History Files


Middle East Kingdoms

Ancient Anatolia




MapZalpa / Zalpuwa

Another probable aboriginal people in central Anatolia were those of the state of Zalpa. Like their neighbours, the Hatti, it is likely that they spoke a non-Indo-European language called Hattic which was probably related to the Circassian language group. Most of what is known of Zalpa comes from the Hittite 'Proclamation of Anitta'.

There are hints that Zalpa was the dominant power in central Anatolia in late nineteenth century BC. Almost certainly situated far to the north of the Hattian city of Hattusa, texts from the beginning of the Hittite settlement in the region indicate that Hattusa and Zalpa were locked in a power struggle, with the former eventually emerging triumphant. Zalpuwa was the local name for the Black Sea, indicating a possible location for their territory, although their city has not yet been located.

fl c.1830s? BC


c.1835 BC

Kanesh is destroyed, probably by the king of Zalpa, with the city apparently now a growing power in the region. The city god of Kanesh (the idol of the god Sius) is taken as a prize by Zalpa.

early 18th cent BC

The Hittites invade Hattian territory and conquer the Hatti city of Kussara (presently unlocated), and later the city of Kanesh, centre of the Assyrian trading colonies in Anatolia. If Zalpa is located along the Black Sea coastline, it has to be wondered what effect on it the passing through of the Pala has had. An Indo-European group of the proto-Anatolian branch that is closely related to the Hittites, they are soon to be found on the coast themselves, immediately to the west of Zalpa's generally presumed location. Considering the effect the Hittites are having on the highlands to the south, and the Luwians have had in becoming dominant on the Anatolian Mediterranean coast, it is unlikely that the Pala migration has had no effect at all.

fl c.1750s? BC


Defeated by the Hittites.

mid-18th cent BC

The Hittites of Kanesh attack Zalpa under the leadership of Anitta, recovering the city god of Kanesh. Huzziya is taken prisoner, and with this victory, the Hittites appear to unify the entire valley of the River Kizil Irmak up to its mouth on the Black Sea. Their kingdom soon collapses, leaving the area in a power vacuum and Zalpa appears to reassert itself as a powerful minor state.

c.1670? BC

The conflict between Zalpa and the Hittites seems to come to an end with the latter victorious under the rule of Labarna I. Zalpa is settled by Hittites, but just how long they manage to hold onto it is unclear, as the Kaskan barbarians soon move into the region themselves. They control Zalpa by the mid-fifteenth century BC.