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Home » GeoNotes, Southwest Asia and North Africa

More Great Maps from M. Izady at Gulf 2000

Submitted by on March 5, 2012 – 3:43 pm 13 Comments |  
Middle East Cultural Historical Regions Map by M. IzadyThe fantastic map trove at Columbia University’s Gulf 2000 Project, generated by cartographer M. Izady, continues to expand. Many detailed maps of language, religion, ethnicity, and cultural-historical regions in the greater Middle East are found on the site.

Today’s GeoNote highlights Izady’s map of “Primary Cultural and Historical Zones.” This map makes an invaluable companion for historical sources covering the region. Regional terms, such as Khurasan, Hadramout, and Hijaz are often encountered in such works, but until now it has been impossible to find a single map that indicates their positions.

A few oddities are apparent. Note that the map includes two “Iraqs,” one in modern Iraq and the other in Iran. Although seldom used now, such terminology was once widespread, and I was quite confused when I first read of a Persian “Iraq.” (The etymology of the word is still debated.)

My one complaint about the map is the use of several non-local terms, such as “Piedmont” for part of Kurdistan and “Caspia” for the eastern Caucasus. The term “piedmont” derives from the Italian for “mountain foot,” and is used for several regions of the world situated near the base of a prominent mountain range. It is used here as substitute for indigenous terms meaning the same thing.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-T-Wilson/682045086 James T. Wilson

    The Iraqs are quite interesting.  I just gave my students some selections from Sidi Ali Reis’s “Mirat-ul-Memalik” and he stays with the Safavid Shah Tahmasp in “Iraq-Adjem” on the way back to Constantinople.  I know that Mesopotamia changed hands between the Ottomans and Safavids a number of times in the sixteenth century, but this Iranian Iraq now makes far more sense in terms of Sidi Ali’s itinerary.

  • http://geocurrents.info Martin W. Lewis

    Many thanks for the anecdote.  I wish that I had had access to this map when reading similar accounts. 

  • Azadsarv

    there is a huge Fallacy which is recorded intentionally or unintentionally in the picture and that is the name of ” Khalij” . regarding to the meaning, ” khalij ” means ” Gulf ” but officially, historically, morally and scientifically , “PERSIAN GULF” is the true name of that body of water.please fix it.

    • Zedster48

      These maps are made by Jews to destabilize the region; there are many inaccuracies.  If you check the Facebook page “Tehran Bureau (PBS)” you will find that they are funded by the same Jewish Foundations that sponsor the David Horowitz anti-Iran and anti-Muslim group.   That’s the link I followed to get here. Pure Zionist bullshit. 

    • Sundial2011

      The map correctly indicates “Persian Gulf” as “Persian Gulf.” So no problems there. What confuses you is that the term “Gulf/Khalij” refers to the combination of the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and northwest Arabian Sea—the trio that according to this map make up the cultural division of the “Khalij.” People there call themselves the “Khalijis” not “Khalij Farsis”!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/SDOEB4QATZ7A25ZG3IN5SZFYQU Mesopotamian

       This Gulf got many names across the history, Persian gulf is just one of them. Other names were: Sumer Gulf, Basrah Gulf, Arabian Gulf, Ajem Gulf, Iran Gulf… etc
      Now adays the Iranis and many western media use the name Persian Gulf, while Arabs and other Western media use the name Arabian Gulf.
      I really hope that one day the gulf would gate a neutral name.

      • Clarence

        Not true. It is just muddying historical facts in order to make a case for changing the old name. The Gulf was NEVER called “Sumerian Gulf”or “Ajem Gulf” or “Arabian Gulf”. In 1935 when Persia changed its name to Iran, German map makers thoughtlessly switched the name from Persian Gulf to Gulf of Iran. But that did not stick. The Ottomans called the body of water the Gulf of Basrah, that is true, but no one else.  

        Today, we have Gulf of Kuwait, Gulf of Bahrain, Gulf of Oman and an Arabian Sea. And yet, you don’t see fit that the great big Persia/Iran  have a gulf named after it because…… Arabs want even more?

  • Sundial2011

    There is a newer version of this map posted on Gulf 2000 site, containing more detail

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Thanks for drawing our attention to it.

      • Sundial2011

        so how come the older version still lingers in here??

        • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

          We don’t update old posts.

          • Dan

            Why? Is it something religious? You mean you prefer not to continue enlightening your readers because of some ‘tradition’? That is non scientific and rather prosaic bureaucracy. Change it NOW as a service to the enlightening of your readers

          • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

            Not “religious”, not “tradition” and not “bureaucracy”. But with over 600 posts, we can’t keep updating old ones. If the topic seems interesting and worthy of further consideration to us, we often go back to it and write another post or revise our own maps (as is the case with our language maps of the Caucasus, the 4.0 version of which will soon be published), but we don’t go back just to link to somebody’s newer version of the map. Since you’ve pointed out that a newer version exists, interested readers can look it up.

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