Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Foreign Rulers of Palestine 70 to 1948 CE: 1878 Years

Nadene Goldfoot
Palestine, named by the Romans,  was ruled by foreign governments but never by the people that lived in it. 

Romans ruled from 70 CE to 395 and had changed the name to obliterate the Jewish identity of the land.  They are the ones who changed the name from Judaea to Palaestina for the long vanished Philistines, who were an aegean people.  Jerusalem's name was changed to Aelia Capitolina.  A large Jewish community was in the Galilee, on the coastal plain and in Judaea.  The Talmud was written in this period and there were more than 400 Jewish villages, etc.  The Mishnah was finished in the 2nd century and the Jerusalem Talmud finished between the 4th and 5th centuries. 

The Byzantines (Eastern Roman Empire)  took over from 395 to 636. Jews became a minority and Christians a majority with languages spoken of Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic.  Arabs then ruled from 636 to 1072 with Arabization and Islamization happening.  The majority of the population converted to Islam and spoke Arabic then.  Arab tribes immigrated mainly from Egypt and Arabia  which continued.  The Seljuk's (Turks) from 1072 to 1099.  The land had been divided by the Arabs into 2 military districts on both sides of the river Jordan.  One was called Filastin (Palestine) and the other Urdun (Jordan).  The Arabs built Ramla, the only town founded by them in the land.  It was an administrative center.  

The Christian Crusaders' ruled from 1099 to 1291 and named the land the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Their number never exceeded 30,000 and did not change the population's character.   Then the Mamluks (Rulers of Syria and Egypt) ruled from 1291 to 1516 and destroyed most of the cities and villages on the coast.  They were trying to deter foreign invasion.  It remained empty until Jews came back.  They divided the land into 3 separately administered districts or Mamlaka.  They were Safad, Gaza and Damascus.  They had no name for the land as a whole. 

Finally, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey)  took over from 1516 to 1917 an the land was also divided into administered districts of Sanjaks and Vilayets.  They also had no special name for the land as a whole.  That had really been unimportant anyway as there hadn't been hardly any Arabs living there anyway to call it by name.  There were only poor Jews who lived there near the synsagogues. They had brought insecurity and uncertainty and oppression.  Marauding Beduin tribes wandered about.  Villages were reduced by half between the 16th and 19th century.  By the 2nd half of the 19th Centery, both Arabs and Jews grew in number.  By 1914 the population was estimated at 680,000 of whom 85,000 were Jews. 

The British were given the Mandate after the WWI so ruled from 1918 to 1948, when Israel then was pronounced a state.  They renamed the land Palestine.  The mandate extended to both sides of the river Jordan.  In 1922, Britain partitioned the Mandated territory into Palestine which was west of the Jordan and Transjordan which was east of the Jordan.

Resource: Facts About Israel from Ministry for foreign Affairs, Jerusalem

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