The Middle East is a region that spans southwestern Asia, western Asia, and northeastern Africa. It has no clear boundaries, often used as a synonym to Near East, in opposition to Far East. The term "Middle East" was popularized around 1900 in the United Kingdom. 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 centre of world affairs. The Middle East is also the historical origin of three of the world’s major monotheistic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Some scholars romantically link monotheism with the open and spare desert landscape. 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.