Where the Bedouin live?

Today the word ‘Arab’ means any person who lives in a group of countries in western Asia or northern Africa such as Egypt, Algeria or Jordan. But the true Arabs are a people who live in the Arabian peninsula, across the Red Sea from place to place with their herds of goats, sheep or camels. In fact, the word ‘Arab’ means ‘normad’ in Arabic. These nomadic people are known as the Bedouin. They live in a region called in Arabic bajia, that is a vast plain with very little vegetation. Although the Bedouin make up about one-tenth of the total population of the Middle East, they occupy nearly nine-tenths of its area.

It is very difficult to trace the origins of the Bedouin. They have never learned to read or write and so have kept no records of their past. In the days of the ancient Romans the Bedouin frequently raided the coastal regions. The Romans had to build many forts to stand up to these attacks. The Bedouin used to gather together every so often in major centers of the Arab world such as Aleppo, Mecca and Hormuz. It was at these gathering that Mohamed, the prophet who is today honoured by Moslems all over the world as the founder of the Islamic religion, first preached his religious teachings.

The Bedouin live a difficult life. The Arabian desert where they live is extremely hot and water is very scare as rain does not fall for several years in certain parts. The Bedouin therefore have to keep moving to look for food for themselves and their animals. They live in tents and breed camels which they sell at markets for such foods as barely and dates. With the coming of industry of Arabia following the discovery of oil, many Bedouin have given up their wandering life and taken jobs on oilfields. Now they are much richer than the rest of the world.


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