|Galilee is a region in Northern Israel. It was the chief scene of the ministry of Jesus. The Sea of Galilee, the countryside, and the towns—Cana, Capernaum, Tiberias, and Nazareth—are repeatedly referred to in the Gospels. Jesus himself was called the Galilean, and his first disciples were chosen from the local fishermen.
The history of Galilee has been marked by severe brutalities and war. After the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), Galilee became the main center of Judaism in Palestine. Zionist colonization of the region began at the end of the 19th century. The major towns in Upper Galilee are Zefat and Tiberias; Nazareth is the largest town in Lower Galilee. Jews, Arabs, and Druze compose the bulk of the population. Most of the towns of the region are industrialized, and the fertile agricultural areas produce an abundance of olives and grain.
In Roman times, the province of Palestine was divided into three regions, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, which comprised the whole northern section of the country, and was the largest of the three.
It was the scene of some of the most memorable events of Jewish history. Galilee also was the home of Jesus during at least thirty years of his life. The first three Gospels of the New Testament are chiefly taken up with Jesus' public ministry in this province.
After the Arab caliphate took control of the region in 638, it became part of the jund of Urdunn (Jordan). The Shia Fatimids took the region in the 900s; a breakaway sect, venerating the Fatimid caliph al-Hakim, formed the Druze religion, centered in and north of the Galilee.
During the Crusades, Galilee was organized into the Principality of Galilee, one of the most important Crusader seigneuries.
In the early 20th century, the Galilee was inhabited by Arabs, Druzes and minorities such as Circassians and Jews. The Jewish population was increased significantly by Zionist immigration. The past few decades have seen Galilee and the surrounding regions get engulfed in an ongoing Arab political conflict. The region, however, continues to inspire people all over the world, for its association with Jesus.