One of the oldest port cities in the world, Jaffa boasts a rich history as a key trading port. Its earliest mention is in 1470 BC when Pharoah Thutmose II communicated with leaders of the Canaanite city. It is also referenced in the Bible. The city was ruled by the Canaanites and Philistines, whose archeological remains exist today. The natural maritime port has been inhabited since 7500 BCE, making it one of the oldest continually-inhabited settlements in the region.
Jaffa is referred to as "Yaffa" in Arabic, and "Yafo" in Hebrew.
The Palestinian general strike that was part of the 1936 revolt began in Arab-dominated Jaffa. The city underwent rapidly-changing demographics as a results of waves of Jewish immigration. During the unrest, the town’s infrastructure was heavily damaged and its economy suffered.
By 1969, Jews became an overwhelming majority of the city with 90,000 residents, while Arabs were reduced to a mere 10,000.
According to the United Nations partition plan of 1947, Jaffa, due to its long Arab history and demographic balance, was designated to become part of a future Arab state. During the 1948 war, the mixed city experienced significant inter-communal violence, seeing as it was located so close to primarily Jewish Tel Aviv. Many Arab residents of the city fled or were ousted from their ancestral homes.