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Major Demographic Changes In The Middle East And North Africa

961 words - 4 pages

The major demographic changes in the Middle East and North Africa have been the massive increase in population, and urbanization which has seen the emergence of many large cities throughout the region. The reasons for this have been because of better health care, greater mobility of the population, economic opportunities in the cities and political changes.
During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a number of European families started moving to the Middle East and North Africa, with many French and other Europeans settling in Algeria from the 1830s. Many Albanians moved to Egypt, and there were also some Russian Orthodox communities settling in the Holy Land. Even before the Suez Canal, was considerable sea traffic to and from Egypt. However, the opening of the canal in 1869 led to the massive enlargement of Port Said, Ismailia, Port Suez and Aden. As the increase in shipping to the Middle East led to lower costs, there was a considerable increase in pilgrims to the annual Hadj to Mecca. There was also an increase in European and American tourist traffic, particularly in Egypt and the Holy Land leading to the establishment of communities who lived from this trade.
The emergence of the Young Turk movement, the decline of the Ottoman Empire, and its defeat in World War I, saw many changes in Asia Minor. The internal conflict with the Armenians during the war, and the flight of hundreds of thousands of Greeks, led to a dramatic change in the population of the emerging Republic of Turkey. The moving of the Turkish capital to Ankara in 1923 led to a shift from the previous capital, Constantinople.
During World War II, as in World War I, the stationing of large numbers of soldiers in Egypt led to an economic boom in the country, drawing many people from the countryside into the cities. Mention should also be made of the Germans in the Middle East during World War I o Australia where many subsequently settled.
Postwar political changes saw the rise of nationalism in North Africa. Many Italians left Libya and Eritrea, and at the end of the Franco-Algerian War, some 900,000 French, Italian and German settlers in Algeria moved to France where they were resettled. Many Britons, Greeks, Italians, Maltese and also Copts left Egypt during the 1950s and 1960s. In the Middle East, the creation of Israel initially saw many European Jews moving there, with many North African Jews moving to Israel after the Six-Day War of 1967. During this period large numbers of Palestinian refugees fled to Jordan and Lebanon, and from the 1950s, many Christian Palestinians and Christian Lebanese have resettled in the United States, Canada and Australia. During the 1990s there has been a massive influx of Russian Jews to Israel, combined with the resettlement of the Falashes, the Jews of Ethiopia.
The oil wealth of the Middle East from the 1970s created a demand for Western engineers and technicians, as well as...

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