Chronology of the Black Sea Region*
c. 850-800 BC Early Scythians appear in Black Sea
c. 750-700 BC First Ionian Greek colonists found trading posts
on Black Sea shores.
c. 700 BC Foundation of Greek colony at Olbia.
512 BC First Persian invasion of Europe. Darius crosses the Bosporus
and Danube, and (according to Herodotus) pursues the Scythians into
the Don steppes.
490 BC Persian Army defeated at Marathon.
480 BC Second major Persian expedition, under Xerxes, defeated
by Athens at naval battle of Salamis.
c. 480 BC Greek colonies in Crimea and Taman region combine into
472 BC First production at Athens of Persae, by Aeschylus.
c. 450 BC Herodotus visits Olbia and subsequently begins publication
440-37 BC (?) Pericles sends naval expedition to acquire Greek
colonies on the northern Black Sea coast for Athens.
438 BC Spartocid dynasty installed over the Bosporan Kingdom, at
432 BC Completion of the Parthenon at Athens.
431 BC First production of Medea, by Euripides.
431-404 BC Peloponnesian War.
356 BC Birth of Alexander (the Great) of Macedon.
334 BC Alexander defeats Persia, at battle of Issus.
323 BC Death of Alexander.
Third century BC Sarmatian peoples enter the Black Sea steppes
and push the Scythians westwards.
107 BC Death of Peirisades the Last; Mithridates Eupator, King
of Pontus, becomes ruler of the Bosporan Kingdom.
63 BC Death of Mithridates at Panticapaeum, after defeat by Roman
armies under the command of Pompey. Bosporan Kingdom becomes Roman
dependency. Sack of Olbia by Dacian-Getic Army.
55 and 54 BC Julius Caesar takes Roman expeditionary force to Britain.
49 BC Roman conquest of Gaul completed.
44 BC Julius Caesar appointed Roman dictator for life.
27 BC Collapse of Roman Republic; beginning of Roman Empire.
c. 8 AD Ovid exiled from Rome to Tomi (Constanta), by the emperor
43 AD Roman invasion of Britain.
70 AD Romans destroy the Temple at Jerusalem.
c. 95 AD Dio Chrysostom visits Olbia.
c. 240 AD Goths arrive on Black Sea, invading Roman possessions
313 Christianity granted toleration in Roman Empire.
330 Capital of Roman Empire transferred to Constantinople.
370 Huns enter Black Sea steppe and attack Roman Empire. Destruction
of Tanais and Olbia.
378 Combined Vizigoth-Sarmatian Army defeats Romans at Adrianople
410 Vizigoths sack Rome. Withdrawal of Roman troops from Britain.
527 Justinian crowned emperor at Constantinople.
610 Accession of Emperor Heraclius; Empire now known as 'Byzantine'.
632 Death of the Prophet Mohammed.
641 Arabs conquer Egypt and invade Maghreb.
Eight century Khazars establish empire in Black Sea and ally with
800 Coronation of Charlemagne in Rome, as ruler of new Western
(later Holy Roman) Empire.
862 Rurik from Scandinavia founds Novgorod, in Russia.
882 Capital of Russian-Viking state moved to Kiev.
960 Mieszko I founds Polish Kingdom, under the Piast dynasty.
991 Vladimir of Kiev allegedly baptised at Chersonesus, in Crimea.
1055 Seljuk Turks, arriving from east, take Bagdad.
1071 Seljuk Turks defeat Byzantine Army at Manzikert, in eastern
1096 First Crusade.
Twelfth century Arrival of Karaite Jewish sect in Crimea.
1204 Fourth Crusade; Byzantium conquered and looted by Frankish
Crusaders. Alexius Comnenus founds Grand Comnenian Empire of Trebizond.
c. 1204 Venetians establish colony at Soldaia (Sudak) in Crimea.
1206 Mongols led by Chingiz (Genghis) Khan begin conquest of Asia.
1234 Mongol conquest of China; Chin dynasty overthrown.
1236 Mongol conquest of Russia.
c. 1240 Batu Khan settles the Golden Horde on the lower Volga.
1241 Tatar-Mongol invasion of Europe.
1253 Friar William de Rubruquis (Rubruck) travels to meet Batu
1261 Byzantine Empire restored at Constantinople.
1264 Kublai Khan founds Yuan (Mongol) dynasty in China.
1275 Marco Polo of Venice arrives in China.
c. 1280 Foundation of Genoese colony at Kaffa, Crimea.
1296 Venetian fleet attacks Genoese at Kaffa.
1347 Black Death reaches Kaffa, then spreads to Europe.
1380 Timur (Tamberlane) begins campaign of conquest.
1398 Timur sacks Tana, on river Don, and invades India.
1440-4 Establishment of Crimean Tatar Khanate, independent of the
Golden Horde, under the Giray dynasty.
1453 Ottoman Turks (Mehmet the Conqueror) capture Constantinople.
1461 Trebizond surrenders to Turks.
1475 Fall of Mangup-Theodoros, Kaffa, Tana, etc. to Turks and Tatars.
1478 Tsar Ivan III defeats the Mongol-Tatars.
1569 Union of Lublin completes Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
1637 Cossacks capture Azov from Turks, but lose it again.
1693 Peter the Great constructs a Russian navy at Taganrog, on
Sea of Azov.
1696 Peter captures Azov.
1772 First Partition of Poland.
1774 Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji: Russia expels Ottoman Turks from
part of Black Sea coast.
1783 Empress Catherine II (the Great) of Russia annexes Crimea;
end of the independent Tatar Khanate.
1789 French Revolution.
1790 Russia storms Ismail, Turkish-held city at Danube mouth.
1792 Treaty of Jassy between Turkey and Russia: advances Russian
frontier on the Black Sea to the Dniester.
1793 Second Partition of Poland.
1794 Foundation of Odessa.
1795 Third (and final) Partition of Poland between Russia, Prussia
1815 Congress of Vienna.
1821 Greek War of Independence.
1825 Exile of Adam Mickiewicz in Odessa and Crimea. Death of Tsar
Alexander I; accession of Nicholas I; Decembrist Conspiracy in St
1828-9 Russo-Turkish War.
1830 November rising in Poland.
1841 Death of Lermontov in a duel at Pyatigorsk.
1848 Foundation of Polonezkoy (Polis settlement) in Turkey by Prince
1854-6 Crimean War.
1855 Death of Adam Mickiewicz at Constantinople.
1863 January rising in Poland.
1864 Russian annexation of northern Caucasus.
1877-8 Russo-Turkish War.
1905 Revolution in Russia.
1914 Outbreak of First World War.
1917 Fall of tsardom; Bolshevik Revolution.
1918 Collapse of German and Habsburg empires; end of First World
War. Poland regains independence. Allied intervention in Russian
civil war begins.
1919-20 Polish-Soviet War. Brief period of Ukrainian independence.
1920 Evacuation of Denikin's White armies from Novorossisk. Mustafa
Kemal heads Turkish nationalist rebellion against partition of Turkey.
1922 Greek invasion of Turkey repelled.
1923 Republic proclaimed in Turkey. The 'Exchange' of populations
between Greece and Turkey.
1928 Stalin assumes supreme power in the Soviet Union.
1933 Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany.
1939 Outbreak of Second World War.
1941 Nazi Germany invades Soviet Union: 1914-5 Great Patriotic
1944 Soviet forces recapture Crimea. Deportation of Crimean Tatars,
Chechens and Ingush.
1945 Collapse of Nazi Germany. Yalta and Potsdam conferences.
1949 Deportation of the Greeks in the southern regions of USSR.
1953 Death of Stalin.
1954 Crimea ceded to Ukraine from Russia by Nikita Khrushchev.
1985 Mikhail Gorbachev becomes general secretary of the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union. (CPSU).
1986 Explosion in nuclear power station at Chernobyl, in Ukraine.
1988 Catastrophic spread of ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi in Black
1989 Collapse of Communist regimes in Poland, Hungary, East Germany
and Czechoslovakia. Revolution in Romania; death of President Nicolae
1990 Lithuania declares independence. Gorbachev becomes President
of the USSR.
1991 (June) Boris Yeltsin elected President of Russia.
1991 (August) Failed putsch against Gorbachev, led by Gennadi Yanayev
and others. CPSU suspended and later dissolved.
1991 (December) Dissolution of the Soviet Union. Independence of
Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, etc.
1992 Abkhazian-Georgian war. Convention for the Protection of the
Black Sea signed by six riparian states.
1993 Russian parliament refuses presidential order to dissolve.
Troops loyal to President Yeltsin bombard parliament into surrender.
1994-5 Russian Army suppresses self-proclaimed independence of
Chechnya, in northern Caucasus.
* Taken from Black Sea by Neal Ascherson. Hill and Wang, a division
of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1995, 306 pages.