Middle east political map

HISTORY OF MIDDLE EAST

  • 4000-2000 BC

    4000-2000 BC
    Kingdoms in Egypt, Sumer, and Babylonia
  • 1000 BC

    1000 BC
    New Kingdom in Egypt, Kingdoms in Phoenicia and Assyria. The first thoughts on monotheism (the belief in one god) emerge
  • 500-400 BC

    500-400 BC
    The Persian empire (present day Iran) conquers all of the Middle East.
  • 334 BC

    	334 BC
    Alexander the Great of Macedonia defeats the Persians and claims the Middle East.
  • 200-300 BC

    200-300 BC
    The Romans gain control over all of the Middle East except for Persia.
  • 570-632 AD

    	570-632 AD
    Life of Mohammed. Mohammed founds the religion of Islam, and leads the beginning of an Arab-Islamic empire that will soon hold sway over the entire Middle East.
  • 661-750

    661-750
    The Umayyad Dynasty gains control over the Arab-Islamic empire and greatly expands its territories. The empire spreads westward throughout North Africa, north into Spain, and eastward to the borders of India and China
  • 759-1258

    	759-1258
    The Abassid Dynasty, the second major one of the Arab-Islamic empire, gains control and moves the capital to Baghdad. The Middle East enjoys a prosperous period of advances in science and technology.
  • 10th Century

    The decline in the control of the Abassids over their far-reaching empire allows the Seljuks, a Turkish people, to gain control over much of Asia Minor and the Persian Empire to break free
  • 11-13th century

    Tales of the riches of the Middle East and a desire to reclaim the Holy Land for Christianity inspire European kingdoms to proclaim a series of crusades against the Muslim empires of the Middle East. Though the crusades were to have some success in holding territory in the Holy Land, their longest lasting effects were in Europe, where people were exposed to many new ideas
  • 13th centuries

    Mongol invasions in the Middle East devastate Iraq and Iran and end what remains of the Arab-Islamic Empire.
  • 1453

    The Ottoman empire gains control over Constantinople and renames Istanbul. Earlier Turkish success grew into the Ottoman Empire which will continue to expand until it controls nearly all of the Middle East except for Iran
  • 19th century

    The Muslim empires of the Middle East decline in power. The Ottoman Empire loses territory and influence to Russia and Austria
  • 1805-1848

    Muhammed Ali westernizes Egypt, asserting some independence from the Ottoman Empire
  • 1914-1918

    The Ottoman Empire sides with Germany during World War I. The resulting loss causes the empire to be broken up. Much of its territory is devided between France and Britain, but modern day Turkey successfully defends itself against Greek invasion.
  • 1916

    The Sykes-Picot agreement between France and Britain secretly promises to divide Ottoman holdings in the Middle East between the nations
  • July 1915-March 1916

    The McMahon Correspondences between Sir Hanry McMahon, British High Commisioner of Cairo, and the Sherif Hussein of Mecca apparently promise Arab independence in large portions of the Middle East, including Palestine, which is today Israel.
  • November 2, 1917

    The Balfour Declaration by the British clearly expresses support for a Jewish state in Palestine, clearly at odds with the earlier McMahon Correspondences
  • Febuary 8, 1922

    Egypt gains its independence.
  • October 29, 1923

    Turkey gains its independence.
  • 1929

    The White Paper, released by the British, placed severe limits on Jewish immigration into Palestine and stated that the British government did not plan for Palestine to become a Jewish state. This proclamation was obviously in contradiction with the Balfour Declaration.
  • 1932

    Iraq gains its independence.
  • 1932

    Saudi Arabia gains its independence.
  • 1937

    The Peel Commission from Britain reports that great tension exists between Jews and Muslims and suggests a plan of partition for the region.
  • November 26, 1941

    Lebanon gains its independence
  • 1946

    Jordan gains its independence.
  • 1947

    With the British mandate, a right to administer over the region of Palestine soon expiring, the UN proposes a plan of partition for the region, which would create both a Jewish state and an Arab state when the British mandate runs out.
  • May 14, 1948

    The State of Israel declares its independence immediately following the end of the British mandate. Immediately after that, the surrounding Arab nations invaded the new State of Israel. Following the war the Arab League placed an embargo, or prohibition against trading, on Israel.
  • 1948-1949

    Following Israel's declaration of independence, forces from the surrounding Arab nations, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, launched an all out, but uncoordinated attack on the vastly outnumbered Israel. However, Israel managed to avoid being driven into the sea and even expanded their territory over the original UN partition plan before an armistice was signed.
  • November-October 1956

    Following breakdowns in talks with the Arab nations, and Egypt closing both the Suez Canal and the Strait of Tiran, Israel's access to the Red Sea, to Israeli shipping, Israel invaded Egypt. Israel quickly took control over Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula, and was aided by the French and the British who were angry with Egyptian President Abdel Nasser's handling of the Suez Canal. The UN, backed by the United States and the Soviet Union, ended the war and forced the invading nations to leave Egypt,
  • September 29, 1961

    Syria gains its independence.
  • 1961

    Kuwait gains its independence.
  • June 5-10, 1967

    The Six-Day War between Israel and an alliance of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan militarily began when Israel launched a preemptive air strike that decimated the air forces of the opposing nations, but it truly began weeks earlier when Egypt began declaring its military superiority over Israel and its desire to destroy the nation. Egypt again closed the Strait of Tiran to all Israeli ships and ships carrying supplies for Israel. This closure constituted legal grounds to go to war under internationa
  • 1967

    UN Resolution 242 is passed by the United Nations Security Council, and calls for a return of the territory seized by Israel, recognition of Israel by the Arab states, a reaffirmation of the principle of free navigation, and for future peace and stability in the region
  • September 1, 1969

    Libya gains its independence.
  • 1971

    Qatar and the United Arab Emirates gain their independence.
  • August 14, 1971

    Bahrain gains its independence.
  • 1973-1974

    Many Middle Eastern states placed an oil embargo on those nations they saw as favoring Israel in their policies, including the United States. The embargo ended in early 1974 and while it did not bring about great changes, it was detrimental to the economies of the nations it was placed upon and harmful to their citizens.
  • October 6, 1973

    On Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, a day when large portions of the army were on leave to be with their families, the combined armies of Egypt and Syria entered Israel relatively unopposed. Within a week, Israel mobilized its reserve forces and drove the Arab armies back, but not before 2,700 Israeli soldiers were killed, four times the number that had died during the Yom Kippur war
  • October 22-23, 1972

    UN Resolutions 338 and 339 called for an immediate end to the Yom Kippur War, the enforcement of the articles of Resolution 242, and the dispatch of UN observers to oversee the cease fire.
  • September 17, 1978

    Convinced by the 1973 Yom Kippur War that Egypt could never defeat Israel in a war, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat sought peace with Israel, the first Arab nation to do so. Along with US President Jimmy Carter, Sadat met with Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin at Camp David. There they drew up the Camp David accords which called for peace between Egypt and Israel.
  • March 26, 1979

    In the Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel drawn up to finalize the actions at Camp David, the nations established normal relations with Israel completely withdrawing from the Sinai.
  • 1979

    Iran forms a new government under the leadership of the Ayatollah Khomeini. June 1982 - Operation Peace in the Galilee, an Israeli invasion of Lebanon, was Israel's longest war and its most controversial. After the Israeli ambassador to England was wounded in a terrorist attack in London, Israel began bombing bases of the Palestine Liberation Organization(PLO) in southern Lebanon. The PLO had long shelled northen Israel and been responsible for various terrorist actions; they were also
  • 1980-July 20, 1987

    Following the upheaval in Iran, Iraq demanded a renegotiation of the treaty between them, demanding more access to the Persian Gulf and autonomy for the Arab minorities in Iran, a Persian, not Arab, nation. When talks broke down, Iraq invaded Iran making large gains. In 1981 Iran took the offensive and regained most of its territory. The war then continued for seven years as a stalemate with both sides ocurring horrible casualties and attacking neutral shiping in the Persian Gulf. When the war w
  • 1987-1989

    A popular uprising of Palestinian refugees living in Israel, known as the Intifadah caused much distress for Israel. The Intifadah had no leaders that could be tracked down or bases that could be bombed, for it was made up primarily by young boys and their most common activity was throwing rocks. The Intifadah was a symbol of the plight of the Palestinian refugees in Israel.
  • May 23, 1990

    A unified Yemen is formed.
  • August 2, 1990

    After Iraq revived a dispute with Kuwait and declared that Kuwaiti overproduction of oil was damaging Iraq's economy, Iraq invaded and quickly took over Kuwait. There was international outcry, and the UN demanded that Iraq withdraw from Kuwait by January 15, 1991.
  • 1991

    After Iraq refused to comply with UN demands, a multi-national force composed of some 500,000 men from both Arab and Western nations launched a major air offensive against Iraq. The Persian Gulf War went badly for Iraq, and they were soon forced from Kuwait and lost large portions of their army. Following the war, Iraq's stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons were destroyed, UN observers were placed in the nation, and it was put under economic sanction.
  • September 13, 1993

    After a long history of distrust and hatred between Israel and the PLO, the two groups finally made a breakthrough after nearly two years of negotiations when Yasser Arafat of the PLO sent his Declaration of Principles to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The declaration acknowledged the right of Israel to exist, accepted UN Resolution 242 and 338, renounced the use of terrorism, and promised to remove from the Palestinian National Covenant the clauses calling for the destruction of Israel.
  • May 4, 1994

    The Gaza-Jericho Agreement signed between Israel and the PLO, followed up on the Declaration of Principles with a concrete agreement that would establish a Palestinian Authority and Police force with partial authority over Gaza and Jericho, and the withdrawal of the Israeli military from that region. The powers of the Authority were further spelled out in the Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities in August 29, 1994.
  • July 25, 1994

    The Washington Declaration was produced out of the first public meeting between Prime Minister Rabin of Israel and King Hussein of Jordan. This ended the state of hostility between them, affirmed a peace based upon UN Resolutions 242 and 338, and established more open borders between the two nations.
  • October 26, 1994

    A Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty is signed following the Washington Declaration, making Jordan only the second Arab nation to sign a treaty with Israel.
  • November 5, 1995

    The Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, is assasinated by a Jew who is opposed to his liberal policies on the peace process. Rabin is succeeded by Shimon Peres who promises to continue the work that Rabin had pioneered.
  • May 21, 1996

    The UN agrees to allow Iraq to sell some oil, despite the embargo, so long as all of the profits go towards humanitarian purposes and to relieve the suffering that the economic strangulation has placed upon Iraq. Iraq opposed the clause in the resolution that required UN monitoring of the sales, but eventually submitted.
  • May 31, 1996

    Benyamin Netanyahu is elected Prime Minister of Israel by a slim margin over Shimon Peres. Netanyahu promises a hard line towards future peace negotiations, and is less anxious to give up land than Peres and Rabin were. This promises to stall negotiations with Syria, who refuses to accept anything but the full return of the Golan, and the Palestinians who feel threatened by a return to Israeli settlement in the West Bank.