what's the origin of the tern "middle east?"

My understanding is that The British Armed Forces had a Near East command in Cairo, a Middle East Command in India (Pakistan + Iran), and A Far East command in Singapore or somewhere. Then in WWI, they rationalized the Near East into the Middle East command, and so “Near East” disappeared from usage…
Anybody able to straighten this story out? Is it True?


must resist… must stay on topic… oh, well…

“The global importance of the Middle East is that it keeps the Far East and the Near East from encroaching on each other.”

Vice-President Dan Quayle

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “a term that in its modern usage dates fro mWWII and has come to be applied to the lands around the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from Morocco to the Arabian Peninsula and Iran, sometimes beyond.”

"…the first modern Western geographers… divided the Orient into three regions. The name ‘Near East’ was applied to the region nearest Europe, extending from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf; the Middle East, from the Gulf to South-East Asia; and the Far East, those regions facing the Pacific Ocean.

“The change of usage evolved during the Second World War, when the term ‘Middle East’ was given to the British command in Egypt. Thus defined, the Middle East during WWII consisted of the states or territories of Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Syria, [The] Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, The Sudan, Libya, and the various states of Arabia proper… Subsequent events have enlarged the number of lands included in the definition. The three western countries of Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, formerly tied to France, have become closely connected in sentiment and foreign policy with the Arab states… In addition, geographic factors often require statesmen and others to take account of the affairs of Afganistan and Pakistan in connection with the affairs of the Middle East.”


If you’re in Hawaii the Far East is the Near East and if you’re in New York City none of them seem all that near. Yes, I’m being cute, but it does have to do with the way you look at it. Personally, I no longer think of India as being part of the East. We could change it to the Arab East, the Indian East and the Oriental East. Wouldn’t that start one hell of a flap? :wink: