Heritage places

Heritage places

Until 1918, Syria included much of Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon and parts of Turkey. This region, often called Greater Syria, has a long, colorful past. Throughout history, Syria's rich soil and location on major trade routes have made the country a valuable prize. As a result, Syria was a constant battleground and became part of many empires.

Semitic settlement. Unidentified peoples lived in northern Syria before 4500 B.C. The first known settlers in Syria were Semites who probably arrived about 3500 B.C. They established city-states throughout the region. One city-state, Ebla, flourished sometime between 2700 and 2200 B.C. Ebla was a powerful kingdom with a highly advanced civilization.

Various Semitic groups ruled parts of Syria until 539 B.C. For example, the Akkadians conquered much of northern and eastern Syria during the 2300's B.C. The Canaanites may have moved into the southwest and along the Mediterranean coast about 2000 B.C. The Greeks later called the people living along the coast Phoenicians. Phoenician sailors carried Syrian culture throughout the Mediterranean world.

By 1700 B.C., the Amorites ruled much of eastern Syria. The Arameans arrived in Syria about 1500 B.C. Their culture gradually spread through most of Syria. By 1200 B.C., Damascus was a prosperous Aramean city. The Hebrews entered southern Syria during the late 1200's B.C. and introduced the belief in one God into Syrian culture. In 732 B.C., the Assyrians conquered most of Syria. They ruled until 612 B.C., when the Babylonians took control, then the Persians then Romans and Byzantines until the Muslims took over in 636 until our days.

After the World War I ended, the League of Nations divided Greater Syria into Syria and Palestine. Palestine was later divided into Palestine and Transjordan, and Syria was later divided into Syria and Lebanon.