History of the Levant * Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Referred to in current events as ISIL or ISIS) * Levantine Sea * Levantines (Latin Christians), Catholic Europeans in the Levant ''Other places in the east of a larger region'' * Levante, Spain * Riviera di Levante, Italy


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * *


Further reading

* Julia Chatzipanagioti: Griechenland, Zypern, Balkan und Levante. Eine kommentierte Bibliographie der Reiseliteratur des 18. Jahrhunderts. 2 Vol. Eutin 2006.
Levantine Heritage
site. Includes many oral and scholarly histories, and genealogies for some Levantine Turkish families. * Philip Mansel, ''Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean'', London, John Murray, 11 November 2010, hardback, 480 pages, , New Haven, Yale University Press, 24 May 2011, hardback, 470 pages,


External links


''France and the Levant''
{{Authority control Levant, Eastern Mediterranean Near East Geography of the Middle East History of Western Asia Regions of Europe Geography of Cyprus Geography of Israel Geography of Jordan Geography of Lebanon Geography of the State of Palestine Geography of Syria Geography of Hatay Province Regions of Asia Historical regions