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Middle East History Timeline

Middle East Timeline:

  • 12000 BC Small houses in pits developed in regions of Jordan and Syria
  • 8000 BC Settlements at Nevali Cori in present-day Turkey established
  • 5000 BC Wheel and plow invented
  • 3000 BC Bronze Age begins
  • 3100 BC Cuneiform writing invented
  • 1867 BC Babylon founded by Amorite dynasty
  • 1700 BC Windmills invented for irrigation purposes
  • 1600-1360 BC Egypt dominates the region of Canaan and Syria
  • 1250 BC Hebrews establish a kingdom in Palestine
  • 1200-1050 BC Collapse of the Bronze Age
  • 1041 BC Jerusalem designated the capital of the Kingdom of Israel
  • 1000 BC Iron Age begins
  • 600 BC Babylon conquered; Cyrus the Great creates the Persian Empire
  • 331 BC Alexander the Great overpowers Persia
  • 50 AD Christianity emerges
  • 634 AD Series of Muslim conquests begins; Arab empire founded
  • 759-1258 Baghdad becomes capital of Arab-Islamic empire; Middle East sees a period of success
  • 1200 Mongols invade the Middle East ending the Arab-Islamic empire
  • 1517-1918 Ottoman Empire extends through most of the Arab world


  • 1901 Oil discovered in Iran
  • 1914 World War I begins, Ottomans align with Germany
  • 1918 World War I ends; Britain and France occupy much of the Middle East after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire
  • 1919-1921 Franco-Syrian War; Syria divided into two mandates: French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon and the British mandate of Palestine
  • 1921 Faisal becomes King of Iraq
  • 1932 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia founded
  • 1933-1936 Assyrians in Simele are massacred by Iraqi armed forces
  • 1934 Saudi-Yemeni War
  • 1935 Persia becomes Iran
  • 1936 Jewish immigration to Palestine increases
  • 1939 World War II begins
  • 1939 Britain issues the White Paper limiting the number of Jewish immigrants into Palestine
  • 1941 British forces overthrow Iraqi government and install pro-British leaders
  • 1945 World War II ends; the League of Arab States founded
  • 1946 Jordan, Lebanon and Syria gain independence from Britain and France
  • 1946 Terrorists bomb the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, 91 killed
  • 1947 Zionist leaders declare war on British in Palestine to get the 1939 White Paper cancelled
  • 1947 UN proposes to divide Palestine into an Arab and Jewish state
  • 1948 Britain withdraws forces from Palestine
  • 1948 Arab-Israeli war develops after Israel declares independence
  • 1949 Hassan Al-Banna assassinated
  • 1950 West Bank annexed by Jordan
  • 1951 Libya receives independence
  • 1952 Hussein Ibn Talal declared King of Jordan
  • 1954 Sudan becomes an officially recognized independent republic
  • 1956 Jordan and Israel establish a truce
  • 1958 Abdul-Karim overthrows Iraq monarch and prime minister
  • 1959 Oil is discovered in Libya
  • 1961 First Kurdish-Iraq War erupts in Iraq
  • 1967 Israel occupies Sinai, Golan heights, West Bank and Gaza during Six-Day War
  • 1975-1990 Lebanese Civil War prevails
  • 1976 Syria invades Lebanon
  • 1979 Saddam Hussein becomes president of Iraq
  • 1980-1989 Iran-Iraq War rages, casualties range in the millions
  • 1982 Israel invades Lebanon to drive out PLO
  • 1989 Syrian scholar Michel Aflaq dies
  • 1990 North and South Yemen merge into the Republic of Yemen
  • 1990 Iraq invades Kuwait
  • 1991 The Gulf War begins in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait
  • 1993 Oslo I agreement signed setting up Israeli-Palestinian Peace settlement
  • 1995 Palestine granted full control of part of West Bank and Gaza after Oslo II agreement signed
  • 1995 Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin assassinated
  • 1998 Taliban inches closer to power in Kabul after a series of military victories


  • 2000 Israeli troops vacate Lebanon
  • 2003 The US, United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invade Iraq; Sadam Hussein removed from power
  • 2004 Sa'dah insurgency in Yemen
  • 2005 Cedar Revolution prompts Syrian troops to withdraw from Lebanon
  • 2006 Saddam Hussein executed
  • 2010 Arab Spring brings major protests, uprisings and revolutions to several Middle Eastern countries
  • 2011-2012 Syrian uprising; thousands of citizens protest for the overthrow of the government; widespread marches, hunger strikes, rioting, and vandalism

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on September 19, 2016.