Bulgarian City Named for Love has a Long History of Being Attacked and Bombarded

Bulgarian City Named for Love has a Long History of Being Attacked and Bombarded

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Archaeologists have excavated an ancient fortress on a small peninsula in Bulgaria occupied since at least the Neolithic and have found the Roman-occupied town was destroyed by barbarian tribes in the 4th century AD and attacked by many other people through the ages.

After centuries of attack, bombardment and upheaval, the town of Ahtopol, once known as Agathopolis, is now a peaceful seaside resort village on the Black Sea. For a city that one legend says was named after love ( agape), its violent history is somewhat incongruous.

The city came under attack again and again by barbarians and various empires throughout history. It was overrun by barbarians in late antiquity, bombarded by the Genoese navy in 1352 and occupied by one empire after another over the years. Pirates burned the town many times, as recently as 1918. The city and its fortress have been rebuilt several times.

“This Late Roman settlement, which was burned down, shows what the fate of the Roman [city of] Ahtopol was at the time of the Great Exodus when Huns, Goths, Vandals , and other peoples started to devastate the Eastern Roman Empire after the middle of the 4 th century. It was no accident that after these events Ahtopol was fortified with a mighty fortress wall ," the blog Archaeology in Bulgaria states .

Part of the Agathopolis fortress wall, Ahtopol, Bulgaria. ( Vortex Foundation )

One of the key finds of the archaeological excavations was a stone building and north gate from the late Roman era, the blog states, leaving evidence for archaeologists all along.

Other important discoveries include Genoese cannon balls and ancient and medieval artifacts, including clay lamps, glass vessels, luxury dishes and many coins. One beautiful gold coin that was uncovered comes from the time of Roman Emperor Justinian I. The Romans minted the coin to pay for the reconstruction of the fort in the Byzantine era, but it never circulated and still has what is called its production polish, archaeologists said.

The Roman gold coin found recently during excavations of Agathopolis was minted to pay for reconstruction of the fort after incursions by barbarians. ( Tsarevo Municipality Facebook page )

The coin is evidence that the fort was reconstructed during the later 6th century AD. Previously, scholars had speculated it was built during the rule of Anastasius I Dicorus, who reigned from 491 to 518, the blog states. The fortress wall was 3 to 4 meters high (10 to 13 feet) and 1.8 to 2.5 meters thick (6 feet to 8 feet).

Many other coins from the reigns of Justinian I and Maurice (582-602) have been unearthed there. These coins have been associated with the fortress’ second construction phase in the third quarter of the sixth century.

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The Vortex Foundation’s report on the work of volunteers at the site also mentions that the team unearthed a skeleton from a Christian funeral at the site.

Skeleton unearthed at the site. Ahtopol, Bulgaria. ( Vortex Foundation )

The last reconstructions of Ahtopol’s medieval fortifications were carried out from the middle of the 14 th century to beginning of the 15 th century, the archaeologists concluded, based on their recent excavations.

The town’s rich history includes its founding by Greeks in 430 BC. Before that, the ancient Thracian tribe of the Thyni settled the peninsula during the Iron Age. Archaeologists are pretty sure Thracians were there because in the past they found a votive tablet with an image of and inscription to Heros or the Thracian Horseman, the supreme deity of the Thracians.

View of a Thracian ruler’s residence found in the Tsarevo municipality in late 2015. Some coins uncovered at the residence. ( Tsarevo Municipality Facebook page )

Under the Roman Empire from the 1st to 4th centuries AD the town was named Peronticus. During the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire in the 5th to 7th centuries barbarian invasions of Avars and Slavs destroyed the town. Byzantine general Agathon rebuilt it, and some say he named the town for himself. Others say it was named Agathopolis since 323 BC.

It may look peaceful now, but the beach of the city of Ahtopol was the site of much violence and war down through the ages. ( Nenko Lazarov/CC BY 2.5 )

“According to one legend, Agathopolis was first established as the home of Delphin, son of Poseidon, and Agatha, daughter of Zeus. Zeus was angered by their relationship so he dispatched an army against them, but a burrowing owl woke them up and saved them. Thus, Delphin killed the enemies and founded a city called Agapi-polis (city of love) on the Black Sea coast,” the blog states.

There was further conflict in the area as the city changed hands between the Byzantine Empire and Bulgarian Empire until the end of the 14 th century AD. The Ottoman Turks conquered the city in 1453 and it remained an important port under them, Archaeology in Bulgaria states. The city was liberated by Bulgaria in 1912 during the Balkan War.

Featured image: Aerial view of excavations at the fortress in Ahtopol, Bulgaria. Source: Tsarevo Municipality Facebook Page

By: Mark Miller

Top 10 Lesser-Known Savages In History

There are always two sides to history. Unfortunately, history has generally been written by the victor. As a result, only one viewpoint is told and exaggerations are made, but occasionally the other angle gets out there. It is then up to the student to determine what is authentic and what is mere fabrication. History shows that the following people were 10 of the most barbaric men who ever lived. Whether the general consensus on them is true or not, that&rsquos for you to decide. Nonetheless, the facts that are known reveal 10 men who are corrupt in nature and will do anything or kill anyone to get what they want and often for sheer enjoyment. They personify the word &ldquobloodthirsty.&rdquo At times, sharing traits with the most savage of beasts, these men prove that humans aren&rsquot so different from animals.

Aguirre stands out as one of the most ruthless of the Spanish conquistadors. He arrived in Peru in 1544 and in 1560 joined an expedition of several hundred men led by Pedro de Ursua in search of El Dorado. Aguirre eventually turned against Ursua&rsquos leadership and would have Ursua executed. The man who took over, Fernando de Guzman, would also soon be put to death. Aguirre declared &ldquoI am the Wrath of God&rdquo and took over the mission. Those who remained on the mission who were against him were executed. As he sailed down the Amazon, Aguirre slaughtered those who he met along the way. In 1561 he showed himself in open rebellion against the Spanish crown by seizing Isla Margarita, off the coast of present day Venezuela, from Spanish settlers. He was surrounded and captured at Barquisimeto. With his execution approaching, Aguirre reportedly murdered his own daughter to ensure that no one but him could love her.

One of the foremost professional soldiers of his day, Alba was the commander in chief of Charles V army. Despite diminishing trust in Alba, Charles&rsquo heir, Phillip II sent Alba as an emissary to France to hold negotiations with Catherine de Medici. With an anti-Protestant policy, it is believed that Alba helped lay the groundwork for the massacre of French Protestants on St. Bartholomew&rsquos Day, 1572. In 1567, Alba was dispatched as governor of the Spanish Netherlands following the outbreak of popular unrest. Determined to restore order swiftly and in a fierce fashion, Alba, with 12,000 soldiers, set up a Council of Troubles soon to be dubbed the Council of Blood. This council declared thousands of people guilty of rebelling and either exiled, imprisoned or executed them. Every class of society was hit, noble birth was often not enough to protect some. After entering Brussels, 22 of the town&rsquos leading citizens were beheaded. Dozens more massacres were to follow. Alba&rsquos brutal reaction to the rebellion only fueled more insurrections against the Spanish crown.

Robert of Geneva was brilliant intellectually and was born to a family very close to the church. In 1368, aged just 26, Robert became an archbishop. Pope Gregory IX recognized his talents and promoted him to cardinal in 1371. Serving under the Pope in Italy from 1376 to 1378, Robert was in charge of suppressing the Papal States from revolting against the authority of Rome. Robert hired Sylvester Budes, leader of a band of Breton mercenaries and Sir John Hawkwood, an infamous English soldier of fortune. In 1377, Hawkwood and the Bretons, financed by the papacy, captured the city of Cesena. Hawkwood was willing to pardon the revolting townspeople in return for surrender, but Robert overruled him, ordering they be put to the sword. The mercenaries wreaked havoc on the streets. Those who hid in the Church of St. Stephen were killed and the church itself was vandalized. The convent was broken into and the nuns were raped. Over 4,000 people were slaughtered. In 1378, Bartolomeo Prignano was elected as Pope Urban VI. Unhappy with the choice, the cardinals reconsidered and eventually nullified Urban&rsquos election and opted to elect Robert as Pope Clement VII. Supported by King Charles V of France, Clement established Avignon as his residence. France, Scotland and various German states recognized Clement as the Pope while Urban governed from Rome, supported by Spain and the Italian states. And so the Great Schism began. Because it is not possible for the cardinals to nullify a papal election, Clement VII was eventually recognized by all as an antipope.

Basil II was a powerful and effective Byzantine ruler. Best described as a &ldquohero-monster&rdquo, he was successful on all fronts and was perennially engaged in warfare. Basil ruled for 50 years and brought the Byzantine Empire to new heights, expanding it&rsquos borders to it&rsquos greatest extent. He Swiftly destroyed all who challenged his rule. This included rebelling landowners, his uncle and Arab invaders. Eventually he would cross paths with his enemy Tsar Samuel of Bulgaria whose own empire was swallowing up Byzantine territory. Struggling with his campaign in the beginning, Basil began to have steady success against the Bulgars. Basil would finally win a massive victory at the Battle of Kleidon on July 29, 1014 as his forces took the capital. As punishment, Basil lined up the captive Bulgar soldiers and had them blinded. He left one eye untouched for every hundred men so that the troops could find their way home. Reportedly 15,000 Bulgars, terrorized, wounded and blinded pathetically shuffled away. Tsar Samuel fainted after seeing his soldiers return and died of a stroke. Thus Basil II earned his epithet &lsquoBulgar Slayer&rsquo through this monstrous act.

Pasha was the key architect of the Armenian genocide, one of the largest genocides in modern history. Over 1 million people were massacred in the span of 2 years. A member of the Young Turks, Talat rose up and became one of the three Pashas who ruled the Ottoman government in 1913 until the end of the disastrous First World War. Many Muslim Turks came to see the rise in nationalism of the Christian Armenians as a threat to the existence of the Ottoman state. Programs had already been installed against Armenians in previous years with possibly hundreds of thousands dying. 30,000 died in the Adana massacre of 1909. Once entering World War One, the Ottoman&rsquos endeavor ended in total failure. Russian and Armenian forces set up an Armenian mini-state in 1915 and thus Talat Pasha sought to punish them. Security forces rounded up 250 Armenian intellectuals and leaders in Istanbul in 1915, and eventually executed them. After passing a Deportation Law, Pasha ordered deportations and executions to be carried out against the whole Armenian population. During the deportations, conditions were deplorable and men were routinely separated from the rest and executed. Many prisoners were tortured and were victims of gruesome medical experiments. More died of hunger and thirst. In some instances victims would be crucified in imitation of Jesus as the perpetrators would say: &ldquoNow let your Christ come help you!&rdquo Others would have red-hot irons and pincers applied to their flesh. Out of a population of 2.5 million Armenians, between 1 and 1.5 million perished in this period. After the Ottoman collapse, Talat Pasha fled to Berlin and was subsequently murdered there in 1921. His assassin was an Armenian genocide survivor.

Issuing one of the first historically documented orders for genocide, von Trotha who was the commander in chief of German South-West Africa had to put down a major rebellion, led by the Herero tribe. With an army of 10,000, von Trotha surrounded the Herero in a single location on three sides. The only escape for the Herero was to enter the Kalahari Desert. The Herero numbered about 50,000 with 6,000 warriors. They could not compete with the German forces who had modern rifles, machine guns and artillery. As the surviving Hereros escaped into the desert as planned, von Trotha ordered all the watering holes to be poisoned. Fences were erected along the desert boundary with guard posts to watch for any who tried to escape. Anyone caught would be shot on sight. Eventually von Trotha would issue an Extermination Order. Those who were not shot on sight would be put into labor camps and pushed into slavery. Thousands of Herero died from overwork, disease or starvation. Many of the women were sexually abused. Only 15,000 out of the initial 80,000 Herero population remained alive. Due to the supposed inferiority, some Herero were the subject of medical experiments. Later, there was a Nama uprising and some 10,000 died. Another 9,000 were put into concentration camps. On von Trotha&rsquos watch, the Herero and Nama tribes had all been eradicated.

A man of Jewish descent, Torquemada was the first inquisitor general in Spain. Torquemada convinced the government, led by Ferdinand and Isabella, that the presence of Jews, Muslims and recent false converts to Christianity in Spain represented a dangerous corruption of the true Catholic faith. Because of Torquemada, repressive laws were passed to force the expulsion of Spain&rsquos non-Christian minorities. He received support from Pope Sixtus IV. Torquemada, now matching the authority of Ferdinand and Isabella themselves, oversaw the proclamation of the 28 articles listing the sins that the Inquisition aimed to purge. Identifying and exposing &ldquoMarranos&rdquo (Jews who had pretended to be Christian but continued to practice Judaism) was a main focus. Inquisitors were granted power to do whatever necessary to reveal the truth. This inevitably led to violent persecution. In February 1484 alone, 30 people in the city of Ciudad Real were found guilty of crimes and burnt alive. Between 1485 and 1501, 250 people were burnt in Toledo. In 1492, in Torquemada&rsquos home town of Valladolid, 32 people were burnt. Declaring that Jews were a mortal threat, in 1492 Ferdinand and Isabella decreed that all Jews who had not converted to Christianity were to be expelled from Spain. About 40,000 left the country, many of them given sanctuary by the tolerant Islamic Ottomans in Istanbul and several other cities. Torquemada remained as inquisitor general believing that his work was not done. He became wealthy as well due to all that he had confiscated. He would eventually die in office after two decades of burning approximately two thousand people.

Godfrey, the duke of Lower Lorraine, led the first crusade and was a brutal religious fundamentalist. In 1095 pope Urban II called for crusaders to assist Byzantine emperor Alexius I against Turkish forces attacking Christian Byzantium and to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims. In 1096, Godfrey gathered an army of about 40,000 and declared that he was determined to avenge the blood of Jesus on the Jewish people. Godfrey&rsquos reputation grew as the years went on. In 1098, Godfrey reportedly killed 150 Turks with only 12 knights. Later that year, he cut a Turk in half with a single, downward swipe of his sword. Finally in 1099, Godfrey took aim at Jerusalem. On Friday July 15th, Godfrey was one of the first crusaders to breach the city&rsquos defenses via siege tower. After opening the gates, the crusaders charged into the city. With Muslim citizens fleeing to the al-Aqsa Mosque, Iftikhar ad-Dawla, the Fatimid governor of Jerusalem, made his last stand. On condition of surrender, Iftikhar and some of his solders were allowed to escape. For the next two days, the crusaders pillaged Muslim holy sites and slaughtered everyone left in the city regardless of whether they were combatants or civilians, Muslim or Jew. Victims were either burned to death or had their stomachs cut open with the belief that Muslims swallowed their gold. The Jews fled to a synagogue which the crusaders would burn down. Reportedly piles of heads, hands and feet were scattered throughout the city. Godfrey walked barefoot through the blood, his feet colored to his ankles in the blood of men, women and children. His fellow crusaders chose him to become the first Christian ruler of Jerusalem. He would die of plague a year later, his mission complete.

Beane was the head of an incestuous clan who lived off robbery, murder and cannibalism. Some historians suggest that he never existed and say that his story was propaganda created by the English demonizing the Scottish. The story goes that Alexander Beane left home, never showing an interest in work, with an equally unpleasant local woman. Once they arrived at Bennane Head, they set up home in a coastal cave hidden away from the view of passers-by. Over the next 25 years, Beane and the woman raised a family of about 8 sons and 6 daughters who bred together to produce 18 grandsons and 14 granddaughters. The family was raised without any notions of humanity. They preyed on travelers who traversed near their stretch of coast and would rob and kill their victims. The clan would then drag the victims body back to their cave where they dismembered the body and devour it. Leftovers were pickled and unwanted parts were disposed into the sea. Often times the remains would wash up onto the chore. Gradually suspicion arose among the locals. One night, the Beane clan attacked a married couple on horseback. The man managed to fight off the clan with a sword and pistol, but unfortunately his wife was knocked off the horse. She was immediately disemboweled and the Beane clan drank her blood. The man escaped and alarmed the locals of what had happened. King James VI of Scotland (James I of England) was notified not long afterwards. Hundreds of men and bloodhounds were sent after the clan. The bloodhounds tracked the scent of human flesh back to the cave. Upon entering, the men were hit with a putrid smell as they gazed upon the grisly image of dried flesh hanging from the walls and pickled body parts in barrels. The Beanes made no attempt to escape. They were executed without a trial. It was said that the clan had over a thousand victims.

Rais was a Breton who fought against the English, often serving alongside Joan of Arc. A year after Joan was burned at the stake, Rais retired from military service and returned to his family&rsquos castle at Machecoul. From there, Rais began a campaign of sadistic sex murders, killing between 60 and 200 children. He preferred boys between the ages of 6 and 18. His victims were generally blue-eyed and blond-haired and were usually kidnapped from the village of Machecoul and the surrounding areas or lured to his castle. His first victim was a 12-year-old messenger who was hanged by his neck on a metal hook and raped before being put out of his misery. More and more children started to disappear and suspicion arose. Unfortunately, the locals were too terrified to go up against one of the most powerful men in France. Rais had a specially built chamber where he would restrain his victims while he proceeded with his grotesque sexual acts. He would kill them with a variety of methods which included dismemberment, decapitation and disembowelment. He enjoyed watching them die sometimes even laughing. After some difficulty, a case was finally brought up against him. Rais stated at his trial that he admired the heads and body parts of his more beautiful victims. Gilles was arrested in September of 1440 and indicted on 34 counts of murder. He would eventually confess to the murders under the threat of torture. Rais was found guilty of murder, sodomy and heresy. Gilles was hanged and then burned on October 16, 1440, along with two of his servants. Rais was granted the right of confession after expressing remorse. He refused to admit he was a devil worshipper and professed the strength of his faith. Gilles de Rais would become one of the first known serial killers in history. The guilt and conscience that he would show when not taken over by the urge to murder only confirmed how depraved and mentally disturbed this man was.

Athens, Greece

The capital and largest city in Greece, Athens is also, of course, one the oldest cities in the world with continuous inhabitation since 5,000 B.C., or approximately 7,000 years. Once a powerful city-state and the birthplace of democracy, history buffs will love strolling around this city as it is brimming with historical gems, representing various empires such as the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman. While Greece has suffered in recent years due to the economic downturn, it remains a popular destination with tourists seeking to experience the incredible history, art, cuisine, and people that Athens has to offer.

Bulgarian City Named for Love has a Long History of Being Attacked and Bombarded - History

1914 : War Erupts

1871 - Following the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War, Germany is unified as an Imperial federation of states, led by the King of Prussia (Kaiser Wilhelm I). This spurs a new era of population growth and rapid industrialization. The Germans also forcibly annex the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine from France.

1882 - Germany, Austria-Hungary (Hapsburg Empire) and Italy form the Triple Alliance.

1891 - The Russian Empire and France form their own alliance in reaction to the Triple Alliance.

1898 - Germany begins to build up its navy to challenge the British Navy's long-standing global supremacy.

January 1902 - Britain and Japan form a naval alliance.

April 1904 - The British reach a strategic agreement with France which includes mutual military support in the event of war.

January 1905 - Troops of Russian Czar Nicholas II fire upon peaceful demonstrators in St. Petersburg killing hundreds in what comes to be known as Bloody Sunday.

May 1905 - Russia suffers a military defeat at sea by newly industrialized Japan, thwarting Russia's territorial ambitions toward Manchuria and Korea.

October 1905 - Continuing political unrest in Russia, including a general strike, results in the creation of a national legislative assembly (Duma) by the Czar.

February 1906 - H.M.S. Dreadnought is launched by Britain, marking the advent of a new class of big-gun battleships. The Germans follow suit and begin building similar battleships as an all-out arms race ensues between Germany and Britain.

August 1907 - The British reach a strategic agreement with Russia.

October 1908 - Austria-Hungary, backed by Germany, annexes Bosnia-Herzegovina. Neighboring Serbia, with the backing of Russia, voices its objection in support of the Serbian minority living in Bosnia.

March 1909 - Germany forces Russia to endorse the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary.

1910 - Germany surpasses Britain as the leading manufacturing nation in Europe. The United States remains the world leader, surpassing all of the European manufacturing nations combined.

October 1912 - The Balkan War erupts in southern Europe as Serbia leads an attack by members of the Balkan League (Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece) against the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire to drive the Turks out of Europe.

May 1913 - The Balkan War ends with the Turks driven out of southern Europe. A peace settlement is then drawn up by the major European powers that divides up the former Turkish areas in southern Europe among the Balkan League nations. However, the peace is short-lived as Bulgaria, desiring a bigger share, attacks neighboring Greece and Serbia. Romania then attacks Bulgaria along with the Turks. This Second Balkan War results in Bulgaria losing territory and the Serbians becoming emboldened, leaving the Balkan region of southern Europe politically unstable.

June 28, 1914 - Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, and his wife, visit Sarajevo in Bosnia. A bomb is thrown at their auto but misses. Undaunted, they continue their visit only to be shot and killed a short time later by a lone assassin. Believing the assassin to be a Serbian nationalist, the Austrians target their anger toward Serbia.

July 23, 1914 - Austria-Hungary, with the backing of Germany, delivers an ultimatum to Serbia. The Serbs propose arbitration as a way to resolve dispute, but also begin mobilization of their troops.

July 25, 1914 - Austria-Hungary severs diplomatic ties with Serbia and begins to mobilize its troops.

July 26, 1914 - Britain attempts to organize a political conference among the major European powers to resolve the dispute between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. France and Italy agree to participate. Russia then agrees, but Germany refuses.

July 28, 1914 - The Austro-Hungarian Empire declares war on Serbia.

July 29, 1914 - Britain calls for international mediation to resolve the worsening crisis. Russia urges German restraint, but the Russians begin partial troop mobilization as a precaution. The Germans then warn Russia on its mobilization and begin to mobilize themselves.

July 30, 1914 - Austrian warships bombard Belgrade, capital of Serbia.

July 31, 1914 - Reacting to the Austrian attack on Serbia, Russia begins full mobilization of its troops. Germany demands that it stop.

August 1, 1914 - Germany declares war on Russia. France and Belgium begin full mobilization.

August 3, 1914 - Germany declares war on France, and invades neutral Belgium. Britain then sends an ultimatum, rejected by the Germans, to withdraw from Belgium.

August 4, 1914 - Great Britain declares war on Germany. The declaration is binding on all Dominions within the British Empire including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa.

August 4, 1914 - The United States declares its neutrality.

August 4-16, 1914 - The Siege of Liege occurs as Germans attack the Belgian fortress city but meet resistance from Belgian troops inside the Liege Forts. The twelve forts surrounding the city are then bombarded into submission by German and Austrian howitzers using high explosive shells. Remaining Belgian troops then retreat northward toward Antwerp as the German westward advance continues.

August 6, 1914 - The Austro-Hungarian Empire declares war on Russia.

August 6, 1914 - French and British troops invade the German colony of Togo in West Africa. Twenty days later, the German governor there surrenders.

August 7, 1914 - The first British troops land in France. The 120,000 highly trained members of the regular British Army form the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) commanded by Field Marshal John French.

August 7-24, 1914 - The French desire to score a quick victory ignites the first major French-German action of the war. The French Army invades Alsace and Lorraine according to their master strategy known as Plan XVII. However, the French offensive is met by effective German counter-attacks using heavy artillery and machine-guns. The French suffer heavy casualties including 27,000 soldiers killed in a single day, the worst one-day death toll in the history of the French Army. The French then fall back toward Paris amid 300,000 total casualties.

August 8, 1914 - Britain enacts the Defense of the Realm Act (DORA) granting unprecedented powers to the government to control the economy and daily life.

August 12, 1914 - Great Britain and France declare war on Austria-Hungary. Serbia is invaded by Austria-Hungary.

August 17, 1914 - Russia invades Germany, attacking into East Prussia, forcing the outnumbered Germans there to fall back. This marks the advent of the Eastern Front in Europe in which Russia will oppose Germany and Austria-Hungary.

August 20, 1914 - German troops occupy undefended Brussels, capital of Belgium. Following this, the main German armies continue westward and invade France according to their master strategy known as the Schlieffen Plan. It calls for a giant counter-clockwise movement of German armies wheeling into France, swallowing up Paris, and then attacking the rear of the French armies concentrated in the Alsace-Lorraine area. Under the overall command of Helmuth von Moltke, Chief of the German General Staff, the Germans seek to achieve victory over France within six weeks and then focus on defeating Russia in the East before Russia's six-million-man army, the world's largest, can fully mobilize.

August 23, 1914 - Japan declares war on Germany. The Japanese then prepare to assist the British in expelling the Germans from the Far East. German possessions in the South Pacific include a naval base on the coast of China, part of New Guinea, Samoa, and the Caroline, Marshall and Mariana Islands.

Battle of Tannenberg

August 26, 1914 - On the Eastern Front, German troops in East Prussia under the new command of Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff oppose the Russian 2nd Army. Aided by aerial reconnaissance and the interception of uncoded Russian radio messages, the Germans effectively reposition their troops to counter the initial Russian advance. Five days later, after surrounding the Russians, the battle ends with a German victory and the capture of 125,000 Russians. Following this success, the Germans drive the Russians out of East Prussia with heavy casualties. The impressive victory elevates Hindenburg and Ludendorff to the status of heroes in Germany.

August 30, 1914 - German possessions in the Far East are attacked as New Zealand troops occupy German Samoa. Three days later, Japanese forces land on the coast of China, preparing to attack the German naval base at Tsingtao (Qingdao). A month later, the Japanese begin their occupation of the Caroline, Marshall and Mariana Islands.

Battle of the Marne

September 5-12, 1914 - On the Western Front, Paris is saved as French and British troops disrupt the Schlieffen Plan by launching a major counter-offensive against the invading German armies to the east of Paris. Six hundred taxi cabs from the city help to move French troops to the Front. Aided by French aerial reconnaissance which reveals a gap has developed in the center of the whole German advance, the French and British exploit this weakness and press their advantage. The Germans then begin a strategic withdrawal northward as the Allies pursue. Each side repeatedly tries to outmaneuver the other and gain a tactical advantage as they move northward in what becomes known as the Race to the Sea.

September 7, 1914 - In the Far East, a German naval squadron, commanded by Graf von Spee severs the British Pacific communications cable.

September 8, 1914 - The French government enacts nationwide State of War regulations which include total control over the economy and national security, strict censorship, and suspension of civil liberties.

September 17, 1914 - On the Eastern Front, Austrian forces steadily retreat from the advancing Russian 3rd and 8th armies fighting in southern Poland and along the Russian-Austrian border. The Germans then send the newly formed 9th Army to halt the Russians. This marks the beginning of a pattern in which the Germans will aid the weaker Austro-Hungarian Army.

September 22, 1914 - The first-ever British air raid against Germany occurs as Zeppelin bases at Cologne and Düsseldorf are bombed.

First Battle of Ypres
October 19-November 22, 1914

October 19, 1914 - Still hoping to score a quick victory in the West, the Germans launch a major attack on Ypres in Belgium. Despite heavy losses, British, French and Belgian troops fend off the attack and the Germans do not break through. During the battle, the Germans send waves of inexperienced 17 to 20-year-old volunteer soldiers, some fresh out of school. They advance shoulder-to-shoulder while singing patriotic songs only to be systematically gunned down in what the Germans themselves later call the "massacre of the innocents." By November, overall casualties will total 250,000 men, including nearly half of the British Regular Army.

October 29, 1914 - The Ottoman Empire (Turkey) enters the war on the side of the Germans as three warships shell the Russian port of Odessa. Three days later, Russia declares war on Turkey. Russian and Turkish troops then prepare for battle along the common border of the Russian Caucasus and the Ottoman Empire.

October-November, 1914 - Germans and Austrians launch a combined offensive against the Russians on the Eastern Front. The German 9th Army targets Warsaw, Poland, but is opposed by six Russian armies and withdraws. The Austrians attack the Russians in Galicia (a province in northeast Austria) with indecisive results. However, the Russians fail to press their advantage at Warsaw and instead begin a split counter-offensive moving both southward against the Austrians in Galicia and northward toward Germany. The German 9th Army then regroups and cuts off the Russians at Lodz, Poland, halting their advance and forcing an eastward withdrawal by the Russians.

November 1, 1914 - Austria invades Serbia. This is the third attempt to conquer the Serbs in retaliation for the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. This attempt fails like the two before it, at the hands of highly motivated Serbs fighting on their home ground. The Austrians withdraw in mid-December, after suffering over 220,000 casualties from the three failed invasions.

November 1, 1914 - The British Navy suffers its worst defeat in centuries during a sea battle in the Pacific. Two British ships, the Monmouth and Good Hope, are sunk with no survivors by a German squadron commanded by Admiral Graf von Spee.

November 3, 1914 - Kaiser Wilhelm appoints Erich von Falkenhayn as the new Chief of the German General Staff, replacing Helmuth von Moltke who is sacked due to the failure of the Schlieffen Plan.

November 5, 1914 - France and Britain declare war on the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire.

November 6, 1914 - In the Persian Gulf, a major British offensive begins as the 6th Indian Division invades Mesopotamia. The objective is to protect the oil pipeline from Persia. Two weeks later they capture the city of Basra.

November 7, 1914 - In the Far East, the German naval base at Tsingtao is captured by the Japanese, aided by a British and Indian battalion.

Trench Warfare Begins

December 1914 - The Western Front in Europe stabilizes in the aftermath of the First Battle of Ypres as the Germans go on the defensive and transfer troops to the East to fight the Russians. The 450-mile-long Western Front stretches from the Channel Coast southward through Belgium and Eastern France into Switzerland. Troops from both sides construct opposing trench fortifications and dugouts protected by barbed wire, machine-gun nests, snipers, and mortars, with an in-between area called No Man's Land. The Eastern Front also sees its share of trenches as troops dig in after the Russians hold off the Germans in Poland and the Austrians hold off the Russians at Limanowa. The 600-mile Eastern Front stretches from the Baltic Sea southward through East Prussia and Austria to the Carpathian Mountains.

December 8, 1914 - The Battle of Falkland Islands occurs as British Navy warships destroy the German squadron of Admiral Graf von Spee in the South Atlantic off the coast of Argentina. Von Spee and two sons serving in his squadron are killed.

December 10, 1914 - The French begin a series of attacks along the Western Front against the Germans in the Artois region of northern France and Champagne in the south. Hampered by a lack of heavy artillery and muddy winter conditions, the French fail to make any significant gains and both offensives are soon suspended.

December 16, 1914 - Britain suffers its first civilian casualties at home in the war as the German Navy bombards the coastal towns of Whitby, Hartlepool and Scarborough, killing 40 persons and wounding hundreds.

December 25, 1914 - A Christmas truce occurs between German and British soldiers in the trenches of northern France. All shooting stops as the soldiers exit their trenches, exchange gifts, sing carols and engage in a soccer game. This is the only Christmas truce of the war, as Allied commanders subsequently forbid fraternization with orders to shoot any violators.

Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II

German Youth and Military

Germans Cheer Declaration

The Mighty Russian Army

French Infantry in Action

Austrians Attack Russians

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Danube Delta, Romania

Europe's second longest river passes through ten countries before it empties into the Black Sea. The Danube Delta is one of the last wildlife reserves in Europe, which offers a habitat to thousands of animal and plant species. The Delta can be explored on a guided tour or individually by canoe or houseboat.

10 travel tips for Eastern Europe


Theophanes the Confessor first mentioned the name Varna, as the city came to be known, with the Slavic conquest of the Balkans in the 6th to 7th centuries. The name could be of Varangian origin, as Varangians had been crossing the Black Sea for many years, reaching Constantinople in the early Middle Ages. In Swedish, värn means "shield, defense" – hence Varna could mean "defended, fortified place". Vikings invaded the settlement during the Middle Ages. [6] The name may be older than that perhaps it derives from the Proto-Indo-European root *u̯er- "to flow, wet, water, river" [7] [8] (cf. Varuna), or from the Proto-Slavic root varn "black", or from Iranian bar or var "camp, fortress" (see also Etymological list of provinces of Bulgaria).

According to Theophanes, in 680 Asparukh, the founder of the First Bulgarian Empire, routed an army of Constantine IV near the Danube River delta. Pursuing those forces, he reached "the so-called Varna near Odyssos [sic] and the midlands thereof" (τὴν λεγομένην Βάρναν, πλησίον Ὀδυσσοῦ). Perhaps the new name applied initially to an adjacent river or lake, a Roman military camp, or an inland area, and only later to the city itself.

By the late 10th century, the name Varna was established so firmly that when Byzantines wrestled back control of the area from the Bulgarians around 975, they kept it rather than restoring the ancient name Odessos. The latter is often said to be of Carian origin, though no modern scholarship supports this.

Prehistory Edit

Prehistoric settlements are best known for the Chalcolithic necropolis (mid-5th millennium BC radiocarbon dating), a key archaeological site in world prehistory, eponymous Varna culture and internationally considered the world's oldest large find of gold artefacts, existed within modern city limits. In the wider region of the Varna lakes (before the 1900s, freshwater) and the adjacent karst springs and caves, over 30 prehistoric settlements have been unearthed with the earliest artefacts dating back to the Middle Paleolithic or 100,000 years ago.

Thracians Edit

Since late Bronze Age (13th–12th c. BC) the area around Odessos had been populated with Thracians. During 8th–9th c. BC local Thracians had active commercial and cultural contacts with people from Anatolia, Thessaly, Caucasus and the Mediterranean Sea. These links were reflected in some local productions, for example, forms of bronze fibula of the age, either imported or locally made. There is no doubt that interactions occurred mostly by sea and the bay of Odessos is one of the places where the exchanges took place. Some scholars consider that during the 1st millennium BC, the region was also settled by the half-mythical Cimmerians. An example of their, probably accidental, presence, is the tumulus dated 8th–7th c. BC found near Belogradets, Varna Province.

The region around Odessos was densely populated with Thracians long before the coming of the Greeks on the west seashore of the Black Sea. Pseudo-Scymnus writes: ". Around the city [Odessos] lives the Thracian tribe named Crobises." This is also evidenced by various ceramic pottery, made by hand or by a Potter's wheel, bronze ornaments for horse-fittings and iron weapons, all found in Thracian necropolises dated 6th–4th c. BC near the villages of Dobrina, Kipra, Brestak and other, all in Varna Province. The Thracians in the region were ruled by kings, who entered into unions with the Odrysian kingdom, Getae or Sapaeans—large Thracian states existing between 5th–1st c. BC. Between 336–280 BC these Thracian states along with Odessos were conquered by Alexander the Great.

Archaeological findings have indicated that the population of northeast Thrace was very diverse, including the region around Odessos. During 6th–4th c. BC the region was populated with Scythians who normally inhabited the central Eurasian Steppe (South Russia and Ukraine) and partly the area south of river Istros (the Thracian name of lower Danube). Characteristic for their culture weapons and bronze objects are found all over the region. Scythian horse ornaments are produced in "animal style", which is very close to the Thracian style, a possible explanation for the frequent mixture of both folks in northeastern Thrace. Many bronze artefacts give testimony for such process, for example, applications and front plates for horseheads, as well as moulds for such products in nearby and more distanced settlements. Since the 4th c. BC the region had been populated by more Getae, which is a Thracian tribe populating both shores around the Danube Delta.

Celts started populating the region after their invasion of the Balkan peninsula in 280 BC. All over northeast Bulgaria and even near Odessos were found a significant number of bronze items with Celtic ornaments and typical weapons, all quickly adopted by Thracians. Arkovna, 80 km near Odessos, was probably the permanent capital of Celts' last king Kavar (270/260–216/210 BC). Probably after the downfall of his kingdom, Celts blended with the greatly numbered Thracians in the country. Between the 2nd–1st c. BC in present Dobrudja land between Dyonissopolis (Balchik) and Odessos were created many small Scythian states. Their "kings" minted their coins in mints located in cities on the west Black Sea coast, including Odessos.

The Thracians in northeast Thrace seem to be underdeveloped compared to their counterparts in South Thrace. The people lived in two types of settlements: non-fortified, located in fertile lands near water sources and stone-built fortresses in hard to reach mountain environment, where were usually located the kings' residences. Thracians engaged in farming, wood processing, hunting and fishing. Among their art crafts is metal processing—especially weapons, excelling processing of bronze, making of bracelets, rings, Thracian type of fibulas, horse ornaments, arrowheads. Local goldsmiths used gold and silver to produce typical Thracian plate armour, ceremonial ornaments for the horses of the kings and the aristocracy, as well as valuable pateras and ritons.

Despite ethnic diversity, numerous internal and external conflicts, and cultural differences, the populations of northeastern Bulgaria and the cities along the seashore have demonstrated stable tolerance to each other. Conservatism is easily noticed in ceramic items and in religion. The highest deity of all was the Thracian horseman, who had different names and functions in different places. Water-related deities were honoured as well, such as The Three Graces or the water Nymphs and Zalmoxis by the Getae. During the centuries, especially by the end of the Hellenistic period (2nd–1st c. BC), Thracians adopted the more elaborated Hellenistic culture, thus acting as an intermediate for the continental Thracians. [9]

Antiquity Edit

Odessos or Odessus (Ancient Greek: Ὀδησσός ) [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] is one of the oldest ancient settlements in Bulgaria. Its name appears as Odesopolis (Ὀδησόπολις) in the Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax and as Odyssos or Odyssus (Ὀδυσσός) in the Synecdemus and in Procopius. [17] It was established in the second quarter of the sixth century BC (585–550 BC) by Miletian Greeks at a present at that time Thracian settlement. [18] The Miletian founded an apoikia (trading post) of Odessos towards the end of the 7th c. BC (the earliest Greek archaeological material is dated 600–575 BC), or, according to Pseudo-Scymnus, in the time of Astyages (here, usually 572–570 BC is suggested), within an earlier Thracian settlement. The name Odessos could have been pre-Greek, arguably of Carian origin. It was the presiding member of the Pontic Pentapolis, consisting of Odessos, Tomi, Callatis, Mesembria, and Apollonia. [17] Odessos was a mixed community—contact zone between the Ionian Greeks and the Thracian tribes (Getae, Krobyzoi, Terizi) of the hinterland. Excavations at nearby Thracian sites have shown uninterrupted occupation from the 7th to the 4th century BC and close commercial relations with the colony. The Greek alphabet has been used for inscriptions in Thracian since at least the 5th century BC.

Odessos was included in the assessment of the Delian league of 425 BC. In 339 BC, it was unsuccessfully besieged by Philip II (priests of the Getae persuaded him to conclude a treaty) but surrendered to Alexander the Great in 335 BC, and was later ruled by his diadochus Lysimachus, against whom it rebelled in 313 BC as part of a coalition with other Pontic cities and the Getae. Nevertheless, at the end of the 4th c. BC the city became one of the strongholds of Lysimachus. The city became very prosperous from this time due to strong sea trade with many of the Mediterranean states and cities supported by a wide range of local products. Shortly after 108 BC, Odessos recognised the suzerainty of Mithridates VI of Pontus.

The Roman city, Odessus, first included into the Praefectura orae maritimae and then in 15 AD annexed to the province of Moesia (later Moesia Inferior), covered 47 hectares in present-day central Varna and had prominent public baths, Thermae, erected in the late 2nd century AD (so-called Large (North) Ancient Roman Thermae), now the largest Roman remains in Bulgaria (the building was 100 m (328.08 ft) wide, 70 m (229.66 ft) long, and 25 m (82.02 ft) high) and fourth-largest-known Roman baths in Europe which testify to the importance of the city. There is also the Small (South) Ancient Roman Thermae from the 5th–6th century AD. [19] In addition, archaeologists in 2019 discovered ruins of a building of Roman thermae from the 5th century AD. [20]

Major athletic games were held every five years, possibly attended by Gordian III in 238.

The main aqueduct of Odessos was recently discovered during rescue excavations [21] north of the defensive wall. The aqueduct was built in three construction periods between the 4th and the 6th centuries in the 4th century the aqueduct was built together with the city wall, then at the end of the 4th to early 5th centuries when a pipeline was laid inside the initial masonry aqueduct. Thirdly in the 6th century, an extra pipeline was added parallel to the original west of it and entered the city through a reconstruction of the fortress wall. The city minted coins, both as an autonomous polis and under the Roman Empire from Trajan to Salonina, the wife of Gallienus, some of which survive. [17]

Odessos was an early Christian centre, as testified by ruins of twelve early basilicas, [22] a monophysite monastery, and indications that one of the Seventy Disciples, Ampliatus, follower of Saint Andrew (who, according to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church legend, preached in the city in 56 CE), served as bishop there. In 6th-century imperial documents, it was referred to as "holiest city," sacratissima civitas. In 442 a peace treaty between Theodosius II and Attila was conducted at Odessos. In 513, it became a focal point of the Vitalian revolt. In 536, Justinian I made it the seat of the Quaestura exercitus ruled by a prefect of Scythia or quaestor Justinianus and including Lower Moesia, Scythia, Caria, the Aegean Islands and Cyprus later, the military camp outside Odessos was the seat of another senior Roman commander, magister militum per Thracias.

Bulgarian conquest Edit

It has been suggested that the 681 AD peace treaty with the Byzantine Empire that established the new Bulgarian state was concluded at Varna and the first Bulgarian capital south of the Danube may have been provisionally located in its vicinity—possibly in an ancient city near Lake Varna's north shore named Theodorias (Θεοδωριάς) by Justinian I—before it moved to Pliska 70 kilometres (43 miles) to the west. [23] Asparukh fortified the Varna river lowland by a rampart against a possible Byzantine landing the Asparuhov val (Asparukh's Wall) is still standing. Numerous 7th-century Bulgar settlements have been excavated across the city and further west the Varna lakes north shores, of all regions, were arguably most densely populated by Bulgars. It has been suggested that Asparukh was aware of the importance of the Roman military camp (campus tribunalis) established by Justinian I outside Odessos and considered it (or its remnants) as the legitimate seat of power for both Lower Moesia and Scythia.

Middle Ages Edit

Control changed from Byzantine to Bulgarian hands several times during the Middle Ages. In the late 9th and the first half of the 10th century, Varna was the site of a principal scriptorium of the Preslav Literary School at a monastery endowed by Boris I who may have also used it as his monastic retreat. The scriptorium may have played a key role in the development of Cyrillic script by Bulgarian scholars under the guidance of one of Saints Cyril and Methodius' disciples. Karel Škorpil suggested that Boris I may have been interred there. The synthetic culture with Hellenistic Thracian, Roman, as well as eastern—Armenian, Syrian, Persian—traits that developed around Odessos in the 6th century under Justinian I, may have influenced the Pliska-Preslav culture of the First Bulgarian Empire, ostensibly in architecture and plastic decorative arts, but possibly also in literature, including Cyrillic scholarship. In 1201, Kaloyan took over the Varna fortress, then in Byzantine hands, on Holy Saturday using a siege tower, and secured it for the Second Bulgarian Empire.

By the late 13th century, with the Treaty of Nymphaeum of 1261, the offensive-defensive alliance between Michael VIII Palaeologus and Genoa that opened up the Black Sea to Genoese commerce, Varna had turned into a thriving commercial port city frequented by Genoese and later also by Venetian and Ragusan merchant ships. The first two maritime republics held consulates and had expatriate colonies there (Ragusan merchants remained active at the port through the 17th century operating from their colony in nearby Provadiya). The city was flanked by two fortresses with smaller commercial ports of their own, Kastritsi and Galata, within sight of each other, and was protected by two other strongholds overlooking the lakes, Maglizh and Petrich. Wheat, animal skins, honey and wax, wine, timber and other local agricultural produce for the Italian and Constantinople markets were the chief exports, and Mediterranean foods and luxury items were imported. The city introduced its own monetary standard, the Varna perper, by the mid-14th century Bulgarian and Venetian currency exchange rate was fixed by a treaty. Fine jewellery, household ceramics, fine leather and food processing, and other crafts flourished shipbuilding developed in the Kamchiya river mouth.

Fourteenth-century Italian portolan charts showed Varna as arguably the most important seaport between Constantinople and the Danube delta they usually labelled the region Zagora. The city was unsuccessfully besieged by Amadeus VI of Savoy, who had captured all Bulgarian fortresses to the south of it, including Galata, in 1366. In 1386, Varna briefly became the capital of the spinoff Principality of Karvuna, then was taken over by the Ottomans in 1389 (and again in 1444), ceded temporarily to Manuel II Palaeologus in 1413 (perhaps until 1444), and sacked by Tatars in 1414.

Battle of Varna Edit

On 10 November 1444, one of the last major battles of the Crusades in European history was fought outside the city walls. Muslims routed an army of 20,000–30,000 crusaders [24] led by Ladislaus III of Poland (also Ulászló I of Hungary), which had assembled at the port to set sail to Constantinople. The Christian army was attacked by a superior force of 55,000 or 60,000 Ottomans led by sultan Murad II. Ladislaus III was killed in a bold attempt to capture the sultan, earning the sobriquet Warneńczyk (of Varna in Polish he is also known as Várnai Ulászló in Hungarian or Ladislaus Varnensis in Latin). The failure of the Crusade of Varna made the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 all but inevitable, and Varna (with all of Bulgaria) was to remain under Ottoman domination for over four centuries. Today, there is a cenotaph of Ladislaus III in Varna.

Late Ottoman rule Edit

A major port, agricultural, trade and shipbuilding centre for the Ottoman Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries, preserving a significant and economically active Bulgarian population, Varna was later made one of the Quadrilateral Fortresses (along with Rousse, Shumen, and Silistra) severing Dobruja from the rest of Bulgaria and containing Russia in the Russo-Turkish wars. The Russians temporarily took over in 1773 and again in 1828, following the prolonged Siege of Varna, returning it to the Ottomans two years later after the medieval fortress was razed.

In the early 19th century, many local Greeks joined the patriotic organisation Filiki Eteria. Αt the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence (1821) revolutionary activity was recorded in Varna. As a result, local notables that participated in the Greek national movement were executed by the Ottoman authorities, while others managed to escape to Greece and continue their struggle. [25]

The British and French campaigning against Russia in the Crimean War (1854–1856) used Varna as headquarters and principal naval base many soldiers died of cholera and the city was devastated by a fire. A British and a French monument mark the cemeteries where cholera victims were interred. In 1866, the first railroad in Bulgaria connected Varna with the Rousse on the Danube, linking the Ottoman capital Constantinople with Central Europe for a few years, the Orient Express ran through that route. The port of Varna developed as a major supplier of food—notably wheat from the adjacent breadbasket Southern Dobruja—to Constantinople and a busy hub for European imports to the capital 12 foreign consulates opened in the city. Local Bulgarians took part in the National Revival Vasil Levski set up a secret revolutionary committee.

Third Bulgarian State Edit

In 1878, the city, which had 26,000 inhabitants, was given to Bulgaria by Russian troops, who entered on 27 July. Varna became a front city in the First Balkan War and the First World War its economy was badly affected by the temporary loss of its agrarian hinterland of Southern Dobruja to Romania (1913–16 and 1919–40). In the Second World War, the Red Army occupied the city in September 1944, helping cement communist rule in Bulgaria.

One of the early centres of industrial development and the Bulgarian labor movement, Varna established itself as the nation's principal port of export, a major grain-producing and viticulture centre, seat of the nation's oldest institution of higher learning outside Sofia, a popular venue for international festivals and events, as well as the country's de facto summer capital with the erection of the Euxinograd royal summer palace (currently, the Bulgarian government convenes summer sessions there). Mass tourism emerged since the late 1950s. Heavy industry and trade with the Soviet Union boomed in the 1950s to the 1970s.

From 20 December 1949 to 20 October 1956 the city was renamed Stalin by the communist government after Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. [26]

In 1962, the 15th Chess Olympiad, also known as the World Team Championship, was here. In 1969 and 1987, Varna was the host of the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships. From 30 September to 4 October 1973, the 10th Olympic Congress took place in the Palace of Culture and Sports.

Varna became a popular resort for Eastern Europeans, who were barred from travelling to the west until 1989. One of them, the veteran German Communist Otto Braun died while on a vacation in Varna in 1974.

The city occupies 238 km 2 (92 sq mi) [27] on verdant terraces (Varna monocline of the Moesian platform) descending from the calcareous Franga Plateau (height 356 m or 1,168 ft) on the north and Avren Plateau on the south, along the horseshoe-shaped Varna Bay of the Black Sea, the elongated Lake Varna, and two artificial waterways connecting the bay and the lake and bridged by the Asparuhov most. It is the centre of a growing conurbation stretching along the seaboard 20 km (12 mi) north and 10 km (6 mi) south (mostly residential and recreational sprawl) and along the lake 25 km (16 mi) west (mostly transportation and industrial facilities). Since antiquity, the city has been surrounded by vineyards, orchards, and forests. Commercial shipping facilities are being relocated inland into the lakes and canals, while the bay remains a recreation area almost all the waterfront is parkland.

The urban area has in excess of 20 km of sand beaches and abounds in thermal mineral water sources (temperature 35–55 °C or 95–131 °F). It enjoys a mild climate influenced by the sea with long, mild, akin to Mediterranean, autumns, and sunny and hot, yet considerably cooler than Mediterranean summers moderated by breezes and regular rainfall. Although Varna receives about two-thirds of the average rainfall for Bulgaria, abundant groundwater keeps its wooded hills lush throughout summer. The city is cut off from north and northeast winds by hills along the north arm of the bay, yet January and February still can be bitterly cold at times, with blizzards. Black Sea water has become cleaner after 1989 due to decreased chemical fertiliser in farming it has low salinity, lacks large predators or poisonous species, and the tidal range is virtually imperceptible.

The city lies 470 km (292 mi) north-east of Sofia the nearest major cities are Dobrich (45 km or 28 mi to the north), Shumen (80 km or 50 mi to the west), and Burgas (125 km or 78 mi to the south-west).

Climate Edit

Varna has an humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), with mediterranean influences in summer but specially continental influences in autumn-winter. The specific Black sea climate is milder than the inland parts of the country and the sea influence lowers the effect of the occasional cold air masses from north-east. Average precipitation is the lowest for the country and sunshine is abundant. [28] The summer begins in early May and lasts till early October. Temperatures in summer usually vary 27–30 °C (81–86 °F) during the day and between 17–18 °C (63–64 °F) at the night. Seawater temperature during the summer months is usually at the range 24–27 °C (75–81 °F). [29] In winter temperatures are about 6–7 °C (43–45 °F) during the day and 0 °C (32 °F) at night. Snow is possible in the coldest months, but can quickly melt. The highest temperature ever recorded was 41.4 °C (106.5 °F) in July 1927 and the lowest −24.3 °C (−11.7 °F) in February 1929.

Blood and Sand

Spartacus in the Thracian Meadi Counsel.

Spartacus rises to a position of respect within his Thracian community, and when the Roman Gaius Claudius Glaber visits his village in search of help fighting his enemy Mithridates, Spartacus suggests a treaty

Spartacus as a soldier in the Roman auxiliary.

that would have Glaber's army fight the Thracians' enemy, the Getae. Spartacus joined the Auxiliary to fight the Getae and Mithridates of Macedon but never makes it to Greece Glaber betrays the Thracians and refuses to aid their hometown against the invading barbarians. When Spartacus attacks and humiliates Glaber for breaking the treaty, he and his wife are captured as slaves for vengeance and Spartacus is shipped to Capua in chains.

Whilst Sura is taken to lands unknown, Spartacus is thrown into the Capua arena games against four gladiators to be executed. To the surprise of the Roman dignitaries present, he defeats the four gladiators and gains the favor of the crowd, which prompts the ludus owner Quintus Lentulus Batiatus to buy him as a recruit to be trained in his ludus. He is named Spartacus after a Thracian king of old, as his true name is unknown to the Romans.


Spartacus proves to be a difficult recruit in the ludus. He is stubborn and will obey no man, thinking only of escaping and finding and rescuing his wife. This leads to him being humiliated and badly treated by the other gladiators. Eventually Batiatus strikes a deal and agrees to find Spartacus' wife as long as Spartacus

trains to become a gladiator and heeds Batiatus as his master. During the training Spartacus finds a friend in fellow gladiator trainee Varro and an enemy in Crixus, the prime gladiator of the ludus and the Champion of Capua.

His first real fight in the arena (aggravated by a spur with Crixus so he can avoid fighting Varro) takes place against Crixus. Spartacus loses miserably but produces the Missio (term)Missio Ώ] (the two-fingered sign of surrender) so that he may live to fight another day and find his wife. In doing so, he sacrifices his honor and favored status in the eyes of the crowd, and Batiatus strips him of his title of gladiator. To regain it, Batiatus commands Spartacus to fight in the Pits of the Underworld, a brutal, lawless fighting ring in the city's slums. He excels in this, but becomes mentally and emotionally weakened by the ordeal. After saving the life of Batiatus from an assassination attempt ordered by Marcus Decius Solonius, Spartacus regains his gladiatorial status and rejoins the ludus officially.

Oenomaus trains Spartacus to fight Theokoles.

Spartacus' second fight in the arena is by Crixus' side, as they fight as one against the legendary giant, Theokoles. Despite their initial hesitance and difficulties, they find a common purpose in uniting to fight for their women. The beginning of the battle is in their favor, until Theokoles - after feigning death - gets up again. Spartacus and Crixus start to fight at cross-purposes and in doing so, Theokoles seriously wounds Crixus. Spartacus, taking advantage of Crixus' shield to propel himself into the air, delivers a fierce strike. Not giving up yet, Crixus grabs a helmet lying nearby and reflects the light into Theokoles' face, blinding him momentarily. 

Spartacus uses the moment, circles behind Theokoles and cripples him with a slash to his knees before decapitating him. With this victory, Spartacus rises suddenly in fame. Rain comes to the drought-ridden Capua and the people believe it a sign that Spartacus' fight against Theokoles had pleased the gods.

Champion of Capua

This marks the beginning of Spartacus being named the "Slayer of Theokoles" and the

"Bringer of Rain". Hailed, the new Champion of Capua and becoming a favorite in the house of Batiatus, Spartacus receives his own personal set of gladiatorial armor and a room of his own in the ludus, instead of space in the cell he was living in with the other gladiators . Batiatus also promises Spartacus the return of his wife, but says she must serve alongside him in bondage. Spartacus eagerly awaits her, but all the while plans an escape attempt for when Sura arrives. He purchases vast quantities of wine and hires prostitutes to exhaust his fellow gladiators and the ludus guards. He steals a Thracian dagger to arm himself for his escape attempt. He even drugs Doctore to avoid fighting him. However, when the caravan with Sura arrives and the driver, Aulus, is covered in blood and greatly weakened, Spartacus fears the worst and finds Sura at the very end of her life, thwarting his hopes of escaping the ludus with her. Aulus says their caravan was attacked on the road, and that there was nothing he could do. Sura dies in Spartacus' arms. While Spartacus mourns her death, Batiatus arranges his next fight, which is to be a historical fight representing a Roman's conquest over the Thracians. Spartacus is to play the Roman and will slaughter criminals dressed as Thracians. At first he refuses to fight as it is against his heritage. Worse, Spartacus attracts the rage of Batiatus when, in a fit of anger, he murders Gnaeus after learning the gladiator abused and molested Pietros, the only other person besides Varro to have ever shown him kindness. Batiatus warns him that if he wants to remain Champion of Capua, he needs to stop being a Thracian and become a true

gladiator, letting go of all those ties. Spartacus is hesitant but receives inspiration from his wife in a flashback. Putting his fate in the hands of the gods, he heeds Batiatus in the end, agreeing to fight as a Roman on condition that he be allowed to battle the "Thracians" by himself as opposed to doing so as part of a "Roman" army. Batiatus is angered by this affront but agrees. Spartacus is set against six criminals who, whilst at first overpowering him, eventually all reach their end. When the sixth is at his knees, Spartacus hesitates in killing him, seeing a vision of his own face on the criminal's. He still finishes the man, signifying the death of all the Thracian that was left in him and the embrace of the life of a gladiator. As he basks in the glory of his fame he screams out "I am Spartacus!".

Spartacus enjoys his standing in the ludus, which is now above that of Crixus who hadn't fully recovered from his fight. Time passes, with Spartacus engaging in a multitude of Arena matches, winning Batiatus a massive stream of coin and himself a great reputation. He begins to enjoy a far greater level of respect from his fellow gladiators even Crixus, though deeply resentful of Spartacus and believing his title cheaply stolen, grudgingly yields to the Champion's commands after he is beaten by Spartacus.

Peace is shattered, however, by the house of Glaber: Ilithyia wife of Spartacus's nemesis Gaius Claudius Glaber, has her recently purchased gladiator Segovax attempt to assassinate Spartacus in the baths of the ludus after an audience with Ilithyia's friends exploded into a humiliating chastisement of the House of Glaber. The attack is foiled by none other than Crixus, who promptly explains to Spartacus the only reason for his intervention is that he deserves an honorable death in the Arena.

Spartacus is later assigned to provide sexual favors for the visiting noble Licinia. To ensure he properly satisfies the noble, a house slave named Mira, who had been assigned as a sexual coach to Spartacus for his session with Licinia but he denied her advances though states he may need a favor from her after her life is threaten. When Spartacus has sex with the noble, he discovers Lucretia has secretly maneuvered him into coitus with Ilithyia, via masks and body paint, as retaliation. An enraged Spartacus nearly strangles Ilithyia before being pulled away by guards.

Returning his thoughts to training and combat, Spartacus continues to display himself as a benevolent champion. He sets his friend Varro to rights after the latter falls back into his old habits of gambling and begins cheating on his wife with other slaves. Upon learning Varro's distress flows from learning of his wife's rape and impregnation by another man, and her subsequent disappearance, Spartacus enlists the aid of Mira, who had owed him a favor for saving her. With Mira's help, Spartacus discovers Aurelia's whereabouts and has her reunited with her husband, to the latter's eternal gratitude. Spartacus gains another friend besides Varro in Mira, due to her actions and when he stops Hector from harming her.

Tragically, the bond between Spartacus and Varro is shattered when the Champion is forced to kill his closest friend in what was only meant to be an exhibition of a gladiatorial fight for the coming-of-age party of Numerius Calavius. Unbeknownst to the two, Ilithyia, seeking revenge for Spartacus' attempt on her life after they were tricked into laying together, had noticed the friendship between Spartacus and Varro, and manipulated Numerius into first requesting Varro take the place of Crixus, originally slated for the match, then signaling for a kill upon victory. A horrified Spartacus watches as Batiatus, though obviously reluctant, agrees to the new terms. Tragically, Varro proves no match for the Champion, and in Spartacus's darkest hour, he drives his blade into the neck of his brother in arms, killing him instantly.

Spartacus forced to kill his best friend, Varro.

Spartacus, broken in spirit and reeling with impotent rage, realizes that all the comforts and respect he has gained with his successes in the arena amount to nothing, as he cannot save the ones dear to him. Wounded in the exhibition with Varro and consumed with despair, Spartacus soon overexerts himself and collapses into delirium. Both Sura and Varro come to Spartacus in a dream and reveal to him that the truth of Sura's death. Interrogating Aulus, Spartacus demands answers and learns Aulus killed her at Batiatus' command. Spartacus then kills Aulus and makes it look like an accident with Mira's help.

With clear goals of revenge and escape, he decides that he will kill Batiatus no matter what even at the cost of the other slaves' lives. However, Spartacus decides to draw allies to his side after he sees he can't do it alone which becomes possible after Glaber visits and grants of patronage to the ludus, Roman soldiers have stationed themselves in the ludus at all times and the gladiators are mistreated and herded like animals, fueling their resolve to revolt.

Spartacus quickly brings the German brothers Duro and Agron into the picture, after he befriended them so they would aid him in rising against Batiatus and "kill them all", heeding Sura's last words to him before he left their village to fight Mithridates. ΐ]

With their help, they try to convince others to join, but many of the Gauls in the ludus still follow Crixus' lead and will only join if he does. Crixus himself has become unapproachable due to punishment for infidelity with Lucretia's body servant Naevia. Spartacus tries to convince him during breaks in training, but is unsuccessful. He later inform Aurelia who had been forced to work in the ludus to pay Varro's debts of the true cause of her husband's death.

Spartacus thinking about his Vengeance.

Batiatus decides that for the celebration of Glaber's patronage, Spartacus will fight Crixus in a fight to the death. Spartacus learns that Crixus has been set up to lose, as Batiatus has poisoned his food to weaken him. Finally the battle comes, and the elite of Capua watch on from the balcony. Spartacus and Crixus fight as was meant, but Crixus gradually weakens. Spartacus reminds Crisis of Batiatus' betrayal and once again begs him to join the cause.

Crixus signals his change of mind by tapping his shield when he is down, hinting at an opening for Spartacus' overpowering move in the fight against Theokoles. Spartacus takes this signal and launches himself from the shield towards the balcony, thrusting his sword through the head of Sextus. He is halted from killing Batiatus by Doctore although Crixus quickly intercedes. At the urging of Crixus, the gladiators rebel against the romans and start killing their enemies. Crixus also get the former Doctore to relent and join with the newly freed slaves, leaving Spartacus to hunt down Batiatus.


The gladiators, all now following Spartacus and Crixus, destroy the household and butcher everyone in it. The gate to the villa is unlocked by Mira, who Spartacus persuaded in exchange for laying with her. The massacre reaches a climax when Spartacus meets Batiatus. Whilst they speak, Lucretia stumbles into the room, having been stabbed in the abdomen by Crixus. Batiatus calls out for his wife and Spartacus taunts him, ramming home Batiatus' false promises concerning Sura's return, before slashing Batiatus' throat open when he reaches for Lucretia. Spartacus then delivers a rousing speech (the Pro Casus Rebellionis) to the assembled survivors, before leading them from the ludus to "make Rome tremble". Α]

United Kingdom Virtual Jewish History Tour

The Jewish experience in the United Kingdom [England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland] is one of the longest in the world. Anglo-Jewry faced increasing persecution from its entrance into England in 1066 until the expulsion of 1290. Once Jews returned in the 16 th century, however, they became more and more integrated into society. England was, for a time, one of the most religiously tolerant countries in Europe. British Jewry received formal emancipation in 1858 and has continuously grown larger and stronger. Today, the Jewish population in the United Kingdom stands at approximately 292,000 - the fifth largest Jewish community in the world.

Entrance & Persecution (1066-1189)

There were individual Jews living in England in Roman and Anglo-Saxon times (80-1066 A.D.), but not an organized community. When William the Conqueror arrived in England in 1066, he encouraged Jewish merchants and artisans from northern France to move to England. The Jews came mostly from France with some from Germany, Italy and Spain, seeking prosperity and a haven from anti-Semitism. Serving as special representatives of the king, these Jews worked as moneylenders and coin dealers. Over the course of a generation, Jews established communities in London, York, Bristol, Canterbury and other major cities. They generally lived in segregated areas by themselves. However, until 1177 only one Jewish cemetery was allowed to be established in London.

During the Middle Ages, usury, or lending money for interest, was considered a sin by the Catholic Church. Therefore, Christians were forbidden to work as moneylenders and Jews were called to that occupation and were able to set high interest rates. They played a vital role in maintaining the British treasury and, for a time, the Crown watched over the Jewish financiers and their property, though they also taxed them onerously. Disputes between Christian clerics and Jews in this period were supposedly encouraged by William Rufus (1087-1100). Another influential English figure was Henry I (1100-1135) who granted the Jews a charter of liberties.

Jews still faced persecution and were not fully protected by the Crown. In 1130, the Jews were fined 2,000 pounds on the charge that a Jew had killed a sick man. The first record of Jews in Oxford is from 1141 when they were caught in the political infighting of two sides warring for the throne. In 1144, the first blood libel charge of ritual murder was brought against the Jews of Norwich. During Passover, the Jews were accused of torturing a Christian child named William, using his blood for the Passover Seder, and eventually killing and burying him. Christians attacked Jewish settlements in retaliation. Despite Pope Innocent IVs protests about the ridiculousness of these allegations, the image of a murderous Jew out to hurt Christians developed in the public mind. These charges were repeated in Gloucester (in 1168), Bury St. Edmunds (1181), Bristol (before 1183) and Winchester (1192).

In 1189, the Third Crusade was launched. The Jews were taxed at a much higher rate than the rest of England to finance this Crusade. Even though Jews comprised less than 0.25% of the English population, they provided 8% of the total income of the royal treasury. Despite the Jews financial contribution, the pro-Christian ideology of the Crusade resulted in rioting in England and some Jewish businesses in London were burned.

Massacre at York & Beyond (1189-1194)

One of the most notorious riots led to the massacre of the Jews of York. Jews have lived in York since 1170. They felt that they could use York castle for protection and felt secure among York&rsquos elite residents, who used enjoyed Jewish financial services. The situation worsened in July 1189 when King Henry II, a protector of the Jews, died. Richard I was crowned his heir and he refused to grant Jewish representative admission to Westminster Abbey, when they came to offer him gifts. Riots were started and mobs threw stones at the Jews and burned the straw roofs of their houses. Many Jews were murdered, some allowed themselves to be baptized. Twenty-four hours later, Richard I found out about the riots and ordered that the Jews be protected.

As soon as Richard I left to join the Crusade in 1190, riots began again throughout England. In March 1190, a mix of Crusaders, barons indebted to the Jews, those envious of Jewish wealth and clergymen conspired to kill the Jews of York. They burned several houses and approximately 150 Jews fled to the royal castle in York. Led by Richard Malebys, a noble indebted to the Jews, the mob besieged the castle. The Jews had little rations and many killed themselves. On March 16, the citadel was captured and those Jews left alive were murdered. The mob then stole the records of debts to Jews from a nearby cathedral and burned them.

When Richard I returned to England, he was angry at the loss of his chief financial source. He introduced a system of registering in duplicate all debts held by the Jews to safeguard all the taxes he received from them. In 1194, he established the Exchequer of the Jews, a catalogue of all Jewish holdings in England. The Crown could then arbitrarily collect taxes on Jewish revenue. The Jews were forced to respond to this exploitation by charging higher interest rates, thereby increasing their unpopularity with Christian borrowers. Richards successors continued to tax the Jews in every way possible. Payment was forced through imprisonment, property confiscation, torture, and the kidnaping of women and children.

Rule of Henry III & the Baron Wars (1217-1290)

In 1217, the English Jews were forced to wear yellow badges in the form of two stone tablets identifying them as Jews. From the start of Henry III&rsquos reign in 1232, life went downhill for the Jews. By the mid thirteenth century, more than one third of the circulated coins in England were controlled by a few hundred Jews, leading the king to levy upon them untenable rates of taxation and creating rampant anti-Semitism. In 1232, the king confiscated a newly built London synagogue and in 1253, a decree was issued forbidding the Jews to live in towns that did not have an established Jewish community. In 1255, the Jews were once again accused of blood libel. A Christian boy, Hugh of Lincoln, was chasing a ball when he fell and drowned in a Jewish cesspool. His body was found 26 days later, when a large Jewish congregation was gathered in Lincoln for a prominent rabbis wedding. Some Christians speculated that the boy was killed as part of a ritual ceremony and 100 Jews were executed. Conditions became so bad in 1255 that Jews volunteered to leave, however their request was turned down by Henry III who considered the Jews royal property.

During the Barons Wars of 1263, the Jews were seen as instruments of royal oppression and between 1263 and 1266, one Jewish community after another was ransacked and many of its inhabitants killed. In 1265, the Crown started dealing with Italian bankers, minimizing their dependence on the Jews for financial services. In 1269, the Crown further restricted Jewish rights. Jews were not allowed to hold land and Jewish children could not inherit their parents money. When a Jew died, his money reverted to the government. In 1275, Queen Eleanor deported Cambridge&rsquos Jews to nearby Norwich. Also in 1275, Edward I issued the Jewish Affairs Bill, forbidding the Jews of England to loan money on interest. They were allowed to earn a living as tradesmen or farmers, but were ineligible for membership in tradesmen guilds or tenure as a farmer. The Jews became poor and the king could no longer collect taxes from them. In 1278, many were arrested and hanged for secretly continuing their money lending.

Expulsion of 1290

On July 18, 1290, shortly after money lending was made heretical and illegal in England, Edward I expelled the Jews from England, making England the first European country to do so. Most Jews fled to continental Europe, settling mostly in France and Germany, although some managed to remain in England by hiding their identity and religion. There is disagreement over the number &mdash either 4,000 or 16,000) &mdash who were actually forced to leave England. The Jewish exile from England lasted 350 years.


The first evidence of Jews in Tudor England after the expulsion is in 1494. Under Henry VIII and Edward VI, small numbers of Spanish and Portuguese Conversos (Jewish converts to Christianity) worshiped secretly as Jews in London and Bristol. Henry VIII used Jewish scholars to justify his divorce from Catherine of Aragon and his marriage to Anne Boleyn. In 1588, the Converso Dr. Hector Nunes was lauded as a hero for being the first to warn of the sailing of the Spanish Armada.

In 1589, Christopher Marlowe&rsquos anti-Semitic play, The Jew of Malta, was first performed. In 1594, Queen Elizabeth I&rsquos physician, a Converso named Dr. Roderigo Lopez, was implicated in a plot to assassinate Elizabeth. He was tortured, tried and hanged on what is suspected to be a false charge of treason. Anglo Jewry then fled to the Low Countries, often disguised as Spanish or Portuguese Roman Catholics. William Shakespeare&rsquos famous play about a Jewish moneylender, The Merchant of Venice, was first acted out in 1597. In 1609, Portuguese merchants were expelled from London on suspicion of being Jewish. This did not stop the Jews, however, and in the mid-17 th century, a new Converso colony grew in London, made up partly of refugees from Rouen and the Canary Islands.

Historians disagree as to the exact date of the official readmission of Jews to England as well as to whether or not it was Oliver Cromwell who granted it. Cromwell came to power in 1649. Some believe he was influenced to readmit the Jews by Rabbi Menasseh ben Israel of Amsterdam, who functioned as a Jewish ambassador to the gentiles. Menasseh moved to London in September 1655 and on October 31 submitted a seven-point petition to the Council of State calling for the return of Jews to England. He appealed to Cromwell orally at the Whitehall Conference of December 4-18, 1655, which Cromwell had called to discuss Jewish readmission. Cromwell gave no official verdict and when many merchants questioned Cromwell&rsquos ideas he angrily dismissed the conference. Cromwell is believed to have authorized the unofficial readmission of the Jews into England. However, when a few hundred conversos living in England petitioned to establish a synagogue and cemetery in 1656, their request was turned down.

The re-establishment of the Jews in England was a gradual process, one which took many years. Jews immigrated to England from Holland, Spain and Portugal and opened a synagogue in 1657. In 1664, Charles II issued a formal written promise of protection and, in 1674 and 1685, further royal declarations were made confirming that statement. In 1698, the Act for Suppressing Blasphemy granted recognition to the legality of practicing Judaism in England.

The next immigrants were German Jews who started a synagogue in 1690. By then there were about 400 Jews in England. William III knighted the first Jew, Solomon de Medina, on June 23, 1700. In 1701, a Sephardi synagogue at Bevis Marks was opened. A Hebrew printing press started in London in 1705. By 1734, 6,000 Jews lived in England. The Jewish upper class still consisted of brokers and foreign traders, but Jews gradually entered all areas of life. The first Jews were Sephardim, but in 1690 the first Ashkenazi community was formed in London and soon, Ashkenazi established congregations all over England.


In 1753, the Jewish Naturalization Bill (Jew Bill) was issued to give foreign-born Jews the ability to acquire the privileges of native Jews, but was rescinded due to anti-Jewish agitation. In 1829, Jews began arguing for official equality. The first emancipation bill passed the House of Commons in 1833, but was defeated in the House of Lords. In 1833, the first Jew was admitted to the Bar and the first Jewish sheriff was appointed in 1835. In 1837, Queen Victoria knighted Moses Montefiore. In 1841, Isaac Lyon Goldsmid was made baronet, the first Jew to receive a hereditary title. The first Jewish Lord Mayor of London, Sir David Salomons took office in 1855.

In 1858 came the emancipation of the Jews and a change in the Christian oath required of all members of Parliament. On July 26, 1858, the Jewish Baron, Lionel de Rothschild, took his seat in the House of Commons after an 11-year debate over whether he could take the required oath. In 1874, Benjamin Disraeli became the first (and only) Jewish Prime Minister. By 1882, 46,000 Jews lived in England and, by 1890, Jewish emancipation was complete in every walk of life. Since 1858, Parliament has never been without Jewish members and recently the Jewish delegation has exceeded 40 members. A Hebrew Bible, used whenever a Jewish member takes an oath, sits in the House of Commons treasury box.

Central Synagogue, London, circa 1870

In 1841, the first Anglo-Jewish periodical, The Jewish Chronicle, was founded. It still exists today. In 1855, Jews College, a theological seminary, was started. It is now an affiliate of London University that offers rabbinical training and adult education. A Jewish welfare organization for the poor called the Jewish Board of Guardians (now the Jewish Welfare Board) was created in 1859.

In 1863, Rothschild and Isaac Goldsmit of the Ashkenazic community joined Sir Moses Montefiore of the Sephardim to solidify the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Rabbi Nathan Marcus Adler united all Ashkenazic congregations near London into a United Synagogue and created the chief rabbinate of England.

With a renewal of persecution in Russia in 1881, there was mass immigration from Russia to England. The newcomers settled mostly in urban districts. They virtually created a clothing industry in England. They started Yiddish and Hebrew newspapers, fraternal societies and trade unions. The communal leadership encouraged their Anglicization through participation in English classes, state-aided schools and English clubs and youth movements such as the Jewish Lads Brigade. Many became integrated into the community. The Alien Immigration Act of 1905 restricted immigration, but, by 1914, about 250,000 Jews lived in England.

In the early 1900s, Jews became active in both Conservative and Liberal politics. In 1909, Herbert Samuel became the first professing Jew to serve in the British cabinet. He later became high commissioner of Palestine.

The 1900's

The xenophobia created by World War I ended Jewish immigration to England and caused some British anti-Semitism. The war also helped many Jewish entrepreneurs, however, by creating a demand for uniform clothing. About 50,000 Jews served in the British military, of that, 10,000 died as casualties and 1,596 receiving awards.

Zionism began in England with the Hovevei Zion movement in 1887. The English Zionist Federation was formed in 1899. It was England&rsquos Lord Balfour who issued the 1917 declaration officially recognizing Jewish aspirations to a homeland. Israel&rsquos first president, Chaim Weizmann, was also British.

The 1920s were a time of Anglicization of the community. Small Jewish businesses prospered and Jews became professional lawyers, doctors, dentists and accountants. Middle class Jews began joining the upper class at universities and middle class communities sprang up in the suburbs.

The 1930s brought an influx of refugees from Nazism and fascism. Approximately 90,000 Jews came from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Italy and other countries. Many later moved out of Britain and, by 1950, about 40,000-55,000 prewar refugees were left. Smaller numbers came after the war from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere. The majority of the Central European immigrants was middle class and brought a large amount of capital to Britain with them. They created or transplanted businesses, especially in fashion trades, pharmaceutical production and light engineering. Other immigrants were professionals, intellectuals and artists. They strengthened both Orthodox and Reform Jewish life.

There was some fascism in England in the 1930s and blackshirts led by Sir Oswald Mosley occasionally attacked the Jews. The 1936 Public Order Act helped control violence by banning the wearing of political uniforms. The Jews united to defend against the attacks and also to raise funds to help refugees and to support settlements in Palestine.

Anti-fascist demonstrators, including many Jews, clashed with British police on October 4, 1936, in what became known as the Battle of Cable Street. The police were overseeing a march by the British Union of Fascists, led by Oswald Mosley, through an area of London densely populated by Jews. When the fascist marchers arrived at Cable Street in East End, they were stopped by the anti-fascist protestors, and violence broke out between the protestors and the police.

With the start of World War II in 1939, mothers and children were evacuated from London. Many men and women were away from home serving in the armed forces. In 1940, refugees were subjected to temporary internment. Some Jewish synagogues and institutions were destroyed in bombings. Jewish life continued in London on a small scale and new communities were formed in the evacuation areas. The Jewish community of Oxford, which had remained small since its founding in 1842, grew with immigrants and evacuees.

During the British mandate, Anglo-Jewry was split on the question of a Jewish state. The entire community was against the White Paper of 1939 that limited Jewish immigration to Palestine. The Zionist groups and the World Jewish Congress were for a Jewish state, but the Anglo-Jewish Association was against it. The groups struggled to balance Jewish national ideals with a desire for British citizenship and equality. After the declaration of the State of Israel, the Anglo-Jewish Association adopted a policy of goodwill toward Israel while also stressing the responsibilities of Anglo-Jews to Britain. There was some anti-Semitism in England resulting from conflicts between the mandatory administration and the Israeli settlers, but once diplomatic relations were established between Britain and Israel, normalcy was restored.

An emergency organization had been formed during the war to control the education of children dispersed by evacuations. In 1945, a central council for education in England was founded that represented the United Synagogue and other Orthodox institutions. It reopened three schools that had been closed during the war. One, a secondary school, had 1,500 students.

In the 1950s, many Jews began moving from closed Jewish communities into the suburbs. The United Synagogue started hiring younger rabbis who tended toward religious flexibility. Conflicts arose between different segments of the community.

In some areas, mobilizing support for Israel was a major communal and social activity. Increased involvement and support of Israel took place after the Six-Day War in 1967. Israel&rsquos triumph affected many Anglo-Jews, even those who were not previously committed to Jewish life.

Modern Jewish Community

Manchester is the bastion of the British Jewish community, with a Jewish population of approximately 30,000. The city has a large population of ultra-Orthodox, who are especially concentrated in the areas of Prestwich and Broughton Park. The Jewish community has split into different groups. The largest body is the United Synagogue with more than 35,000 families. On the right are the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (founded in 1926 and dominated by Hasidic immigrants) and the Federation of Synagogues (founded in 1887 by Russian-Polish immigrants). On the left are the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain (1840) and a Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues (1902).

The Board of Deputies of British Jews currently has more than 500 members representing synagogues in London and the provinces. It brings together delegates of all shades of religious and political opinion and is considered the governing body of Anglo-Jewry. It is also taken seriously by the British government. For a long time, it mostly acted to protect Jewish political and civil rights. In the 1930s, with the growth of the British Union of Fascists, it fought fascism. In 1965, it was successful in getting incitement to racial hatred considered an indictable offense. Since 1943, it has remained active in matters concerning Israel. It monitors anti-Semitism and works with other groups to safeguard minority rights. It also supports other commonwealth countries.

One of the world&rsquos top institutions for Talmudic learning is the yeshiva at Gateshead. The Conference of European Rabbis is an Orthodox forum that is based in London and is presided over by the British chief rabbi. The Reform movement set up its own rabbinical seminary in 1956, the Leo Baeck College, which attracts students from all over Europe. Significant numbers of Jewish students attend England&rsquos two largest universities Cambridge and Oxford.

The Community Security Trust (CST) is responsible for the Jewish community's security and defense activity, often concentrating on combating anti-Semitism. The United Jewish Israel Appeal and Jewish Care are widely supported among Anglo-Jewry, providing welfare and education to disadvantaged Jews.

Approximately two-thirds of Great Britain&rsquos 350,000 Jews currently live in London. There are large communities in St. Johns Wood (genteel/establishment), Hampstead (intellectual/arty), Golders Green (professional/religious) and Hendon (serious/scholastic). Outside the London borders, suburban communities include Edgware, Stanmore and Ilford, the last of which has the largest Jewish concentration in Europe. Nearby Stamford Hill contains Hasidic groups and immigrants from India, Iran, Yemen and North Africa. Other major Jewish centers are Manchester, with 30,000 Jews, Leeds, with 10,000 Jews, and Glasgow, with 6,500 Jews.

While England's Jewish community has been in decline in recent years due to a low birth rate, intermarriage, and emigration, the 2001 census indicated that there were more Jews than previously thought.

Hampstead is home to Jewish artists, writers and actors. Sigmund Freud&rsquos last house is located at 20 Maresfield Garden in Hampstead. Walking down Hampstead Heath, one passes the homes of various personalities such as Erich Segal, author of Love Story, and the deposed King Constantine of Greece.

Golders Green is the heart of Jewish London with kosher restaurants, bakeries, butchers and supermarkets. Golders Green Road contains Jewish bookstores and gift shops. In the area are dozens of synagogues, temples and shtiebels. Golders Green has the Orthodox Menorah boys school, but most educational institutions are in nearby Hendon. Hendon boasts the Hasmonean and Independent schools, as well as the Jews College and Yakar, a synagogue known for its lecture series.

Finchley is home to the Sternberg Centre, the largest Jewish community center in Europe. It offers Reform religious services, and adult education classes ranging from Jewish walking tours to art classes. The center is also home to the London Museum of Jewish Life, which reflects community life in England since 1656 through documents, photographs and objects. It includes a biblical garden and a Holocaust memorial.

The Board of Jewish Deputies headquarters is in northern London, as are the Jewish Museum, which contains Jewish art and artifacts, and Adler House, seat of the Chief Rabbi and London Bet Din (Jewish court).

Ilford Synagogue

London is home to many old synagogues. The Central Synagogue on Great Portland Street is a modern structure with 26 stained glass windows representing the Jewish holidays. The Marble Arch Synagogue at 32 Great Cumberland Place is the successor to London&rsquos first Ashkenazic congregation (the original building was destroyed by a German bombardment in 1941). West London Synagogue at 34 Upper Berkeley Street is the oldest Reform congregation in London. It has gothic features and a Byzantine-style sanctuary.

In the heart of London, there is still a street called Old Jewry, dating from before the expulsion of 1290. At the corner of Threadneedle and Cornhill is the Royal Exchange with murals by Solomon J. Solomon, once president of the British Royal Society of Artists. The southeast corner of the exchange was once known as Jews walk. Nearby, on St. Mary Axe, is Bevis Marks, the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue finished in 1701. The Cunard Building on Creechurch Lane marks the site of the first synagogue built after Cromwell&rsquos resettlement of the Jews in 1657. Many businesses in the East End are still Jewish owned and cemeteries, former synagogues, and open-air markets remain. The former synagogue at 19 Princelet Street is being converted into a museum of immigrant history.

Many British museums have exhibits of Jewish interest. The British Museum on Great Russell Street contains an Ancient Palestine Room. Their manuscript department holds the original Balfour Declaration. The National Gallery has several of Rembrandt&rsquos paintings of Jewish characters. The National Portrait Gallery has images of Jews from Moses Montefiore to Israel Zangwill. The Victoria and Albert Museum contains various ancient Jewish artifacts. A new Holocaust exhibit, which contains rare items from former concentration and extermination camps, has also recently opened at the Imperial War Museum.

Ark at the New West End Synagogue

Ramsgate, near London, is the site of the Montefiore estate where Moses Montefiore lived. The site contains his private mansion and a synagogue that he built. The Montefiores are buried on estate grounds.

Further from London is York, containing Clifford&rsquos Tower the site of the York massacre of 1190. A memorial stone sits at the site.

England&rsquos educational centers, Oxford and Cambridge, both have strong Christian influences, but there are some Jewish sites. The Oxford synagogue, at 21 Richmond Road, is at the site of the original synagogue built in the 1880s. The building was redone in the 1970s, although one wall of the old building still remains. The synagogue has both Orthodox and Reform services.

St. Aldate&rsquos street was once the center of the Jewish area in Oxford. Three of its houses - Moyses, Lombards and Jacobs Hall, are thought to have been Jewish homes. At the Botanical Garden opposite Magdalen College, a plaque commemorates the site of the old Jewish cemetery.

The Bodleian Library in Oxford contains 3,000 Hebrew manuscripts and 30,000 volumes in Hebrew. It also displays a bronze alms bowl that belonged to Rabbi Yehiel of Paris in the 13 th century. In the Draper Gallery of Oxford&rsquos Ashmolean Museum is a collection of antiquities excavated in Jerusalem.

Cambridge&rsquos synagogue is located at Ellis Court. During the school year, students run its services and kosher kitchen. One of Cambridge&rsquos oldest colleges, Peterhouse, stands on land once owned by a Jew. The old Jewish community had two centers. One was within the triangle made by St. Johns Street, All Souls Passage and Bridge Street, while the other was a marketplace where Guild Hall now stands.

The Cambridge University Library has a myriad of Hebrew books including the Schechter-Taylor Geniza Collection numbering tens of thousands of items. Trinity College and Girton College also have Judaica collections.

In 1231, the earl of Leicester barred Jews from taking up residence in the city and forced landlords to pledge to keep them out. It was not until January 2001 that the Leicester City Council formally renounced the nearly 800-year-old ban on Jews.

The Jewish Chronicle, the Jewish Telegraph, and The Jewish News all report on Jewish communal affairs and serve the northern cities. www.totallyjewish.com and www.somethingjewish.co.uk are UK based websites that carry national and international news.

In 2003, the Jewish Leadership Council was formed, bringing together heads of major national Jewish organizations and key communal leaders in an effort to encourage communal organizations and leaders to be in greater contact so they may better represent the community.

The British National Union of Teachers (NUT) stirred up controversy in 2015 when they launched a new education resources package for teachers that delved into themes of Palestinian resistance, and the &ldquooccupation&rdquo by Israel. In the foreword of the educational resource booklet, the general secretary of the NUT writes that the material was, &ldquoinspired by a union delegation visit [to the Palestinian territories] in 2013.&rdquo The educational material contains images of Palestinian children who it says were &ldquoassaulted by settlers,&rdquo and refers to &ldquoJews&rdquo when speaking specifically about Israelis. According to Stand For Peace, an anti-extremism think-tank organization, &ldquoNUT&rsquos political propaganda and misrepresentation serves the extremist agenda&rdquo (Telegraph, August 3, 2015).

A study by the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research, released in July 2016, provided a look into the marriage preferences of British Jews. According to the findings the intermarriage rate for British Jews stands at 26%, compared to the intermarriage rate of American Jews, which was 58% in 2013. The study also found that 96% of children with both Jewish parents are being raised Jewish, compared to 31% of children with intermarried parents. Same-sex couples in Britain make up 1.8% of the Jewish population, slightly higher than the national average of 1.6%. Jews are also more likely than any other group in the country to live as a couple, rather than alone.

Britain&rsquos Home Secretary Amber Rudd pledged 13.4 million euros to provide guards for Jewish schools, nurseries, synagogues, and colleges all around the United Kingdom. The announcement was made on November 30, 2016, following the UK Community Security Trust&rsquos receipt of 924 reports of anti-Semitic incidents, including 86 violent assaults, during the prior year. Rudd stated that she was &ldquoforced to act,&rdquo by the anti-Semitic incidents, and during a speech to Parliament assured listeners that the British government &ldquowill continue to put in place the strongest possible measures to ensure the safety of [the Jewish] community - and all other communities too.&rdquo

The world famous British Library launched a new website in November 2017, showcasing their vast collection of Hebrew manuscripts. The documents, ranging from Torah scrolls and prayer books to reference and scientific projects, comprise the British Library&rsquos first bi-lingual online collection. Users may search the collection in Hebrew or in English. At the time of the site's launch, approximately half of the Library's 3,000 total Hebrew manuscripts were available for viewing. Workers at the Library had been digitizing the documents and manuscripts since 2013.


Anti-Semitism in England was largely nonexistent or underground immediately following World War II, as racial hatred of Jews became unacceptable after the recent tragedies of the Holocaust. Since then the tides of anti-Semitism have ebbed and flowed with international events, with anti-Semitic attacks and sentiments increasing for example during and after Operation Protective Edge. Right wing parties in England have the support of an anti-Zionist and xenophobic base, and right-wing neo-Nazi groups and individuals have taken responsibility for attacks on Jews and Jewish places in England. For example, the 2002 desecration of two synagogues in Wales and East London was attributed to the groups. In these attacks the perpetrators burned Torah scrolls in the synagogues, scrawled a swastika on the walls, and caused thousands of dollars in property damage.

Anti-Semitic attacks in Britain have been on the rise over the last decade, hitting a high of 929 anti-Semitic incidents/attacks in 2009. In 2012, there were almost 500 instances of abusive behavior towards Jewish people investigated by police, and 640 anti-Semitic acts as a whole.

A committee called the All Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism has been active since 2005. In its first report the following year, the group made a number of recommendations, including suggesting that the Home Office provide greater security for Jewish places of worship and schools, that the police have a service for reporting anti-Semitic incidents, that the Home Office conduct further research and reporting regarding anti-Semitism, and that an investigation be made into the low number of arrests for anti-Semitic incidents.

July 2014 saw a drastic spike in anti-Semitic attacks correlating with Operation Protective Edge. Over 100 attacks occurred including swastika graffiti on Jewish houses, and the beating and subsequent hospitalization of a rabbi. Israeli product boycotts followed, including one branch of the Sainsbury&rsquos grocery store in London removing the entire kosher food section from the store in response to a protest by BDS advocates.

Britain became one of the first countries to embrace a new definition of anti-Semitism, published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), in December 2016. The definition, formally adopted by the IHRA following a conference in May 2016, reads: &ldquoAnti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.&rdquo

The British anti-Semitism watchdog organization the Community Security Trust (CST) reported 1,382 total anti-Semitic attacks in 2017. This number represents a 3% increase in frequency over 2016, and makes 2017 the year with the most reported anti-Semitic attacks ever recorded in the UK. London saw a 7% decline in anti-Semitic incidents, while in Manchester, home to England's second-largest Jewish community, the CST recorded a 27% increase. The number of violent anti-Semitic assaults saw a significant spike, with 145 being reported in 2017 compared to 108 in 2016.

According to the 2017 Anti-Semitism Barometer published by the UK Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, 32% of British Jews surveyed said that they agree with the statement in the past two years I have considered leaving Britain due to anti-Semitism. The survey also found that 36% of all British adults still believed in various Jewish stereotypes, and one-fifth of British Jews have doubts about the long-term survival of British Jewry. Government efforts against anti-Semitism needed more support according to the Jewish community 64% of British Jews surveyed answered that in their opinion not enough was being done to combat and punish anti-Semitism.

On June 13, 2018, at least 30 headstones at the Urmston Jewish Cemetery in Manchester were smashed and vandalized. The cemetery was similarly attacked less than a month prior, when vandals toppled and smashed 22 headstones.

The number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in the United Kingdom by the Community Security Trust (CST) rose16 percent to 1,652 in 2018, marking a new record for the third straight year. The most common single type of incident (29 percent) involved verbal abuse randomly directed at visibly Jewish people in public. The good news was a 17 percent decrease in the number of violent anti-Semitic assaults from 149 to 123.

The CST found that the incidents were spread throughout the year, &ldquoindicating that a general atmosphere of intolerance and prejudice is sustaining the high incident totals, rather than a one-off specific &lsquotrigger&rsquo event.&rdquo The numbers did spike, however, when the subject of anti-Semitism in the Labor Party became more intense, and during an upsurge of violence between Israelis and Palestinians on the border between Israel and Gaza.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) won a landmark case in the Supreme Court on April 29, 2020, in its challenge to the government regulations which restrict Local Government Pension Schemes from divesting from Israeli companies Israel&rsquos detractors accuse of being involved in or profiting from human rights violations.

Labor Party Controversy

In July 2018, Britain&rsquos three largest Jewish newspapers published the same front-page editorial warning of the threat to British Jewry posed by a government led by Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. &ldquoThe stain and shame of anti-Semitism has coursed through Her Majesty&rsquos Opposition since Jeremy Corbyn became leader in 2015,&rdquo the papers concluded. This came after months of controversy over the past and present activities and statements by Corbyn and other party members that were anti-Israel, sometimes outright anti-Semitic and frequently insensitive to the concerns of the Jewish community.

Corbyn was criticized for attending events put on by Holocaust deniers, questioning the removal of an anti-Semitic mural, and membership in multiple Facebook groups where anti-Semitic comments had been made. On January 27, 2010, Holocaust Memorial Day, Corbyn hosted an event in British Parliament during which he compared Israeli actions in Gaza to Nazi atrocities during the Holocaust. In a 2011 interview with the BBC, Corbyn questioned Israel&rsquos right to exist. He described it as an &ldquohonor and pleasure&rdquo to host &ldquoour friends&rdquo from Hamas and Hezbollah in Parliament, who he said were committed to &ldquobringing about long-term peace and social justice and political justice in the whole region.&rdquo On August 12, 2018, the Daily Mail published photos of Corbyn laying a wreath at a memorial to the perpetrators of the Munich Olympics Massacre in Tunis in 2014.

Dame Margaret Hodge, a fellow Labor MP, has called Corbyn &ldquoan anti-Semite and a racist&rdquo to his face.

Amid the controversy over Corbyn and the party&rsquos behavior, the National Executive Committee (NEC) refused in July 2018 to adopt the complete IHRA definition of anti-Semitism omitting certain points related to criticism of Israel and forming their own code of conduct on anti-Semitism. The NEC ignored a letter from 68 British rabbis urging them to accept the definition and criticizing Labor for ignoring &ldquothose who understand anti-Semitism the best, the Jewish community.&rdquo The IHRA and leaders of the Jewish community condemned the NEC and said the definition should be adopted as written. Following over one month of controversy, the Labor Party's National Executive Committee adopted the full unedited definition of anti-Semitism on September 4, 2018.

As Jewish criticism of Corbyn intensified, Hamas tweeted its support for him.

In a poll by the UK newspaper the Jewish Chronicle released in mid-September 2018, 86% of British Jews answered that they believe Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is anti-Semitic. Only eight percent of respondents said that they did not believe Corbyn is an anti-Semite.

More fuel was poured on the fire when internal party documents were revealed to show how it was responding to the problem of ant-Semitism in its ranks. &ldquoThe Labor Party has failed to take disciplinary action against hundreds of members accused of anti-Semitism under Jeremy Corbyn&rsquos leadership,&rdquo according to internal documents leaked to The Sunday Times, &ldquoThe party&rsquos system for dealing with such complaints is bedeviled by delays, inaction and interference from the leader&rsquos office. They reveal members investigated for posting such online comments as &lsquoHeil Hitler&rdquo, &ldquoF*** the Jews&rsquo and &ldquoJews are the problem&rdquo have not been expelled, even though the party received the complaints a year ago.&rdquo

After receiving more complaints about the behavior of party members, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a formal investigation in May 2019 to determine if the Labor Party has &ldquounlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimized people because they are Jewish.&rdquo

Many Jews who belonged to the Labor Party refused to support Corbyn who was defeated by Boris Johnson in the December 2019 election.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published its investigative report into anti-Semitism in the Labor Party on October 29, 2020. The EHRC &ldquofound specific examples of harassment, discrimination and political interference&rdquo relating to the party leadership. &ldquoAlthough some improvements have been made to the process for dealing with anti-Semitism complaints, it is hard not to conclude that anti-Semitism within the Labor party could have been tackled more effectively if the leadership had chosen to do so,&rdquo the report states.

The report also said, &ldquothere was political interference in the handling of anti-Semitism complaints&hellipin disciplinary cases that were deemed &lsquopolitically sensitive.&rsquo&rdquo One example was an effort by Corbyn&rsquos staff to dismiss the case against the party leader for his support of an artist who had produced an anti-Semitic mural in London.

The EHRC also charged that members of the party, such as Ken Livingstone, engaged in &ldquounlawful harassment,&rdquo including using &ldquoanti-Semitic tropes and suggesting that complaints of anti-Semitism were fake or smears.&rdquo

Following the release of the report, Corbyn said anti-Semitism in the party was &ldquodramatically overstated for political reasons&rdquo by opponents and the media, prompting party leader, Keir Starmer to suspend him. Starmer said those who &ldquodeny there is a problem are part of the problem.&rdquo

UK-Israel Relations

Since it recognized Israel&rsquos independence in 1948, relations between the United Kingdom and Israel have grown progressively stronger. This represents a dramatic reversal from the confrontational relationship that existed during the mandate period and the 1948 War.

By 1956, however, the two countries were working together against Egypt. In coordination with France, the two countries attacked Egyptian forces in what became the Suez War.

In more recent years, the two countries have engaged in more peaceful cooperation in a variety of areas. In 2015, for example, the British Royal Society and the Israel Academy of Science and Humanities signed a joint research agreement. The same year, during the annual UK-Israel Science Day, new bilateral research and development programs were announced. Israel&rsquos Science, Technology, and Space Ministry announced $1.5 million NIS in funding for bilateral research on water, agriculture, nanotechnology, and medicine.

The British Royal Navy warship the HMS Bulwark docked in Haifa on November 22, 2016, carrying a crew of 400+ men and women along with their support vehicles. The British expressed gratitude for &ldquothe growing relationship between the Royal Navy and the Israeli Navy.&rdquo

A report based on leaked documents from Wikileaks published by Le Monde on December 8, 2016, described how Britain&rsquos GCHQ intelligence-gathering apparatus spied on Israeli diplomats, defense officials, and it&rsquos military. The report detailed the intelligence service&rsquos success in intercepting and reading emails between Israeli ambassadors and their counterparts. According to Le Monde, the British spied on Palestinian Authority officials as well.

Prime Minister Teresa May praised close ties to Israel during a speech given to the Conservative Friends of Israel organization on December 13, 2016. May referred to the Balfour Declaration as &ldquoone of the most important letters in history,&rdquo and stated that Britain would celebrate its centennial anniversary in 2017 with pride. On the anniversary in November, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to London for the festivities, which included a dinner party hosted by Lord Rothschild&rsquos descendants, with members of the Balfour family present as well.

In 2017, Britain bought an Israeli defense system known as the Sky Sabre to help defend the Falkland Islands off the East Coast of Argentina. Sky Sabre is based on technology developed for the Iron Dome defense system.

The UK Ministry of Defense announced the purchase of anti-drone systems developed by Israel&rsquos Rafael Systems in August 2018. The system, dubbed the drone dome, will be used to protect sensitive sites from vulnerabilities that can be exploited with drones. The drone dome operates by emitting signals through an electro-optical sensor that block communication between the drone and pilot, effectively rendering the drone useless even if it can continue to fly without controls. The system then targets and shoots down the drone using laser technology. Rafael will sell the UK government six of the systems, in a deal valued at $20 million total.

Britain&rsquos decision to leave the European Union, Brexit, created uncertainty about trade relations between Israel and the UK. In December 2017, the Britain Israel Research and Communications Centre (BICOM) released a document examining Britain-Israel trade after Brexit, detailing post-Brexit Britain&rsquos trade priorities with Israel.

The implications are important because Israel was the U.K.&rsquos 33rd largest market in 2016, and Britain&rsquos fourth largest market in the Middle East and North Africa region. The UK, in turn, is Israel&rsquos third largest export market, behind the U.S. and China. In addition, 26 Israeli companies trade on the London Stock Exchange and hundreds have offices om the UK.

In 2017, bilateral trade reached a record $9.1 billion, up from $7.2 billion in 2016. In 2018, trade exceeded $10 billion for the first time. Israeli exports totaled $4.3 billion, an increase of 21 percent since 2012, which was driven by a 52 percent increase in sales of pharmaceutical products. The UK also imports precious stones, plastic products, machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical machinery and equipment, and fruit and vegetables. Israel also became the first country to sign a post-Brexit continuity trade agreement with the UK. The growth in trade has occurred despite the UK being one of the hubs of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

The U.K.-Israel Tech Hub, based in the British Embassy in Israel, has fostered 175 tech partnerships and 54 deals worth a total of $112 million since its inception in 2011. The Hub allows British entities access to innovative technologies from Israel, while allowing the Israeli technology and companies to reach a wider global audience. In May 2018, an agreement was signed to expand scientific cooperation between Israel and Britain.

Liam Fox, the UK&rsquos International Trade Secretary, and Eli Cohen, Israel&rsquos Minister of Economy and Industry, signed a trade continuity agreement of February 18, 2019, to take effect after Brexit. According to the Department for International Trade, the agreement &ldquoallows businesses to trade as freely as they do now, without any additional barriers or tariffs.&rdquo It also said that UK consumers would &ldquocontinue to benefit from more choice and lower prices on goods imported from Israel, such as pharmaceutical products.&rdquo

Fox described the UK&rsquos relationship with Israel as &ldquostronger than it has ever been, with record levels of bilateral cooperation in trade and investment between our two nations.

The two countries remain at odds over a number of diplomatic issues including how to deal with Iran and the Palestinian issue. Britain also voted against U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel&rsquos capital in the United Nations Security Council.

On the positive side, Prime Minister Theresa May&rsquos Cabinet led the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance&rsquos definition of anti-Semitism threatened to join the United States in leaving the UN Human Rights Council if it did not abandon its one-sided and disproportionate focus on Israel and stood up to critics of the centennial commemoration of the Balfour Declaration. May is also credited with &ldquodiluting its institutional hostility toward Israel&rdquo of the Foreign Office.

In February 2019, after years of Israeli admonitions, the British government designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The UK, like most European countries, designated Hezbollah&rsquos military wing as a terrorist organization in 2013 after the group facilitated the bombing of an Israeli tour bus in Bulgaria in July 2012, which killed five Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver. Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the government was acting because Hezbollah &ldquois continuing in its attempts to destabilize the fragile situation in the Middle East &ndash and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party.&rdquo A year later, Britain expanded the scope of its asset-freezing measures to cover the entire organization, including its &rdquomilitary wing.&rdquo

In a further indication of growing military cooperation, Israeli, American and British F-35 stealth fighters conducted an exercise in early 2019, the first time Britain acknowledged participation in a joint exercise with the Israeli Air Force (IAF). In September, the IAF took part for the first time in a joint combat exercise in Britain with the Royal Air Force, as well as aircraft from the German and Italian air forces. Israel sent seven F-15s and airborne tankers to conduct mock dogfights, aircraft interceptions, and simulated ground attacks.

On December 3, 2020, the British Armed forces and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) signed an agreement to formalize and enhance defense collaboration and support the growing Israel-UK partnership. BICOM reported that &ldquomost of the agreement is highly classified but the cooperation will include defense medical training, organizational design and concepts, and defense education.&rdquo The organization also noted that &ldquoboth militaries share a commitment to improving and integrating their multi-domain capabilities in maritime, land, air, space, and cyber and electromagnetic.&rdquo

April 28, 2020, marked the 70th anniversary of the UK opening its embassy in Tel Aviv, beginning Britain&rsquos diplomatic relations with Israel. BICOM suggested that &ldquothe large Conservative victory in the UK&rsquos December 2019 election, combined with Britain&rsquos departure from the EU, could serve to deepen and enhance the Britain-Israel partnership as Britain seeks to redefine its foreign policy and security strategy while strengthening relations with allies outside of Europe.&rdquo

IAF Planes During Combat Warrior Exercise (IDF Spokesperson&rsquos office)

Royal Visit to Israel is a Breakthrough

The United Kingdom&rsquos Prince William took a historic trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories during June 2018, the first British Royal to make an official visit to the area. During William&rsquos four-day tour he met with Israeli President Rivlin and Palestinian President Abbas separately, visited the Temple Mount, spent time at Yad Vashem, visited a Palestinian refugee camp, relaxed in Tel Aviv and spoke with Israeli business leaders. The visit was widely viewed as positive, and received significant coverage in international media.

Israel&rsquos foreign service considered the visit of Prince William a breakthrough given the Foreign Office&rsquos prior success in preventing members of the royal family from paying an official visit to Israel. This was actually not the first visit by a member of the family. William&rsquos father, Prince Charles, attended the funerals of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 and Shimon Peres in 2016, and visited the grave of his grandmother, Princess Alice, who is buried in the Church of Mary Magdalene on the Mount of Olives.

The visit was the latest evidence of the growing ties between Israel and Britain, which are also reflected in rising trade figures, stronger economic ties, and more transparent military and intelligence cooperation. Noa Landau noted that experts attributed the changes to &ldquoBritain&rsquos planned withdrawal from the European Union, the shift in international focus in the Middle East from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the global war on terror, and the return to power of the Conservative Party, considered friendlier to Israel than the Labor Party.&rdquo

Landau also noted that indications of the more open military cooperation included publicity surrounding the visit to Haifa port of the HMS Ocean, the fleet flagship of the Royal Navy, joint exercises between the Israeli Air Force and the Royal Air Force and a flyover by RAF jets as part of Israel&rsquos 70th anniversary celebration. Arms sales from Britain to Israel have also increased from about $28 million in 2015 to $300 million in 2017.

Prince Charles made his first-ever official visit to Israel in January 2020 to attend the World Holocaust Forum marking the 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. Speaking at the Holocaust Forum, the prince said: &ldquoThe Holocaust must never be allowed to become simply a fact of history: we must never cease to be appalled, nor moved by the testimony of those who lived through it. Their experience must always educate, and guide, and warn us.&rdquo

Jewish-Muslim Relations

With a Muslim population of nearly 3 million, mostly of Indian or Pakistani origin, the Jewish community in England has made concerted efforts to build a strong and steady relationship with the Muslim minority. Mainly this relationship has focused on local issues of concern to both communities and has steered clear of political discussions about the Middle East.

Two main organizations that have been created to foster better relations between Jews and Muslims are the Jewish-Muslim Forum of Greater Manchester and the London-based Faith Matters group. Stamford Hill, a neighborhood of London boasting a strong Muslim community and a rich Jewish history is one of the focal areas in which Muslim-Jewish relations have strengthened. Each community has banded together to fight extremism and racism, especially following anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim attacks.

Here in London, we have lived next door to our Muslim neighbors for decades, without friction or tension, says Abraham Jacobson, a Haredi Jewish resident of Stamford Hill who serves as a city councilor for the Liberal Democrats in the Hackney District. We are simply neighbors . and friends who look out for each other . I don't care whether the guy next door is Jewish, Muslim or anything else.


Jewish Community Centre for London
341-351 Finchley Road, London NW3 6ET
Telephone: 020 7431 9866
Fax: 020 7431 6483
Email: [email protected]
Website: https://www.jw3.org.uk/

Nottingham Hebrew Congregation
Shakespeare Villas
Nottingham NG1 4FQ
Tel. 0115-9472004
Email. [email protected]
Web. www.nottshul.co.uk

Marjorie & Arnold Ziff Community Centre
311 Stonegate Road,
Leeds, LS17 6AZ
Tel: 0113 218 5888
Fax: 0113 203 4915
Web. http://www.mazcc.co.uk/

Original article written by Shira Schoenberg.

Eli Barnavi. A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992, pp.140-141
Encyclopedia Judaica. England. Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House, 1971
Nicholas De Lange. Atlas of the Jewish World. New York: Facts on File, 1984, pp.168-171
David Dickerson. Cliffords Tower: Massacre at York (1190). 1997
Ilana Shamir and Shlomo Shavit. Encyclopedia of Jewish History. New York: Facts on File, 1986, p.78
GoldwinSmith. A History of England. New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1957, p.97
Grant Stirling. The History of Jews in England. 1998
Alan Tigay. The Jewish Traveler. Hadassah Magazine, 1994
The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism, Annual Report 2005, England
Andrew Friedman, "Neighborly Relations" Jerusalem Report (September 9, 2013)
David Shamah. &ldquoIsrael, UK in huge new scientific cooperation agreement.&rdquo Times of Israel (April 20, 2015)
Judy Siegel-Itzkovich. &ldquoIn the face of BDS movement, Britain and Israel agree to expand scientific cooperation,&rdquo Jerusalem Post (November 30, 2015)
Danna Harman. &ldquoAround One in Four British Jews Intermarry, Study Finds - Less Than Half of U.S. Rate,&rdquo Haaretz, (July 5, 2016)
Danna Harman. &ldquoBoris Johnson's Sister Reveals his Little-Known Past as a Volunteer on an Israeli Kibbutz,&rdquo Haaretz (August 8, 2016)
Tovah Lazaroff,. &ldquoBritish warship docks in Haifa as part of growing cooperation with Israel,&rdquo Jerusalem Post (November 22, 2016)
Chris Hope. &ldquoAmber Rudd pledges £13.4million to guard every Jewish school, college, and nursery and synagogue in the UK,&rdquo Telegraph, (November 30, 2016)
&ldquoBritish Intelligence Spied on Israeli Diplomats, Snowden Leaks Reveal,&rdquo Haaretz, (December 7, 2016)
Marcus Dysch. &ldquoTheresa May urges closer UK ties with Israel post-Brexit,&rdquo The JC, (December 13, 2016)
Peter Walker. &ldquoUK adopts antisemitism definition to combat hate crime against Jews,&rdquo The Gaurdian (December 11, 2016)
UK-Israel trade increased after Brexit vote, BICOM, (July 14, 2017)
UK has record number of anti-Semitic incidents reported in first half of 2017, JTA, (July 28, 2017)
Herb Keinon, Netanyahu in London to Celebrate Balfour and Talk Iran, Jerusalem Post, (November 2, 2017)
Raphael Ahren. British Library publishes treasure trove of Hebrew manuscripts, Times of Israel, (November 21, 2017)
Falklands Islands to be protected by Iron Dome technology, Times of Israel, (November 23, 2017)
Joe Wallen. Jerusalem's new British-born deputy mayor: Israel is no apartheid state - it just has an issue with bad PR, The Independent, (January 16, 2018)
Anti-Semitic incidents in Britain at all-time high for 2nd straight year, Times of Israel, (February 1, 2018)
Jamie Merrill, &ldquoEXCLUSIVE: UK sells $445m of arms to Israel, including sniper rifles,&rdquo Middle East Eye, (April 24, 2018)
&ldquoBritain-Israel trade after Brexit,&rdquo BICOM, (December 2017)
UK Israel Tech Hub celebrates 175 partnerships, 54 deals, Israel21c, (June 25, 2018)
Caroline Davies, Peter Beaumont. William proves prince of diplomacy in Israel and Palestine, The Guardian, (June 29, 2018)
Mordechai Sones, &ldquoIsrael and Britain sign scientific cooperation agreement,&rdquo Arutz Sheva, (May 30, 2018)
Noa Landau, &ldquoIn Era of Brexit and Tory Power, Israel Sees Shift in Relations With Britain,&rdquo Haaretz, (June 3, 2018)
British Jewish newspapers unite in one edition to warn of &lsquoexistential&rsquo Corbyn threat, JTA, (July 25, 2018)
Footage emerges of Corbyn saying BBC &lsquobiased&rsquo toward &lsquoIsrael&rsquos right to exist&rsquo, Times of Israel, (August 8, 2018)
Labour&rsquos antisemitism failure means it cannot be a credible critic of Israel, The Guardian, (August 9, 2018)
Harry Yorke, Jeremy Corbyn admits he was present when wreath was laid for Munich massacre terrorists, The Telegraph, (August 13, 2018)
Yuval Azulai, Rafael to sell 6 anti-drone systems to UK for $20m, Globes, (August 16, 2018)
Daniel Sugarman, More than 85 per cent of British Jews think Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic, The JC, (September 13, 2018)
&ldquoUK and Israel sign 'in principle' post-Brexit trade deal,&rdquo Jewish Chronicle, (January 24, 2019)
Campaign Against Anti-Semitism
&ldquoAntisemitic Incidents Report 2018,&rdquo CST, (February 7, 2019)
Daniel Sugarman, &ldquoBritain and Israel sign trade continuity agreement to take effect after Brexit,&rdquo Jewish Chronicle, (February 18, 2019)
&ldquoUK Plans to Ban Hizballah As a Terrorist Organization,&rdquo IPT News, (February 25, 2019)
Judith Bergman, &ldquoUK Bans Hezbollah,&rdquo Gatestone Institute, (March 23, 2019)
Cnaan Liphshiz, &ldquoDespite Brexit woes, Theresa May is a hero to many British Jews,&rdquo JTA, (April 3, 2019)
Gabriel Pogrund and Richard Kerbaj, &ldquoLabour&rsquos hate files expose Jeremy Corbyn&rsquos anti‑semite army,&rdquo The Sunday Times, (April 7 2019)
&ldquoEquality watchdog launches Labour anti-Semitism probe,&rdquo BBC, (May 28, 2019):
Anshel Pfeffer, &ldquoIn First, Israeli Air Force Sends Jets to Britain for Joint Exercise,&rdquo Haaretz, (September 20, 2019)
Raphael Ahren, &ldquoPrince Charles meets president, survivors on first-ever official visit to Israel,&rdquo Times of Israel, (January 23, 2020)
&ldquoThe Prince of Wales visits Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories,&rdquo Prince of Wales, (January 2020)
&ldquoUK expands Hezbollah asset freeze, targets entire movement,&rdquo Reuters, (January 17, 2020)
&ldquoUK Supreme Court rules against government attempt to curb BDS,&rdquo Middle East Monitor, (April 29, 2020)
&ldquo70 years of UK-Israel diplomatic ties,&rdquo BICOM, (April 28, 2020)
Jessica Elgot, &ldquoLabour suspends Jeremy Corbyn over EHRC report comments,&rdquo The Guardian, (October 29, 2020)
Dan Sabbagh, &ldquoKey findings of the EHRC inquiry into Labour anti-Semitism,&rdquo The Guardian, (October 29, 2020)
&ldquoUK and Israel sign military agreement,&rdquo BICOM News, (December 7, 2020).

Photo Credits: Ilford synagogue photo courtesy of Ilford Synagogue.
Central Synagogue photos courtesy of the Central Synagogue.
New West End Synagogue photo courtesy of the New West End Synagogue

Download our mobile app for on-the-go access to the Jewish Virtual Library

The Battle of Wabash [1791]

The Battle of Wabash is, arguably, the worst military defeat of America throughout its history.

In this event, American General Arthur St. Clair went ahead on a Midwest expedition despite internal problems within the troops he brought with him — there were mounting discipline difficulties and desertions.

The Native Americans ambushed St. Clair and his group near the Wabash River and everything down-slid from there. St. Clair’s men just hid and fled despite their leader’s desperate and fruitless attempts to rally them.

In the end, out of the 1,000 soldiers who were with him, only 48 men survived.

In and around New York

A fair amount of today’s American toponyms came from the Dutch language on the account of the first settlers there. The Dutch heritage is particularly visible in and around New York (previously known as New Amsterdam). Here are just a tiny fraction of examples:

Rhode Island

One of the theories says that it was named by the Dutch trader Adriaen Block, who when passing by it, described it as “een rodlich Eylande” perhaps due to red clay.

Staten Island

Named after the States-General, Staaten Eylandt, from Staten-Generaal.


Named after the Dutch city, Haarlem.

Wall Street

Located in what was then known as Nieuw Amsterdam, a 17th-century Dutch settlement on the tip of Manhattan, the street was then known as de Waalstraat, on the account of a wooden palisade, that was protecting the settlement from the natives and the British.

Harlem in NYC. Image: Artistic Operations/Pixabay

Did you know about any of these places named by the Dutch? Let us know which (if any), in the comments!

Feature Image: Ricardo_Helass/Pixabay
Editor’s note: The article was originally published in July 2018 but was fully updated in November 2020 for your reading pleasure.

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