Heritage & Culture

The Arab world consists of many cultures for which we have a page to cover each countries unique heritage and culture (see below). On this page we will cover the history of the heritage of the region and the key influencing factors to the development of this region from antiquity to modern history.

The heritage of what makes up the Arabic culture is one that we all share. Human civilization began in the region called the Fertile Crescent, with the first cities built near lakes, rivers and seas dating back to 9,000 BCE.

As civilization progressed in population, sciences and technology the need for natural resources and human labor increased. Empires were formed to control, manage and distribute resources. The empires brought political, religious and social influences that defined the region what we today call the Middle East.

Links to the history of empires in this region:




Pre-Islamic Arab Cultures, Lecture series by Professor Abdul Karim Khan of the University of Hawaii.

Religion was the most powerful factor in the development of the Middle East and Islam, the defining religion of the Arab world. (map from Wikipedia).

Here is a link to a great research paper,  "Who are the Arabs?" by Dr. Steve Tamari, a professor of history specializing in the Middle East. The important fact about the Arab world is the diversity of cultures of each of the countries. Diversity can be seen in the language represented by the different dialects of Arabic as well as the retention of native languages; it is represented in music, dance, art and foods. The geographic landscape of this region contributes to most of its diversity and the sheer history of human interaction and growth within the region the similarities.  

The Ottoman Empire and the British Empire was the last of the empires to hold dominion in the region influencing the modern history of the Arab world. 

Here is a great documentary about the Ottoman Empire. 

Ottoman Empire

Here is a great documentary by BBC of British occupation in the region.

The shaping of the countries in the Middle East in World War 1.

Middle East after World War II.

Middle East after World War II

Today the Greater Middle East consists of 29 countries of them 21 are member countries of The Arab League. The Arab League was formed in 1945 uniting the political interests and commerce for the region. More info on the Arab League

Arab League Countries

• Algeria

• Bahrain

• Comoros

• Djibouti

• Egypt

• Iraq

• Jordan

• Kuwait

• Lebanon

• Libya

• Mauritania

• Morocco

• Oman

• Palestine

• Qatar

• Saudi Arabia

• Somalia

• Sudan

• Tunisia

• United Arab Emirates

• Yemen