Early Biblical Period: Before 953
Modern-day Ramat ha Golan (Golan Heights) is the western section of the
Biblical region of Bashan.
Moses defeats the local ruler and allots the land to the half-tribe of
The city of Golan, one of about 60 fortified cities in Bashan, is set aside
as a city of refuge to which alleged murderers flee as they await trial. The
city's name may be derived from the word "golah" meaning exile.
Golan is a Levitical city of the family of Gershon.
First Temple Period: 953-586
Damascus (The Aramean Kingdom) attacks Bashan and seizes areas from Jewish
800-784 King Joash of Israel recovers the Golan from Damascus.
743-733 Rezin, king of Damascus, restores the Golan to his dynasty.
732 Assyrian Emperor Tiglath-Pileser II conquers Bashan and establishes two
Assyrian provinces, Karnini and Hawrina. He exiles the Jews and populates the
region with immigrants from other parts of his empire. Jews gradually return to
Second Temple Period: After 586
Jews exiled by the Babylonians return to their homes in Bashan and live
alongside the non-Jewish inhabitants.
164 Judah Maccabee and his army defeat attacking marauders who had
persecuted the Jews of Bashan.
85 Hasmonean King Alexander Yannai competes for control of the Golan with
the Nabateans, and successfully secures the region as part of his kingdom.
65 Pompey conquers the Golan.
30-20 King Herod gradually acquires all of Bashan from Emperor Augustus.
Jews from Palestine and Babylonia settle in Bashan and again declare the area a
part of the Land of Israel. During Roman times and through the Byzantine
period, the Bashan area enjoys flourishing cultural and religious centers.
67 Great Jewish Revolt. Josephus commands Jewish army in the region.
Gamla, the chief city in the Golan, is the last stronghold against the Roman
Legions. Jewish settlement, however, continues and even thrives following the
70 Agrippa II rules the Golan for Rome. He builds a medical
center/recreation complex on the site of the Banyas natural springs.
300 Modern archeological finds dating from this period include remnants of
25 synagogues and Jewish artifacts from more than 100 sites in the region.
324 The Byzantine al-Jafna dynasty rules throughout Bashan.
614 Chosroes II, king of Persia, defeats the Byzantines near the city of
636 After the Battle of the Yarmuk the Golan comes under the control of
the Caliph Omar. The region flourishes during the rule of the Umayyad dynasty,
but then deteriorates. Permanent Jewish settlements, including towns from the
Talmudic period, Nob, Hissafiya and Kfar Harub, disappear.
1400-1500 Druze settle in the Golan and establish authority over much of
1831-40 Egyptians seize the Golan.
1840 Turks regain power.
1880-84 Turkish government settles Muslim Circassian refugees in the
Golan to ward off Bedouin robbers. Other settlers in the area include
Sudanese, Algerians, Kurds, Turkomans, and Arabs from Samaria.
1886 First modern Jewish settlement is established when Jews from Tiberias
and Safed purchase land from the Ramtaniya village and found Golan BeBashan east
of the Sea of Galilee.
1887 Jews from Tiberias and Safed purchase land from Bedouin town of Bir
1891 Baron Edmund de Rothschild purchases 18,000 acres of land to found a
Jewish settlement. Not until the end of the French Mandate are the Jews
stripped of official title to land in the Golan.
1899 The Pasha of Damascus expels the Jews from Rothschild's settlement,
but even after the 1923 Anglo-French Accord the Palestine Jewish Colonization
Association administers the Baron's property.
1908 Jews settle in the Bet-Zayyada Valley.
British Mandate: 1917-1944
1917 The British conquer Palestine and drive out the Turks.
1919 The map of the Land of Israel submitted by the Zionist delegation to
the Paris Peace Conference includes Ramat ha Golan. The Syrian National
Congress demands the unification of Syria and installs Faisal as king.
1920 The Jews are forced out of Golan in the face of Arab rioting. Britain
and France divide up the former Ottoman Empire giving France a mandate over
Syria. The French order Faisal to leave Syria.
1923 Having discovered the Golan lacks oil but that the Mosul area in
northern Syria is rich in oil, the British cede the Golan to France in return
for Mosul. Traditionally Mosul was part of Syria while the Golan was part of
the Galilee. In return for the Golan, France relinquishes any claim to
1944 The Golan becomes part of the Republic of Syria. Sunni Muslims,
Circassians, Druze, Alawites, a small Christian minority and other small groups
live in the region. With the end of the French Mandate, all Jewish land
ownership on the Golan is nullified.
Israel and Syria: 1948-1995
1949 Armistice agreement between Israel and Syria after three months of
1948-67 Syria uses the Golan Heights as a military stronghold from which to
attack Jewish communities in the Hula Valley.
1951 Syria moves forces into the Banyas area in the Golan, which is
supposed to remain a demilitarized zone.
1967 Six Day War. Under attack, Israel moves against Syrian forces in the
Golan gaining control of the plateau. Kibbutz Meron Golan is founded.
1967-73 Jews establish communities in the Golan and create nature
reserves and agricultural, industrial and tourist enterprises.
1973 Yom Kippur War. After repulsing a surprise attack by the Syrians,
Israel establishes a new defense line 20 miles from Damascus.
1974 Under the Syrian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement, Israel withdraws
from all territory taken in the Yom Kippur War as well as from Kuneitra,
acquired in 1967.
1981 Israel enacts the Law of Ramat haGolan stating that "The law and
jurisdiction and administration of the State will apply to the Golan."
Israel thereby replaces military with civilian rule.
1995 There are 32 Jewish communities, including the city of Qazrin, four
Druze villages, one Sunni village and one Alawite village on the Golan.