Descendants of Chanaan, son of Cham, who inhabited all of western Palestine between the Jordan and the Mediterranean coast. They came into Palestine from the north about 3000 B.C., and for a long time were under Babylonian influence. Their civilization was progressive, as shown by their use of bronze, iron, and other metals, their building operations, and their use of valuable articles for domestic and religious purposes. They worshiped Baal, Moloch, and Ashtoreth. The prophesy of Noe that Chanaan "a servant of servants shall he be, unto his brethren" (Genesis 9) was fulfilled when the Chanaanites were conquered first by the Israelites, descendants of Sem, and afterwards by the Persians, Greeks, and Romans, reputed descendants of Japheth.

New Catholic Dictionary

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