The Fertile Crescent holds immense historical and cultural importance. Due to its location, in the early development of human civilization. It owes its fertility to several factors, including the presence of the Tigris, Euphrates and Jordan rivers. Which provided water for irrigation, and facilitated the development of early agricultural societies. Its location is modern-day Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine. Some authors also include Cyprus and Northern Egypt. Strain on the once lush environment has created tensions in the region, including the conflicts in Syria. Political issues became entangled with geographical problems, and the result was a battle for control of the region, which began in the early 2000s.
The Fertile Crescent: (Arabic: ب ي ص خل ا ل ال ه ل ا ); (Turkish: Cebel-i Bereket (Osmaniye) Sancağına)
Terminology “Fertile Crescent”
The term “Fertile Crescent” was popularized by archaeologist James Henry Breasted. In: Outlines of European History (1914); and, Ancient Times, A History of the Early World (1916). Historians have noted it may have been a trend to “overwrite the classical geographical distinctions”. Because of the waters, rivers and climate change. The term “fertile crescent”. No longer has the same meaning. At the time of his writing. It roughly equated to the Ottoman Empire; and, France, and Britains Sykes–Picot Agreement.
Semitic languages were common and prevailed into modern Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Sinai, Turkey and Iran. Sumerian is common in Iraq. Whilst in the mountainous areas. Elamite, Gutian Kassite and Hattic are sometimes spoken. It is believed there were some others.
Biodiversity, eco-system and climate
Rivers were important. But not the only factor. During the ice age, ecosystems changed, and people moved closer to the Mediterranean. Where there was more suitable habitat. Mesopotamia and the fertile crescent formed a hospitable pass. More so than many of the other journeys. From Africa to Eurasia, or Africa to Europe.
Even for wildlife. One theory boasts about the wet Saharas extreme change to dryness. And, that wildlife spread into the cooler and more moist Arabian highlands and Taurus mountains. And, that the people may have followed. 5 to 8 thousand years ago.
Both Tabun, and Es Skhul caves In Israel, had remains of Natufians. Its believed the nearby Jordan and upper Euphrates rivers. May have given rise to the first neolithic farming settlements. The had rain, and good in sources of water from the Taurus mountains. Thus allowing them better characteristics for irrigation, and settlements, starting out.
Turkey, Syria, and Iraq all depend on the waters flowing from the region. Access to water helped with farming and trade routes. It allowed them to grow and trade crops such as wheat, barley, and legumes. Domesticating animals like sheep, goats, and cattle too.
At Gilgal I in the Jordan Valley. Its believed fig trees were planted 11,400 years ago (9400 BC). Numerous seeds originated around here too. Including: emmer wheat, einkorn, barley, flax, chick pea, pea, lentil, and others. Domesticated animals were important too. Cows, goats, sheep, pigs, goose; and, horses and cats may have originated and lived here too. A special place planted very special seeds.
A neolithic metropolitan?
From neolithic to bronze ages. It’s believed several populations inhabited these regions. During these time periods, The ‘fertile crescent’ was quite diverse. Owing its fertility to several factors, including the presence of the Tigris, Euphrates, and Jordan rivers. And, its location for trade. The fertile crescent facilitated the development of early agricultural societies. The area(s) hold giant historical and cultural importance.
Studies on it continue to this day.
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