Major Demographic Changes in the Middle East and North Africa

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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... ... middle of paper ... ...le. The port city of Aden had a population around 45,000 until the 1940s, and in 1955 the population had risen to 139,600. The 1931 Census for the Protectorate of Tunis lists the population as 2,410,692, of whom 195,293 were Europeans. With the boom in the tourist industry in Tunisia from the 1970s, many Europeans chose to settle in the country, and by 2003 there were 100,000 Europeans, with the country’s population having risen to 9,924,742. Works Cited Clarke, John I. and W.B. Fisher (eds.). Populations of the Middle East and North Africa: a geographical approach. London, 1972. Cooper, Charles A. and Sidney S. Alexander. Economic development and population growth in the Middle East. New York, 1971. Gilbar, Gad G. Population dilemmas in the Middle East: essays in political demography and economy. London, 1997. Whittaker’s Almanack. London, 1900 onwards.

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