WESTERN ASIA, WEST ASIA, SOUTHWESTERN ASIA or SOUTHWEST ASIA is the
westernmost subregion of
Asia . The concept is in limited use, as it
significantly overlaps with the
Middle East (or the
Near East ), the
main difference usually being the exclusion of
Egypt (which would be
counted as part of
North Africa ). The term is sometimes used for the
purposes of grouping countries in statistics . The total population of
Asia is an estimated 300 million as of 2015.
In an unrelated context, the term is also used in ancient history and
archaeology to divide the
Fertile Crescent into the "Asiatic" or
"Western Asian" cultures as opposed to ancient
Egypt . As a geographic
Asia includes the
Iran , the
Armenian Highlands , the
South Caucasus , the Arabian
peninsula as well as the
Sinai Peninsula , making
transcontinental country . Although the term "Western Asia" is mostly
used as a convenient division of contemporary sovereign states into a
manageable number of world regions for statistical purposes, it is
sometimes used instead of the more geopolitical term "
Middle East ",
for example by the
Government of Canada
Government of Canada .
The term is used pragmatically and has no "correct" or generally
agreed-upon definition. The National Geographic Style Manual as well
as Maddison 's The World Economy: Historical
Statistics (2003) by the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) only
includes Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman,
Qatar, Palestinian territories (called
West Bank and Gaza in the
latter), Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, UAE, and
Yemen as West Asian
countries. In contrast to this definition, the United Nations
Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in its 2015 yearbook also
Armenia and Azerbaijan, and excludes
Israel (as Other) and
Turkey (as Europe). Unlike the UNIDO, the United Nations Statistics
Division (UNSD) excludes
Iran from Western
Asia and include Turkey,
Cyprus in the region. In the United Nation's
geopolitical Eastern European Group ,
Armenia and Georgia are included
in Eastern Europe, whereas
Cyprus and East Thracian
Turkey are in
Southern Europe. These three nations are listed in the European
category of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural
National members of West Asian sports governing bodies are limited to
Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Oman, Palestine,
Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The
Olympic Council of
Asia 's multi-sport event
West Asian Games are
contested by athletes representing these thirteen countries. Among the
region's sports organisations are the West
Asia Basketball Association
, West Asian Billiards and Snooker
Federation , West Asian Football
Federation , and the
West Asian Tennis Federation .
* 1 History
* 2 Geography
* 2.1 Geology
* 2.2 Climate
* 3 Demographics
* 5 Statistical data
* 6 Sports
* 7 Map of Western
* 8 See also
* 9 References
* 10 External links
See also: History of the
Middle East , Ancient
Near East , History of
Ottoman Empire ,
Treaty of Gulistan ,
Treaty of Turkmenchay
Treaty of Turkmenchay , and
Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire
"Western Asia" was in use as a geographical term in the early 19th
century, even before "
Near East " became current as a geopolitical
concept. In the context of the history of classical antiquity ,
"Western Asia" could mean the part of
Asia known in classical
antiquity, as opposed to the reaches of "interior Asia", i.e. Scythia
, and "Eastern Asia" the easternmost reaches of geographical knowledge
in classical authors, i.e.
Transoxania and India . In the 20th
century, "Western Asia" was used to denote a rough geographical era in
the fields of archaeology and ancient history , especially as a
shorthand for "the
Fertile Crescent excluding Ancient
Egypt " for the
purposes of comparing the early civilizations of
Egypt and the former.
Use of the term in the context of contemporary geopolitics or world
economy appears to date from the 1960s.
See also: Geography of
Asia is located directly south of
Eastern Europe . The region
is surrounded by seven major seas; the
Aegean Sea , the
Black Sea ,
Caspian Sea , the
Persian Gulf , the
Arabian Sea , the
Red Sea ,
Mediterranean Sea .
To the north, the region is delimited from
Europe by the Caucasus
Mountains , to the southwest, it is delimited from
Africa by the
Isthmus of Suez , while to the east, the region adjoins Central Asia
Dasht-e Kavir and
Dasht-e Lut deserts in eastern
delimit the region somewhat from
Three major tectonic plates converge on Western Asia, including the
African , Eurasian , and Arabian plates. The boundaries between the
tectonic plates make up the Azores-Gibraltar Ridge , extending across
North Africa , the
Red Sea , and into Iran. The
Arabian Plate is
moving northward into the Anatolian plate (Turkey) at the East
Anatolian Fault , and the boundary between the Aegean and Anatolian
plate in eastern
Turkey is also seismically active.
Several major aquifers provide water to large portions of Western
Asia. In Saudi Arabia, two large aquifers of
Palaeozoic and Triassic
origins are located beneath the
Jabal Tuwayq mountains and areas west
to the Red Sea.
Eocene -origin aquifers are located
beneath large portions of central and eastern Saudi Arabia, including
Wasia and Biyadh which contain amounts of both fresh water and saline
water . Flood or furrow irrigation, as well as sprinkler methods, are
extensively used for irrigation , covering nearly 90,000 km² across
Asia for agriculture.
A Lebanese cedar forest in winter. Köppen climate
classification map of West Asia. See also: Climate of
Asia is primarily arid and semi-arid , and can be subject to
drought , but it also contains vast expanses of forest and fertile
valleys. The region consists of grasslands , rangelands , deserts ,
and mountains .
Water shortages are a problem in many parts of West
Asia, with rapidly growing populations increasing demands for water,
while salinization and pollution threaten water supplies. Major
rivers, including the
Tigris and Euphrates , provide sources for
irrigation water to support agriculture .
There are two wind phenomena in Western Asia: the sharqi and the
shamal . The sharqi (or sharki) is a wind that comes from the south
and southeast. It is seasonal, lasting from April to early June, and
comes again between late September and November. The winds are dry and
dusty, with occasional gusts up to 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles
per hour) and often kick up violent sand and dust storms that can
carry sand a few thousand meters high, and can close down airports for
short periods of time. These winds can last for a full day at the
beginning and end of the season, and for several days during the
middle of the season. The shamal is a summer northwesterly wind
Iraq and the
Persian Gulf states (including Saudi Arabia
and Kuwait), often strong during the day, but decreasing at night.
This weather effect occurs anywhere from once to several times a year.
Asia contains large areas of mountainous terrain. The
Anatolian Plateau is sandwiched between the Pontus
Mount Ararat in
Turkey rises to 5,137
meters. The Zagros
Mountains are located in Iran, in areas along its
border with Iraq. The Central Plateau of
Iran is divided into two
drainage basins . The northern basin is
Dasht-e Kavir (Great Salt
Dasht-e-Lut is the southern basin.
Yemen , elevations exceed 3,700 meters in many areas, and highland
areas extend north along the
Red Sea coast and north into
Lebanon . A
fault -zone also exists along the Red Sea, with continental rifting
creating trough -like topography with areas located well-below sea
level . The
Dead Sea , located on the border between the
West Bank ,
Israel , and
Jordan , is situated at 418 m (1371 ft) below sea level,
making it the lowest point on the surface of the
Rub\' al Khali , one of the world's largest sand deserts, spans the
southern third of the
Arabian Peninsula in Saudi Arabia, parts of
United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Jebel al Akhdar is a small
range of mountains located in northeastern Oman, bordering the Gulf of
The population of Western
Asia was estimated at 272 million as of
2008, projected to reach 370 million by 2030 by Maddison (2007; the
estimate excludes the
Caucasus and Cyprus). This corresponds to an
annual growth rate of 1.4% (or a doubling time of 50 years), well
above the world average of 0.9% (doubling time 75 years). The
population of Western
Asia is estimated at about 4% of world
population , up from about 39 million at the beginning of the 20th
century, or about 2% of world population at the time.
The most populous countries in the region are
each with around 79 million people, followed by
Iraq and Saudi Arabia
with around 33 million people each.
Asia is predominantly Arab , Persian , Turkish ,
and the dominating languages are correspondingly
Arabic , Persian and
Turkish , each with of the order of 70 million speakers, followed by
smaller communities of Kurdish , Azerbaijani ,
Hebrew , Armenian and
Eastern Aramaic . The dominance of
Arabic and Turkish is the result of
the medieval Arab and Turkic invasions beginning with the Islamic
conquests of the 7th century AD, which displaced the formerly dominant
Hebrew in the Levant, and Greek in Anatolia, although
Hebrew is once again the dominant language in
Israel , and Aramaic
(spoken largely by Assyrians ) and Greek both remain present in their
respective territories as minority languages.
Other significant native minorities include Assyrians ,
Shabaks , Syriac
Economy of Western
The economy of Western
Asia is diverse and the region experiences
high economic growth.
Turkey has the largest economy in the region,
Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Petroleum is the major industry in
the regional economy, as more than half of the world's oil reserves
and around 40 percent of the world's natural gas reserves are located
in the region.
COUNTRY , WITH FLAG
(per km²) CAPITAL
(2012) Per capita
ARABIAN PENINSULA :
United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
SOUTH CAUCASUS :
FERTILE CRESCENT :
Arabic , Kurdish
Israeli new shekel
Israeli new shekel
Egyptian pound ,
Jordanian dinar ,
Israeli new shekel
Israeli new shekel
IRANIAN PLATEAU :
MEDITERRANEAN SEA :
Greek , Turkish
SINAI PENINSULA :
1 The figures for
East Thrace , which is not a part
2 The area and population figures for
Egypt only include the Sinai
Ramallah is the actual location of the government, whereas the
proclaimed capital of Palestine is
Jerusalem , which is disputed .
Jerusalem is the proclaimed capital of
Israel and the actual
location of the
Israeli Supreme Court , etc.
West Asian Tennis Federation regulates the championships and
leagues in the region.
The West Asian Billiards line-height: 1; text-align: center;
background-color: #ffffff; position: relative; max-width: 100%;
overflow-x: auto;"> Arm.
Kuwait Leb. (Az.)
Oman Pal. Pal. Qatar
Gulf of Aden
Gulf of Aden Gulf of
Sea of Azov
Sea of Azov AFRICA ASIA
* Geography portal
* Cinema of West
* List of World Heritage Sites in Western
West Asian Games
* West Asian Basketball League
Asia Basketball Association
* West Asian Billiards ">
* ^ "Ethnic Origin (247), Single and Multiple Ethnic Origin
Responses (3) and Sex (3) for the
Population of Canada, Provinces,
Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006
Statistics Canada. 2006. Archived from the original on March
* ^ Miller, David. "West
Asia Map". National Geographic Style
National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society .
* ^ Maddison, Angus (2004). The World Economy: Historical
Statistics (Print)format= requires url= (help ). Development Centre
Studies. Paris, France: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) (published 2003). ISBN 92-64-10412-7 . LCCN
OCLC 53465560 .
United Nations Industrial Development Organisation Vienna
(UNIDO) (2005). International Yearbook of Industrial
Edward Elgar Publishing . p. 14.
* ^ "Standard
Country or Area Codes for Statistical Use".
Millenniumindicators.un.org. Retrieved 2012-08-25. The UNSD notes that
the "assignment of countries or areas to specific groupings is merely
for statistical convenience and does not imply any assumption
regarding political or other affiliation of countries or territories."
* ^ "WABSF Member Countries".
* ^ "The West Asian Games". Topend Sports.
* ^ "WAFF Member Associations". The-Waff.com.
* ^ e.g. James Rennell, A treatise on the comparative geography of
western Asia, 1831.
* ^ James Rennell, The Geographical System of Herodotus Examined
and Explained, 1800, p. 210.
* ^ Hugh Murray, Historical Account of Discoveries and Travels in
* ^ Samuel Whelpley, A compend of history, from the earliest times,
1808, p. 9.
* ^ e.g. Petrus Van Der Meer, The Chronology of Ancient Western
Asia and Egypt, 1955. Karl W. Butzer, Physical Conditions in Eastern
Egypt Before the Period of Agricultural and
Urban Settlement, 1965.
* ^ The Tobacco Industry of Western Asia, U.S. Department of
Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, 1964.
* ^ A B Beaumont (1988), p. 22
* ^ Muehlberger, Bill. "The Arabian Plate". NASA, Johnson Space
Center. Archived from the original on 2007-07-06.
* ^ A B Beaumont (1988), p. 86
* ^ "Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO)".
* ^ "Chapter 7:
Middle East and Arid Asia". IPCC
Special Report on
The Regional Impacts of Climate Change: An Assessment of
Vulnerability. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2001.
* ^ Taru Bahl; M H Syed, eds. (2003). Encyclopaedia of the Muslim
World. New Delhi: Anmol Publications. p. 20. ISBN 978-81-261-1419-1 .
Retrieved 1 February 2009.
* ^ Sweeney, Jerry J.; William R. Walter (December 1, 1998).
Region #4 —
Red Sea Continental Rift Zone" (PDF). Preliminary
Definition of Geophysical Regions for the
Middle East and North
Africa. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. p. 8.
* ^ "ASTER Image Gallery: The Dead Sea". NASA.
* ^ Data for "15 West Asian countries", from Maddison (2003,
2007).Angus Maddison, 2003, The World Economy: Historical Statistics,
Vol. 2, OECD, Paris, ISBN 92-64-10412-7 . Statistical Appendix (2007,
ggdc.net) "The historical data were originally developed in three
books: Monitoring the World
Economy 1820-1992, OECD, Paris 1995; The
World Economy: A Millennial Perspective, OECD Development Centre,
Paris 2001; The World Economy: Historical Statistics, OECD Development
Centre, Paris 2003. All these contain detailed source notes."
Estimates for 2008 by country (in millions):
Turkey (71.9), Iran
Saudi Arabia (28.1),
Jordan (6.2), Palestine (4.1),
Lebanon (4.0), Oman
United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates (2.7),
Qatar (0.9), Bahrain
* ^ "GDP". IMF . Retrieved 2014-04-16.
* ^ "GDP per capita". IMF . Retrieved 2014-04-16.