A settled agricultural community by 6000 BC, the oasis of Jericho is possibly the world’s oldest continuously inhabited settlement. Canaan—probably derived from ‘Land of Purple’, from the purple sea snail dye—described the Eastern Mediterranean coast and hinterland from the 3rd millennium BC. As part of the Fertile Crescent, it became an important caravan route between Egypt and Mesopotamia. ‘Canaanite’ has come to be associated with the Semitic group of languages and peoples of the pre-Classical Levant.
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