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The name of Damascus first appeared in the second millennium BC (as Ḥ-m-ś-q in Egyptian) and is etymologically derived from the Semitic word "dammes" meaning "blood", referring to blood spilled over its walls during battles between invaders. The origin of the name is uncertain, but it is believed to be pre-Semitic. It may be related to a former Canaanite city called Dammaush or something similar, which was destroyed by Joshua (). Another possibility is that the name derives from an Aramaic root originally meaning "fortress". In addition for its strategic location along trading routes, Damascus has always been a major center of commerce due to both local industries and long distance trade; goods originating at one end of Mesopotamia were often exported via Damascus.