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Interesting Facts About the Mediterranean Sea

The Crux of Man Kind

The Mediterranean Sea is often referred to as “the incubator of Western Civilization”, because numerous societies including the Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and the Romans developed what we know as the beginnings of Western civilization in the surrounding lands. The sea and climate allowed those civilization to easily develop crops and trade to prosper into the successful empire that they were for the time being. The weather also provided an environment that was comfortable to live in pre-air conditioning and central heating. Politics, religion and economies clashed through various historic events in this region that still impact the world as we know it today.

The Mediterranean Sea got its name from the Romans who referred to it as Mare Nostrum (our Sea in Latin). The Romans also referred to the sea of the center of the Earth calling it the Latin word meterraneus (meaning middle earth). The Mesogeiso, Western Sea, The Great Sea, Hinder Sea and the Sea of the Philistines are just a few names the Mediterranean Sea is known by today.

The importance of the sea to local economies has not stopped, and the sea truly is a driver of the world. The sea attracts a huge amount of tourists, fuels the perfect weather on the surrounding land and provides a home for local fishes. The climate is perfect for the locals to grow olives, oranges, tangerines, cork and grapes. The sea holds 400 different species of fish. It is no wonder that society began to develop in such a prosperous and comfortable land.

The Intriguing Geography

Just around 6 million years ago, long before man, the Mediterranean was an empty canyon, deeper than the Grand Canyon. Then around 5.5 million years ago the land, where the Strait of Gibraltar is now, broke away to allow water from the Atlantic to come flooding in to fill the canyon with water. This geographically unique series of events led the Mediterranean to be the largest inland sea that borders 20 countries, covers around 965,000 sq miles and is 16,800 feet below sea level at its lowest point.

The land locked sea also created a problem for man, how could we connect the Mediterranean Sea to the rest of the world? This would lead them to construct the Suez Canal and Canal du Midi. The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. The Canal Du Midi connects the Mediterranean to the Atlantic at the port of Sète in the Languedoc-Roussillon. The latter was created around 400 years ago in 1666, and it is considered to be a world heritage site for a good reason.

Wonderful Weather

The Mediterranean Sea creates the perfect weather for us land dwellers. During the summer the sea brings in cold currents that create dry air with no precipitation. When winter comes the currents become warmer bringing in moist air and rain. These climates please tourists and farmers alike by creating the ideal weather conditions most people only get to dream about. The weather offers very mild weather with few extreme temperatures in the summer or winter, so there are really only two seasons in this region.

The Mediterranean is actually a climate zone that can be found in other parts of the world, and the climate zone was actually named after the Mediterranean Sea. This climate zone covers very little of the world, and it is usually found on the Western side of continents. To find similar weather conditions to those found around the Mediterranean Sea, you could visit Southwest and South Australia, California, Northern Baja California, Central Chile or the Western Cap of South Africa.

Neil Schmidth