Mediterranean Seasea positioned between Europe to the north, Africa to the south and Asia to the east, covering an approximate area of 2.5 million kmò.
The designation Mediterranean derives from the Latin mediterraneus, 'inland' (medius, 'middle' + terra, 'land, earth').
The Mediterranean Sea has been known by a number of alternative names throughout human history. It was, for example, commonly called Mare Nostrum, 'Our Sea', by the Romans. Presently, "The Med" is a common English language contraction for the Mediterranean Sea and its surrounding regions when employed in informal speech. In the Bible, it is referred to as the Great Sea or the Western Sea.
The Mediterranean Sea is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the Strait of Gibraltar on the west and to the Sea of Marmara and Black Sea, by the Dardanelles and the Bosporus respectively, on the east. The Sea of Marmara is often considered a part of the Mediterranean Sea, whereas the Black Sea is generally not. The man-made Suez Canal in the south-east connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea.
Large islands in the Mediterranean include:
- Cyprus, Crete, and Rhodes in the eastern Mediterranean
- Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily, and Malta in the central Mediterranean
- Ibiza, Majorca and Minorca (the Balearic Islands) in the western Mediterranean
- Europe (from west to east): Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, the island state of Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Albania and Greece.
- Asia (from north to south): Turkey, Syria, the island state of Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
- Africa (from east to west): Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco
The Mediterranean Sea is sub-divided into a number of smaller seas, each with their own designation:
(from west to east): the Ligurian Sea north of Corsica, the Tyrrhenian Sea enclosed by Sardinia, Italy and Sicily, the Adriatic Sea between Italy and the Dalmatian coast, the Ionian Sea between Italy and Greece, the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey, with the Thracian Sea in its north, the Mirtoon Sea between the Cyclades and the Peloponnesos, the Sea of Crete north of Crete, and the Sea of Marmara between the Aegean and Black Seas.
In addition to the seas, a number of gulfs and straits are also recognised: