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The term "Middle East" may have originated in the 1850s in the British India Office (Information from the The British Library). However, it became more widely known when American naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan used the term in 1902 to 'designate the area between Arabia and India'.. During this time the British and Russian Empires were vying for influence in Central Asia, a rivalry which would become known as The Great Game. Mahan realized not only the strategic importance of the region, but also of its center, the Persian Gulf. He labeled the area surrounding the Persian Gulf as the Middle East, and said that after the Suez Canal, it was the most important passage for Britain to control in order to keep the Russians from advancing towards British India. Mahan first used the term in his article "The Persian Gulf and International Relations," published in September 1902 in the National Review, a British journal.

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If you would like to contact us with an questions or queries please feel free to use the details provided below. If you would like to join and contribute towards our movement please contact us at Imperial History of the Middle East and the The Middle East Association.

Middle Eastern History

14 - 16 Cornbrook Road,