What Is the Geography of the Fertile Crescent?

The Fertile Crescent is quarter-moon shaped area of land stretching from Upper Egypt, running through Jordan, Syria and Iraq, and meets the south eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. Compared to its surrounding dry and arid areas, the Fertile Crescent is moist and fertile and is often called the Cradle of Civilization.

The Fertile Crescent is called the Cradle of Civilization as it is believed to encapsulate the origins of agriculture, organized religion, urbanization, trade, writing and science. With the Fertile Crescent bridging Africa and Eurasia, it is thought to have been an important source and distribution of early flora and fauna and is associated with the location of the Garden of Eden from Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths.

Because the area lies on a tectonic divergence between African and Arabian tectonic plates, the area consists of tall, snow-covered mountains, desert plateaus and fertile alluvial basins. This wide-ranging landscape has helped increase the diversity of the flora and fauna in the area. It was home to eight crops that were important to early agriculture: emmer wheat, einkorn, chickpeas, lentils, peas, bitter vetch, barley and flax. It was also home to cows, goats, pigs and sheep, which are four of the five most important domesticated species of animals.