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The Middle East is a historical and political region of Africa-Eurasia with no clear boundaries. The term "Middle East" was popularized around 1900 in Britain, and has been criticized for its loose definition. The Middle East traditionally includes countries or regions in Southwest Asia and parts of North Africa. The corresponding adjective to Middle East is Middle-Eastern and the derived noun is Middle-Easterner.
The history of the Middle East dates back to ancient times, and throughout its history the Middle East has been a major center of world affairs. The Middle East is also the geographic origin of the three main Abrahamic religions - Christianity, Islam, Judaism. It is also the origin of Zoroastrianism, which heavily influenced later Abrahamic religions. The Middle East generally has an arid and hot climate, with several major rivers providing for irrigation to support agriculture in limited areas. Many countries located around the Persian Gulf have large quantities of crude oil. In modern times, the Middle East remains a strategically, economically, politically, culturally, and religiously sensitive region.