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Physiological and Social Problems in the Middle East

            Muslims conquered the Fertile Crescent, Persia, Egypt, developed the Arabic written language, and took control of the Mediterranean Sea within a century of their rise. Islam was the dominant faith along trade lines, which helped spread the growth of the religion and spread their map systems. The Islamic people adopted Indian mathematic numerals, Egyptian geometry, and founded Algebra on their own. They used these subjects to make sense of the world and space alike. The Islamic people used nature poetically to express the world around them, because nature displayed the wisdom of God and all creates were governed by divine law. This is reflected in the cartography of Muslims in the eighth and ninth centuries. Some of the earliest maps of the Holy Land are found in the Bible. Jews, Islams, and Christians fought over control of this Holy Land, since it is sacred to all of them. The first map of the Holy Land was composed by Bernhard von Breydenbach in 1486. This pictorial map was not to scale, and included multiple attractions that were important to all three religions. Abraham Ortelius created another map of the Holy Land, which he included in his world atlas collection. Copernicus's idea that the earth was not the center of the universe removed was an influencing factor in Ortelius's depiction, because he shows humans as being complements to the world of nature. This map aided in the ascent of European humanism. Portolan charts were the first maps in which geography and social observations were intertwined. They were based on experiment and observation, while displaying early navigational wisdom. These maps show all of the trading stops a Mediterranean sailor might have made, including traveling on the Atlantic Ocean. These maps led explorers across the Atlantic and around Africa. .
             Why Geography Matters discusses the physiological and social problems of the modern day Middle East. It specifically takes a look at the social dynamic of modern Afghanistan, and how it got to where it is today.

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