The Fertile Crescent in South- west Asia was the birthplace of civilization and agriculture. Around 8000 B.C., people began to plant crops and raise live- stock in a process called the agricultural revolution.
Central and Southwest Asia’s location made it a target for invasion. After World War I, European powers divided the region. Once all countries gained inde- pendence, conflict remained as nations fought for land control. The region, covered mainly with mountains and plains, is mostly arid or semiarid. Seaside areas have steady tem- peratures, while inland areas have cold winters and hot summers.
Most of the region has a desert ecosys- tem. The chaparral ecosystem, with drought-resistant herbs and bushes, is found near the Black and Mediterranean seas. Pollution and poaching, or illegal hunting, threaten the wildlife of the Caspian Sea.Three major religions began in the region: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. All are based on monotheism, a belief in one God. Most people in the region are Muslims. Religious differences have led to many conflicts. Such conflict is severe in Jerusalem, a sacred city to all three religions.Most of the population lives in urban areas, where the main economic activities are services and industry. The region con- tains large reserves of oil and natural gas.Water shortages are a challenge for the region. Some nations have built desali- nation plants, where seawater is evapo- rated to obtain fresh water.
The countries in this region rely on trade. Most countries in this region export large amounts of oil to get the goods and foods they need.


1 - What three monotheistic religions began in Southwest Asia?
2 - Map Skills Which four Central and Southwest Asian countries bor- der the Caspian Sea?