History of Aleppo
Aleppo, going back to the early 2nd millennium BC, competes with Damascus on being the oldest inhabited city in the world. It appeared in the Hittite archives in central Anatolia and in the archives of Mari on the Euphrates. Aleppo (Halab) was the capital of the Amorite kingdom of Yamkhad, in the middle centuries of that millennium. It was the focus of the Hittites in their overthrow of the Amorite Dynasty, in 1595 BC. In about 1000 BC, Northern Syria was taken over by the Sea Peoples; however Aleppo remained a small Neo-Hittite state. From 800 BC to 400 BC, the Assyrians followed by the Persians were in control of Syria.
In 333 BC, Aleppo was taken over by Alexander the Great, and was kept under the Greeks for 300 years in the form of the Seleucid Empire. During this time Aleppo was an important trading city, between the Euphrates and Antioch.
In 64 BC Pompey brought Syria under Roman domination. It remained under Roman control in the form of the Byzantine Empire until 637AD, when the Arabs took over.
In the 10th century Aleppo was taken over by the Hamdanids who made it virtually independent until 962 AD when it was retaken by the Byzantine Empire. In 1098, it was circled by soldiers from the First Crusade who could not conquer it, but paralyzed its commercial power. It was besieged again in 1124 by another Crusade, and then taken over by Zengi and his successor Nur al Din.
Saladin then took over and at his death the Ayyubid dynasty was perpetuated in Aleppo. At the Mameluke period, trade was diverted from Aleppo to the North in Antioch and to the South through Palmyra. But when the Mongol Empire broke up and some converted to Islam, trade resumed through Aleppo. The Ottomans later took over, but by that time Europe had redirected its trade through sea routes to India and China.
During World War I, Aleppo's trade rose with the arrival of Armenian refugees, who fled the Ottoman massacres. But after France had given Antioch to Turkey, Aleppo lost its Mediterranean outlet.