Historical Timeline

The following is a simple outline of Israel’s history:

BC: 3200-1200 Canaanites (descendants of Ham), and their various sub-groups, control most of Palestine, which becomes known as the “Land of Canaan”

1900-1750 Age of the Patriarchs (Abraham & Sarah; Isaac & Rebecca; Jacob & Leah/Rachel; ends with Joseph in Egypt)

1750-1550 Hyksos (Israelite?) people invade and rule Egypt

1550-1300 The El-Amarna Period. While Israelites in Egypt, Palestine is greatly influenced by rule & culture of Egyptian, Mycenean, Cypriot & Hittite peoples

1250-1200 Exodus from Egypt of children of Israel; Law given at Mt. Sinai; wilderness wandering; begin conquest of the Promised Land through Joshua

1200-970 (Iron Age) Israelites firmly established in the Promised Land but still with many enemies

  • 1200-1020 Period of the Judges (military chieftains); Philistines (Sea Peoples from Greece) invade; Samuel (last Judge); prophets
  • 1030-1010 Saul anointed king & loosely organizes the country behind his leadership
  • 1010-970 David becomes king of all Israel, unites all tribes by establishing Jerusalem as nation’s capital

970-586 First Temple Period

  • 970-931 Solomon builds the Temple
  • 931 Death of Solomon: monarchy & country divided. 10 northern tribes form Kingdom of Israel; 2 southern tribes (Benjamin & Judah) form Kingdom of Judah
  • 750-725 Prophets Amos, Hosea, Isaiah
  • 722 Assyria attacks northern 10 tribes of Kingdom of Israel & deports many
  • 722-586 Judah braces for Assyrian attack: King Hezekiah constructs his “Broad Wall” & Great Water Tunnel
  • 600-580 Period of the Classical Prophets: Jeremiah & Ezekiel
  • 586 Babylonians overcome Assyrian empire and invade Palestine: destroy Jerusalem & Temple; Jews exiled to dwell “by the rivers of Babylon” (Psalm 137)

536 BC-70AD Second Temple Period

  • 536-333 Persian Rule: Persian Empire defeats Babylonians, rules Palestine
  • 538 Edict of Cyrus the Great allows exiles to return to Judea
  • 520-515 Second Temple built on ruins of First Temple; religious reforms of Ezra & Nehemiah
  • 520 Prophet Haggai
  • 333 Alexander the Great establishes Hellenistic Empire & culture
  • 332 Alexander conquers Israel
  • 230-146 Rome begins conquering the eastern Mediterranean
  • 168-63 Priestly family from town of Modi’in leads successful revolt against Alexander’s successor & creates Hasmonean Dynasty in Israel which lasts until Roman Emperor Pompey annexes Judea
  • 37-4 Rome appoints Herod “the Great” King of the Jews, begins Herodian Dynasty (ending Hasmonean Dynasty); Herod begins many massive building projects, including greatly expanding the Temple and its environs
  • 6 Rome establishes direct rule over Judea
  • 30 AD Beginnings of Christianity
  • 66 First Jewish revolt against Rome begins in Caesarea
  • 70 Rome crushes Jewish revolt, destroys Jerusalem & Temple

70-312 Late Roman Rule

  • 73 Ordination of Rabbis begins with establishment of Jewish center for study at Yavneh by Yohanan ben Zakkai
  • 120-135 Rabbi Akiva active in consolidating Rabbinic Judaism
  • 132-135 Last of the great Jewish revolts led by Shimon Bar Kochba fails; Hadrian establishes Jerusalem as a pagan city, renaming it “Aelia Capitolina” and renames Israel “Palestine”. Builds temple to Jupiter where Jewish Temple stood
  • 200 The Mishna is completed by Rabbi Judah Hanasi

312-640 Byzantine Empire

  • 312 Emperor Constantine embraces Christianity as official religion of the Roman Empire; Palestine & Jerusalem undergo renovation, mainly by Constantine’s mother; construction of many Catholic shrines & churches through the Land
  • 614 Talmud completed

640-1099 Early Islamic Empire

  • 640 Mohammed’s Persian Muslim followers conquer Israel
  • Muslims build Dome of the Rock & El Aqsa Mosque
  • Ruling dynasties include Ommayad, Abbasid & Fatimid

1099-1260 Crusader Kingdoms

  • Crusades establish Latin rule in Palestine
  • 1187 Saladin “the Great” conquers Palestine and reestablishes Muslim rule, but Christian presence continues until middle of the 13th century

1260-1517 Mamelukes (former Egyptian slaves) rule

1517-1917 Ottoman Empire

  • 1539 Sultan Suleiman “the Magnificent” completed the wall that currently surrounds the Old City of Jerusalem

1917-1948 British Mandate

  • 1917 Balfour Declaration (English) favors the establishment of a Jewish State, declares the Jewish entitlement to lands now occupied by Jordan, Iraq, etc.
  • General Allenby defeats Turks (Ottomans) in WW I
  • League of Nations gives Britain a mandate to establish Jewish homeland in Palestine
  • 1922 oil discovered in Arab-dominated areas of the Middle East
  • Winston Churchill refutes the Balfour Declaration, giving lands promised to the Jews to several Arab chieftains to create their own nations

1948 United Nations votes to partition Palestine into an Israeli, and an Arab, state. Jewish portion is 1/5 of what Britain had originally promised. Jews reluctantly accept; Arabs reject the partition. Jews declare their nationhood. All surrounding Arab nations attack the new State beginning Israeli’s War for Independence.


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