Remembering why East is west and West is East

Right off the bat in my Middle East studies class in the United Kingdom (Aberystwyth, Wales, to be precise), we talked about the origin of “Near East” and “Far East.” I don’t recall the same discussion in similar classes in the U.S. For an informative discussion on the subject, check out the latest post at Strangemaps:

If you’re American, geographically inclined and a bit of a stickler, this cartographic incongruity is a bit of an annoyance. From the US, the shortest route to what’s conventionally called ‘the East’ is in fact via the west. Going in that direction, you’ll hit the ‘Far East’ before you’re in the ‘Middle East’. And Europe, or at least that part usually included in ‘the West’, lies due east. So East is west, and West is east, in blatant contradiction of what’s probably Rudyard Kipling’s most famous line of verse: Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet