Judea

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Judea

Judea, also Judaea or Judah, territory in southwest Asia and a region of historic Palestine. The name "Judea" is a Romanized version of the Hebrew "Yehuda;" the English word "Jew" comes from the Latin "Judaeus," meaning an inhabitant of Judea ( "see "Jews). The size of Judea has varied with the fortunes of its rulers, but rough boundaries include Jerusalem in the north, the Jordan River and the Dead Sea in the east, the coast of the Mediterranean Sea near Tel Aviv-Yafo (Tel Aviv-Jaffa) in the west, and a southern border located between the middle and the southern end of the Negev Desert. Within Judea there are three geographically distinct areas: the eastern valley, called the Judean Wilderness, which slopes down to the Dead Sea; Har Yehuda, or the Judean Hills, in the center of the region; and the Coastal Plain, which extends west to the Mediterranean. Judea covers parts of modern-day Israel and the West Bank. The three major religions in the Middle EastIslam, Judaism, and Christianityall have important or sacred sites in Judea, including Jerusalem, Hebron, and Bethlehem.

The Bible chronicles the history of Judea.

The Bible chronicles the history of Judea. The region was part of the Kingdom of Israel until about 922 bc, when Israel split into two parts. Judea then became an independent kingdom, called the Kingdom of Judah, which included Jerusalem and territory to the south; the Kingdom of Judah was occupied by the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The other ten tribes of Israel occupied the northern territory, which kept the name of the Kingdom of Israel. The ten northern tribes were eventually dispersed and came to be known as the Lost Tribes. After the Kingdom of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians in the 6th century bc, Judea was ruled by various powers. During its history, Judea often served as an administrative unit. It became a province of Alexander the Great`s empire in the 4th century bc. Alexander`s successors, the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Seleucids of Syria, controlled the region until the Jews revolted, beginning in 168 bc. The Jews finally succeeded in creating an independent Jewish state, called Judea. When the Romans conquered the Jews in 63 bc, they divided the territory of Palestine into three unitsJudea, Samaria, and Galilee. Muslim Arab armies invaded Palestine in the 7th century ad. Judea, as part of Palestine, was then ruled successively by Seljuks, Fatimids, and European Crusaders ( "see "Crusades). The Ottomans gained control of the region in 1517, and Palestine remained under their authority, with few interruptions, until the British captured Palestine in 1917 and 1918. The state of Israel was established in Palestine in 1948, incorporating part of historical Judea.

Today Israel uses the name "Judea" to

Today Israel uses the name "Judea" to refer to the section of ancient Judea that is within Israel`s borders. However, a more controversial application of the term has been to the southern portion of the West Bank, occupied by Israel after the Six-Day War of 1967. Israel officially called the Occupied Territories by their earlier names, Judea and Samaria. As a result of the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, almost all of the portion of Judea in the West Bank was transferred to Palestinian rule in December 1995.

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