The history of Palestine is the study of the past in the region of Palestine, generally defined as a geographic region in Western Asia between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River (where Israel and the Palestinian territories are today), and various adjoining lands. Situated at a strategic point between Europe, Asia, and Africa, and the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, the region has a long and tumultuous history as a crossroads for religion, culture, commerce, and politics. The Palestine region or parts of it have been controlled by numerous different peoples, including the Paleo-Canaanites, Amorites, Ancient Egyptians, Israelites, Moabites, Ammonites, Tjeker, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, (Umayads, Abbasids, Seljuqs, Fatimids), French Crusaders, (Ayyubids, Mameluks, Ottoman Turks), the British, Jordianians (1948–1967, on the "West Bank") and Egyptians (in Gaza), and modern Israelis and Palestinians. Other terms for the same area include Canaan, Zion, the Land of Israel, Southern Syria, Jund Filastin, Outremer, the Holy Land and the Southern Levant.
The region was among the earliest in the world to see human habitation, agricultural communities and civilization. During the Bronze Age, independent Canaanite city-states were established, and were influenced by the surrounding civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Minoan Crete, and Syria. During 1550–1400 BCE, the Canaanite cities became vassals to the Egyptian New Kingdom who held power until the 1178 BCE Battle of Djahy (Canaan) during the wider Bronze Age collapse. Modern archaeologists dispute parts of the Biblical tradition, the latest thinking being that the Israelites emerged from a dramatic social transformation that took place in the people of the central hill country of Canaan around 1200 BCE, with no signs of violent invasion or even of peaceful infiltration of a clearly defined ethnic group from elsewhere. The Philistines, part of Sea Peoples of Southern Europe, arrived and mingled with the local population, and according to Biblical tradition, the United Kingdom of Israel was established in 1020 BCE and split within a century to form the northern Kingdom of Israel, and the southern Kingdom of Judah. The region became part of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from c. 740 BCE, which was itself replaced by the Neo-Babylonian Empire in c. 627 BCE. A war with Egypt culminated in 586 BCE when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II and the local leaders were deported to Babylonia, only to be allowed to return under the Achaemenid Empire.
In the 330s BCE, Alexander the Great conquered the area now called Palestine, and the region changed hands numerous times during the wars of the Diadochi, ultimately joining the Seleucid Empire between 219 and 200 BCE. In 116 BCE, a Seleucid civil war resulted in the independence of certain regions including the minor Hasmonean principality in the Judean Mountains. From 110 BCE, the Hasmoneans extended their authority over much of the area, creating a Judean–Samaritan–Idumaean–Ituraean–Galilean alliance.
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