History of Palestine

Ancient Israel is entwined with the land and history of Palestine. No other land in the world is so firmly entrenched in a country's history as Palestine is in Israel's.

In fact, ancient Palestine, also referred to as Canaan, or Israel, has come to be known as the Holy Land.

However, the history of Palestine is anything but holy. Some of the world's oldest and most powerful empires have left bloody footprints in Palestine.

Every region of Palestine has seen its share of bloody conflict, from ancient times to today.

Few other countries possess geography as varied as Palestine's. Mountains, fertile plains and valleys, coastal regions, rivers, deserts and wilderness cover the region.


The Ancient Near East



Ancient Mesopotamia : Ancient Mesopotamia and the history of Palestine are entwined with each other even before the Bible. Abraham migrated from ancient Mesopotamia.

Ancient Egypt Geography : Ancient Egypt geography led Egypt to seek control of routes leading to the east. Thus, the country often came into conflict with Palestine and Israel.

Ancient Syria : Palestine and Syria shared much more than geographical location. The two countries fought each other frequently in the Old Testament.

Lebanon : The geography of Lebanon was such to divide the land into vastly different regions. Lebanon was also a country amongst vastly different civilizations. It was a key link between Palestine and many other ancient cultures.

Map of Lebanon : Maps of Lebanon over the course of its ancient past, from Old Testament times to the modern day political boundaries.

Click to Post Your Thoughts. Have you ever visited Palestine? Do you have a story or experience to share? Give us your insights, thoughts, questions, and comments on Palestine!


The Setting

The modern day states of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran occupy an area that comprise the Ancient Near East.

Modern states of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and the other Middle East countries.



It was in this region, known as The Cradle of Civilization, that the culture and influence of Europe, Asia, and Africa met.

The Ancient Near East was dominated by two major powers, Egypt and Mesopotamia. Palestine was caught in the middle of these two great empires.

Consequently, the history of Palestine was largely shaped by these two powers.

The history of Palestine was greatly influenced by the presence of these two empires. Palestine was essentially a land bridge between them.

The International Coastal Highway also ran through Palestine, providing important and vital links to trade, commerce, culture, etc.

Accordingly, Palestine's strategic importance was not lost on either empire, as they often struggled for control over her important trade and military routes.

The people of Palestine, thus, felt the imprint of many different cultures and religions. The history of Palestine and its people were influenced significantly by this diversity.

They also felt the brunt of war. Empires waged war over the important trade routes in Palestine, and sought to control this strategically located little stretch of land.

As a result, the history of Palestine is marred by countless bloody conflicts.

Empires such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Romans, waged wars to control the strategically important area, and to put down rebellions.

Conditions were also very favorable to agriculture in most of the Ancient Near East. The term, The Fertile Crescent, was coined to describe this region and its early agricultural settlements, which would eventually lead to village life.

A map of the Near East.

The Fertile Crescent starts in the Persian Gulf, near modern day Basra. From the gulf it stretches northwest into Mesopotamia, which included the lands bordering the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

From there, it runs into southern Turkey, encompassing modern day cities such as Diyarbekir, Samsat, and Gaziantep.

In southern Turkey, The Fertile Crescent bends southward, and runs along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Crescent then makes its way southward down the coast to Israel, where it collides with the Negeb, and abruptly ends.

Sandwiched between the eastern coast of the Mediterranean and the desert is a thin line of country known as the Levant.

Syria formed the northern border of the Levant, while Palestine occupied the southern portion of the Levant.

Southwards of the Levant is the Negeb, leading across the Sinai peninsula into Egypt. Many of Israel's Patriarchs and heroes have traversed the Negeb throughout the history of Palestine.

East of the Levant is the Syro-Arabian desert. On the other side of the Syro-Arabian desert is Babylon, or, Mesopotamia. West of the Levant is the Mediterranean Sea, leading to Greece, Italy and Rome.

The geography of the land also played an extremely significant part in the history of Palestine.

Study Resource

Barnesandnoble.com offers The History of Ancient Palestine. This book encompasses the history of Palestine from the earliest times to Alexander's conquest. It draws on all available material including archeological excavations from the ancient Near East. Click on the link below to obtain your copy of The History of Ancient Palestine!

The History of Ancient Palestine








John McRay and Alfred Hoerth have compiled a readable and thorough book exploring the histories, cultures, and social forces of the earliest civilizations. Bible Archaeology offers full-color maps, photographs, and diagrams, walking you through archaeological digs, including those in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Palestine. This is sure to add another level of understanding to the Biblical narratives. Click on the link to re-direct to amazon.com and purchase your copy!

Bible Archaeology: An Exploration of the History and Culture of Early Civilizations








Pre-Biblical Ancient Palestine



Ancient Palestine : The rich history of ancient Palestine extends back thousands of years before Abraham set foot in Canaan. Canaanite culture was well developed, consisting of complex relations and loyalties.

Map of Palestine : Maps of Palestine from ancient times to the present day. The tribes of Israel are given in detail, as well as the many geographical features of the land.



Other Resources

Middle East Directory

http://mideastweb.org This is a great resource / directory for topics and questions regarding the Middle East in general.






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The history of Palestine is tied together with ancient Jericho.



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