A Brief History of Jerusalem

JerusalemThe city of Jerusalem has been in the news lately, with a commitment by the Americans to move their Israeli embassy to the city, officially recognizing it as the Israeli capital in more than word. The city has a long history, which is well summarized by Wikipedia. Here, I will give only the briefest of accounts.

5000 BC Early settlements are dated to this time period by archaeologists.
3000 BC Earliest archaeological evidence of a permanent settlement.
1900 BC The Execration Texts refer to a city called Urušalimum.
1400 BC The Amarna letters may be the earliest mention of the city.
1335 BC Jerusalem was the capital of an Egyptian vassal city-state with a small Egyptian garrison, ruled by their appointed king Abdi-Heba.
800 BC The Broad Wall, a defensive fortification, was built by Judean king Hezekiah.
722 BC The Assyrians conquered the northern Kingdom of Israel, and Jerusalem was strengthened by a great influx of refugees.
586 BC The Babylonians conquered Judah and Jerusalem, and laid waste to
the First Temple.
538 BC Persian king Cyrus the Great invited the Jews of Babylon to return to Judah to rebuild the Temple.
516 BC Construction of the Second Temple was completed, during the reign of
Darius the Great.
485 BC Jerusalem was besieged, conquered and largely destroyed by a coalition of neighboring states.
445 BC King Artaxerxes I of Persia issued a decree allowing the city (including its walls) to be rebuilt. Jerusalem resumed its role as capital of Judah and center of Jewish worship.
331 BC Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire, and Jerusalem and
Judea came under Macedonian control.
318 BC Jerusalem fell to Ptolemy I, one of Alexander’s generals.
198 BC Ptolemy V Epiphanes lost Jerusalem and Judea to Antiochus III,
the Seleucid (Greek) emporer. He attempted to recast Jerusalem as a Hellenized city-state.
168 BC The Maccabees revolted against Antiochus IV Epiphanes. They established the Hasmonean (Judean) Kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital.
63 BC Pompey the Great intervened in a struggle for the Hasmonean throne and captured Jerusalem, extending the influence of the Roman Republic over Judea.
40 BC Rome installed Herod the Great as a Jewish client king.
6 AD Judea came under direct Roman rule as the Iudaea Province.
70 AD Roman rule over Jerusalem and the region was challenged in the First Jewish–Roman War, which ended with a Roman victory. The Second Temple and the entire city was destroyed in the war.
132 AD Roman rule was challenged during the Bar Kokhba revolt.
135 AD Emperor Hadrian combined Judaea with neighboring provinces
under the name Syria Palaestina. The city was renamed Aelia Capitolina, and rebuilt in the style of a typical Roman town. Jews were prohibited from entering the city on pain of death, except for one day each year, during the holiday of Tisha B’Av.
325 AD Roman Emperor Constantine I ordered the construction of the Christian Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
400-499 AD The Byzantine (eastern Roman) empire, ruling from the recently renamed Constantinople, maintained control of the city. Within the span of a few decades, Jerusalem shifted from Byzantine to Persian rule, then back.
614 AD The Sassanid Persian emperor Khosrau II‘s generals captured Jerusalem, aided by the Jews of Palaestina Prima, who had risen up against the Byzantines. They destroyed Christian monuments and churches, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
629 AD The Byzantine Emperor Heraclius reconquered Jerusalem.
638 AD Jerusalem was conquered by the Arab armies of Umar ibn al-Khattab. With the Arab conquest, Jews were allowed back into the city.
691 AD The Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik commissioned the construction of a shrine on the Temple Mount, now known as the Dome of the Rock.
1073 AD Jerusalem was captured by the Seljuk Turkish commander Atsız. After Atsız was killed, the Seljuk prince Tutush I granted the city to Artuk Bey, another Seljuk commander. After Artuk’s death in 1091 his sons Sökmen and Ilghazi governed in the city.
1098 AD The Fatimid caliph recaptured the city.
1099 AD The Fatimid ruler expelled the native Christian population before Jerusalem was besieged by the soldiers of the First Crusade. After taking the solidly defended city by assault, the Crusaders massacred most of its Muslim and Jewish inhabitants, and made it the capital of their Kingdom of Jerusalem. The city, which had been virtually emptied, was recolonized by a variegated inflow of Greeks, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Georgians, Armenians, Syrians, Egyptians, Nestorians, Maronites, Jacobite Miaphysites, Copts and others, to block the return of the surviving Muslims and Jews. The north-eastern quarter was repopulated with Eastern Christians from the Transjordan.
1187 AD The city was wrested from the Crusaders by Saladin who permitted Jews and Muslims to return and settle in the city. Under the terms of surrender, once ransomed, 60,000 Franks were expelled. The Eastern Christian
populace was permitted to stay.
1229 AD Jerusalem peacefully reverted to Christian control as a result of a Treaty between the crusading Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and al-Kamil, the Ayyubidsultan of Egypt that ended the Sixth Crusade.
1244 AD Jerusalem was sacked by the KhwarezmianTatars, who decimated the city’s Christian population and drove out the Jews.
1247 AD The Khwarezmian Tatars were driven out by the Ayyubids.
1260-1516 AD Jerusalem was ruled by the Mamluks. Some European Christian presence was maintained in the city by the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
1517 AD Jerusalem and environs fell to the Ottoman Turks.
1831 AD Muhammad Ali of Egypt annexed Jerusalem.
1836 AD Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt allowed Jerusalem’s Jewish residents to restore four major synagogues, among them the Hurva.
1840 AD Ottoman rule was reinstated, but many Egyptian Muslims remained in Jerusalem and Jews from Algiers and North Africa began to settle in the city in growing numbers.
1917 AD The British Army, led by General Edmund Allenby, captured the city.
1922 AD The League of Nations at the Conference of Lausanne entrusted the United Kingdom to administer Palestine, neighbouring Transjordan, and Iraq beyond it. Relations between Arab Christians and Muslims and the growing Jewish population in Jerusalem deteriorated, resulting in
recurring unrest.
1948 AD The Arab/Israeli war erupted, the British withdrew from Palestine, and Israel declared its independence. Israel took control of the area which later would become West Jerusalem, along with major parts of the Arab territory allotted to the future Arab State; Jordan took control of East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank. The war led to displacement of Arab and Jewish populations in the city. Contrary to the terms of the armistice agreement, Jews were denied access to Jewish holy sites, many of which were destroyed or desecrated. Jordan allowed only very limited access to Christian holy sites, and restrictions were imposed on the Christian population that led many to leave the city. Of the 58 synagogues in the Old City, half were either razed or converted to stables and hen-houses over the course of the next 19 years, including the Hurva and the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue. The 3,000-year-old Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery was desecrated, with gravestones used to build roads, latrines and Jordanian army fortifications. 38,000 graves in the Jewish Cemetery were destroyed, and Jews were forbidden from being buried there.
1967 AD Despite Israeli pleas that Jordan remain neutral during the Six-Day War, Jordan, which had concluded a defense agreement with Egypt, attacked Israeli-held West Jerusalem on the war’s second day. After hand-to-hand fighting between Israeli and Jordanian soldiers on the Temple Mount, the
Israel Defense Forces captured East Jerusalem, along with the entire West Bank. Residents were given permanent residency status and the option of applying for Israeli citizenship. Jewish and Christian access to the holy sites inside the old walled city was restored. Israel left the Temple Mount under the jurisdiction of an Islamic waqf, but opened the Western Wall to Jewish access.

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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