Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Anatolia (Greek ανατολη (anatole) for "rising of the sun"; compare "Orient" and "Levant"), also called by the Latin name of Asia Minor, is a region of Southwest Asia which corresponds today to the Asian portion of Turkey (in Turkish Anadolu).

Because of its strategic location at the intersection of Asia and Europe, Anatolia has been a cradle for several civilizations since prehistoric ages, with neolithic settlements such as Catal Höyük (pottery neolithic), Cayönü (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A to pottery Neolithic), Nevali Cori (PPN B), Hacilar (pottery neolithic), Göbekli Tepe (PPN A) and Mersin. The settlement of Troy starts in the Neolithic, but continues up into the Iron age.

Major civilizations and peoples that have settled in or conquered Anatolia include the Hattians, Luwians, Hittites, Phrygians, Cimmerians, Lydians, Persians, Celts, Tabals, Meshechs, Greeks, Pelasgians, Armenians, Romans, Goths, Kurds, Byzantines, Seljuk Turks and Ottomans. These peoples belonged to many varied ethnic and linguistic traditions. Through recorded history, Anatolians have spoken both Indo-European and Semitic languages, as well as many languages of uncertain affiliation. In fact, given the antiquity of the Indo-European Hittite and Luwian languages, some scholars have proposed Anatolia as the hypothetical center from which the Indo-European languages have radiated. Other authors have proposed an Anatolian origin for the Etruscans of ancient Italy.

Today the inhabitants of Anatolia are mostly Turkish speakers, due to the conquest of Anatolia by Turkic peoples (and subsequent Islamification) in mediaeval times. A significant Kurdish ethnic and linguistic minority exists in the southern regions, next to the frontiers with Iraq and Iran.