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TIMELINE 1900 BCE - 1948 CE

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View of Jerusalem, which King David established as the Jewish capital some 3,000 years ago   

c.1900 BCE

The era of Abraham and the biblical patriarchs.
Also Canaanite city states under Egyptian protection.

c.1500 BCE

Some Jews leave Canaan becuase of famine and move to Egypt. Within 100 years they are enslaved there.
c.1300 BCE

The Exodus from slavery in Egypt. The Jews return to the land of Israel.

c.1000 BCE

The Kingdoms of David and Solomon.
See The Story of the Jewish People for a brief outline of the biblical period.

586 BCE

The Baylonians destroy the First Holy Jewish Temple in Jerusalem built by King Solomon and exiled the Jews to Babylon. many are permitted to return 30 years later.
See The Story of the Jewish People for a brief outline of the biblical period.

70 CE

Roman destruction of the Second (rebuilt) Temple in Jerusalem ends Jewish sovereignty. This is the traditional date for the beginning of the Dispersion, although a substantial Jewish presence remains in the land.


A Jewish revolt is defeated by the Romans. The Roman historian Cassius Dio records that 580,000 Jewish soldiers were killed and over 900 villages and towns destroyed. The Emperor Hadrian decrees that name 'Judea' should be replaced by the name 'Palestine' (literally 'Syria Palestina' - Syrian Palestine). The dispersion of the Jewish people as captives, slaves and refugees is accelerated.


Syria Palestina is ruled by Rome, and later by Constantinople (Byzantium) as part of the Christian Greek-speaking Byzantine Eastern Roman Empire. 


Mohammed’s 'migration' from Mecca to Medina (the Hijra) marks the foundation of Islam. In 638 his successor Omar takes Jerusalem.


Palestine is part of the Arabian Empire. Arabic language and Islamic religion are introduced.


Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.


Egyptian Mamluk rule. 


Palestine part of the Turkish Empire.


Tsar Alexander II assassinated. Anti-Jewish laws are revived and pogroms break out in Russia.


Organised Zionist movement founded in Russia. A wave of Jewish immigration (the 'First Aliyah') to Turkish Palestine begins.


Theodore Herzl publishes Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State).


The first Zionist Congress establishes the World Zionist Organisation.


The Allies defeat Turkey in the First World War.


Britain announces the Balfour Declaration – “His Majesty views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people...” Allenby enters Jerusalem in December 1917.


The League of Nations grants a Mandate to the UK on the basis of the Balfour Declaration, but excludes Transjordan from that provision. 


Widespread Arab riots against Jewish immigration. The Jewish poulation of Hebron (a constant presence since biblical times) is massacred.


British White Paper restricts Jewish immigration.


Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany. First concentration camp opened.


Nuremberg racial laws passed.


Arab riots against Jewish immigration.


Peel Royal Commission recommends a 2-state partition of Palestine, with Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Jaffa under British control.


Evian conference on refugees fails to achieve substantial international immigration quotas for Jews fleeing Germany.


London Conference. British White Paper effectively prevents Jewish immigration into Palestine.


The Second World War. Six million Jews killed in the Nazi Holocaust.


White Paper policy enforced to prevent immigration of survivors to Palestine.        


Anglo-American Committee recommends immigration of 100,000 survivors. Jewish uprising in Palestine begins. 


Britain refers issue to UN.


The United Nations, by General Assembly Resolution 181 “recommends to the United Kingdom, as the mandatory Power for Palestine” a new 2-state Partition Plan which envisages the establishment of an Arab state, a Jewish state and an internationalised Jerusalem.


Hostilities begin with Arab armed opposition to Partition Plan and attacks on the Jewish population. An exodus of the Arab population begins.


Britain relinquishes its Mandate in Palestine.

Israel declares its independence. The Partition Resolution is formally rejected by the Arab states, and as a result the proposed Palestinian state and the internationalisation of Jerusalem are not established.

Israel is invaded by the armies of Egypt, Trans-Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia and irregular forces from Lebanon and Sudan.


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