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Hama History, Syria

Knowing the history of Hama

Hama lies on the banks of Orontes River around central Syria. Hama is the regional of Hama Governorate. The famous historical city of Hamath is located here. 

 Rediscovering Hamath

Danish team led by H.Ingholt excavated Hama’s ancient settlement from 1931 to 1938. The excavation team found vessels and white ware that was made of pottery and lime-plaster. According to the archeological evidence, the vessels found were contemporary of Ras Shamra, around 6000 to 5000 BC. At the end of the 11th century BC, the Aramaic tribes took over the Litani-valley and Oronotes.

 The beginning of Hama civilization

 It is believed that the Iron Age “Hamath” was a central place for ivory occupation and the archeological evidences show an Egyptian influence. Along with Aram, Hama was a vital Aramaic state of Syrian interior. A small amount of record could be discovered.

According to the Bible, Hamath was the capital of Canaanite kingdom. It is estimated that King Solomon took over Hamath and the adjoining territories. Prophet Amos termed Hama as “Hamath the Great”. The name of this place seems to have been derived from Phoenician “khamat” meaning fort. The Assyrians conquered Hama.

 King Shalmaneser reached Hamath during 835 BC. This led to the beginning of the Assyrian Empire. After Shalmaneser III, Aram and Hamath were divided in two and it seems that Aram took over some parts of Hamath’s territory.   

In the year 743 BC, brave Tiglath-Pileser III conquered some towns of Hama but could not capture the main city. In 738 BC, Hamath was enlisted among the places that were taken over by the Assyrian troops.

 During Alexander’s conquest, the city was named Epiphania. The city latter on came under the rule of Rome along with the Byzantine Empire. The Arabs took possession of Hama in 638 AD and in 639 AD the town got back its old name and it stayed the same since then. At the beginning of 16th century, the city was taken over by the Ottoman Empire and the beautiful palace of Al-Azem was constructed at that time. At that time, the majority of the populace was Muslim along with Christians of different rites.

 Modern day Hama

 After the First World War Hama became a part of the “French Levant States League of Nations” and in 1941 Hama was incorporated in independent Syria. The February uprising of 1982 was a result of the political insurgency caused by the Islamic groups, mainly by the Muslim Brotherhood commencing at the beginning of the 1980s. The government forces put an end to the revolt, but hundreds and hundreds of civilians were killed in the process. 

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