Many different peoples have contested the
power of what is today's Jordan over time. In the 600s,
Arabs subjugated the region, in the 16th century it was
captured by the Turks, who came to rule for 400 years.
They were executed at the end of the First World War
with the help of the English, who here established the
British mandate Palestine. Jordan was separated and
recognized in 1923 as Trans Jordan, led by emir
Abdullah. The country gained full independence only in
1946, now with Abdullah as king.
Jordan is believed to have been inhabited since the
younger Stone Age (6000-1800 BC) but the first known
states here were the kingdoms of Ammon, Edom, Gilead and
Moab in the 13th century BC. They were in constant feud
with the Kingdom of Israel, which once dominated the
western part of today's Jordan.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Jordan, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
From around the year 800 before the Western era and
500 years on, the area was dominated by the great
ancient kingdoms of Assyria, Babylonia and Persia.
During this time, the southern part of the country was
conquered by an Arab nomad people, the Nabataeans. They
developed a trading culture and in the 300s before
Christ the rocky city of Petra became the capital. Their
state, which existed for 600 years, eventually came to
encompass most of Jordan and Syria. During the Emperor
Trajan, 106 AD, the Romans incorporated Petra into his
Christianity got an early hold. The western part of
today's Jordan once belonged to the Christian Byzantium
(Ístrom) but in the 630s it was conquered by the Arabs
and for several hundred years the current Jordan was
administered by Syria. The Arab empire came to an end in
1517 when Syria was incorporated into the Ottoman
(Turkish) Empire and four centuries of stagnation
At the end of the First World War, Arab forces
occupied the port city of Aqaba. With the help of
British military, they drove away the Turks and took
control of today's Jordan. The British had promised the
Arabs independence after the war, but instead the
British and French divided the region between them.
Today's Jordan and the area west of the Jordan River,
that is, present-day Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip, became the British mandate Palestine in 1920. The
following year, the British separated the area east of
the river from the rest of Palestine and established the
As formal ruler of Transjordan, the emir Abdullah,
son of the Arab king, the great Sharif Hussein, who
ruled over the holy city of the Muslims, was recognized.
In 1925, Jordan reached its present limits, when
Abdullah incorporated Aqaba and Maan into his kingdom.
It was then a poor and undeveloped country, inhabited
by a few hundred thousand nomads. With British help,
modernization began. The British also helped build an
army, the Arab Legion, which became one of the most
effective in the Arab world.
Transjordan was recognized in 1923 as a nation-state
under British protection. From 1928 the British
controlled only foreign policy and finances. The same
year, the country got its first constitution and a
legislative council was established.
Full independence gained the country in 1946, after
the end of the Second World War. Then the Hashemite
kingdom of Transjordan was established and Abdullah was
proclaimed king. Until 1957, the British retained some
military installations in the country in exchange for
continued social and financial assistance.
Historical agreement on water distribution
Eleven years of negotiations have resulted in a historic agreement on water
distribution between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians on the West Bank. Under
the agreement, a desalination plant is to be built in Aqaba in southern Jordan.
From there, 50 million cubic meters of water is to be exported annually to the
nearby Israeli tourist resort of Eilat. In return, Israel will divert the same
amount of water from Lake Genesis to northern Jordan. Israel will also increase
its sales of water by 20-30 million cubic meters per year to the Palestinian
Authority from the current level of just over 50 million cubic meters. The
agreement is criticized by environmental activists who point out that no
suitable solution has been found for what to do with the excess salt from the
Jordan joins the Security Council
Jordan is elected to the seat of the UN Security Council, which Saudi Arabia
refused in October.
Journalists are charged with publishing videos
Two Jordanian journalists are arrested by police and charged with publishing
a video that, according to authorities, may be perceived as offensive by the
royal family in Qatar. Thus, journalists are considered to have jeopardized the
security of the country and can be sentenced to between two and five years in
prison. The video, which has also been on YouTube, shows a man who is believed
to be the brother of Qatar's emir. The man is dressed in baseball cap, linen and
jeans and sits on a bed and talks to a woman. There is no approach.
The government is being reformed for the local elections that will take place
later this month. Among the new ministers are two women, which raises the total
number of women in the government to three.
New Prime Minister formally appointed
King Abdullah formally appoints Abdullah Ensour as prime minister. He has
been acting head of government since October 2012. Parliament has recommended
Ensour to the king since he won a vote among the members. Thus, according to
previous promise, the king gives Parliament a crucial role in the election of
the prime minister for the first time.
Ensour becomes the head of a record-breaking government of only 19 ministers.
Several ministerial posts are merged in order to save money.
Big boycott against choice
Over 60 party lists are up for election, but the country's largest party -
the Islamic Action Front - and some others choose to boycott the election in
protest against the electoral system considered to favor the king (see
2012: July). The majority in the new parliament also consist of
royalist members, but surprisingly many are considered oppositionists. The weak
party system and the fact that a large majority of the members are party-bound
make it difficult to accurately assess the strength of the relationship.
The King promises government changes
King Abdullah promises that after the new election at the end of the month he
will aim for a parliamentary model for government formation. A candidate should
thus be appointed in consultation with the Members of Parliament and, if
possible, be supported by a majority there.