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Jordan Old History

 

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.

  • AbbreviationFinder.org: 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 dominion.

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 followed.

Old History of Jordan

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 Transjordanian emirate.

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.

2013

December

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 desalination plant.

Jordan joins the Security Council

Jordan is elected to the seat of the UN Security Council, which Saudi Arabia refused in October.

September

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.

August

government reshuffle

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.

March

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.

January

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.

 
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