History Files


Middle East Kingdoms

Ancient Central Levant States




MapBiruta (Beirut)

Founded as a settlement some time around 3000 BC on an island which became progressively silted, this Canaanite city is still inhabited today (being the capital of Lebanon) and is located in the centre of the Lebanese Mediterranean coastal strip, 90 km (60 miles) north-west of Damascus. The city's name was coined by the Phoenicians, and means 'the wells'. The first historical mention of the city was in the Egyptian Armana letters of the fourteenth century BC. Unfortunately, very few of its ruler are known by name.

c.2000 - 1800 BC

Egypt maintains a presence in the region.

1453 BC

The Egyptians conquer the Levant and Syria and establish three provinces in their conquered territories which are named Amurru (in southern Syria), Upe (in the northern Levant), and Canaan (in the southern Levant). Each one is governed by an Egyptian official. Native dynasts are allowed to continue their rule over the small states, but have to provide annual tribute.

fl c.1350 - 1335 BC

Yapa-Hadda / Yapah-Hadda

Vassal of Egypt.

c.1340s BC

Relations with neighbouring Gebal are soured by constant complaints from its king, Rib-Adda, to his overlords in Egypt. He complains vociferously about Yapa-Hadda, accusing him of always plotting or committing crimes.

fl c.1320s BC


Vassal of Egypt.

c.1320 BC

The king of Gebal, Rib-Adda, is temporarily forced to flee his city and seek protection from Ammunira in the face of raids by the Hittites.

fl c.1250 BC

Abibal / Abibalus

c.1200 BC

There is general collapse in the region as instability grips the Mediterranean coast and the Hittite empire is destroyed by the Sea Peoples and other various groups. Gebal and Sidon, both with prominent harbours, manage to survive unscathed.

Phoenician Biruta / Beyryt

Descended from the Canaanites who formerly inhabited the entire Levant region, these later Canaanites occupied the long coastal strip that forms modern Lebanon. No rulers are known for Biruta during the Phoenician period, suggesting that it was under the rule of one of the other city states.

c.1050 BC

A weakened Egypt loses its remaining imperial possessions in Canaan.

704 - 701 BC

With the death of Sargon II of Assyria, many of the former subject states rebel. It takes the Assyrians until 701 BC to get around to quelling the Phoenician states.

676 - 612 BC

Assyria conquers all of Phoenicia, drawing it directly into the empire.

612 - 573 BC

Biruta appears to regain its freedom after the destruction of the Assyrian empire.

573 - 539 BC

Babylonia conquers Phoenicia including Biruta.

539 - 333 BC

Biruta and all of Phoenicia is submerged within the Persian empire.

333 - 332 BC

Phoenicia is conquered by the Greek empire under Alexander the Great, and Biruta becomes part of that empire.