The purpose of this archive is to provide a record of the various individuals and governments who have ruled the earth within the sphere of recorded history. It is a purely descriptive document, and does not even pretend to provide original scholarship; I use already-existing sources, and combine them as best I can, to provide a coherent and connected sequence. I have no agenda to fill, and no particular axe to grind, aside from a desire to provide as complete and as accurate a record as I am able.
    Nevertheless, the nature of the information contained herein is such that on occasion it impinges upon sensitive issues of national pride, ethnic origins, and historical turbulence. I recognize as much, and have striven in each of the lists I provide to strike a balanced and impartial view. Let me state clearly and uniquivocably here that it is no part of my intention to offend or disparage any particular individual or group, and if I unintentionally do so, I sincerely apologize.
    However, I also have a responsibility to those viewing the site to provide as accurate a level of information as I can. Inevitably, this means that there will be files with which some will disagree, finding the data so contained to be distasteful or erroneous. If I make errors, I earnestly solicit documented commentary. But there have been a number of occasions in which I have been contacted by irate readers, demanding that I immediately change such-and-such a file to bring it into line with the readers particular issue. I cannot undertake to do so; to accede to such demands would be to destroy the integrity of the work, as competing interests line up to require me to shift back and forth. I repeat, I earnestly solicit documented information on these matters, but I cannot please every interest.
    Even so, I do not wish to appear insensitive to matters about which there is, in fact, much room for interpretation and clarification. What to do, then? I think that the best I can do at the moment is to provide brief descriptions and commentary on some of the difficulties I have been alluding to. Hopefully, this will begin to address several matters. First, it will demonstrate that I am, in fact, aware of the nature of the problem to those who may feel that I am ignorant or mendacious regarding their concern. Second, it will be a way to provide some depth of coverage to all my readers, in order to fully inform them when a particular list strays into a grey area, or a controversial point. Finally, it may serve as kind of list in it's own right, and so highlight regions or time periods with chronic problems.

    Overview: Cyprus is a substantial island located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, south of Anatolia and west of Syria. It has often been within the control of larger regional states, but there have been times of independence as well. In very broad outline, Cyprus was settled in early antiquity by a variety of folk, notably Western Semitics, Egyptians, and Hellenes. The place was a Roman province during late Classical times, passing to the Byzantine Empire thereafter. During the Crusades of the 12th century, the island fell to a Western dynasty, and was thereafter an independent Kingdom until the late 15th century, and a possession of Venice until 1571. Passing to the Ottoman Empire, it was a Turkish province until the late 19th century, when it came under British control. Independence was again achieved in 1960.
    The Problem: The Cypriot population has been largely Hellenic for ages (although there are some Phoenician and Syriac influences, as well). When the island was taken by the Ottoman Empire, a large number of ethnic Turks migrated into Cyprus. Eventually, the Turkish element grew to about 20 % of the total population. When Great Britain took control in 1878, the Greeks immediately began agitating for political union with Greece. The Turkish minority has always resisted this call, and the tension thus created between the two communities has been central to problems occuring on the island for the past 127 years. In preparation for independence, a constitution was formulated which guarenteed rights and representation for both communities, but it soon broke down after 1960, and the Greek majority took a predominant control of the state -- without being able to join Greece, however. Acts of violence grew more frequent, and matters came to a head in 1974, when the Turkish community began a full-scale revolt, entirely supported by the government and military of Turkey itself. A Turkish enclave was established in the northeastern quarter of the island, and a Republic set up. This state (Turkish Federated State 1975-1983, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus 1983-present), endures to the present day, although it is not recognized diplomatically by anyone apart from Turkey.
    This Archive: Here is the island's listing: CYPRUS. Additionally, there are lists for local states within Cyprus, Alasiya, Amathus, Idalion, Kittim, Lapithos, Marion, Kourion, Nea Paphos, Paleapaphos, Salamis, Soloi, and Tamassos. The archive notes the existence of both rival states.

    Overview: This is the region west of the Jordan River-Dead Sea-Sea of Galilee system, northeast of the Sinai Peninsula, east of the Mediterranean Sea, and south of Lebanon. Inhabited for a time almost longer than any other place on earth, the region has been controlled by larger regional states for the most part, although there have been periods of autonomy as well. A very rough outline would approximately the following: the place has been the homeland of a variety of Western Semitic peoples (Caananites, Hebrews, Phoenicians, and others) since before the time of written language. Additionally, powerful neighbours (Egyptians, Arabs, Hittites, and others) have contributed influence extensively. A central focus has been the Hebrew people, who managed to establish two Kingdoms during ancient times (Israel and Judah), and another during Classical times (the Maccabean Kingdom). A Roman and then Byzantine province during Imperial times, the region was conquered by Muslim Arabs in the 7th century. Taken by Christian forces at the beginning of the 12th century, it was recaptured by Muslims by the mid 13th century. First an Egyptian possession, and then (1517) an Ottoman, it was seized by Great Britain in 1917, and passed to Jewish authority in 1948, when the current State of Israel was set up.
    The Problem: The region as a whole, and the chief city of Jerusalem in particular, are of central importance to all three of the world's monotheistic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). Jews regard Jerusalem as having been covenented to them by the Deity for eternity. For Christians, Jerusalem is uniquely the city of Jesus, being the site of his most significant works and of his martyrdom. To Muslims, Jerusalem is the place from whence Muhammad ascended into heaven. On a more prosaic level, the region has been a homeland and a cultural hearth for Jews for thousands of years. It has also been a homeland for local Arabs for more than 40 generations. Politically, it is difficult to avoid using the phrase "the over-promised land". The British agreed to cede it on three separate occasions to three separate entities (two Arab, one Zionist). Local Arabs particularly, and the Muslim world generally, regard the establishment of Israel as nothing less than a re-imposition of Crusading conquest on the part of the West. Zionists the world over regard the creation of an autonomous Jewish homeland as non-negotiable, particularly after the Holocaust demonstrated the necessity of having a viable refuge from persecution.
    This Archive: The region as a whole is listed under ISRAEL. Additionally, these are other lists associated with peoples or states within the district: Akko (Acre), Arsuf, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Bashan, Caesarea, Dor, Edom, Ekron, Galilee, Gath, Gaza, Gerar, Geshur, Haifa, Hebron, (ancient) Israel, High Priests, Jaffa, Jebusites, Kenites, Midianites, Philistines, Rechabites, Salem, Samaritans, Sanhedrin, and Segor. I do not provide a separate listing for Palestine per se.

    Overview: Kashmir is the region located at the very northern tip of India and Pakistan, in a heavily mountainous highland area. The region has a long history as an independent state, and was a center of Hinduism for ages. It was taken by Muslims in 1320, but not without struggle - Hindus regained it between 1323 and 1339. The modern province dates from 1846, when the Dogra ruler of Jammu, a Sikh, was created Maharaja of Kashmir at the behest of the British, who hoped thereby to secure a stable northern frontier against Russian and Chinese advances. When Great Britain granted independence to India and Pakistan in the late 1940's, the Maharaja of Kashmir attempted to retain independence for his province, but circumstances prevented this, and Kashmir signed into the Indian union. This led to immediate warfare and de facto partition by Pakistan, which regarded Kashmir as a natural part of that state. Intermittent warfare has continued between India and Pakistan over the region to this day, complicated enormously by Chinese advances into the area from the mid 1950's.
    The Problem: Essentially, the problem here is that the terrain has allowed for only isolated pockets of settlement, each with it's own history and traditions. Largely, but by no means exclusively Muslim, the region plays host to Hindu, Sikh, and Tibetan Buddhist communities, some of considerable antiquity. There are also wide swaths of upland territory not inhabited by anyone, and in some cases only mapped in a very rudimentary fashion, if at all. When the modern Kashmiri state was created in the 19th century, it's frontiers were very poorly defined, and beyond that disability, successive Maharajas had for more than fifty years to engage in complex diplomatic negotiations to get local mountain communities' agreement to be part of the state. With a strong Imperial presence (Great Britain), this situation had little relevance, but with the fragmentation of the region into competing interests, conflict has been unavoidable.
    This Archive: I list the area as KASHMIR; there is also a list in the same article for Jammu. On the same page, I also provide information on Ladakh, an important Tibetan state within the general Kashmiri region, and Baltistan, a state lying directly on the Line of Demarcation between India and Pkistan.

    Overview: Kosovo is a district lying to the northeast of Albania and the northwest of Macedonia. A Roman district, it passed to the Byzantine Empire, but was overrun by migrating Slavic peoples in the 7th century. Out of these settlers emerged the state of Rascia, the earliest recognizable Serbian polity. It fell to outland conquerors, but was always inhabited by, and fairly often ruled by Serbians. It passed to the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, and remained under Turkish authority until 1912. In the first half of the 20th century the district fairly often changed hands, but from 1945 to 1999 it was Yugoslavian. It still is, as a technicality, but it is currently administered by the UN, which is trying to reach a peaceful settlement of the problem.
    The Problem: Although the core of the Serbian heartland, Kosovo has from the 15th century onward been increasingly populated by Muslim migrants, Albanians for the most part. Today, the population is overwhelmingly Albanian. In the days of the Cold War, this was not an issue, but since the death of Marshal Tito and the disruption of Yugoslavia, the demands of the Albanian majority have become increasingly powerful. Kosovo had been granted considerable autonomy under the old constitution, but that was removed in 1989. Agitation for it's reinstallation led to Albanian recognition of Kosovar independence in 1991. A concerted attempt to set up a government was quashed by Yugoslavia in 1998, which led to open warfare. The international community generally supported the Kosovars, and eventually a limited air war on the part of NATO was instituted against Yugoslavia, which led to the collapse of the Milosevic government and the imposition of a United Nations peacekeeping force inside Kosovo. Just recently, the Kosovar Albanians have once more voted for an independent government, and have begun agitating for international recognition.
    The Kosovar position: The Kosovo Albanians want independence from Yugoslavia. Whether that means a separate state, or union with Albania is uncertain. The fact remains though, that the Kosovars have zero regard for and trust of Serbian Yugoslavs. They were subject to severe persecution in the days between 1989 and 1999, and have no wish to repeat the experience.
    The Serbian position: Serbia regards Kosovo as an integral part of the nation, and would regard its secession as intolerable. Apart from it being yet another province breaking away from Yugoslavia, the emotional cost of Kosovo as such being lost would be extreme: it would be akin to having the state of Virginia, or perhaps the New England states, be lost to the United States in favour of an occupying ethnic group, alien in language, culture, and religion. Moreover, it would involve the world community rushing forth to support the occupying group, bombing major US cities in service of such support.
    This Archive: I have a separate listing for KOSOVO, not so much because it has a long tradition of local dynasties - it doesn't - but rather in service of human interest for a region much in the news. I include RASCIA within my Serbian listing, which makes sense from an ethnic point of view, but which could be regarded as slightly misleading geographically.

    Overview: Macedonia is a mountainous region located north of Greece, east of Albania, south of Serbia, and west of Bulgaria. Like many locales within the Balkans, the area has an extremely long and complex history. In essence, the region now known as Macedonia forms the northern and northwestern portions of the Classic-Age Kingdom of Macedonia, and the western reaches of the Classic-Age Kingdom of Paeonia; both were inhabited by Hellenic peoples. Macedonia is, of course, famous in history as the heartland of a large but fairly ephemeral Empire created in the 4th century BCE by Alexander the Great. It eventually fell to the Romans, and was a district within the Roman and Byzantine Empires until the 7th century CE. In that century it, along with most of the rest of the Balkans, was occupied by migrating tribes of Slavs. In the 10th century the Byzantines regained it, but were able to hold on to it only intermittently; it was Bulgarian in the 13th century, and Serbian during part of the 14th century. It passed to the Ottoman Empire in 1371, and remained there until 1913. In the 20th century, it has changed hands a number of times, but usually has been within Yugoslavian control. It gained independence in 1991.
    The Problem: The difficulties here surround the fact that the population is Slavic (but see below, Macedonia (II) ), but uses a Greek name for the nation -- and a very famous and heroic Greek name, at that. During the Cold War, this attracted little attention, but since the break-up of the Iron Curtain and the subsequent drive for independence on the part of many East European communities, the issue has been drawn in stark and uncompromising lines. When the region broke away from Yugoslavia in 1991, there was an immediate outcry from Greece, claiming that use of the name "Macedonia" constituted an offense to the Greek nation, and an implied security threat. After considerable and protracted diplomatic and military manueverings, Greece succeeded in requiring Macedonia to rename itself "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (usually abbreviated as "FYROM") as a condition for international recognition. Having done so, however, has not solved the problem; Greeks still excoriate the state wherever and whenever possible.
    The Greek position: Greeks and their supporters will relate that the people of the region are in no sense of the term Macedonian, but rather a Bulgarian population. They say that Slavic Macedonia is no older than the Tito era in Yugoslavia, and some will claim that Tito invented "Macedonia" in order to bring pressure against Greece. They say that use of the term "Macedonia" is a species of theft perpetrated on the entire Greek nation and as such is intolerable. They will further claim that use of the term implies a security threat, by putting the "Macedonian" nation in a position of being able to claim a large swath of Greek territory should it so chose, in the name of "Macedonian" reunification.
    The Macedonian position: The Macedonians claim that for any foreign entity to dictate what a nation may or may not call itself is an intolerable meddling in the internal affairs of the state. They reject the notion that they are late-arriving immigrants, pointing out that while Macedonian as a language is closely related to Bulgarian, that it nevertheless has a literary tradition stretching back better than 200 years. They will go on to say that they have been living in their land for many centuries. They disavow any ambition to militarily threaten Greece, or desire for annexation of southern, or Greek Macedonia.
    This Archive:The lists that I offer are based primarily on geography. I try in most cases to stay within a particular region, and describe the rulers and governments that occur in that region through time. I have listings for Greek MACEDONIA among the Hellenic states, and another entry for Slavic MACEDONIA among the Balkans states.

    Overview: See above, Macedonia (I), for a review of the geography and historical development of this area.
    The Problem: As indicated in the section just above, the region was held by the Ottoman Empire from 1371 to 1912. During that time, a large number of ethnic Albanians migrated into western and northwestern districts of the region. They were a quiescent population throughout the 20th century, but since recent developments have encouraged local extensions of autonomy or even outright independence all over the world, the Albanian minority in the region has agitated for recognition of direct equality, or even secession from the new Republic. Open warfare has erupted, and required the international community to step in to try and calm things, generally with limited success. The Albanian community continues to agitate for greater local autonomy, union with Kosovo, union with Albania, or full independence - it isn't entirely clear which goal predominates. The remainder of the state is equally adamant that no such fragmentation will be permitted to go forth.
    This Archive: As mentioned above, thier is a list associated with Slavic MACEDONIA. No special mention is made of local districts within the region which are populated primarily by Albanians as such. There is a list for ALBANIA proper, and for KOSOVO as well.

    Overview: The term "Serbo-Croatian", used to identify certain ethnoi within the western Balkans, is objected to by many of those same people.
    The Problem: It is trivial to note that the Balkans as a region is deeply fragmented in language, religion, and general culture - the term "Balkanization" is too well-known to need much explanation. The present author can call to mind twenty different ethnic groups inhabiting the region off the top of his head while typing this, without bothering to do even cursory research. Nevertheless, certain patterns do present themselves, and therein lies a set of problems. One of the largest class of subgroups in the region are a people who have been referred to as "Serbo-Croatians". The term stems from linguistic associations, indicating a very close connection between local subgroups who, as often as not, are hostile to one another and would prefer to not be labelled by a name hearkening to distasteful associations. Among these groups are the Serbs (Orthodox Christian speakers of Serbian), the Croats (Roman Catholic speakers of Croatian), Bosnians (largely but not exclusively Muslim speakers of the Bosnian dialect), Montenegrins (Serbian speaking Orthodox Christians), and Dalmatians (largely Roman Catholic speakers of various Croatian dialects). The fact is that despite fractious religious persuasions and divergent histories, all these groups are quite closely related, and their dialects are mutually comprehensible. In speaking of these people, one normally attempts to refer to them by their local names, but there are times when the entire group must be referenced, which can lead to problems. I am asked on a very regular basis to change the archive and re-label these folk or some subset of these folk by a more politically palatable name. I would like to comply, for it is not my intention to insult, but frankly my choices are limited. I could refer to these people in toto as "South Slavs", which is what they are - but the term is antiseptic, dry, and generally not used by any standard authorities. I could refer to them as "Yugoslavians", which is simply "South Slav" put into their own language - But Yugoslavia has past and present political connotations which would confuse and distort the meaning of the term. Referring to them as Croatians, Dalmatians, Montenegrins, or Bosnians would be ludicrously inapt, and I don't even want to think of the kind of mail I'd get if I started calling everyone "Serbians" or "Greater Serbians" after the oldest and still predominant subgroup present. I suppose I could invent a term like "Neo-Illyrian" or "West Balkan", but such inventions would be inaccurate and misleading to an extreme. In short, there is no generally acceptable term to describe all of these ethnoi considered as a unit. "Serbo-Croatian", while somewhat distortive, at least has the benefit of tradition behind it. Ultimately, the fact of the matter is that "Serbo-Croatians" are a people who are at this present time in the process of differentiating themselves into entirely distinct nationalities. That process is not yet complete and, while it continues, a certain level of awkwardness will ensue in the matter of what to call these people in various contexts.
    This Archive: I normally try to avoid the problem by referring to specific groups and writing in a manner calculated to not address general groups as such. Where I am forced by circumstances to do so, I normally use "Serbo-Croatian" as the commonly accepted term in international usage, fully aware that it will grate on some ears. I apologize but, as I trust the above essay will make clear, my options in this regard are somewhat limited.

    Overview: Taiwan is a large island off the southeast coast of China, between the Philippines to the south and Japan to the north. Occupied by a Malay-Polynesian people for millenia, it also received sporadic settlers from China - refugees and criminals for the most part, as consistent Chinese policy was to forbid Chinese subjects from going there. In the 16th century the island became known to European explorers - the alternate name of "Formosa" dates from Portuguese accounts. In the early 17th century, the Dutch succeeded in gaining control over the place, and successfully challenged a similar Spanish attempt at colonization. The Dutch themselves were ejected in the 1660's by a Ming Dynasty loyalist, who succeeded in establishing a short-lived Kingdom. The Chinese assumed control over the island in the 1680's and, reversing their settlement policy, thereafter encouraged Chinese migration onto the island. A Japanese possession from 1895 to 1945, it fell to anti-communist forces at the conclusion of WWII, and became a refuge for them when the Communists gained hegemony over the mainland.
    The Problem: Simply stated, the current Nationalist government on Taiwan and the Communist government in Beijing both agree that Taiwan is an integral part of China, and should be part of the larger Chinese State. Naturally, the Nationalists feel that mainland China should return to their control (there is no chance whatsoever of this occuring), and the mainland has become increasingly strident in insisting that Taiwan come under Communist authority. The mainland government has very firmly regarded any international interest in the question as an interference in it's internal affairs, and has done everything it can on the international stage to suppress possible recognition of Taiwan as a sovereign entity. The Taiwan government has flirted with moves toward a declaration of independence from China but has always backed off, recognizing that any such move is quite likely to trigger a military invasion.
    This Archive: I list the island under it's own entry, TAIWAN, located within the general CHINA file.

    Overview: Unquestionable the region at the highest overall altitude in the world; the entire country is situated on a major plateau, the southern edge of which thrusts up into the tallest mountain range on earth, the Himalayas. The place has been occupied by humans for millenia, but for obvious reasons the population density is quite low. Historically, Tibet has often been a distinct Kingdom, and there have been times when it was a Power in the region. At other times, Tibet has been fragmented among lesser states. In terms of recent history, Tibet was in effect a dependency of the Mongol Empire, which did not have the resources to directly control it. When the Mongols lost the ability to govern eastern Asia, Tibet became a ramshackle Kingdom, which had devolved by the 18th century into a relatively ceremonial and powerless state. This coincided with a renascent China, which exerted a certain level of control over the region. At the same time, religious leadership under the Dalai Lamas became paramount, and by 1750 the Lamas were in sole authority, aside from the Chinese. The Chinese left in 1911, and Tibet became a fully autonomous Theocracy. With the advent of the Communist regime in China, however, the Chinese returned, and re-established control over the place on much more direct terms than they had held before.
    The Problem: Since the Chinese annexation of Tibet in 1951, they have grown increasingly severe in their approach to governing the region. At first, they attempted to gain the cooperation of the current Dalai Lama, but when this proved impossible, they subjected him to increased restrictions, ultimately resulting in his exile from the region in the late 1950's. He has since led his people from afar, and has served as an internationally recognized symbol of the Tibetan culture. Within Tibet itself, the Chinese have systematically dismantled Tibetan culture and traditions.
    The Chinese position: Beijing says that it is simply exerting an authority over a province over which it has governed for many centuries in the past, and aside from which is restoring a degree of secular culture to a deeply priest-ridden society. The Chinese are extremely sensitive to any hint that the international community may be conducting what they see as interference in an internal matter.
    The Tibetan position: Tibetan nationalists regard Chinese intervention in Tibetan affairs as out and out colonialism; interference in the internal affairs of a foreign state in the most direct and immediate fashion.
This Archive: I have list associated with the region located in my Central Asian file. There, one may look through lists associated with Gughe, Gun-Than, Ladakh, and TIBET itself.


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