During the time of Jesus what was called Galilee by the Romans was composed primarily of the land God had given to the Israelite tribe of Naphtali. Pieces of land formerly given as an inheritance to the tribes of Zebulun, Issachar and Asher were also part of the region. Cities located within the province included Jezreel, Megiddo, Endor, Nain, Cana, Hazor, Tiberias on Lake Galilee, Sepphoris and Nazareth (where Jesus lived and grew up in until the time of his ministry at the age of 30).
Solomon, as a reward to David's friend King Hiram of Tyre for providing trees and other goods and services for Israel's building projects, gave him as a 'thank you' gift part of the land around Naphtali's mountains (see 2Samuel 5:11, 1Chronicles 14:1, 1Kings 5:1-11, 9:10-13). Hiram, however, was so displeased with what he received that he labeled the land "Cabul" (1Kings 9:13), which means "land of dissatisfaction" or "land that is good for nothing." After he gave back the "gift" (2Chronicles 8:2) Solomon rebuilt some of the cities in the area.
This region was populated with Gentiles after the northern ten tribes of Israel were taken out of the land and placed in Assyria as captives. Gentiles continued to live in the land during Jesus ministry. Christ's move, around the age of thirty, from living in Nazareth to living in Galilee where mostly non-Jews lived, fulfilled Biblical prophecy.
13. And after leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is on the seaside, on the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim; 14. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, saying, 15. "The land of Zabulon and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16. The people who were sitting in darkness have seen a great light; and to those who were sitting in the realm and shadow of death, light has sprung up." 17. From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:13 - 17, HBFV)
Pictures - Maps
from Life of Christ
In the first century A.D. Galilee encompassed at least one-third of the Western part of Palestine. As such, it was the biggest of the three Roman provinces in the general area (the other two being Samaria and Judea). Geological features include the plain of Jezreel (known as the great battlefield of Palestine), the Mount of Megiddo (from where the term Armageddon is derived), and Mt. Tabor.
The region of Galilee was the focal point of many events and teachings in Jesus' ministry. Jesus gave no less than nineteen out of at least thirty-two of his parables delineated in the Bible in this area. Twenty-five of Christ's miracles were also performed in Galilee, included his first public miracle at a Cana wedding and his last one given just after his resurrection. This area was also the place where Christ gave the message that is the foundation of true Christianity (Matthew 5 - 7, Luke 6:20-49).