For more than 3,000 years, rival peoples have fought over Jerusalem.
Throgh much of that time, Jewish populations have lived in or near the site of Jerusalem, but it was periodically conquered by Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Egyptians and, at the time of the birth of Christ, the Romans.
In the 7th century, Moslem Arabs conquered Jerusalem and in the 12th and 13th centuries, Christian Crusaders fought for control of the city. Moslems recaptured it in 1291 and Ottoman Turks won control in the 16th century, holding the city until World War I. Turkey, defeated in that war, then saw much of its Middle East empire partitioned between Britian and France.
Jerusalem was within the Palestine Mandate granted to britain in the post-World War I San Remo Conference in 1920, following the 1917 Balfour Declaration in which Britain said it favored the "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."
In 1947, with Jerusalem still under British administration, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a partition plan to establish in Palestine an Arab state and a Jewish state, with Jerusalem a separate zone under international control.
The Jews of Palestine accepted the U.N. partition plan but the Arabs rejected it and renewed their attacks on Jewish settlements.
When Israel became independent in May 1948, Arab and Jewish military forces continued to fight for the region but the war ended with Israel controlling West Jerusalem and Arabs controlling East Jerusalem, including the Old City.
Armistices signed in 1949 among Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria left Jerusalem partitioned in this fashion, giving Israel, in addition to West Jerusalem, an enclave in East Jerusalem that included the Hebrew University, and providing a no-man's-land buffer zone along much of the partition line.
In the 1968 Six-Day War, Israeli forces captured the Old City and East Jerusalem from Jordanian control and shortly after, Israel these portions to West Jerusalem and established a unified administration for the entire city, which it no longer considers part of the adjoining West Bank. The international community, including the United States, has largely refused to recognize the annexation.
The 1973 war did not affect the status of Jerusalem.