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Teacher's Best - The Creative Process

Middle East People Poster Map
for the social studies and arts classrooms, and home schoolers.

geography > Middle East > PEOPLES MAP 1 - 2 | Early Civilization | Holy Land 1 - 2 | States in Turmoil | Two Centuries Conflict | Turmoil Map 1991 < social studies

Peoples of the Middle East Map 1972, Side 1, Poster
Peoples of the Middle East Map 1972, Side 1, Poster


Peoples of the Middle East Poster
side 2

• Relief map showing the locations of the various people of the Middle East
• Illustrations and information about the diverse peoples of the region
• Historical notes
• Key to ethno-linguistic groups
• Roads and railroads
• Water holes and archaeological sites and ruins
• Oil fields and pipelines

(1972 information - side 1) LINKING THREE CONTINENTS, the cultural area called the Middle East stretches from European Turkey eastward to Afghanistan and westward to Morocco. Some 194,000,000 people (est. 420,000,000, 2011) – a twentieth of the world's population – live here on a twelfth of the earth's land surface. Most of them cluster in the werdant fraction along the coasts.

The majority of Middle Easterners are village farmers, who share similar ways of wresting a living from their arid environment. Nine out of ten claim Islam as their religion; more than half speak Arabic.

Yet diversity abounds. Each of the nations – not all of them predominatly Arab – harks to its own unique sense of the past, its own vision of the future. The map portraits illustrate the region's ethnic, religious, occupational, and national groups and sample the extreme variation within the Arabic-speaking majority: Marsh Arab, Druze, Bedouin, Yemeni Arab, Egyptian Fellahin, and Moroccan Arab. Of the non-Arab peoples, Persians and Turks are the most numerous.

Traditional dress, once proclaimed group identity like a badge, but now gives way to Western garb. Mother tongue serves as the best means for classifying people. ...

Key to Ethno-Linguistic Groups -

Indo-European -
Indo-Iranian: Bakhtiari, Baluch, Firuzkuhi, Galeshi, Gilani, Hazara, Jamshidi, Kurd, Lur, Mazandarani, Nuristani, Parachi, Pashai, Pashtun, Persian, Taimani, Taimuri, Tajik, Talish, Tat.
Armenian: Armenian
Hellenic: Greek
Slavic: Bulgarian

EGYPTIAN FELLAHIN: Over the millenniums, these peasants of the Nile Valley ordered their lives by the river's rise and fall, developing ingenious irrigation systems of dikes and channels. Now the Aswan High Dam ends flooding and extends desert reclamation. Promoting a revolution in attitudes, Egyptian leaders support land reform and industrialization. Production of fine cotton and grain increases, but defense spending and the needs of a still-burgeoning population – more than 2,300 crowd each square mile of arable land (5,300, 2011) – hamper progress.

DRUZE: Guarding their mystery-enshrouded religion, Arabic-speaking Druzes till the soil around mountain villages of Lebanon, Syria, and Israel. An offshoot of Islam, the 950-year-old sect believes in the reincarnation and prohibits converts. Only devout men, distinguished by the white-wrapped tarboosh, have access to the secret scriptures. So fiercely did the Druze community fight for its autonomy against invading Crusaders, Turks, and Frenchmen that it earned the name “Sword of Syria.”

BEDOUIN: “We are the heirs of glory,” proclaim the nomads of Saudi Arabia, who cinsider themselves the only true Arabs. Geneologies cite forefathers who spread Islam and the Arabic language from the Pyrennes to the Himalayas. Bedouin are still scattered from Morocco to Iran. many work as oil drillers, truck drivers, and farmers, but retain the tribal loyalties and code of honor of their bretheren in the wilderness.

YEMENI ARAB: Where the Queen of Sheba reigned, Arab farmers of Yemen (Sana) till terraced slopes of grain, fruit, coffee, and a mildly narcotic leaf, qot. Relegated to a backwater by shifts in trae, the Yemenis now seek contact beyond the Arab world. A coalition of government heals wounds of the recent civil war that pitted royalist supported by Saudi Arabia and Jordan against republicans backed by Egypt.

QASHQAI: On massive annual treks, Qashqai nomads of Iran move huge flocks of sheep from winter pasture on the plains to grassy highlands and back again. Iran has disarmed the tribemen, nationalized pastures, and now supervises the migrations. In tent schools, boys and girls study Persian language and history. Unlike many of their Moslem sisters Qashqai women go unveiled; they ride camels loaded with houshold furnishing, while husbands walk.

BALUCH: Herding camels, sheep, and goats, Baluchi nomads eke out a meager living from the sandy plains and tangled mountains of Baluchistan, divided between Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Stopping during their annual migrations, the Baluch harvest dates for themselves and for sale. Governments outlaw the profitable practice of raiding, so young men migrate to jobs in cities and oil fields of the Persian Gulf. Women excel at embroidery and rug weaving.

TURKOMAN: Once notorious brigands of Central Asia, nomadic Turkomans contribute one of Afghanistan's major exports, the skins of newborn Karakul sheep, known as Persian lamb. Their womenfolk weave Bakhara carpets, named for a market city in the Soviet Union, homeland of the most Turkomans. Until a century ago, Turkomans raided even into southern Iran to slaves; today many Caucasian-looking tribesmen trace their ancestry to slave forebears.

HAZARA: In the wake of Genghis Kan, Mongol forebears of the Hazaras began settling in Afghanistan after the 13th century. Eventually, stronger groups drove them into high infertile valleys, where they still live in mud-walled hamlets, pasturing fat-tailed sheep and raising wheat, barley, and beans. Scant harvests force some men to seek winter work as laborers and servants in Kabul and Quandahar.

PASHTUN: Unifying numerous tribes in the 1740s, these western Asian horsemen created today's Afghanistan, where a Pashtun monarch still rules. Calling them Pathans, Kipling immortalized their fierce guerrillas, who fought against the British in the 19th century. Now many nomadic Afghan Pashtuns winter beside the Indus River in Pakistan and carry trade goods to Hazara farmers in central Afghanistan. Fellow tribesmen in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan seek greater autonomy.

TAJIK: Of ancient Persian lineage, Tajiks of Afghanistan work in cities as artisans, businessmen, and civil servants, and on farms as grain growers and orchardists. Pashtuns, however, rule the country. The languages of both groups are official in Afghanistan. More than a million Tajik kinsmen, primarily sheepherders, cotton growers, and city dwellers, live in the Soviet Union and China.

PERSIAN: Carrying on the traditions of a 3,000 year-old civiliation, villagers and townspeople of Iran's interior plateau produce enbroidery, metal- and woodwork, carpets, pottery, and tiles. Onetime tenants receive land of their own as the government breaks up some large estates. Medical services, roads and schools, financed by oil revenues, gradually reach the villages. In this nation of many ethnc groups, Persians dominate government and industry.

MARSH ARAB: Canoes, not camels, trasport the Ma`dan, or march dwellers of southern Iraq. On artificial islands they construct barrel-vaulted homes and giant guest halls of reeds and woven mats. Small boys guide water buffaloes to grazing grounds and help with wilking and churning. Dried dung serves for fuel and as cement for waterproofing. The Ma`dan cultivate rice, spear fish, and weave reed mats to exchange for grain and cloth with farmers to the north, who form Iraq's majority.

KURD: Proud of their warrior heritage, Kurdish farmers and herdsmen for centuries have fought for the mountain vastness called Kurdistan. Given hope of nationhood by the Allies after World War I, they saw their homeland parceled out among Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Their struggle to retain their identity lead to the Soviet-supported Mahabad Republic of 1946-47 in Iran, as well as repression in Turkey and Syria, and recurrent civil war in Iraq.

LUR: Nomads and farmers, the Lurs of Iran share the mountains with the Bakhtiari and other tribal peoples, while the dominant persians farm the fertile plains. Before World War II the lurs rebelled against Reza Shah, father of Iran's presnt ruller, when he tried to force them to settle. Now they acknowledgethe central government which, in turn, recognizes the economic value the nomads' great flocks and heards. Porters in Baghdad are often Lurs, following a Middle East pattern in which kin groups follow the same occupation.

ISRAELI JEW: Immigrants – so diverse that only the declaration “I am a Jew” unites them – become citizens of Israel upon arrival. Jews from Europe spearheaded the transformation of Arab Palestine into a Westernized Jewish state. They revived Hebrew as a national language, although English, Arabic, and Yiddis – a German dialect – are widely spoken. Oriental Jews have made up the bulk of immigration since independence. The most recent wave of newcomers originates in the Soviet Union. Fut hat and prayer shawl distinguish the hasid – “one who is pious.” Native-born Jews, or sabras, like the girl at right, will soon form a majority.

ORIENTAL JEW: For centuries Jews lived among Moslem peoples from Morocco to Yemen and Iran, adopting local languages and many customs as their own. Some trace their descent from ancestors driven out of Judea by the Romans 1,900 years ago, others from Berber converts, still others from Jews expelled from Spain by the Christians in 1492. During the past 25 eyars, 600,000 Oriental Jews have migrated to Israel. Today about 200,000 remain in the Middle East outside of Israel, principally in Iran, Turkey, and Morocco.

TURK: Descendants of Central Asian nomads, Turks built the Middle East's first Westernized republic out of the World War I ruin of the far-flung Ottoman Empire. Led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, they separated religion and state, adopted secular legal codes. and replaced Arabic characters with the Latin alphabet. Most Turkish farmers own their own small plots, raising cereals, cotton tobacco, fruit, nuts and Angora goats for mohair. Government programs bring literacy, improved roads, and mechanized agriculture.

ARMENIAN: Flourishing around Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey, Armenians made up the first kingdom to adopt Christianity, which they accepted in A.D. 301. Though subjugated later by one invader after another, they held fast to both fatherland and faith, attaining fame over the centuries as master traders. During World War I, Turkish rulers, fearing Armenian collaboration with Russia, deported or massacred 1,500,000. Dispersed to cities throughout the Middle East, including Istanbul, Armenians still play a major role in commerce, crafts, and professions. More than 2,500,000 preserve their culture in Soviet Armenia.

Geographical Equivalents
Burnu, Burun ... cape, point Idehan ... sand dunes
Chott ... intermittent salt lake, salt marsh 'Irq ... sand dunes
Daglari ... mountains Jabal, Jebel ...mountains, peak range
Daryacheh ... lake, marshy lake Kuh-e ... mountains, peak, range
Dasht ... desert plain Oued ... river, valley, watercourse
Dawhat ... bay, cove, inlet Ras, Ra's ... cape, point
Erg ... sand dune region Sabkhat, Sebkha ... salt lake or marsh
Gebel ... mountain, peak, range Sahra ... desert
Ghard ... sand dunes Sarir ... gravel desert
Hamada, Hammadah ... rocky desert Shott ... intermittent salt lake, salt marsh
Hamun ... depression, lake Tall, Tel-l ... hill, mound
Hawr ...lake, marsh Wadi ... river, valley, watercourse

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