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Introduction

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In the 3000 year history of the Jewish people, with the exception of a few relatively brief periods, Jews have been the often-persecuted minority in nations ruled by others. Despite these tenuous circumstances, Jews have survived as a people longer than empires and regimes that in their time were thought to be eternal––Egyptian, Persian, and Roman empires, Arab Caliphates, and Czarist Russia, to name a few. Even more remarkable, in the years 900 BCE to 250 BCE this small people, remote from the centers of civilization of that era and barely mentioned in contemporary accounts, produced a body of literature unsurpassed in its era or in any subsequent era––and then preserved it intact to this day.

From 500 CE to the independence of Israel in 1948, Jews have been a politically unimportant minority wherever they have lived. Therefore, standard history texts rarely mention Jews, and then only in the few times of conflict or major upheaval which have an impact on general history––for example, the emigration of more than 2 million Jews from Eastern Europe to the U.S. between 1881 and 1900, and Zionism/Israel in the 20th century. On the other hand, to compensate for the near invisibility of Jews in general history, texts devoted specifically to Jewish history concentrate on the major set pieces––First and Second Temples, revolts and exile, Babylonian Talmud, the “Golden Age” in Spain, etc.––with little continuity between the segments (how did we get from Babylonia to Spain, or did we?), and little description of the events in the host countries which greatly affected the scattered Jewish minority communities––for example, the move of the Arab Caliphate from Damascus to Baghdad in 762, the disarray in the Roman Catholic Church in the 15th and 16th centuries, the rise and decline of the Kingdom of Poland and the Ottoman Empire.

Jewish communities have grown and thrived or disappeared throughout the Middle East, North Africa, most of Europe, and finally in America. The objective of this report is to trace the histories of the major Jewish communities to 1925 CE, with close attention to the events in the host countries which shaped the fortunes of the Jewish minorities. This is my attempt to answer the question, “How did we get from Canaan in 1000 BCE to where we are today?”

FORMAT OF TIMELINE SEGMENTS
The period 1000 BCE to 1925 CE is divided into seven segments:
   1000 BCE – 500 BCE
   500 BCE – 0
   0 – 500 CE
   500 CE – 1000 CE
   1000 – 1500
   1500 – 1800
   1800 – 1925
Each time segment has a summary spreadsheet covering the period plus a brief narrative section. Each timeline spreadsheet includes the Jewish World and the land of Israel. The Christian World is added with the 0 – 500 CE and all subsequent segments. The Moslem World starts with the 500 CE – 1000 segment. In addition, all regions with significant Jewish populations, or countries that impact the Jewish populations, appear in the appropriate timelines and narrative sections.