Levant

Levant

Levant
Levant
  Countries and regions located in the Levant region. (Cyprus, Hatay, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria)

  Countries and regions sometimes included in the Levant region. (Iraq and Sinai)

  Entire territory of countries whose regions are included in the Levant region. (Egypt and Turkey)
Countries and regions  Cyprus
 Turkey (Hatay Province)
 Israel
 Jordan
 Lebanon
Palestine
 Syria
Population 47,129,325[1]
Languages Levantine Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian, Circassian, Greek, Hebrew, Kurdish, Ladino, Turkish
Time Zones UTC+02:00 (EET) (Turkey and Cyprus)

The Levant (), also known as the Eastern Mediterranean, is a geographic and cultural region consisting of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt".[2] The Levant today consists of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and part of southern Turkey (the former Aleppo Vilayet).

Precise definitions have varied over time, and the term originally had a broader and less well-defined usage.[3] The Levant has been described as the "crossroads of western Asia, the eastern Mediterranean and northeast Africa",[4] and the "northwest of the Arabian plate".[5]

Other names for the Levant include [the region of] Syria, Sham, and the Eastern Mediterranean. Historically, the region was known by a variety of names, of which the first recorded to apply to the whole region was Canaan.

Etymology

The Levantine Sea, the eastern portion of the Mediterranean.

The term Levant, which appeared in English in 1497, originally meant the Italian (as in "Riviera di Levante", the portion of the Liguria coast east of Genoa), in Hungarian Kelet, in Spanish "Levante", (the place of rising), and in Hebrew (mizrah). Most notably, "Orient" and its Latin source oriens meaning "east", is literally "rising", deriving from Latin orior "rise".

The notion of the Levant has undergone a dynamic process of historical evolution in usage, meaning, and understanding. While the term "Levantine" originally referred to the European residents of the eastern Mediterranean region, it later came to refer to regional "native" and "minority" groups.[8]

The term became current in English in the 16th century, along with the first English merchant adventurers in the region; English ships appeared in the Mediterranean in the 1570s, and the English merchant company signed its agreement ("capitulations") with the Grand Turk in 1579 (Braudel). The English Levant Company was founded in 1581 to trade with the Ottoman Empire, and in 1670 the French Compagnie du Levant was founded for the same purpose. At this time, the Far East was known as the "Upper Levant".[3]

In 19th-century travel writing, the term incorporated eastern regions under then current or recent governance of the Ottoman empire, such as Greece. In 19th-century archaeology, it referred to overlapping cultures in this region during and after prehistoric times, intending to reference the place instead of any one culture. The French mandates of Syria and Lebanon (1920–1946) were called the Levant states.

Geography and modern day use of the term

Satellite view of part of the Levant including Cyprus, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Israel, Jordan, and southern Syria.

Today, "Levant" is typically used by archaeologists and historians with reference to the prehistory and the ancient and medieval history of the region, as when discussing the Crusades. The term is also occasionally employed to refer to modern events, peoples, states or parts of states in the same region, namely [[