Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations
 Where is the Middle East?
Alfred T. Mahan, 1902

The term "Middle East" was coined in 1902 by American naval officer Alfred T. Mahan, who was regarded as an expert in sea power and world affairs. Writing for London's National Review, Mahan used the new term in calling for the British to strengthen their naval power in the Persian Gulf. As scholar Roderic Davison explains, Mahan’s Middle East "was an indeterminate area guarding a part of the sea route from Suez to Singapore." The new coinage played off the terms "Near East" and "Far East," already in use.

Sources: A. T. Mahan, "The Persian Gulf and International Relations," The National Review, September 1902, 38-39; Roderic H. Davison, "Where Is the Middle East?" Foreign Affairs 38 (1960): 667-668.

"Middle East"
Indeterminate area guarding the sea route from Suez to Singapore
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