Last modified on 1 October 2016, at 13:45

Red Sea

The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia.

The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden.

In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez (leading to the Suez Canal).

The Red Sea has a surface area of roughly 438,000 km² (169,100 mi²). It is about 2250 km (1398 mi) long and, at its widest point, 355 km (220.6 mi) wide. It has a maximum depth of 2211 m (7254 ft) in the central median trench, and an average depth of 490 m (1,608 ft). However, there are also extensive shallow shelves, noted for their marine life and corals. The sea is the habitat of over 1,000 invertebrate species, and 200 soft and hard corals. It is the world's northernmost tropical sea.


Name

Red Sea is a direct translation of the Greek Erythra Thalassa (Ερυθρὰ Θάλασσα) and Latin Mare Rubrum (alternatively Sinus Arabicus, literally "Arabian Gulf"), Arabic Al-Baḥr Al-Aḥmar (البحر الأحمر) or Baḥr Al-Qalzam(بحر القلزم), Somali Badda Cas and Tigrinya Qeyyiḥ bāḥrī (ቀይሕ ባሕሪ). The name of the sea may signify the seasonal blooms of the red-coloured Trichodesmium erythraeum near the water's surface.

A theory favored by some modern scholars is that the name red is referring to the direction South, just as the Black Sea's name may refer to North. The basis of this theory is that some Asiatic languages used color words to refer to the cardinal directions. Herodotus on one occasion uses Red Sea and Southern Sea interchangeably.

Some ancient geographers called the Red Sea the Arabian Gulf or Gulf of Arabia.


Surrounding countries

The Red Sea may be geographically divided into three sections: the Red Sea proper, and in the north, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez. The six countries bordering the Red Sea proper are:

Eastern shore:

  1. Saudi Arabia
  2. Yemen

Western shore:

  1. Egypt
  2. Sudan
  3. Eritrea
  4. Djibouti

The Gulf of Suez is entirely bordered by Egypt.

The Gulf of Aqaba borders Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

In addition to the standard geographical definition of the six countries bordering the Red Sea cited above, areas such as Somalia and Ethiopia are sometimes also described as Red Sea territories. This is primarily due to their proximity to and geological similarities with the nations facing the Red Sea and/or political ties with said areas.



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