Damascus history traces the origin and subsequent development of the city of Damascus. Being under Aramean, Greek, Roman, Arab and Ottoman rule, the city bears witness to many historical events.
Damascus history found its place in historical chronicles and annals for the very first time when it was the capital of the Aramean state. Damascus proved to be an ideal place for the development of a civilization because of its favorable weather conditions and the availability of fertile soil. Due to all these factors, it was also prone to attacks by foreign invaders. Such an attack was made by the Assyrians and Damascus was occupied by King Hadad Niari III in 841 BC.
Damascus under the Greeks
In 572 BC, the control of Damascus passed into the hands of the Neo Babylonians or the Chaldeans led by Nebuchadnezzar. With the coming of the Persian King Cyrus in 538 BC, Damascus was made the capital of a part of Syria which was under Persian control.
The beginning of western domination of Damascus came about in 333 BC when King Alexander the Great brought Damascus under his rule. Following Alexander’s death, the political scenario in Damascus was marked by conflicts as the Ptolemaic and Seleucid empires tried to establish their stronghold over the city.
Damascus under the Romans
The next important stage in the history of Damascus came with the arrival of the Romans under Pompei in 64 BC. The city witnessed tremendous development in all aspects of life during the Roman Byzantine era. Christianity also made its presence felt in the city during this time. St. Paul came to the city in 34 AD. After the disintegration of the Roman Empire, the Syrian empire passed on to the Byzantine Empire.
Damascus under the Muslims
The Muslims led by Khaled Ibn al-Walid came and conquered Damascus in 635.The introduction of Islam in the state brought about a totally radical set of rules in all aspects of life.The foundation of the Omayyad dynasty by Muawiyah Bin Abi Sufian was the beginning of what was to become a long rule over Damascus by the succeeding 14 Omayyad Caliphs. The Abbasids who came in next were bent on destroying whatever had been achieved by the Omayyads and therefore reduced the city to ruins. Over the years the city of Damascus passed on from one rule to the other. These included powers like the Fatimids, the Seljuks, the Atabegs and the Ayyubids.
Damascus under Ottoman rule
The Memluks took over the reins of Damascus in 1260. It prospered under the Memluks until the time when Tamurlane’s armies invaded the land in 1400. The period 1516-1918 was the time when Damascus was ruled by the Ottomans. Damascus was made the administrative capital of the province that comprised of Beirut, Nablus, Gaza, Sido, Jerusalem and Palmyra.
The Ottoman Empire experienced a low phase during the 19th century. Ottoman rule in the country was restored with foreign aid. At the time of the First World War the Ottoman Empire was an ally of Germany. Being under Ottoman rule Syria was automatically drawn into the war. The end of First World War also marked the end of Ottoman rule in Syria as the Arab and the British forces took control of the country.
The next century saw Damascus become a cradle of Arab nationalism. France and Britain by virtue of the secret Sykes and Picot agreement had divided the whole of Middle East. In 1925, Syria was swept by the forces of the Great Syrian Revolt. Finally Syria managed to gain its independence from the French rule on 17th April, 1946.