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40 Maps That Explain The Middle East

40 Maps That Explain The Middle East | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
These maps are crucial for understanding the region's history, its present, and some of the most important stories there today.

Via Seth Dixon
Nancy Watson's insight:

Both History and Geography explained in these maps

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Javier Antonio Bellina's curator insight, February 9, 9:26 AM

Seth Dixon - the teacher that sent this article at the first place - assess a very sound comment about the use of maps as tools of comprehenssion of the real world. I love maps, but can t avoid to be worried about what he is saying, so I recommend a thougthful reading of his statements.

(Seth Dixon - el profesor que envió este artículo en primer lugar - hace un profundo comentario acerca del empleo de mapas como herramietas de comprensión del mundo real. Yo amo los mapas, pero no puedo evitar preocuparme por lo que (Dixon) señala, así que recomiendo una reflexiva lectura de sus planteamientos.)  

David Lizotte's curator insight, March 11, 4:44 PM

This was an excellent portrayal of the middle east. The using of maps accompanied by side paragraphs explains the long history which is necessary to know if one is to understand its current status. When learning about different realms and regions (that existed throughout history) I always find it on a map. In order to truly understand a certain empire, one must know its geographical setting and its significance. It helps me better understand the region. These maps, specifically the ones that are changing through the domains reign, are extremely helpful in better comprehending the misunderstood middle eastern region. This website also creates more thought. If a particular map captivates the reader they can do more research on the topic. However, the "slides" do stand alone portraying much knowledge to a wide variety of specific elements that are still ongoing. The grouping of the slides by region/conflict/country was also an excellent strategy. It shows organization which in turn develops an easier learning process. 

The initial map educates many people of how what is modern day Iraq used to be an Oasis. However, over time, due to over farming and soil erosion the landscape changed to dry/desert territory. 

The maps displaying the rise of Islam and its transitioning into the Ottoman Empire give a great perspective as to the amount of land it covered. The Islamic world thrived and was very advanced in there culture in regards to medicine and arithmetic. The shear size of the empires should increase ones respect of the Islamic theatre. What many people are not aware of is how the Ottoman Empire was knocking on the door of the Holy Roman Empire during the sixteenth century. This was quite an advancement of territory crossing through much of eastern Europe ending as far west as Vienna. A lot of what is Eastern Europe today was part of the Ottoman Empire, including Greece. 

Another excellent map that contributes to the better understanding of western involvement can be seen in the carving up of the Ottoman Empire post WWI. Colonialism was very much present throughout less developed regions so the carving up of the middle east was not an exotic concept to the victorious west. Territories/countries were created and ethnic groups dominated one another. Its certainly true a western presence has contributed to prior and existing issues throughout the middle East.

 

Lora Tortolani's curator insight, March 15, 8:47 PM

It is interesting to see the same trends over and over again.  These maps are a great tool to show the history of the area, as well as the history of religion and political views.  I appreciate the information provided since the Middle East has undergone the most transitions (going all the way back to Mesopotamia) and its history can be confusing. 

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Gambia president rejects English language

Gambia president rejects English language | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
President's decision to shift official language from English to local language comes months after its decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth

Via Seth Dixon
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Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 29, 2014 1:14 AM

culturally it would be a good idea to switch the official language to a local language that way their langueages dont become dead languages but economically its not a good idea because Americas dominate language is English and it is also an economic power.

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, November 3, 2014 1:25 PM

Gambia does not want the English language to be the official language that is spoken anymore.  Noting that it reflects the UK and they don't believe that they and the UK have much in common especially on the platform of human rights.  Cutting the English language as the official language continues to cut ties with the UK.  One of the problems with this is if there are multiple local languages spoken in Gambia which one are they going to choose as the official language.  With this more problems are presented, those that do not know the local language that is chosen to be official will have to learn the new language quickly if they want to have any idea as to what is going on in their own country.

Kendra King's curator insight, March 15, 6:32 PM

The president’s reaction is more than understandable. His country is in the midst of trying to heal after de-colonization. His actions show he is trying to cut out the west altogether. It is an extreme move, but if done correctly it could give the country a chance to start over to develop their own culture again. I think having a more local language could have the potential to unite the country. However, given the many dialects spoken in a typical African country, I do wonder what language will actually be chosen. If anything, there might have to be a few official languages so as to keep the peace among the population. Furthermore, English will still need to be learned. As much as Gambia may resent the United States or the UK those countries are too dominant. As such, the nation will have to do business with them or one of the many other countries that speak English. When this happens, English will be the expected language and not an African dialect because Africa doesn’t have the power to really negotiate its terms. Therefore, I think all this will end up being is a symbolic stand as the world is far to interconnected for Gambia to truly cut off ties with the western world permanently.  

 

I can also see where the president is coming from in regards to the human right’s issues as well. I am in no way condoning the countries handling of domestic affairs. I think a firing squad is outdated to say the least. However, being talked down to by a country who egregiously violated the population without ever really making amends is insulting. Furthermore, being reliant on their money is probably insufferable. I would say the country might need the money, but given how aid is improperly implemented in most foreign countries I don’t even think cutting them off matters much. Still, one might think that after experiencing such social injustice the leader would be a little more compassionate to its people. 

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Out of Africa – Did the Colonial Powers ever Really Leave?

Out of Africa – Did the Colonial Powers ever Really Leave? | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
Africa may have achieved independence, but the old colonial ties are still important as France’s decision to send troops to Mali to fight Islamist extremists shows.

Via Seth Dixon
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Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 4:04 PM

Colony powers are still located within Africa. Just because Africa is technically independent doesn't mean that British Colonial power isn't still in place.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, September 11, 2014 2:11 PM

unit 4

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, March 26, 11:08 AM

This article reminds us all of the growth-stunt that colonialism in Africa brought to the continent.  It is not surprising to see that most African countries still depend heavily on their old colonial masters for survival.  People who may casually follow African politics might think that colonialism started with the Berlin Conference and ended in 1990 or so, but one could argue that it hasn't ended due to the urgent dependency African countries still have on their old colonizers.  Africa might be the most beautiful continent in the world but has the worst story of any in the world.

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Countries Participating in the 2012 Olympic Games in London

Countries Participating in the 2012 Olympic Games in London | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
Discover the number of countries participating in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Find out which countries are not participating in the Olympic Games and learn which non-countries are participating as well.

 

204 countries are participating in the Olympics?  There aren't even 204 countries in the world!  This article looks at the political geography of international recognition.   One interesting case not discussed in the article is that of Taiwan.  Taiwan is participating, but marched under a non-Taiwanese flag under the name Chinese Taipei because the IOC wanted the mainland Chinese to return to the games. Also, South Sudan, Kosovo and the Vatican are not participating (although pondering them competing, especially the Vatican, is something that deeply amuses me).  Another intriguing thought: how many of the participants were former British colonies?   For classroom resources based on the Olympics, see: http://www.scoop.it/t/history-and-social-studies-education/p/2254468864/london-the-olympics-and-geography


Via Seth Dixon
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Emily Larsson's comment, August 26, 2013 9:08 PM
I love the Olympics! Its amazing how almost all of the countries in the world can come together for an event and forget about the conflicts they have back at home.
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Business Languages In Africa

Business Languages In Africa | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it

"The Main Languages of Business in Africa."


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Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 17, 2014 11:38 AM

The continued influence of colonization can be seen when this map is compared with maps of colonial Africa. The dominant business language match up almost exactly with the country that used to dominate the area. The fact that these languages are used for business shows how the deep impacts the European settlers had across the continent. Even the northern portion of the continent shows the strong influence and ties the region has with the Arabic world. 

Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 9, 3:48 PM

The English language seems to be spread out mostly throughout central and southern Africa. But I never though of the language of french being taken up by 30% of Africa. When I look at this map, I try to think about how close these languages are to their respective countries. For instance, I would imagine Arabic being closer to the eastern part of Africa since the middle east is closer to Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. Also, I would think that the french and spanish languages would be closer to the northern part of Africa since France and Spain are north of Africa.

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 10:46 PM

This map is a simple but powerful one. Africa is the continent that contains the most nations (53), yet it uses only six languages for business. Not surprisingly, all of the languages (with the exception of Arabic) are European in origin. Clearly, the effects of colonialism are still felt around the world in former colonies. The languages that were forced upon various African countries by their colonizers have endured and become the main languages of business in their respective countries. What is just as unfortunate as the roots of colonialism holding fast, if not more so, is the absence of any indigenous languages being used as the language of business in any of the countries of Africa. While using a business language that is spoken by much of the world is surely a matter of practicality and logistics, it is still robbing African countries of their heritage and culture to some degree.

 

This brings up the issue of globalization and how it is constantly at odds with the preservation of culture and tradition. In order for Africa (or any continent or region or country) to function in the modern world, it must be capable of conducting business in a language that is spoken by its business partners. The ability to do business with virtually any person, company, or country in the world is an obviously invaluable one. At the same time, however, it allows for the subtle and gradual erasure of unique culture and traditions. So while it would be ideal for cultural preservation for countries to conduct business in their indigenous languages, it seems to be a necessary evil for smaller and less influential countries to adopt the languages of their more powerful and influential business partners if they wish to survive in today's world. 

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Shifting post-colonial economic geographies

Shifting post-colonial economic geographies | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it

"Changes in relationships can be hard to take. The economic bond between Latin America and Spain, its biggest former colonial power, is shifting as the region’s economies mature. Despite some ruffled feathers, the evolution is positive.  After two decades in which Spain amassed assets worth €145 billion ($200 billion) in Latin America, last year was the first in which Latin American companies spent more on acquiring their Spanish counterparts than the other way around."


Via Seth Dixon
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Bob Beaven's curator insight, February 12, 2:36 PM

This article shows that the former Spanish "New World" colonies are becoming equal with their former motherland.  Spain now relies on relationships with Latin and South America because the economic downturn of the mid-2000s hurt Spain much worse than it hit the United States.  However, some Spanish still view themselves as superior to the South Americans, and their is still resentment of Spain in countries such as Panama, because the leaders claim that the Spanish still think of them as primitive natives, referring to the region's Mayan pasts, in a pre-Columbian world.  Yet, for the most part the relationship is beneficial and it is actually helping Spain out greatly, as these former colonies are now investing into the country.  Today, Spanish young people are even going to South and Central America in search of work because of the current economic stagnation in Spain.  This shows how things can change greatly overtime, and that yesterdays imperialist power, can now be in need of help from its former subjects.

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, February 27, 8:02 PM
This phenomenon is interesting. Mainly due to the fact that in the past the Spaniards have been quoted as describing native Latin-Americans as "backwards", "barbaric", and "savages". It's funny how some people can be made to eat their own words.
Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 5, 10:51 AM

This article provides an interesting story about the shift in economic power from colonizer (Spain) to colonized (Latin America). Of course, colonialism in the sense that many of us think of it has not truly existed for a century or so. But that doesn't mean that its effects can't still be felt around the world. Many former colonies are still economically dependent on their former colonizers and are still feeling the adverse effects of (in some cases) rapid decolonization. In some instances, however, economic, and in some sense, political power has shifted to the former colonies. This certainly seems to be the case with Latin America and its former biggest colonizer, Spain. As the numbers show, the flow of investment and goods between the two countries has reversed over the last two decades or so, with Latin America now pouring more money into Spain than the reverse. 

 

What this has created is a sort of paradigm shift not only in an economic sense, but a geographic one as well. Where Europe and the U.S. were once major economic powerhouses on the global stage, now nations in Latin America and other developing countries around the world are seeing a gain in economic power. The availability of resources, large labor markets, and industrialization have allowed these countries to strengthen their economies and engage in foreign trade and investment that they were previously locked out of. As a result, developed nations such as China and the U.S. are now forced to recognize that developing nations half a world away are potential competitors when it comes to trade and investment. That this could mean a geographic shift in the centers of economic power in the coming decades is certainly possible, and something which the wealthiest and most developed countries around the world will surely monitor with great interest. 

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The Separatist Map of Africa

The Separatist Map of Africa | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
When African states gained independence, the continent's new leaders agreed to respect the old colonial borders to avoid endless wars.

 

This interactive map shows the major conflicts on the African continent where the combatants have geopolitical aspirations to separate from the state and create a new, autonomous state.  Click on the red arrows and you can read about the warring factions and the current situation in that region.   

 

Tags: political, governance, Africa, unit 4 political, war, conflict, states, colonialism.


Via Seth Dixon
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Arya Okten's curator insight, March 27, 2014 11:48 PM

Unit IV - Non American

Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 5, 2014 11:04 AM

is sad to see how people just refer to it as "Africa" when every part has its own name. Even myself don't know many of them since they are irrelevant for the western people.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 17, 2014 12:08 AM

This interactive map does a great job of not only showing the sate of political struggles and military conflict within the whole of Africa. This shows the new countries many dissidents  and rebels wish to establish in order to give their people a cultural and ethnic home land. This give a good picture of simply how chaotic some parts of Africa truly are and how destabilized many regions are.