A region of long history and geopolitical significance, the Levant (English; "al-mashriq" in Arabic) is generally defined as the European and Asian countries on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, but also a few neighboring states.
Its core states are usually considered to include:
Egypt is arguably part of both the Levant and the North African Maghreb, but is usually grouped with th latter. The generic Middle East includes the Levant, at least the eastern Maghreb, Iran, Kuwait, the Gulf states, and sometimes Sudan.
Prior to the First World War, most were part either of the Ottoman Empire or British Empire. After the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, most areas came under British or French control, and gradually became independent. Disputed areas today, such as the Occupied Territories, are disputed among independent states of the region.