The Fertile Crescent is made up of sections of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Cyprus, Israel, Palestine, Egypt and a small portion of Iran. Before the countries gained their modern names, the central area was referred to as Mesopotamia, which is also called the cradle of civilization. The northern portion of the crescent was called Assyria, the far eastern end was called Elam, the western side was known as Phoenicia and the southernmost section was located around Egypt.
The area in ancient times was very fertile due to the snow melting off the mountains and flooding the rivers, which deposited silt along the banks. The silt was very fertile soil that allowed the ancient settlers to grow crops despite the low amounts of rainfall. In modern times, the region is still a very active and densely populated area. The Middle East is home to many religious centers, oil fields and cultural diversity. Throughout the centuries of population in the Fertile Crescent there has been a wide diversity of cultures and languages. This has continued into modern day with many cultures living side by side, though not always peacefully. Wars have often plagued this area of the world as this diversity has often spurred unrest and the desire of one culture to spread out and take over another.