“Now these are the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land on the other side Jordan toward the rising of the sun, from the river Arnon unto mount Hermon, and all the plain on the east: Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon, and ruled from Aroer, which is upon the bank of the river Arnon, and from the middle of the river, and from half Gilead, even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon; And from the plain to the sea of Chinneroth on the east, and unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea on the east, the way to Bethjeshimoth; and from the south, under Ashdothpisgah: And the coast of Og king of Bashan, which was of the remnant of the giants, that dwelt at Ashtaroth and at Edrei, And reigned in mount Hermon, and in Salcah, and in all Bashan, unto the border of the Geshurites and the Maachathites, and half Gilead, the border of Sihon king of Heshbon.
Them did Moses the servant of the LORD and the children of Israel smite: and Moses the servant of the LORD gave it for a possession unto the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh.” (Joshua 12:1-6)
This first group of conquered peoples lists those conquered by Moses on the east side of Jordan, stretching from Mount Hermon, southwest of Damascus in present day Syria and around the east side of the Sea of Galilee south to about a third of the way down the east side of the Dead or Salt Sea to the river Arnon. It stretched as far east as where the river Jabbok splits and runs to the north and south, near the Jordanian capital of Amman. This was the area given to the trans-Jordanian tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh. Since this area is pretty arid, vast amounts of land were required for raising livestock and only a few groups occupied it.
“And these are the kings of the country which Joshua and the children of Israel smote on this side Jordan on the west, from Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon even unto the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir; which Joshua gave unto the tribes of Israel for a possession according to their divisions; In the mountains, and in the valleys, and in the plains, and in the springs, and in the wilderness, and in the south country; the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: The king of Jericho, one; the king of Ai, which is beside Bethel, one; The king of Jerusalem, one; the king of Hebron, one; The king of Jarmuth, one; the king of Lachish, one; The king of Eglon, one; the king of Gezer, one; The king of Debir, one; the king of Geder, one; The king of Hormah, one; the king of Arad, one; The king of Libnah, one; the king of Adullam, one; The king of Makkedah, one; the king of Bethel, one; The king of Tappuah, one; the king of Hepher, one; The king of Aphek, one; the king of Lasharon, one; The king of Madon, one; the king of Hazor, one; The king of Shimronmeron, one; the king of Achshaph, one; The king of Taanach, one; the king of Megiddo, one; The king of Kedesh, one; the king of Jokneam of Carmel, one; The king of Dor in the coast of Dor, one; the king of the nations of Gilgal, one; The king of Tirzah, one: all the kings thirty and one.” (Joshua 12:7-24)
On the western side of the Jordan, the land Joshua conquered stretched north past Mount Hermon To Baalgad in present day Lebanon and south to Mount Halek, south west of the Dead Sea, and from the Jordan river to the Mediteranean. Because of the difficulty of communication, initially the land had been controlled by numerous city states, each having their own king, and allied loosely with other city states of their own ethnic group.
The major Ethnic groups were the Amorites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Canaanites, the Perezzites, and the Jebusites. Small pockets of Anakims, a race of giants, were scattered among the other groups. The Philistines along the southern Mediterranean coast were not conquered at this time, nor were the Zidonians to the north.
A total of thirty one city states were conquered. Each of these consisted of a central city or fortress, surrounded by various farming communities which produced their food. Joshua had subdued the thirty one fortified cities and killed their inhabitants, but the people of the surrounding communities were still there.