“Near East” vs “Middle East”
Readers often encounter the term Near East and wonder how the term differs from Middle East.
Near East is the earlier term and, like Far East, was coined from the “western” perspective of European writers. The earliest example of the use of Near East in the OED is dated 1856. The earliest use of “middle East” to refer to the countries of Mesopotamia is dated 1876. The first example in which middle is capitalized is dated 1900.
According to the AP Style Guide, the countries of the Middle East are
Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Egypt, Sudan, and “the eastern part of Turkey.”
Noting that popular usage once distinguished between the “Near East” and the “Middle East,” AP recommends using Middle East unless a story source uses the term “Near East. ”
Here are some quotations from newspapers:
The near-east side, compared to what it was when we first moved down there in 2000, it’s night-and-day different. You have new home …
The Middle East is one of the most diverse regions in the world. Despite some turmoil in the region, many countries are considered safe for …
The Middle East is one of the most interesting regions to travel to, due to the diversity of the people and a fascinating ancient history. Although …
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