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The Sites

Israel and Palestine – In Jerusalem

Israel and Palestine – Outside Jerusalem




Historical timeline

Filed under: Extras — 1:13 pm

Pre-Biblical and early Biblical times


c. 7000: Jericho is a walled settlement

c. 5000-4000: Land of Canaan is occupied by Canaanites, then Amorites and Jebusites.

c. 2000: Founding patriarch Abraham and his tribe settle in what becomes Judea.

c. 1500: Abraham’s descendants, led by Joseph, settle in Egypt.

c. 1260: Moses leads Israelites in Exodus from Egypt.

c. 1200: Israelites under Joshua enter Promised Land.

c. 1000: David captures Jebusite city of Jerusalem and makes it his capital.

c. 970: Solomon builds First Temple.

Two kingdoms

c. 930: Israel splits into northern kingdom of Israel and southern kingdom of Judah (including Jerusalem).

c. 720: Northern kingdom conquered by Assyria and its 10 tribes sent into exile.

c. 700: Southern kingdom’s King Hezekiah cuts tunnel from Gihon Spring to Pool of Siloam.

701: Assyrians conquer much of southern kingdom; Jerusalem is besieged but survives.

597: Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon captures southern kingdom and Jerusalem.

587: Following rebellion, Nebuchadnezzar destroys Jerusalem and First Temple, deporting most of population to Babylon (in present-day Iraq).

Persian rule

539: Cyrus the Great of Persia conquers Babylon and allows Jews to return from captivity.

515: Second Temple is completed.

444: Nehemiah rebuilds city walls of Jerusalem.

Hellenistic rule

332: Alexander the Great conquers Persian Empire, including all of Palestine.

323: Alexander dies and his kingdom is divided into four parts; Palestine falls under Ptolemaic Dynasty of Egypt, then under Seleucid Empire of Syria.

175: King Antiochus IV of Syria bans traditional Jewish practices and desecrates Temple.

167: Judas Maccabeus leads successful revolt against Seleucid Empire, rededicates Temple and restores religious freedom.

Hasmonean rule

140: Simon Maccabeus, a brother of Judas, establishes Hasmonean Dynasty, which rules an independent Jewish kingdom for 103 years.

63: Rivalry between Simon Maccabeus’ great-grandsons, Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II, brings civil war that ends with Roman general Pompey controlling the kingdom.

37: Rome proclaims Herod as King of Israel, now a Roman client state, ending the Hasmonean Dynasty.

Roman rule

20: Herod expands Temple Mount and rebuilds Temple.

c. 3: Jesus Christ is born in Bethlehem.

1: Herod dies and his kingdom is divided among his sons, Philip, Antipas and Archelaus.



26: Pontius Pilate becomes procurator of Roman province of Judea.

c. 27: Jesus is baptised by his cousin John the Baptist and begins his public ministry.

c. 30: Jesus is condemned to death and crucified.

c. 32: Stephen, first Christian martyr, is stoned to death.

c. 34: Paul is converted on the way to Damascus.

41-44: Jerusalem’s “Third Wall” is built by King Agrippa I.

c. 50: Council of Jerusalem, first recorded council of Christian leaders, is held.

c. 45-120: Books of the New Testament are written.

67: During First Jewish-Roman War, Christians in Palestine flee to Pella in Jordan.

70: Romans destroy Jerusalem and Second Temple.

73: Masada falls to Romans.

130: Emperor Hadrian rebuilds Jerusalem, renaming it Aelia Capitolina, and puts pagan temple over site of the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

135: Hadrian crushes Second Jewish Revolt and expels Jews from Palestine.

301: Armenia becomes first nation to make Christianity its state religion.

313: Emperor Constantine I legalises Christianity.

325: At Council of Nicaea, Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem asks Constantine to reclaim site of crucifixion and Resurrection and build a church there.

326-7: Constantine’s mother, Helena, visits Holy Land, finds True Cross and orders churches built on sacred sites; large-scale pilgrimages begin.

Byzantine rule

330: Constantine moves his capital from Nicomedia to Byzantium (renamed Constantinople, now Istanbul).

335: Church of the Holy Sepulchre is consecrated.

380: Emperor Theodosius I makes Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire.

386-420: Jerome produces Vulgate translation of Bible in his Bethlehem cave.

395: Roman Empire splits into East and West.

c. 500: Jerusalem Talmud completed by rabbinic schools in Galilee.

570: Birth of Muhammad.

614: Persians capture Jerusalem, destroying many churches and burning Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

622: Muhammad escapes assassination in Mecca and flees to Medina, his flight marking first year of Islamic calendar.

629: Emperor Heraclius I re-establishes Byzantine rule in Jerusalem and recovers True Cross stolen by Persians.

Islamic rule

638: Islamic forces conquer Jerusalem, beginning rule by succession of Arab dynasties.

661-1000: Palestine variously ruled by Arab caliphs in Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo.

692: Dome of the Rock completed on Temple Mount.

1009: Sultan al-Hakim destroys Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

1048: Church of the Holy Sepulchre restored by Emperor Constantine Monomachus.

1054: Great Schism splits Christian Church into Eastern (Greek) and Western (Latin) branches.

1071: Seljuk Turks capture Jerusalem, persecuting Christians, desecrating churches and barring pilgrims.

Crusader rule

1099: First Crusade captures Jerusalem and establishes Latin kingdom; Dome of the Rock becomes church called Templum Domini (Temple of the Lord).

1149: New Church of the Holy Sepulchre completed.

1187: Sultan Saladin defeats Crusaders at Horns of Hattin above Sea of Galilee, then takes Jerusalem.

Islamic rule again

1219: St Francis of Assisi visits Egypt and meets Sultan Melek al-Kamil.

1229: During Sixth Crusade, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II negotiates return of Jerusalem and other Christian sites to Crusader kingdom.

1229: Franciscans establish themselves in Jerusalem near Fifth Station of Via Dolorosa.

1244: Jerusalem is sacked by Khwarezmian Tartars; control quickly passes to Egyptian Ayyubids and then Mamluks, who rule until 1517.

1291: Crusaders’ last foothold, Acre, falls to Mamluks.

1342: Pope Clement VI formally establishes Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.

Ottoman rule

1517: Ottoman Turks take control of Palestine from Mamluks.

1517: Martin Luther begins Protestant Reformation in Europe.

1538: Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent builds present walls of Old City of Jerusalem.

1757: Ottoman Turkish edicts give Greek Orthodox major possession of Church of the Holy Sepulchre and other holy places.

1808: Fire rages in Church of the Holy Sepulchre; Tomb of Christ is severely damaged when dome falls in.

1812: Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt rediscovers Nabatean city of Petra.

1839: British Jew Sir Moses Montefiore proposes idea of a modern Jewish state.

1842: First Anglican bishop of Jerusalem, Michael Solomon Alexander, a converted Jewish rabbi, arrives.

1849: Christ Church in Jerusalem, oldest Protestant church in Middle East, is built.

1852: Under pressure from Russia, Ottoman Sultan Abd-ul-Mejid directs that possession of holy places remains according to 1757 edict.

1853-56: Possession of holy places is one cause of Crimean War between Russia and major European powers.

1860: First Jewish immigrant neighbourhood outside Old City of Jerusalem is established, funded by Sir Moses Montefiore.

1878: “Status Quo” defining possession of holy places is incorporated into international law by Treaty of Berlin.

1883: General Charles Gordon proposes Skull Hill as Calvary and Garden Tomb as place where Christ was buried.

1884: Mosaic map of Holy Land discovered in floor of 6th-century church at Madaba, Jordan.

1909: Joseph Baratz and 11 others establish first kibbutz in Palestine, called Kvutzat Degania (“Wheat of God”), at southern end of Sea of Galilee.

1917: British government’s Balfour Declaration backs establishing Jewish homeland in Palestine, without prejudice to “civil and religious rights” of non-Jewish population.

British mandate

1917: British forces under General E. H. Allenby capture Palestine from Ottoman Turks.

1922: League of Nations approves British mandate of Palestine.

1946: Jordan gains independence from Britain.

1947: United Nations Partition Plan calls for a Jewish state and an Arab state in Palestine, with Greater Jerusalem (including Bethlehem) under international control; most Jewish groups accept plan but Arabs reject it.

1947: Dead Sea Scrolls are discovered at Qumran.

1948: Amid civil unrest and violence, Britain withdraws from mandate.

Israel and Palestinian Territories

1948: After Jewish provisional government declares Israel an independent state, Arab forces invade.

1949: Israel prevails in Arab-Israeli War, though Egypt holds Gaza, and Jordan the West Bank and East Jerusalem; more than 700,000 Palestinians become refugees.

1967: In Six-Day War against Egypt, Jordan and Syria, Israel occupies Sinai, Gaza, Golan Heights, West Bank and East Jerusalem.

1969: Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, largest Christian church in Middle East, is completed.

1973: In Yom Kippur War against Egypt and Syria, Israel makes further territorial gains.

1979: Israel and Egypt sign peace treaty; Israel agrees to return Sinai to Egypt.

1986: Remains of fishing boat from time of Jesus found in Sea of Galilee.

1987-93: Palestinians carry out First Intifada (uprising) against Israeli occupation.

1993: Israel gives Palestinian National Authority limited autonomy in West Bank and Gaza.

1994: Jordan and Israel sign peace treaty.

1996: Excavations begin at likely site of Christ’s baptism, in former minefield at Bethany Beyond the Jordan.

1997: Interchurch co-operation completes 36-year restoration of Church of the Holy Sepulchre; reconstruction of Tomb of Christ edicule remains to be done.

2000-05: Second Intifada follows controversial visit by Israeli politician Ariel Sharon to Temple Mount.

2002: Israel Defence Forces besiege Palestinian militants in Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, for 39 days.

2002: Israel begins building 700-km West Bank separation wall.

2005: Remains of early 3rd-century church found at Megiddo.

2005: Israel withdraws settlers and military from Gaza.

2007: Archaeologist Ehud Netzer discovers Herod the Great’s long-lost tomb at Herodium.

2008: Responding to rocket attacks, Israel launches 22-day war against Gaza.

2009: Archaeologists in Nazareth uncover residential building from time of Jesus.

2012: United Nations General Assembly accepts Palestine as a “non-member observer state”.

2013: City of David excavators find clay seal inscribed with name of Bethlehem, first reference to the city outside the Bible.

2014: Discovery of nine previously unknown Dead Sea Scrolls announced; the tiny texts were inside unopened tefillin (prayer cases) found at Qumran in 1952.

2014: Responding to rocket fire, Israel launches seven-week bombardment of Gaza.

2017: Restoration of Tomb of Christ in Church of the Holy Sepulchre is completed.

2020-21: Covid-19 pandemic causes many deaths and disrupts the economy of the Holy Land as lockdowns stop pilgrimages and tours.

2021: About 80 new fragments of biblical scrolls, bearing lines from the books of Zechariah and Nahum, are found in the Judaean desert.



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