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Definition: Gaza from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Capital of the Gaza Strip, once a Philistine city; population (2005) 479,400 (Palestinian Territories).

Summary Article: Gaza
from Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary

Seaport, Gaza Strip, near coast, with small harbor 3 mi. (5 km.) distant; pop. (1997e) 353,100.


Town was prosperous trade center for much of its history; earliest reference as Egyptian garrison 15th cent. b.c.; mentioned in records from Tell el-ʿAmârna; important Philistine city; biblical site of Philistine temple of Dagon, destroyed by Samson (Judges xvi. 23–31); besieged throughout its history by Israelites, Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians; taken by Macedonian King Alexander the Great 332 b.c.; besieged during Maccabean Wars and Crusades after which it declined; controlled by Ottoman Turks 16th cent.; site of three major WWI battles bet. Turks and British 1917, taken by British Gen. Edmund Allenby. After war, town and area of strip became part of British mandate 1917–1948; under Egyptian control 1948–67 (except for Israeli occupation Nov. 1956–Mar. 1957; occupied by Israel 1967 with town as administrative center; town site of major uprisings known as the Intifada 1987 and 1988 with continued unrest and violence throughout strip; accord bet. Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel signed May 1994 gave self-rule to Gaza Strip and Jericho, followed by withdrawal of most Israeli troops; last of Israeli settlers pulled out Aug. 2005.

Copyright © 2007 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated

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