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23,000 BC

A cave at Karain, north of Antalya, is inhabited by humans, the oldest known evidence of habitation in Anatolia. People live in the cave until a few centuries ago, making it one of the longest continuously-inhabited spots on earth.

7500 BC

Earliest known human community at Çatal Höyük 50 km (31 miles) southeast of Konya.

5000 BC

Stone and Copper Age. People have already been living in Anatolia for 20,000 years. Settlement at Hacilar.

2600-1900 BC

Old Bronze Age. The Proto-Hittite Empire flourishes in Central Anatolia and the Southeast.

1900-1300 BC

The Hittite Empire flourishes, battles Egypt. Patriarch Abraham, who has been dwelling in Harran, near Sanliurfa, leaves for Canaan (Israel).

1250 BC

The Trojan War fought between the armies of Troy and Achaea (Greece) for control of trade passing through the Dardanelles strait.

1200-600 BC

The Phrygian kingdom of Mithridates flourishes at Gordion, west of Ankara. Mysians invade. The great period of Hellenic civilisation in Greece and Aegean Anatolia follows. King Midas reigns in splendor, and King Croesus of Lydia invents coinage. The kingdoms of Ionia (Izmir), Lycia (Fethiye), Lydia (Sardis), Caria (Marmaris) and Pamphylia (Side) flourish, as does the Empire of Urartu (Van).

547 BC

Cyrus of Persia invades and conquers most of Anatolia.

334 BC

Alexander the Great of Macedon marches through Anatolia on his way to India.

279 BC

Celts (or Gauls) invade and establish the kingdom of Galatia near Ankara.

250 BC

Rise of the Kingdom of Pergamum (Bergama) as an Anatolian power.

129 BC

Anatolia becomes the Roman Province of Asia ('Asia Minor'), with its capital at Ephesus.

47-57 AD

St Paul travels to the Christian and Jewish communities in Anatolia.

330 AD

Emperor Constantine the Great dedicates Constantinople as the 'New Rome,' which becomes the empire's center of government.

527-565

Reign of Justinian, greatest Byzantine emperor, builder of Hagia Sophia, largest and most splendid church in the world.

570-622

Birth of Muhammed. Revelation of the Kur'an. Muhammed's 'flight' (hijra) from Mecca to Medina.

1037-1109

Turkish Empire of the Great Seljuks in Iran.

1071-1243

Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, an offshoot of the Great Seljuk empire, established in Anatolia with its capital in Konya. Mystic poet and philosopher Jelaleddin Rumi, called Mevlana, takes up residence in Konya, writes his great works, and inspires the founding of the Whirling Dervish Sufi order.

1000s-1200s

Crusader armies cross Anatolia through the lands of the Seljuk Sultan of Rum, with frequent battles.

1288

Foundation of the Ottoman state by a warrier chieftain named Osman, at Sögüt near Bursa.

1453

Conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) by Sultan Mehmet II 'the Conqueror'.

1520-1566

Reign of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, the great age of the Ottoman Empire. The sultan rules most of North Africa, most of Eastern Europe and all of the Middle East. His navies patrol the Mediterranean and Red seas and the Indian Ocean.

1699

Treaty of Karlowitz, the first time in over 400 years that the Ottomans were decisively defeated and forced to sign a peace treaty as the clear losers. The mighty empire was clearly in decline.

1876-1909

Reign of Sultan Abdülhamit II, a ruthless despot who was the last of the powerful sultans. The European empires ask themselves the 'Eastern Question': which European nations will grab Ottoman territory when the sultan's empire collapses?

1914-1918

The Ottoman Empire enters World War I in alliance with Germany. Australian, British, French and New Zealand troops invade Gallipoli which is successfully defended by Ottoman forces led by Mustafa Kemal. Eventual defeat of the Ottomans, loss of most of the empire's territory, and occupation of parts of Anatolia by victorious foreign troops.

1919-1923

Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) organizes remaining Ottoman military units into an army of resistance, and establishes a government of resistance at Ankara.

1922

Encouraged by Great Britain, Greece invades Anatolia through Izmir and presses eastward, threatening the fledgling government in Ankara.

1923

Defeat and explusion of the invading armies. Abolishment of the last vestiges of the Ottoman Empire and Proclamation of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk), its founder and first president. Most ethnic Greeks in Turkey, and ethnic Turks in Greece, migrate to the opposite country.

1923-1938

Ataturk's reforms: equal rights for women, secular government, prohibition of the fez and the veil, substitution of the Latin alphabet for the Arabic, Turkification of city names, everyone adopts a surname, etc.

1938

Death of Ataturk, continuation of one-party rule.

1939-1945

Turkey maintains a precarious neutrality during World War II.

1946-1950

Institution of multi-party democracy.

   
       
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