A Glimpse of History

Currently, the number of the people expelled from Golan by Israeli in 1967 has exceeded 400.000, distributed throughout the Syrian cities, in temporary settlements. At a time when primitive man living in the old Stone Age, or what was known as the Paleolithic period, 1600 depended on animal hunting for survival in various part of the world where he was found, It has been discovered that the man living at the same period in south Syria depended on means of agriculture. For Archeologists have proved that it was in Syria that agriculture and the domestication of animals began. This was thanks to the availability of two grains important to early man wild barley and wheat, and the existence of the earliest domesticated animals; goats, sheep and cattle in the same general area. The following period was known as "Neolithic" and can be divided into "Pre-Pottery Neolithic", when man discovered the making of bricks and thus built houses made of bricks. The earliest Neolithic Levels are dated to 7000 BC. And after nearly 1000 year, man molded clay to make pottery.

And just like the rest of Syria, the Golan was inhabited by various people. And it is certain from records which have survived times, that the population of the Golan was of Arab Semitic origin. (Not forgetting the outside foreign invaders that occupied the region from the time to time such as the Pharaons, Greeks, Romans and crusaders). Those Arab Semitic people were the Canaanite, the Amorite around 3rd to 2nd millennium, the Aramaean who appeared towards the end of the 2nd millennium. The Arab-Muslim Liberation of Syria was accomplished easily. Hardly fighters, united in their creed and boundless in their ambition, they permanently removed the region from the Byzantine control. The Muslims fought a triumphant battle in the Yarmouk Valley  the "Yarmouk Battle" in the 7th century, after gaining control over Damascus.

Among the historians and archeologists who reported about the Golan are Schomar confirmed in his study the existence of ancient population settlements in the Golan and listed over 100 archeological sites, (Schomar, The Golan, London 1899, English Edition, P. 304), Oarman defined (in one of his studies) 211 sites that dated back to the Roman and Byzantine Periods. He mentioned the existence of many sites which confirmed that the Golan had been inhabited since the Stone Age. The Golan was mentioned in the region’s history of polities and civilization since the days of Egypt’s Pharaohs, Kings of Al-Sham and Mesopotamia. The Golan was mentioned in the cuneiform documents discovered in Mesopotamia. The Golan was mentioned in Greek and Roman geographical writings, such as those of Flavius Youseifus (73 - 100 AD), Izius of Quissaria (263 - 339 AD) and Saint Jeerom (345 - 420 AD). The Golan was mentioned in many works of Arab geographers, such as Al-Massoudi, Al-Maqdissi, Abi Fida’a, Yacout and others.

There are many other contemporary sources about the Golan, such as R. Dessaut who published a book, in Paris in 1927, about Syria and another, in 1906, about Arabs in Syria before Islam. Mr. Von Onhaim who published in 1941 a book titled the Bedouins in Syria; and Depaont Somar who published in Paris in 1949 a book about the Arameans.

The Golan is a geographical area that represents a region at the core of Natural Syria (i.e. the Sham countries included Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon). The Golan territory is the heart of AL Sham Countries because it is a part of what is called Middle Syria. The Golan has only experienced so abnormal status, as the current one, when it came under the Crusader invasion of Palestine. The Crusader occupation of the Golan came to an end after a 2-century heroic struggle. Hereunder is a brief summary of the Golan’s historical period:

• During the 3rd Millennium BC the Amorites dominated and inhabited the Golan until the 2nd Millennium when they were substituted by the Arameans who were tribes of Arab origin. No sociopolitical entity had preceded the Amorites, Kan’anians and Arameans.

• In the 2nd Millennium, the Aramean kingdom was established in the Golan. The Kingdom of Aram Soaba’s influence in Albeq’a reached Upper Golan, whereas Rahoub Kingdom dominated Mid Litany River bed, and Bait Ma’keh ruled between Yarmouk Valley to the south and Damascus to the north.

• In 732 BC Damascus was conquered by the Assyrians. The Golan therefore was first annexed to the Assyrian Empire, then to the Caledonian one.

• During the Hellenic (Greek) period, a Kingdom was established in Syria under the Slouches Family taking Antioch as its capital. The Golan was disputed between the Syrian Kingdom and the Egyptian one under Batlimus Family.

• In the 1st Century BC the Anbatian Arabs ruled the Golan and the rest of South Syria from Sinai to Damascus.

• In the 1st Century AD the Romans ruled Syria and dominated over Golan, but the Syrians have by that time much progress in civilization and culture.

• In the 4th Century AD, the Ghassanian Arabs established an Arab Kingdom that included the Golan beside other areas and contributed to the development of the Golan inhabitants. The Ghassanian Arab Princes were independent, but administratively reported to the Syrian State capital in Antioch. It seemed that there was an agreement between the Romans and Ghassanian Arabs in that arrangement.

• Alhareth, the Ghassanian, assumed in 529 AD the position of the FILARKH of the First and Second Palestinian States, spreading his influence as far as the Euphrates and Palmyrian Desert including North Depression, Albalkaa’, Horan, the Golan and Albeqa’ beside the greater part of Lebanon and Palestine. Alhareth was called a King in the Syrianic Sources and, in the Byzantine Sources, a Patriarch was the second rank in the State.

Courtesy: Syrian National Information Center