The Phoenicians were descendants of the Canaanites. They lived north of Canaan in a narrow strip of land by the Mediterranean Sea. They were known for their timber, especially cedar and cypress, their purple dye, which they made from local murex shells, and their dyed wool. Phoenician ships and merchants were an important presence in the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. The city of Tyre founded colonies at Carthage in North Africa, on the island of Cyprus, and perhaps in mining areas in north Greece between the eleventh and ninth centuries BC. Other Phoenician cities formed their own colonies throughout the area, including one at Cades (Cadiz) on the Atlantic coast of Spain. The major Phoenician cities included Tyre, Sidon, Byblos (Phoenician Gebal), and Arvad. The cities of Phoenicia were dominated by the Egyptians, Amorites, the Hyksos, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans at various times in their long history. The city-states of Phoenicia never united to form a kingdom of Phoenicia.(2, 3)
(2) Cities of the Biblical World: An Introduction to the Archaeology, Geography, and History of Biblical Sites, LaMoine F. DeVries, Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997.
(3) Explorers of the Ancient World, Charnan Simon, Chicago: Children's Press, 1990.
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Updated November 30, 2009