The Eastern world, also known as the East or historically the Orient, is an umbrella term for various cultures or social structures, nations and philosophical systems, which vary depending on the context. It most often includes at least part of Asia or, geographically, the countries and cultures east of Europe, the Mediterranean region and the Arab world, specifically in historical (pre-modern) contexts, and in modern times in the context of Orientalism. It is often seen as a counterpart to the Western world, and correlates strongly to the southern half of the North–South divide.
The various regions included in the term are varied, hard to generalize, and do not have a single shared common heritage. Although the various parts of the Eastern world share many common threads, most notably being in the "Global South", they have never historically defined themselves collectively. The term originally had a literal geographic meaning, referring to the eastern part of the Old World, contrasting the cultures and civilizations of Asia with those of Europe (or the Western world). Traditionally, this includes all of Central Asia, East Asia, the Greater Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
Conceptually, the boundary between east and west is cultural, rather than geographical, as a result of which Australia and New Zealand, which were founded as British settler colonies, are typically grouped with the Western world despite being geographically closer to the Eastern world, while the Central Asian nations of the former Soviet Union, even with significant Western influence, are grouped in the East. Other than much of Asia and Africa, Europe has absorbed almost all of the societies of Oceania, North Asia and the Americas into the Western world because of settler colonization.
Countries such as Israel, and the Philippines, which are geographically located in the Eastern world, may be considered westernized in some aspects of their society due to immigration and cultural influences from the United States and Europe.
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