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.