The history of the Mediterranean sea is as enigmatic as its location, 'in the middle of land'. This titanic water body spans across a 2.5 million km² area. Its waters merge with that of the Atlantic Ocean through the Strait of Gibraltar. It has its deepest point at 5,267 meters, the Calypso Deep, and an average depth of 1,500 meters. It has been an important part of the old world trade route between the Orient and the Occident. The inlets connect cultures that sprawl across Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Turkey. The surrounding region of the sea is extremely important to the understanding of the development of modern societies.
A Historical Account of the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean means 'in the middle of earth', in Latin. The Mediterranean sea is also historically referred to as Mare Nostrum, Mare Internum, Mesogeios, Hinder sea, Western sea, sea of the Philistines, Great sea, Hayam Hatikhon, Mittelmeer, Akdeniz, and the White Middle sea. It is credited with being the carving ground for most ancient human civilizations.
It, by far, has had the most influence on human history and world cultures and heritage. It not only provided man with trade routes, but also offered people along its coasts occupations such as commercial fishing. It is credited with offering regions around shared climatic conditions, geology, and cultural and historical connections.
The Mediterranean sea watered the first human civilizations―the Mesopotamian and Egyptian. It has also been linked to colonization and providing ample cause for the outbreak of World War I and World War II, with the trade routes generated around its waters. Its strategic location and regional geography made its possession a coveted prize. The Ottoman Empire thrived and flourished around this area, proving to be reason enough and great frontiers for various wars.
It provides a coastline to Europe (covering Spain, Italy, France, Bosnia, Monaco, Malta, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, Montenegro, and Albania), Asia (spanning across Turkey, Syria, Cyprus, Egypt, Lebanon, and Israel), and Africa (covering Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria). It borders the British overseas territory, Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta, Palestine, and the British sovereign base of Akrotiri and Dhekelia. Its location has, and continues to provide world history with a cultural affinity that is synonymous with political importance.
Exclusivity of the Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean sea is connected to other water bodies:
- The Atlantic Ocean via the Strait of Gibraltar.
- The Black sea via the Bosporus.
- The Sea of Marmara via the Dardanelles.
- The Red sea via the Suez Canal.
The regions around comprise Crete, Cyprus, Lesbos, Euboea, Chios, Rhodes, Kefalonia, Naxos, Andros, and Corfu towards the east. In the center lie Corsica, Sardinia, Cres, Sicily, Krk, Hvar, Pag, and Malta, while Majorca, Ibiza, and the Balearic islands lie to the west. It offers the regions it laps a very typical type of climate, that is also referred to as the Mediterranean type of climate. These lands are known for rainy winters and hot, dry summers. This makes them perfect for the cultivation of exotic fruits such as olives, tangerines, and grapes. It is but justified that the sea should be credited with the generation of optimum climatic conditions, exceptional vegetation, and a truly agrarian-based culture.
The distinct properties of the Mediterranean sea include:
- Limited tides
- Azure blue waters
- Increased salinity towards the east.