3'rd millennium BC : The Canaanites were the earliest known inhabitants of Palestine. They became urbanized and lived in city-states, one of which was Jericho . They developed an alphabet. Palestine's location at the center of routes linking three continents made it the meeting place for religious and cultural influences from Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Asia Minor. It was also the natural battleground for the great powers of the region and subject to domination by adjacent empires, beginning with Egypt in the 3d millennium BC.