In the 13th century BC the area was conquered by the Philistines, and the name Palestine was derived from the Greek version of the area's name. It was conquered successively by king David of Israel, the Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians and Greeks. When Alexander the Great conquered it after stiff resistance, he sold its inhabitants into slavery.
Following the Roman conquest, Gaza became increasingly Christian and Greek speaking. In the 5th and 6th centuries AD it, as well as all of Palestine, gained great renown as a major center of Christian monasticism. It produced notable saints, such as Saint Barsanuphios the Great; Saint John the Prophet; Saint Porphyrios, Bishop of Gaza; Saint Hilarion the Great; Alexander the martyr; and innumerable others, several of whom produced important theological writings that survive to this day.
Subsequent conquests by the Arabs and the Ottoman Empire were followed by Napoleon's rule and then Egypt's. The British took it during the first world war, and Gaza became part of the British Mandate of Palestine.
During the 1929 Palestine riots, Arabs forced the Jews, who had been present there for centuries, to leave Gaza.
Subsequent to Israel's war of independence, Gaza became part of Egypt, in accordance with the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Egypt and Israel.
Gaza fell into Israeli control during the the 1967 Six-Day War.
From then on it has been the epicenter of the continuing hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians.