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Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan ( ar, المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية; tr. '), is an
Arab country The Arab world ( ar, العالم العربي '), formally the Arab homeland ( '), also known as the Arab nation ( '), the Arabsphere, or the Arab states, consists of the 22 Arab countries which are members of the Arab League. A majority of thes ...
in the
Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria, which included present-day ...

Levant
region of
Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle East. It includes Anatolia, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Mesopotamia, the Levant region, the island of Cyprus, the Sinai Peninsula, and ...
, on the
East Bank Transjordan, the East Bank, or the Transjordanian Highlands ( ar, شرق الأردن), is the part of the Southern Levant east of the Jordan River, mostly contained in present-day Jordan. The region, known as Transjordan, was controlled by numer ...
of the
Jordan River ) , name_native_lang = , name_other = , name_etymology = Hebrew: ירדן (yardén, ''“descender”''), from ירד (yarad, ''“descended”'') , image = 20100923 mer morte13.JPG , image_size = , image_cap ...
. Jordan is bordered by
Saudi Arabia (Shahada) , national_anthem = "" "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia" , image_map = Saudi Arabia (orthographic projection).svg , capital = Riyadh , coordinates = , largest_city = Riyadh , official_languages = Arabic , languages_type = Spoken l ...
,
Iraq Iraq ( ar, ٱلْعِرَاق, '; ku, عێراق '), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق '), is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to th ...
,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a country in West ...
,
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל; ar, إِسْرَائِيل), officially known as the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, '), is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Se ...
and
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
(
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west and ...

West Bank
). The
Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت The first article ''al-'' is unnecessary and usually not used. or Buhayrat, Bahret or Birket Lut, ''lit.'' "Lake/Sea of Lot") is a salt lake bordered by Jorda ...
is located along its western
border Borders are geographic boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, sovereign states, federated states, and other subnational entities. Borders are established through agreements between political or social entiti ...
s and the country has a coastline on the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر ''Al Baḥr al aḥmar''; Hebrew: ''Yam Soof'' ים סוף or ''Hayam Haadom'' הים האדום; Coptic: ⲫⲓⲟⲙ `ⲛϩⲁϩ ''Phiom Enhah'' or ⲫⲓⲟⲙ ̀ⲛϣⲁⲣⲓ ''Phiom ̀nšari''; Tigr ...
in its extreme south-west. Jordan is situated at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe. The
capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter, an upper-case letter in any type of writing * Capital city, the area of a country, province, region, or state, regarded as enjoying primary status, usually but not always the seat of the governm ...
,
Amman Amman (; ar, عَمَّان, ' ) is the capital and largest city of Jordan and the country's economic, political and cultural centre. With a population of 4,007,526, Amman is the largest city in the Levant region and the sixth-largest city in t ...

Amman
, is Jordan's most populous city as well as the country's economic, political and cultural centre. What is now Jordan has been inhabited by humans since the
Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age, is a period in human prehistory distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers  99% of the period of human technological prehistory. It ...
period. Three stable kingdoms emerged there at the end of the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron s ...
:
Ammon Ammon (Ammonite: 𐤏𐤌𐤍 ''ʻAmān''; he, עַמּוֹן ''ʻAmmōn''; ar, عمّون, ʻAmmūn) was an ancient Semitic-speaking nation occupying the east of the Jordan River, between the torrent valleys of Arnon and Jabbok, in present- ...
,
Moab Moab ''Mōáb''; Assyrian: 𒈬𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Mu'aba'', 𒈠𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Ma'ba'', 𒈠𒀪𒀊 ''Ma'ab''; Egyptian: 𓈗𓇋𓃀𓅱𓈉 ''Mū'ībū'', name=, group= () is the name of an ancient kingdom whose territory is today located ...
and
Edom Edom (; Edomite: 𐤀𐤃𐤌 ''’Edām''; he, אֱדוֹם ''ʼÉḏōm'', lit.: "red"; akk, 𒌑𒁺𒈠𒀀𒀀 ''Uduma'') was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan located between Moab to the northeast, the Arabah to the west and the Arabian D ...

Edom
. Later rulers include the
Nabataean Kingdom The Nabataean Kingdom ( ar, المملكة النبطية, al-Mamlakah an-Nabaṭiyyah), also named Nabatea (), was a political state of the Arab Nabataeans during classical antiquity. The Nabataean Kingdom controlled many of the trade routes of t ...
, the
Persian Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the B ...
, the
Roman Empire#REDIRECT Roman Empire#REDIRECT Roman Empire {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...

Roman Empire
, the
Rashidun , image = تخطيط كلمة الخلفاء الراشدون.png , caption = Calligraphic representation of Rashidun Caliphs , birth_place = Mecca, Hejaz, Arabia present-day Saudi Arabia , known_for = Companions of the Pr ...
,
Umayyad The Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE; , ; ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْأُمَوِيَّة, al-Khilāfah al-ʾUmawīyah) was the second of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. The caliphate was ruled by the Umay ...
, and Abbasid Caliphates, and the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ota, دولت عليه عثمانيه ', literally "The Sublime Ottoman State"; Modern Turkish: ' or '; french: Empire ottoman) (''Osmanean Têrut´iwn'', meaning "Ottoman Authority/Governance/Rule"), Օսմանյան պ ...

Ottoman Empire
. After the
Great Arab Revolt The Arab Revolt ( ar, الثورة العربية, ; tr, Arap İsyanı) or the Great Arab Revolt (, ) was a military uprising of Arab forces against the Ottoman Empire in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I. On the basis of the McMahon–Hu ...

Great Arab Revolt
against the Ottomans in 1916 during
World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously known as the Great War or "the war to end all wars", i ...
, the Ottoman Empire was partitioned by Britain and France. The
Emirate of Transjordan An emirate is a political territory that is ruled by a dynastic Arabic or Islamic monarch-styled emir. Etymology Etymologically emirate or amirate ( ', plural: ') is the quality, dignity, office, or territorial competence of any emir (prince ...
was established in 1921 by the
Hashemite The Hashemites ( ar, الهاشميون, al-Hāshimīyūn), also House of Hashim, are the royal family of Jordan, which they have ruled since 1921, and were the royal family of the kingdoms of Hejaz (1916–1925), Syria (1920) and Iraq (1921–195 ...
, then
Emir An emir (; ar, أمير ' ), sometimes transliterated amir, amier, or ameer, can refer to a king or an aristocratic or noble and military title of high office used in a variety of places in the Arab countries, West Africa, Afghanistan and in the ...
, Abdullah I, and the emirate became a British
protectorate A protectorate is a state that is controlled and protected by another sovereign state. It is a dependent territory that has been granted local autonomy over most internal affairs while still recognizing the suzerainty of a more powerful sovereign ...
. In 1946, Jordan became an independent state officially known as the ''Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan'', but was renamed in 1949 to the ''Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan'' after the country captured the
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west and ...

West Bank
during the
1948 Arab–Israeli War The 1948 (or First) Arab–Israeli War was the second and final stage of the 1947–49 Palestine war. It formally began following the end of the British Mandate for Palestine at midnight on 14 May 1948; the Israeli Declaration of Independence ...
and annexed it until it was lost to Israel in
1967 Events January * January 1 – Canada begins a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of Confederation, featuring the Expo 67 World's Fair. * January 4 – The Doors release their début album ''The Doors'', which contains "Light M ...
. Jordan renounced its claim to the territory in
1988 1988 was a crucial year in the early history of the Internet—it was the year of the first well-known computer virus, the 1988 Internet worm. The first permanent intercontinental Internet link was made between the United States (NSFNET) and E ...
, and became the second Arab state to sign a
peace treaty A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or governments, which formally ends a state of war between the parties. It is different from an armistice, which is an agreement to stop hostilities; a surrende ...
with
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל; ar, إِسْرَائِيل), officially known as the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, '), is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Se ...
in 1994. Jordan is a founding member of the
Arab League The Arab League ( ar, الجامعة العربية, '), formally the League of Arab States ( ar, جامعة الدول العربية, '), is a regional organization in the Arab world, which is located in Africa and Western Asia. The Arab Leag ...
and the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation. The
sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government ...
is a
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchies differ from absolute monarchies (in which a monarch holds absolute ...
, but the king holds wide
executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief exec ...
and
legislative A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. Legislatures form important parts of most governments; in the separation of powers model, they are often contrasted with th ...
powers. Jordan is a semi-arid country with an area of and a population numbering 10 million, making it the 11th-most populous Arab country.
Sunni Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch of Islam, followed by 85–90% of the world's Muslims. Its name comes from the word ''Sunnah'', referring to the behaviour of Muhammad. The differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims arose from a dis ...
Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pronounced , or (when the stress is on the first syllable) ( ...
, practised by around 95% of the population, is the dominant religion and coexists with an indigenous Christian minority. Jordan has been repeatedly referred to as an "oasis of stability" in a turbulent region. It has been mostly unscathed by the violence that swept the region following the
Arab Spring The Arab Spring ( ar, الربيع العربي) was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab world in the early 2010s. It began in response to oppressive regimes and a low standar ...
in 2010. From as early as 1948, Jordan has accepted refugees from multiple neighbouring countries in conflict. An estimated 2.1 million
Palestinian
Palestinian
and 1.4 million
Syrian Syrians ( ar, سوريون, ''Sūriyyūn''), also known as the Syrian people ( ar, الشعب السوري, ALA-LC: ''al-sha‘ab al-Sūrī''; syr, ܣܘܪܝܝܢ), are the majority inhabitants of Syria and share common Levantine Semitic roots. The c ...
refugees are present in Jordan as of a 2015 census. The kingdom is also a refuge to thousands of
Iraqi Christians The Christians of Iraq are considered to be one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world. The vast majority of Iraqi Christians are indigenous Eastern Aramaic-speaking ethnic Assyrians who are the descendants of the inhabitants ...
fleeing persecution by
ISIL {{Infobox war faction , name = Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant , native_name = {{rtl-lang, ar, الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام''{{transl, ar, ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī 'l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām'' , war = the Iraq ...
. While Jordan continues to accept refugees, the recent large influx from Syria placed substantial strain on national resources and infrastructure. Jordan is classified as a country of "high human development" with an "upper middle income" economy. The Jordanian economy, one of the smallest economies in the region, is attractive to foreign investors based upon a skilled workforce. The country is a major tourist destination, also attracting
medical tourism Medical tourism refers to people traveling abroad to obtain medical treatment. In the past, this usually referred to those who traveled from less-developed countries to major medical centers in highly developed countries for treatment unavailable at ...
due to its well developed health sector. Nonetheless, a lack of natural resources, large flow of refugees and regional turmoil have hampered economic growth.


Etymology

Jordan takes its name from the
Jordan River ) , name_native_lang = , name_other = , name_etymology = Hebrew: ירדן (yardén, ''“descender”''), from ירד (yarad, ''“descended”'') , image = 20100923 mer morte13.JPG , image_size = , image_cap ...
which forms much of the country's northwestern border. While several theories for the origin of the river's name have been proposed, it is most plausible that it derives from the word ''Yarad'', meaning "the descender", reflecting the river's declivity. Much of the area that makes up modern Jordan was historically called '' Transjordan'', meaning "across the Jordan", used to denote the lands east of the river. The
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible (or Tanakh), a collection of ancient religious Hebrew writings by the Israelites belie ...
refers to the area as "the other side of the Jordan". Early Arab chronicles referred to the river as ''Al-Urdunn'', corresponding to the Semitic ''Yarden''. ''
Jund Al-Urdunn Jund al-Urdunn ( ar, جُـنْـد الْأُرْدُنّ, translation: "The military district of Jordan") was one of the five districts of Bilad al-Sham (Islamic Syria) during the early Islamic period. It was established under the Rashidun and it ...
'' was a military district around the river in the early Islamic era. Later, during the
Crusades The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The term refers especially to the Eastern Mediterranean campaigns in the period between 1095 and 1271 that h ...
in the beginning of the second millennium, a lordship was established in the area under the name of ''
Oultrejordain The Lordship of Oultrejordain or Oultrejourdain (Old French for "beyond the Jordan", also called Lordship of Montreal) was the name used during the Crusades for an extensive and partly undefined region to the east of the Jordan River, an area known ...
''.


History


Ancient period

The oldest evidence of
hominid The Hominidae (), whose members are known as great apes or hominids (), are a taxonomic family of primates that includes eight extant species in four genera: ''Pongo'' (the Bornean, Sumatran and Tapanuli orangutan); ''Gorilla'' (the eastern and ...
habitation in Jordan dates back at least 200,000 years. Jordan is rich in
Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age, is a period in human prehistory distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers  99% of the period of human technological prehistory. It ...
(up to 20,000 years ago) remains due to its location within the
Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria, which included present-day ...

Levant
where expansions of hominids
out of Africa ''Out of Africa'' is a memoir by the Danish author Karen Blixen. The book, first published in 1937, recounts events of the seventeen years when Blixen made her home in Kenya, then called British East Africa. The book is a lyrical meditation on B ...
converged. Past lakeshore environments attracted different hominids, and several remains of tools have been found from this period. The world's oldest evidence of bread-making was found in a 14,500 years old
Natufian The Natufian culture () is a Late Epipaleolithic archaeological culture of the Levant, dating to around 15,000 to 11,500 years ago. The culture was unusual in that it supported a sedentary or semi-sedentary population even before the introduction ...
site in Jordan's northeastern desert. The transition from
hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging (collecting wild plants and pursuing wild animals). Hunter-gatherer societies stand in contrast to agricultural societies, which rely mainly on dome ...
to establishing populous agricultural villages occurred during the
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
period (10,000–4,500 BC).
'Ain Ghazal El Ain ( ar, العين), Al Ain, or Ain is a village at an elevation of on a foothill of the Anti-Lebanon mountains#REDIRECT Anti-Lebanon Mountains {{R from move ... in Baalbek District Baalbek District ( ar, قضاء بعلبك) is an administra ...
, one such village located in today's eastern
Amman Amman (; ar, عَمَّان, ' ) is the capital and largest city of Jordan and the country's economic, political and cultural centre. With a population of 4,007,526, Amman is the largest city in the Levant region and the sixth-largest city in t ...

Amman
, is one of the largest known prehistoric settlements in the
Near East The Near East (Arabic: شرق أدنى, Hebrew: המזרח הקרוב, Aramaic: ܡܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, Persian: خاور نزدیک, Turkish: Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental region comprising Western A ...
. Dozens of plaster statues of the human form dating to 7250 BC or earlier were uncovered there and they are among the oldest ever found. Other than the usual
Chalcolithic The Chalcolithic (),The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) , p. 301: "Chalcolithic /,kælkəl'lɪθɪk/ adjective ''Archaeology'' of, relating to, or denoting a period in the 4th and 3rd millennium BC, chiefly in the Near East and SE Europe, ...
(4500–3600 BC) villages such as Tulaylet Ghassul in the
Jordan Valley The Jordan Valley ( ar, غور الأردن, ''Ghor al-Urdun''; he, עֵמֶק הַיַרְדֵּן, ''Emek HaYarden'') forms part of the larger Jordan Rift Valley. Unlike most other river valleys, the term "Jordan Valley" often applies just to t ...
, a series of circular stone enclosures in the eastern basalt desert−whose purpose remains uncertain–have baffled archaeologists. Fortified towns and urban centers first emerged in the southern Levant early on in the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron s ...
(3600–1200 BC).
Wadi Feynan Wadi Feynan or Wadi Faynan ( ar, وادي فينان) is a major wadi (seasonal river valley) and region in southern Jordan, on the border between Tafilah Governorate and Aqaba and Ma'an Governorates. It originates in the southern Jordanian Highland ...
became a regional centre for copper extraction, which was exploited on a large-scale to produce bronze. Trade and movement of people in the Middle East peaked, spreading and refining civilizations. Villages in Transjordan expanded rapidly in areas with reliable water resources and agricultural land.
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced ar ...
ians expanded towards the Levant and controlled both banks of the Jordan River. During the
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Bronze Age and the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Chalcolithic). The concept has been mostly app ...
(1200–332 BC) after the withdrawal of the Egyptians, Transjordan was home to
Ammon Ammon (Ammonite: 𐤏𐤌𐤍 ''ʻAmān''; he, עַמּוֹן ''ʻAmmōn''; ar, عمّون, ʻAmmūn) was an ancient Semitic-speaking nation occupying the east of the Jordan River, between the torrent valleys of Arnon and Jabbok, in present- ...
,
Edom Edom (; Edomite: 𐤀𐤃𐤌 ''’Edām''; he, אֱדוֹם ''ʼÉḏōm'', lit.: "red"; akk, 𒌑𒁺𒈠𒀀𒀀 ''Uduma'') was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan located between Moab to the northeast, the Arabah to the west and the Arabian D ...

Edom
and
Moab Moab ''Mōáb''; Assyrian: 𒈬𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Mu'aba'', 𒈠𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Ma'ba'', 𒈠𒀪𒀊 ''Ma'ab''; Egyptian: 𓈗𓇋𓃀𓅱𓈉 ''Mū'ībū'', name=, group= () is the name of an ancient kingdom whose territory is today located ...
. They spoke Semitic languages of the Canaanite group, and are considered to be tribal kingdoms rather than states. Ammon was located in the Amman plateau; Moab in the highlands east of the Dead Sea; and Edom in the area around
Wadi Araba The Arabah ( ar, وادي عربة, ''Wādī ʻAraba''), or Arava / Aravah ( he, הָעֲרָבָה, ''HaAravah'', lit. "desolate and dry area"), as it is known by its respective Arabic and Hebrew names, is a geographic area south of the Dead Sea ba ...
down south. The Transjordanian kingdoms of Ammon, Edom and Moab were in continuous conflict with the neighboring Hebrew kingdoms of
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל; ar, إِسْرَائِيل), officially known as the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, '), is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Se ...
and Judah, centered west of the Jordan River. One record of this is the
Mesha Stele The Mesha Stele, also known as the Moabite Stone, is a stele dated around 840 BCE containing a significant Canaanite inscription in the name of King Mesha of Moab (a kingdom located in modern Jordan). Mesha tells how Chemosh, the god of Moab, had ...

Mesha Stele
erected by the Moabite king
Mesha 255px, Mesha Stele in the Louvre Museum. King Mesha of Moab (Hebrew: מֵישַׁע ''Mēša‘''; Moabite: 𐤌𐤔𐤏 ''MŠ‘'') was a king of Moab in the 9th century BC, known most famously for having the Mesha Stele inscribed and erected at Di ...
in 840 BC on which he lauds himself for the building projects that he initiated in Moab and commemorates his glory and victory against the
Israelites The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the tribal and monarchic periods. In the Hebrew Bible, the ter ...
. The stele constitutes one of the most important direct accounts of Biblical history. Around 700 BC, the kingdoms benefited from trade between Syria and Arabia when the
Assyrian Empire Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disambiguation) * SS ''Assyrian'', several cargo shi ...

Assyrian Empire
increasingly controlled the Levant.
Babylonians Babylonia () was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in central-southern Mesopotamia which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day Iraq and Syria). A small Amorite-ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the mino ...

Babylonians
took over the empire after its disintegration in 627 BC. Although the kingdoms supported the Babylonians against Judah in the 597 BC sack of Jerusalem, they rebelled against them a decade later. The kingdoms were reduced to
vassal A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch, in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support by knights in exchange for certain privileg ...
s, which they remained under the and Hellenic Empires. By the beginning of around 63 BC, the kingdoms of Ammon, Edom and Moab had lost their distinct identities, and were assimilated into the Roman culture.


Classical period

Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus'') of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. ...
's
conquest Conquest is the act of military subjugation of an enemy by force of arms. Military history provides many examples of conquest: the Roman conquest of Gaul, the Mauryan conquest of Afghanistan and of vast areas of the Indian subcontinent, the Spa ...
of the Persian Empire in 332 BC introduced
Hellenistic The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the conquest of Ptolemaic Egyp ...
culture to the Middle East. After Alexander's death in 323 BC, the empire split among his generals, and in the end much of Transjordan was disputed between the
Ptolemies#REDIRECT Ptolemaic dynasty ...
based in Egypt and the Seleucids based in Syria. The Nabataeans, nomadic Arabs based south of Edom, managed to establish an independent kingdom in 169 BC by exploiting the struggle between the two Greek powers. The
Nabataean Kingdom The Nabataean Kingdom ( ar, المملكة النبطية, al-Mamlakah an-Nabaṭiyyah), also named Nabatea (), was a political state of the Arab Nabataeans during classical antiquity. The Nabataean Kingdom controlled many of the trade routes of t ...
controlled much of the trade routes of the region, and it stretched south along the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر ''Al Baḥr al aḥmar''; Hebrew: ''Yam Soof'' ים סוף or ''Hayam Haadom'' הים האדום; Coptic: ⲫⲓⲟⲙ `ⲛϩⲁϩ ''Phiom Enhah'' or ⲫⲓⲟⲙ ̀ⲛϣⲁⲣⲓ ''Phiom ̀nšari''; Tigr ...
coast into the Hejaz desert, up to as far north as Damascus, which it controlled for a short period (85–71) BC. The Nabataeans massed a fortune from their control of the trade routes, often drawing the envy of their neighbours. Petra, Nabataea's barren capital, flourished in the 1st century AD, driven by its extensive water irrigation systems and agriculture. The Nabataeans were also talented stone carving, stone carvers, building their most elaborate structure, Al-Khazneh, in the first century AD. It is believed to be the mausoleum of the Arab Nabataean King Aretas IV Philopatris, Aretas IV. Roman legions under Pompey conquered much of the
Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria, which included present-day ...

Levant
in 63 BC, inaugurating a period of Roman rule that lasted four centuries. In 106 AD, Emperor Trajan annexed Nabataea unopposed, and rebuilt the King's Highway (ancient), King's Highway which became known as the Via Traiana Nova road. The Romans gave the Greek cities of Transjordan–Philadelphia (Amman), Jerash, Gerasa (Jerash), Umm Qays, Gedara (Umm Quays), Pella, Jordan, Pella (Tabaqat Fahl) and Irbid, Arbila (Irbid)–and other Hellenistic cities in Palestine and southern Syria, a level of autonomy by forming the ''Decapolis'', a ten-city league. Jerash is one of the best preserved Roman cities in the East; it was even visited by Emperor Hadrian during his journey to Palestine. In 324 AD, the
Roman Empire#REDIRECT Roman Empire#REDIRECT Roman Empire {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...

Roman Empire split, and the Eastern Roman Empire–later known as the Byzantine Empire–continued to control or influence the region until 636 AD. Christianity had become legal within the empire in 313 AD after Emperor Constantine the Great, Constantine converted to Christianity. The Edict of Thessalonica, Edict of Thessalonka made Christianity the official state religion in 380 AD. Transjordan prospered during the Byzantine era, and Christian churches were built everywhere. The Aqaba Church in Aqaba, Ayla was built during this era, it is considered to be the List of oldest church buildings, world's first purpose built Christian church. Umm ar-Rasas in southern Amman contains at least 16 Byzantine churches. Meanwhile, Petra's importance declined as sea trade routes emerged, and after a Galilee earthquake of 363, 363 earthquake destroyed many structures, it declined further, eventually being abandoned. The Sassanian Empire in the east became the Byzantines' rivals, and Byzantine–Sasanian wars, frequent confrontations sometimes led to the Sassanids controlling some parts of the region, including Transjordan.


Islamic era

In 629 AD, during the Battle of Mu'tah in what is today Al-Karak, the Byzantines and their Arab Christian clients, the Ghassanids, staved off an attack by a Muslim Rashidun force that marched northwards towards the Levant from the Hejaz (in modern-day Saudi Arabia). The Byzantines however were defeated by the Muslims in 636 AD at the decisive Battle of Yarmouk just north of Transjordan. Transjordan was an essential territory for the conquest of Damascus. The first, or Rashidun, caliphate was followed by that of the Ummayad Caliphate, Ummayads (661–750). Under the Umayyad Caliphate, several desert castles were constructed in Transjordan, including: Qasr Al-Mshatta and Qasr Al-Hallabat. The Abbasid Caliphate's campaign to take over the Umayyad's began in Transjordan. A powerful 749 Galilee earthquake, 749 AD earthquake is thought to have contributed to the Umayyads defeat to the Abbasids, who moved the caliphate's capital from Damascus to Baghdad. During Abbasid rule (750–969), several Arab tribes moved northwards and settled in the Levant. As had happened during the Roman era, growth of maritime trade diminished Transjordan's central position, and the area became increasingly impoverished. After the decline of the Abbasids, Transjordan was ruled by the Fatimid Caliphate (969–1070), then by the Crusades, Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem (1115–1187). The Crusaders constructed several Crusader castles as part of the Lordship of Oultrejordain, including those of Montreal (Crusader castle), Montreal and Al-Karak. The Ayyubids built the Ajloun Castle and rebuilt older castles, to be used as military outposts against the Crusaders. During the Battle of Hattin (1187) near Lake Tiberias just north of Transjordan, the Crusaders lost to Saladin, the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty (1187–1260). Villages in Transjordan under the Ayyubids became important stops for Muslim pilgrims going to Mecca who travelled along the route that connected Syria to the Hejaz. Several of the Ayyubid castles were used and expanded by the Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo), Mamluks (1260–1516), who divided Transjordan between the provinces of Karak and Damascus. During the next century Transjordan experienced Mongol attacks, but the Mongols were ultimately repelled by the Mamluks after the Battle of Ain Jalut (1260). In 1516, the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman Caliphate's forces Ottoman–Mamluk War (1516–17), conquered Mamluk territory. Agricultural villages in Transjordan witnessed a period of relative prosperity in the 16th century, but were later abandoned. Transjordan was of marginal importance to the Ottoman authorities. As a result, Ottoman presence was virtually absent and reduced to annual tax collection visits. More Arab Bedouin tribes moved into Transjordan from Syria and the Hejaz during the first three centuries of Ottoman rule, including the Banu 'Adwan, Adwan, the Bani Sakhr and the Howeitat. These tribes laid claims to different parts of the region, and with the absence of a meaningful Ottoman authority, Transjordan slid into a state of anarchy that continued till the 19th century. This led to a short-lived occupation by the Wahhabi forces (1803–1812), an ultra-orthodox Islamic movement that emerged in Emirate of Diriyah, Najd (in modern-day Saudi Arabia). Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt, Ibrahim Pasha, son of the Muhammad Ali of Egypt, governor of the Egypt Eyalet under the request of the Ottoman sultan, Ottoman–Wahhabi War, rooted out the Wahhabis by 1818. In 1833 Ibrahim Pasha turned on the Ottomans and established his rule over the Levant. His oppressive policies led to the unsuccessful peasants' revolt in Palestine in 1834. Transjordanian cities of Al-Salt and Al-Karak were Siege of Al-Karak (1834), destroyed by Ibrahim Pasha's forces for harboring a Qasim al-Ahmad, peasants' revolt leader. Egyptian rule was Egyptian–Ottoman War (1839–41), forcibly ended in 1841, with Ottoman rule restored. Only after Ibrahim Pasha's campaign did the Ottoman Empire try to solidify its presence in the Syria Vilayet, which Transjordan was part of. A series of tax and land reforms (''Tanzimat'') in 1864 brought some prosperity back to agriculture and to abandoned villages; the end of virtually autonomy predictably provoked a backlash in other areas of Transjordan. Muslim Circassians and Chechens, fleeing Russian Ethnic cleansing of Circassians, persecution, sought refuge in the Levant. In Transjordan and with Ottoman support, Circassians first settled in the long-abandoned vicinity of Amman in 1867, and later in the surrounding villages. After having established its administration, conscription and heavy taxation policies by the Ottoman authorities led to revolts in the areas it controlled. Transjordan's tribes in particular revolted during the Shoubak Revolt, Shoubak (1905) and the Karak Revolts (1910), which were brutally suppressed. The construction of the Hejaz Railway in 1908–stretching across the length of Transjordan and linking Mecca with Istanbul helped the population economically, as Transjordan became a stopover for pilgrims. However, increasing policies of Turkification and centralization adopted by the Ottoman Empire disenchanted the Arabs of the Levant.


Modern era

Four centuries of stagnation during Ottoman rule came to an end during
World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously known as the Great War or "the war to end all wars", i ...
by the 1916 Arab Revolt, driven by long-term resentment towards the Ottoman authorities and growing Arab nationalism. The revolt was led by Sharif of Mecca, Sharif Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca, Hussein of Mecca, and his sons Abdullah I of Jordan, Abdullah, Faisal I of Iraq, Faisal and Ali of Hejaz, Ali, members of the Hashemites, Hashemite family of the Hejaz, descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. Locally, the revolt garnered the support of the Transjordanian tribes, including Bedouins, Circassians and Jordanian Christians, Christians. The Allies of World War I, including Britain and France, whose imperial interests converged with the Arabist cause, offered support. The revolt started on 5 June 1916 from Medina and pushed northwards until the fighting reached Transjordan in the Battle of Aqaba on 6 July 1917. The revolt reached its climax when Faisal entered Damascus in October 1918, and established an Arab-led military administration in Occupied Enemy Territory Administration, OETA East, later declared as the Arab Kingdom of Syria, both of which Transjordan was part of. During this period, the southernmost region of the country, including Ma'an and Aqaba, was also Occupation of Ma'an, claimed by the neighbouring Kingdom of Hejaz. The nascent Hashemite Kingdom over Greater Syria was forced to surrender to French troops on 24 July 1920 during the Battle of Maysalun; the French occupied only the northern part of the Syrian Kingdom, leaving Interregnum (Transjordan), Transjordan in a period of interregnum. Arab aspirations failed to gain international recognition, due mainly to the secret 1916 Sykes–Picot Agreement, which divided the region into French and British spheres of influence, and the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which promised Palestine to Jews. This was seen by the Hashemites and the Arabs as a betrayal of their previous agreements with the British, including the 1915 McMahon–Hussein Correspondence, in which the British stated their willingness to recognize the independence of a unified Arab state stretching from Aleppo to Aden under the rule of the Hashemites. The British Mandate for Palestine (legal instrument), British High Commissioners for Palestine and Transjordan, High Commissioner, Herbert Samuel, 1st Viscount Samuel, Herbert Samuel, travelled to Transjordan on 21 August 1920 to meet with Al-Salt's residents. He there declared to a crowd of six hundred Transjordanian notables that the British government would aid the establishment of local governments in Transjordan, which is to be kept separate from that of Palestine. The second meeting took place in Umm Qais on 2 September, where the British government representative Major FitzRoy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan, Fitzroy Somerset received a petition that demanded: an independent Arab government in Transjordan to be led by an Arab prince (emir); land sale in Transjordan to Jews be stopped as well as the prevention of Jewish immigration there; that Britain establish and fund a national army; and that free trade be maintained between Transjordan and the rest of the region. Abdullah, the second son of Sharif Hussein, Establishment of the Emirate of Transjordan, arrived from Hejaz by train in Ma'an in southern Transjordan on 21 November 1920 to redeem the Greater Syrian Kingdom his brother had lost. Transjordan then was in disarray, widely considered to be ungovernable with its dysfunctional local governments. Abdullah gained the trust of Transjordan's tribal leaders before scrambling to convince them of the benefits of an organized government. Abdullah's successes drew the envy of the British, even when it was in their interest. The British reluctantly accepted Abdullah as ruler of Transjordan after having given him a six-month trial. In March 1921, the British decided to add Transjordan to their Mandate for Palestine, in which they would implement their "Sharifian Solution" policy without applying the provisions of the mandate dealing with Jewish settlement. On 11 April 1921, the
Emirate of Transjordan An emirate is a political territory that is ruled by a dynastic Arabic or Islamic monarch-styled emir. Etymology Etymologically emirate or amirate ( ', plural: ') is the quality, dignity, office, or territorial competence of any emir (prince ...
was established with Abdullah as Emir. In September 1922, the Council of the League of Nations recognized Transjordan as a state under the terms of the Transjordan memorandum. Transjordan remained a British mandate until 1946, but it had been granted a greater level of autonomy than the region west of the Jordan River.Marjorie M. Whiteman, Digest of International Law, vol. 1, U.S. State Department (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963) pp 636, 650–652 Multiple difficulties emerged upon the assumption of power in the region by the Hashemite leadership. In Transjordan, small local rebellions at Kura Rebellion, Kura in 1921 and 1923 were suppressed by the Emir's forces with the help of the British. Wahhabis from Najd regained strength and Ikhwan raids on Transjordan, repeatedly raided the southern parts of his territory in (1922–1924), seriously threatening the Emir's position. The Emir was unable to repel those raids without the aid of the local Bedouin tribes and the British, who maintained a military base with a small Royal Air Force, RAF detachment close to Amman.


Post-independence

The Treaty of London (1946), Treaty of London, signed by the British Government and the Emir of Transjordan on 22 March 1946, recognised the independence of Transjordan upon ratification by both countries' parliaments. On 25 May 1946, the day that the treaty was ratified by the Transjordan parliament, Transjordan was raised to the status of a kingdom under the name of the ''Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan'', with Abdullah as its first king. The name was shortened to the ''Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan'' on 26 April 1949. 25 May is now celebrated as the nation's Independence Day (Jordan), Independence Day, a Public holidays in Jordan, public holiday. Jordan became a member of the United Nations on 14 December 1955. On 15 May 1948, as part of the
1948 Arab–Israeli War The 1948 (or First) Arab–Israeli War was the second and final stage of the 1947–49 Palestine war. It formally began following the end of the British Mandate for Palestine at midnight on 14 May 1948; the Israeli Declaration of Independence ...
, Jordan intervened in Palestine (region), Palestine together with many other Arab states. Following the war, Jordan controlled the West Bank and on 24 April 1950 Jordan formally Jordanian annexation of the West Bank, annexed these territories after the Jericho conference. In response, some Arab countries demanded Jordan's expulsion from the
Arab League The Arab League ( ar, الجامعة العربية, '), formally the League of Arab States ( ar, جامعة الدول العربية, '), is a regional organization in the Arab world, which is located in Africa and Western Asia. The Arab Leag ...
. On 12 June 1950, the Arab League declared that the annexation was a temporary, practical measure and that Jordan was holding the territory as a "trustee" pending a future settlement. King Abdullah was assassinated at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1951 by a Palestinian militant, amid rumors he intended to sign a peace treaty with Israel. Abdullah was succeeded by his son Talal of Jordan, Talal, who would soon abdicate due to illness in favour of his eldest son Hussein of Jordan, Hussein. Talal established the Constitution of Jordan, country's modern constitution in 1952. Hussein ascended to the throne in 1953 at the age of 17. Jordan witnessed great political uncertainty in the following period. The 1950s were a period of political upheaval, as Nasserism and Pan-Arabism swept the Arab World. On 1 March 1956, King Hussein Arabization of the Jordanian Army command, Arabized the command of the Army by dismissing a number of senior British officers, an act made to remove remaining foreign influence in the country. In 1958, Jordan and neighboring Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq, Iraq formed the Arab Federation as a response to the formation of the rival United Arab Republic between Nasser's Egypt and Syria. The union lasted only six months, being dissolved after Iraqi Faisal II of Iraq, King Faisal II (Hussein's cousin) was deposed by a bloody 14 July Revolution, military coup on 14 July 1958. Jordan signed a military pact with Egypt just before
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל; ar, إِسْرَائِيل), officially known as the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, '), is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Se ...
launched a Preemptive war, preemptive strike on Egypt to begin the Six-Day War in June 1967, where Jordan and Syria joined the war. The Arab states were defeated and Jordan lost control of the
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west and ...

West Bank
to Israel. The War of Attrition with Israel followed, which included the 1968 Battle of Karameh where the combined forces of the Jordanian Armed Forces and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) repelled an Israeli attack on the Karameh camp on the Jordanian border with the West Bank. Despite the fact that the Palestinians had limited involvement against the Israeli forces, the events at Karameh gained wide recognition and acclaim in the Arab world. As a result, the time period following the battle witnessed an upsurge of support for Palestinian paramilitary elements (the Palestinian fedayeen, fedayeen) within Jordan from other Arab countries. The fedayeen activities soon became a threat to Jordan's rule of law. In September 1970, the Jordanian army targeted the ''fedayeen'' and the resultant fighting led to the expulsion of Palestinian fighters from various PLO groups into Lebanon, in a conflict that became known as Black September. In 1973, Egypt and Syria waged the Yom Kippur War on Israel, and fighting occurred along the 1967
Jordan River ) , name_native_lang = , name_other = , name_etymology = Hebrew: ירדן (yardén, ''“descender”''), from ירד (yarad, ''“descended”'') , image = 20100923 mer morte13.JPG , image_size = , image_cap ...
cease-fire line. Jordan sent a brigade to Syria to attack Israeli units on Syrian territory but did not engage Israeli forces from Jordanian territory. At the Rabat summit conference in 1974, in the aftermath of the Yom-Kippur War, Jordan agreed, along with the rest of the Arab League, that the PLO was the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people". Subsequently, Jordan Jordanian disengagement from the West Bank, renounced its claims to the West Bank in 1988. At the 1991 Madrid Conference, Jordan agreed to negotiate a peace treaty sponsored by the US and the Soviet Union. The Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace was signed on 26 October 1994. In 1997, in retribution for 1997 Mahane Yehuda Market bombings, a bombing, Israeli agents entered Jordan using Canadian passports and poisoned Khaled Meshal, a senior Hamas leader living in Jordan. Bowing to intense international pressure, Israel provided an antidote to the poison and released dozens of political prisoners, including Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, after Hussein of Jordan, King Hussein threatened to annul the peace treaty. On 7 February 1999, Abdullah II of Jordan, Abdullah II ascended the throne upon the death of his father Hussein, who had ruled for nearly 50 years. Abdullah embarked on economic liberalization when he assumed the throne, and his reforms led to an economic boom which continued until 2008. Abdullah II has been credited with increasing foreign investment, improving public-private partnerships and providing the foundation for Aqaba's free-trade zone and Jordan's flourishing information and communication technology (ICT) sector. He also set up five other special economic zones. However, during the following years Jordan's economy experienced hardship as it dealt with the effects of the Great Recession and spillover from the
Arab Spring The Arab Spring ( ar, الربيع العربي) was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab world in the early 2010s. It began in response to oppressive regimes and a low standar ...
. Al-Qaeda under Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's leadership launched 2005 Amman bombings, coordinated explosions in three hotel lobbies in Amman on 9 November 2005, resulting in 60 deaths and 115 injured. The bombings, which targeted civilians, caused widespread outrage among Jordanians. The attack is considered to be a rare event in the country, and Jordan's General Intelligence Directorate (Jordan), internal security was dramatically improved afterwards. No major terrorist attacks have occurred since then. Abdullah and Jordan are viewed with contempt by Islamic extremists for the country's peace treaty with Israel and its relationship with the West. The Arab Spring were large-scale protests that erupted in the Arab World in 2011, demanding economic and political reforms. Many of these protests tore down regimes in some Arab nations, leading to instability that ended with violent civil wars. In Jordan, in response to 2011–12 Jordanian protests, domestic unrest, Abdullah replaced his prime minister and introduced a number of reforms including: reforming the Constitution, and laws governing public freedoms and elections. Proportional representation was re-introduced to the Jordanian parliament in the 2016 Jordanian general election, 2016 general election, a move which he said would eventually lead to establishing Parliamentary system, parliamentary governments. Jordan was left largely unscathed from the violence that swept the region despite an influx of 1.4 million Syrian refugees into the natural resources-lacking country and the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).


Geography

Jordan sits strategically at the crossroads of the continents of Asia, Africa and Europe, in the
Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria, which included present-day ...

Levant
area of the Fertile Crescent, a cradle of civilization. It is large, and long between its northernmost and southernmost points; Umm Qais and Aqaba respectively. The kingdom lies between 29th parallel north, 29° and 34th parallel north, 34° N, and 34th meridian east, 34° and 40th meridian east, 40° E. It is bordered by
Saudi Arabia (Shahada) , national_anthem = "" "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia" , image_map = Saudi Arabia (orthographic projection).svg , capital = Riyadh , coordinates = , largest_city = Riyadh , official_languages = Arabic , languages_type = Spoken l ...
to Jordan–Saudi Arabia border, the south and the east,
Iraq Iraq ( ar, ٱلْعِرَاق, '; ku, عێراق '), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق '), is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to th ...
to Iraq–Jordan border, the north-east,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a country in West ...
to Jordan–Syria border, the north, and
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל; ar, إِسْرَائِيل), officially known as the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, '), is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Se ...
and
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
(
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west and ...

West Bank
) to the west The east is an arid plateau irrigated by oasis, oases and seasonal water streams. Major cities are overwhelmingly located on the north-western part of the kingdom due to its fertile soils and relatively abundant rainfall. These include Irbid, Jerash and Zarqa in the northwest, the capital
Amman Amman (; ar, عَمَّان, ' ) is the capital and largest city of Jordan and the country's economic, political and cultural centre. With a population of 4,007,526, Amman is the largest city in the Levant region and the sixth-largest city in t ...

Amman
and Al-Salt in the central west, and Madaba, Al-Karak and Aqaba in the southwest. Major towns in the eastern part of the country are the oasis towns of Azraq and Ruwaished. In the west, a highland area of arable land and Mediterranean evergreen forestry drops suddenly into the Jordan Rift Valley. The rift valley contains the
Jordan River ) , name_native_lang = , name_other = , name_etymology = Hebrew: ירדן (yardén, ''“descender”''), from ירד (yarad, ''“descended”'') , image = 20100923 mer morte13.JPG , image_size = , image_cap ...
and the
Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت The first article ''al-'' is unnecessary and usually not used. or Buhayrat, Bahret or Birket Lut, ''lit.'' "Lake/Sea of Lot") is a salt lake bordered by Jorda ...
, which separates Jordan from Israel. Jordan has a shoreline on the Gulf of Aqaba in the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر ''Al Baḥr al aḥmar''; Hebrew: ''Yam Soof'' ים סוף or ''Hayam Haadom'' הים האדום; Coptic: ⲫⲓⲟⲙ `ⲛϩⲁϩ ''Phiom Enhah'' or ⲫⲓⲟⲙ ̀ⲛϣⲁⲣⲓ ''Phiom ̀nšari''; Tigr ...
, but is otherwise landlocked. The Yarmouk River, an eastern tributary of the Jordan, forms part of the boundary between Jordan and Syria (including the occupied Golan Heights) to the north. The other boundaries are formed by several international and local agreements and do not follow well-defined natural features. The highest point is Jabal Umm al Dami, at above sea level, while the lowest is the Dead Sea , the Extreme points of Earth, lowest land point on earth. Jordan has a diverse range of habitats, ecosystems and biota due to its varied landscapes and environments. The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature was set up in 1966 to protect and manage Jordan's natural resources. Nature reserves in Jordan include the Dana Biosphere Reserve, the Azraq Wetland Reserve, the Shaumari Wildlife Reserve and the Wadi Mujib, Mujib Nature Reserve.


Climate

The climate in Jordan varies greatly. Generally, the further inland from the Mediterranean, there are greater contrasts in temperature and less rainfall. The country's average elevation is (SL). The highlands above the Jordan Valley, mountains of the Dead Sea and Wadi Araba and as far south as Ras Al-Naqab are dominated by a Mediterranean climate, while the eastern and northeastern areas of the country are arid desert. Although the desert parts of the kingdom reach high temperatures, the heat is usually moderated by low humidity and a daytime breeze, while the nights are cool. Summers, lasting from May to September, are hot and dry, with temperatures averaging around and sometimes exceeding between July and August. The winter, lasting from November to March, is relatively cool, with temperatures averaging around . Winter also sees frequent showers and occasional snowfall in some western elevated areas.


Ecology

Over 2,000 plant species have been recorded in Jordan. Many of the flowering plants bloom in the spring after the winter rains and the type of vegetation depends largely on the levels of precipitation. The mountainous regions in the northwest are clothed in forests, while further south and east the vegetation becomes more scrubby and transitions to steppe-type vegetation. Forests cover 1.5 million dunam, dunums (), less than 2% of Jordan, making Jordan among the world's least forested countries, the international average being 15%. Plant species and genera include the Pinus halepensis, Aleppo pine, ''Sarcopoterium'', ''Salvia dominica'', black iris, ''Tamarix'', ''Anabasis (plant), Anabasis'', ''Artemisia (genus), Artemisia'', ''Acacia'', Cupressus sempervirens, Mediterranean cypress and Juniperus phoenicea, Phoenecian juniper. The mountainous regions in the northwest are clothed in natural forests of pine, Deciduous, deciduous oak, Quercus ilex, evergreen oak, pistachio and wild olive. Mammal and reptile species include, the long-eared hedgehog, Nubian ibex, wild boar, fallow deer, Arabian wolf, desert monitor, honey badger, glass snake, caracal, golden jackal and the roe deer, among others. Bird include the hooded crow, Eurasian jay, lappet-faced vulture, barbary falcon, hoopoe, pharaoh eagle-owl, common cuckoo, Tristram's starling, Palestine sunbird, Sinai rosefinch, lesser kestrel, house crow and the white-spectacled bulbul. Four terrestrial ecoregions lie with Jordan's borders: Syrian xeric grasslands and shrublands, Eastern Mediterranean conifer-sclerophyllous-broadleaf forests, Mesopotamian shrub desert, and Red Sea Nubo-Sindian tropical desert and semi-desert.


Politics and government

Jordan is a unitary state under a
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchies differ from absolute monarchies (in which a monarch holds absolute ...
. Jordan's Constitution of Jordan, constitution, adopted in 1952 and amended a number of times since, is the legal framework that governs the monarch, government, bicameral legislature and judiciary. The king retains wide executive and legislative powers from the Government of Jordan, government and Parliament of Jordan, parliament. The king exercises his powers through the government that he appoints for a four-year term, which is responsible before the parliament that is made up of two chambers: the Senate (Jordan), Senate and the House of Representatives (Jordan), House of Representatives. The judiciary is independent according to the constitution. The king is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Jordanian Armed Forces, army. He can declare war and peace, ratify laws and treaties, convene and close legislative sessions, call and postpone elections, dismiss the government and dissolve the parliament. The appointed government can also be dismissed through a Majority rule, majority vote of no confidence by the elected House of Representatives. After a bill is proposed by the government, it must be approved by the House of Representatives then the Senate, and becomes law after being ratified by the king. A royal veto on legislation can be overridden by a Supermajority#Two-thirds vote, two-thirds vote in a joint session of both houses. The parliament also has the right of Interpellation (politics), interpellation. The 65 members of the upper Senate are directly appointed by the king, the constitution mandates that they be veteran politicians, judges and generals who previously served in the government or in the House of Representatives. The 130 members of the lower House of Representatives are elected through party-list proportional representation in 23 constituencies for a 4-year term. Minimum quotas exist in the House of Representatives for women (15 seats, though they won 20 seats in the 2016 election), Christians (9 seats) and Circassians in Jordan, Circassians and Chechens in Jordan, Chechens (3 seats). Courts are divided into three categories: civil, religious, and special. The civil courts deal with civil and criminal matters, including cases brought against the government. The civil courts include Magistrate Courts, Courts of First Instance, Courts of Appeal, High Administrative Courts which hear cases relating to administrative matters, and the Constitutional Court which was set up in 2012 in order to hear cases regarding the constitutionality of laws. Although
Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pronounced , or (when the stress is on the first syllable) ( ...
is the state religion, the constitution preserves freedom of religion, religious and personal freedoms. Religious law only extends to matters of personal status such as divorce and inheritance in religious courts, and is partially based on Islamic Sharia law. The special court deals with cases forwarded by the civil one. The capital city of Jordan is
Amman Amman (; ar, عَمَّان, ' ) is the capital and largest city of Jordan and the country's economic, political and cultural centre. With a population of 4,007,526, Amman is the largest city in the Levant region and the sixth-largest city in t ...

Amman
, located in north-central Jordan. Jordan is divided into 12 Governorates of Jordan, governorates (muhafazah) (informally grouped into three regions: northern, central, southern). These are subdivided into a total of 52 Districts of Jordan, districts (Liwaa'), which are further divided into neighbourhoods in urban areas or into towns in rural ones. The current monarch, Abdullah II of Jordan, Abdullah II, ascended to the throne in February 1999 after the death of his father King Hussein of Jordan, Hussein. Abdullah re-affirmed Jordan's commitment to the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace, peace treaty with
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל; ar, إِسْرَائِيل), officially known as the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, '), is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Se ...
and its relations with the United States. He refocused the government's agenda on economic reform, during his first year. King Abdullah's eldest son, Hussein, Crown Prince of Jordan, Prince Hussein, is the current Crown Prince of Jordan. The current prime minister is Omar Razzaz who received his position on 4 June 2018 after his predecessor's austerity measures forced 2018 Jordanian protests, widespread protests. Abdullah had announced his intentions of turning Jordan into a parliamentary system, where the largest bloc in parliament forms a government. However, the underdevelopment of political parties in the country has hampered such moves. Jordan has around 50 political parties representing nationalist, leftist, Islamist, and liberal ideologies. Political parties contested a fifth of the seats in the 2016 Jordanian general election, 2016 elections, the remainder belonging to independent politicians. According to Freedom House, Jordan is ranked as the 3rd freest Arab country, and as "partly free" in the Freedom in the World 2019 report. The 2010 Arab Democracy Index from the Arab Reform Initiative ranked Jordan first in the state of democratic reforms out of 15 Arab countries. Jordan ranked first among the Arab states and 78th globally in the Index of Freedom in the World, Human Freedom Index in 2015, and ranked 55th out of 175 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) issued by Transparency International in 2014, where 175th is most corrupt. In the Press Freedom Index, 2016 Press Freedom Index maintained by Reporters Without Borders, Jordan ranked 135th out of 180 countries worldwide, and 5th of 19 countries in the Middle East and North Africa region. Jordan's score was 44 on a scale from 0 (most free) to 105 (least free). The report added "the Arab Spring and the Syrian conflict have led the authorities to tighten their grip on the media and, in particular, the Internet, despite an outcry from civil society". Jordanian media consists of public and private institutions. Popular Jordanian newspapers include Al Ghad and the Jordan Times. Al-Mamlaka, Ro'ya and Jordan Radio and Television Corporation, Jordan TV are some Jordanian TV channels. Internet penetration in Jordan reached 76% in 2015. There are concerns that the government will use the COVID-19 pandemic in Jordan to silence dissidents.


Largest cities


Administrative divisions

The first level subdivision in Jordan is the ''muhafazah'' or Governorates of Jordan, governorate. The governorates are divided into Liwa (Arabic), ''liwa'' or districts, which are often further subdivided into Kaza, ''qda'' or sub-districts. Control for each administrative unit is in a "chief town" (administrative centre) known as a Nahias of Jordan, ''nahia''.


Foreign relations

The kingdom has followed a pro-Western foreign policy and maintained close relations with the United States and the United Kingdom. During the first Gulf War (1990), these relations were damaged by Jordan's neutrality and its maintenance of relations with Iraq. Later, Jordan restored its relations with Western countries through its participation in the enforcement of Sanctions against Iraq, UN sanctions against Iraq and in the Southwest Asia peace process. After King Hussein's death in 1999, relations between Jordan and the Persian Gulf countries greatly improved. Jordan is a key ally of the US and UK and, together with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, is one of only three Arab world, Arab nations to have signed peace treaties with Israel, Jordan's direct neighbour. Jordan views an independent Palestinian state with the Green Line (Israel), 1967 borders, as part of the two-state solution and of supreme national interest. The ruling Hashemite dynasty has had custodianship over holy sites in Jerusalem since 1924, a position re-inforced in the Israel–Jordan peace treaty. Turmoil in Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque, Al-Aqsa mosque between Israelis and Palestinians created tensions between Jordan and Israel concerning the former's role in protecting the Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem. Jordan is a founding member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and of the
Arab League The Arab League ( ar, الجامعة العربية, '), formally the League of Arab States ( ar, جامعة الدول العربية, '), is a regional organization in the Arab world, which is located in Africa and Western Asia. The Arab Leag ...
. It enjoys "advanced status" with the European Union and is part of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which aims to increase links between the EU and its neighbours. Jordan and Morocco tried to join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 2011, but the Gulf countries offered a five-year development aid programme instead.


Military

The first organised army in Jordan was established on 22 October 1920, and was named the "Arab Legion". The Legion grew from 150 men in 1920 to 8,000 in 1946. Jordan's capture of the
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west and ...

West Bank
during the
1948 Arab–Israeli War The 1948 (or First) Arab–Israeli War was the second and final stage of the 1947–49 Palestine war. It formally began following the end of the British Mandate for Palestine at midnight on 14 May 1948; the Israeli Declaration of Independence ...
proved that the Arab Legion, known today as the Jordan Armed Forces, was the most effective among the Arab troops involved in the war. The Royal Jordanian Army, which boasts around 110,000 personnel, is considered to be among the most professional in the region, due to being particularly well-trained and organised. The Jordanian military enjoys strong support and aid from the United States, the United Kingdom and France. This is due to Jordan's critical position in the Middle East. The development of Joint Special Operations Command (Jordan), Special Operations Forces has been particularly significant, enhancing the capability of the military to react rapidly to threats to homeland security, as well as training special forces from the region and beyond. Jordan provides extensive training to the security forces of several Arab countries. There are about 50,000 Jordanian troops working with the United Nations in peacekeeping missions across the world. Jordan ranks third internationally in participation in U.N. peacekeeping missions, with one of the highest levels of peacekeeping troop contributions of all U.N. member states. Jordan has dispatched several field hospitals to conflict zones and areas affected by natural disasters across the region. In 2014, Jordan joined an aerial bombardment campaign by an international coalition led by the United States against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Islamic State as part of its intervention in the Syrian Civil War. In 2015, Jordan participated in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, Saudi Arabian-led military intervention in Yemen against the Houthis and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was deposed in the 2011 uprising.


Law enforcement

Jordan's law enforcement is under the purview of the Public Security Directorate (which includes approximately 50,000 persons) and the General Directorate of Gendarmerie, both of which are subordinate to the country's Ministry of Interior (Jordan), Ministry of Interior. The first police force in the Jordanian state was organised after the fall of the Ottoman Empire on 11 April 1921. Until Arabization of the Jordanian Army command, 1956 police duties were carried out by the Arab Legion and the Transjordan Frontier Force. After that year the Public Safety Directorate was established. The number of female police officers is increasing. In the 1970s, it was the first Arab country to include females in its police force. Jordan's law enforcement was ranked 37th in the world and 3rd in the Middle East, in terms of police services' performance, by the 2016 World Internal Security and Police Index.


Economy

Jordan is classified by the World Bank as an "upper-middle income" country. However, approximately 14.4% of the population lives below the national poverty line on a longterm basis (), while almost a third fell below the national poverty line during some time of the year—known as transient poverty. The economy, which has a GDP of $39.453 billion (), grew at an average rate of 8% per annum between 2004 and 2008, and around 2.6% 2010 onwards. GDP per capita rose by 351% in the 1970s, declined 30% in the 1980s, and rose 36% in the 1990s—currently $9,406 per capita by purchasing power parity. The Jordanian economy is one of the smallest economies in the region, and the country's populace suffers from relatively high rates of unemployment and poverty. Jordan's economy is relatively well diversified. Trade and finance combined account for nearly one-third of GDP; transportation and communication, public utilities, and construction account for one-fifth, and mining and manufacturing constitute nearly another fifth. Net official development assistance to Jordan in 2009 totalled US$761 million; according to the government, approximately two-thirds of this was allocated as grants, of which half was direct budget support. The official currency is the Jordanian dinar, which is pegged to the IMF's special drawing rights (SDRs), equivalent to an exchange rate of 0.709 dinar, or approximately 1.41044 dollars. In 2000, Jordan joined the World Trade Organization and signed the Jordan–United States Free Trade Agreement, thus becoming the first Arab country to establish a free trade agreement with the United States. Jordan enjoys advanced status with the EU, which has facilitated greater access to export to European markets. Due to slow domestic growth, high energy and food subsidies and a bloated Public sector, public-sector workforce, Jordan usually runs annual budget deficits. The Great Recession and the turmoil caused by the
Arab Spring The Arab Spring ( ar, الربيع العربي) was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab world in the early 2010s. It began in response to oppressive regimes and a low standar ...
have depressed Jordan's GDP growth, damaging trade, industry, construction and tourism. Tourist arrivals have dropped sharply since 2011. Since 2011, the Arab Gas Pipeline, natural gas pipeline in Sinai Peninsula, Sinai supplying Jordan from Egypt was attacked 32 times by Islamic State affiliates. Jordan incurred billions of dollars in losses because it had to substitute more expensive heavy-fuel oils to generate electricity. In November 2012, the government cut subsidies on fuel, increasing its price. The decision, which was later revoked, caused large scale protests to break out across the country. Jordan's total foreign debt in 2011 was $19 billion, representing 60% of its GDP. In 2016, the debt reached $35.1 billion representing 93% of its GDP. This substantial increase is attributed to effects of regional instability causing: decrease in tourist activity; decreased foreign investments; increased military expenditure; attacks on Egyptian pipeline; the collapse of trade with Iraq and Syria; expenses from hosting Syrian refugees and accumulated interests from loans. According to the World Bank, Syrian refugees have cost Jordan more than $2.5 billion a year, amounting to 6% of the GDP and 25% of the government's annual revenue. Foreign aid covers only a small part of these costs, 63% of the total costs are covered by Jordan. An austerity programme was adopted by the government which aims to reduce Jordan's debt-to-GDP ratio to 77 percent by 2021. The programme succeeded in preventing the debt from rising above 95% in 2018. The proportion of well-educated and skilled workers in Jordan is among the highest in the region in sectors such as ICT and industry, due to a relatively modern educational system. This has attracted large foreign investments to Jordan and has enabled the country to export its workforce to Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf countries. Flows of remittances to Jordan grew rapidly, particularly during the end of the 1970s and 1980s, and remains an important source of external funding. Remittances from Jordanian expatriates were $3.8 billion in 2015, a notable rise in the amount of transfers compared to 2014 where remittances reached over $3.66 billion listing Jordan as fourth largest recipient in the region.


Transportation

Jordan is ranked as having the 35th best infrastructure in the world, one of the highest rankings in the developing world, according to the 2010 World Economic Forum's Index of Economic Competitiveness. This high infrastructural development is necessitated by its role as a transit country for goods and services to Palestine and Iraq. Palestinians use Jordan as a transit country due to the Israeli restrictions and Iraqis use Jordan due to the instability in Iraq. According to data from the Jordanian Ministry of Public Works and Housing, , the Jordanian road network consisted of of main roads; of rural roads and of side roads. The Hejaz Railway built during the Ottoman Empire which extended from Damascus to Mecca will act as a base for future railway expansion plans. Currently, the railway has little civilian activity; it is primarily used for transporting goods. A national railway project is currently undergoing studies and seeking funding sources. Jordan has three commercial airports, all receiving and dispatching international flights. Two are in
Amman Amman (; ar, عَمَّان, ' ) is the capital and largest city of Jordan and the country's economic, political and cultural centre. With a population of 4,007,526, Amman is the largest city in the Levant region and the sixth-largest city in t ...

Amman
and the third is in Aqaba, King Hussein International Airport. Amman Civil Airport serves several regional routes and charter flights while Queen Alia International Airport is the major international airport in Jordan and is the airline hub, hub for Royal Jordanian Airlines, the flag carrier. Queen Alia International Airport expansion was completed in 2013 with new terminals costing $700 million, to handle over 16 million passengers annually. It is now considered a state-of-the-art airport and was awarded 'the best airport by region: Middle East' for 2014 and 2015 by List of Airport Service Quality Award winners, Airport Service Quality (ASQ) survey, the world's leading airport passenger satisfaction benchmark programme. The Port of Aqaba is the only port in Jordan. In 2006, the port was ranked as being the "Best Container Terminal" in the Middle East by ''Lloyd's List''. The port was chosen due to it being a transit cargo port for other neighbouring countries, its location between four countries and three continents, being an exclusive gateway for the local market and for the improvements it has recently witnessed.


Tourism

The tourism sector is considered a cornerstone of the economy and is a large source of employment, hard currency, and economic growth. In 2010, there were 8 million visitors to Jordan. The majority of tourists coming to Jordan are from European and Arab countries. The tourism sector in Jordan has been severely affected by regional turbulence. The most recent blow to the tourism sector was caused by the Arab Spring. Jordan experienced a 70% decrease in the number of tourists from 2010 to 2016. Tourist numbers started to recover as of 2017. According to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan is home to around 100,000 archaeological and tourist sites. Some very well preserved historical cities include Petra and Jerash, the former being Jordan's most popular tourist attraction and an icon of the kingdom. Jordan is part of the Holy Land and has several biblical attractions that attract pilgrimage activities. Biblical sites include: Al-Maghtas—a traditional location for the Baptism of Jesus, Mount Nebo, Umm ar-Rasas, Madaba and Machaerus. Islamic sites include shrines of the prophet Muhammad's companions such as 'Abd Allah ibn Rawahah, Zayd ibn Harithah and Muadh ibn Jabal. Ajlun Castle built by Muslim Ayyubid leader Saladin in the 12th century AD during his wars with the Crusaders, is also a popular tourist attraction. Modern entertainment, recreation and souqs in urban areas, mostly in Amman, also attract tourists. Recently, the nightlife in Amman, Aqaba and Irbid has started to emerge and the number of bars, discos and nightclubs is on the rise. Alcohol is widely available in tourist restaurants, liquor stores and even some supermarkets. Valleys including Wadi Mujib and hiking trails in different parts of the country attract adventurers. Hiking is getting more and more popular among tourists and locals. Places such as Dana Biosphere Reserve and Petra offer numerous signposted hiking trails. Moreover, seaside recreation is present on the shores of Aqaba and the
Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت The first article ''al-'' is unnecessary and usually not used. or Buhayrat, Bahret or Birket Lut, ''lit.'' "Lake/Sea of Lot") is a salt lake bordered by Jorda ...
through several international resorts. Jordan has been a
medical tourism Medical tourism refers to people traveling abroad to obtain medical treatment. In the past, this usually referred to those who traveled from less-developed countries to major medical centers in highly developed countries for treatment unavailable at ...
destination in the Middle East since the 1970s. A study conducted by Private Hospitals Association (Jordan), Jordan's Private Hospitals Association found that 250,000 patients from 102 countries received treatment in Jordan in 2010, compared to 190,000 in 2007, bringing over $1 billion in revenue. Jordan is the region's top medical tourism destination, as rated by the World Bank, and fifth in the world overall. The majority of patients come from Yemen, Libya and Syria due to the ongoing civil wars in those countries. Jordanian doctors and medical staff have gained experience in dealing with war patients through years of receiving such cases from various conflict zones in the region. Jordan also is a hub for natural treatment methods in both Ma'in Hot Springs and the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is often described as a 'natural spa'. It contains 10 times more salt than the average ocean, which makes it impossible to sink in. The high salt concentration of the Dead Sea has been proven therapeutic for many skin diseases. The uniqueness of this lake attracts several Jordanian and foreign vacationers, which boosted investments in the hotel sector in the area. The Jordan Trail, a hiking trail stretching the entire country from north to south, crossing several of Jordan's attractions was established in 2015. The trail aims to revive the Jordanian tourism sector.


Natural resources

Jordan is among the most water-scarce nations on earth. At 97 cubic meters of water per person per year, it is considered to face "absolute water scarcity" according to the Falkenmark Classification. Scarce resources to begin with have been aggravated by the massive influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan, many of whom face issues of access to clean water due to living in informal settlements (see "Immigrants and Refugees" below). Jordan shares both of its two main surface water resources, the Jordan River, Jordan and Yarmouk River, Yarmouk rivers, with neighbouring countries, adding complexity to water allocation decisions. Water from Disi Water Conveyance Project, Disi aquifer and ten major dams historically played a large role in providing Jordan's need for fresh water. The Jawa Dam (Jordan), Jawa Dam in northeastern Jordan, which dates back to the fourth millennium BC, is the world's oldest dam. The
Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت The first article ''al-'' is unnecessary and usually not used. or Buhayrat, Bahret or Birket Lut, ''lit.'' "Lake/Sea of Lot") is a salt lake bordered by Jorda ...
is receding at an alarming rate. Multiple canals and pipelines were proposed to reduce its recession, which had begun causing sinkholes. The Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance project, carried out by Jordan, will provide water to the country and to Israel and Palestine, while the brine will be carried to the Dead Sea to help stabilise its levels. The first phase of the project is scheduled to begin in 2019 and to be completed in 2021. Natural gas was discovered in Jordan in 1987, however, the estimated size of the reserve discovered was about 230 billion Cubic foot, cubic feet, a minuscule quantity compared with its oil-rich neighbours. The Risha field, in the eastern desert beside the Iraqi border, produces nearly 35 million cubic feet of gas a day, which is sent to a nearby power plant to generate a small amount of Jordan's electricity needs. This led to a reliance on importing oil to generate almost all of its electricity. Regional instability over the decades halted oil and gas supply to the kingdom from various sources, making it incur billions of dollars in losses. Jordan built a liquified natural gas port in Aqaba in 2012 to temporarily substitute the supply, while formulating a strategy to rationalize energy consumption and to diversify its energy sources. Jordan receives 330 days of sunshine per year, and wind speeds reach over 7 m/s in the mountainous areas, so renewables proved a promising sector. King Abdullah inaugurated large-scale renewable energy projects in the 2010s including: the 117 MW Tafila Wind Farm, the 53 MW Shams Ma'an Solar Power Plant, Shams Ma'an and the 103 MW Quweira Solar Power Plant, Quweira solar power plants, with several more projects planned. By early 2019, it was reported that more than 1090 MW of renewable energy projects had been completed, contributing to 8% of Jordan's electricity up from 3% in 2011, while 92% was generated from gas. After having initially set the percentage of renewable energy Jordan aimed to generate by 2020 at 10%, the government announced in 2018 that it sought to beat that figure and aim for 20%. Jordan has the 5th largest oil-shale reserves in the world, which could be commercially exploited in the central and northwestern regions of the country. Official figures estimate the kingdom's oil shale reserves at more than 70 billion tonnes. The extraction of oil-shale had been delayed a couple of years due to technological difficulties and the relatively higher costs. The government overcame the difficulties and in 2017 laid the groundbreaking for the Attarat Power Plant, a $2.2 billion oil shale-dependent power plant that is expected to generate 470 MW after it is completed in 2020. Jordan also aims to benefit from its large uranium reserves by tapping nuclear energy. The original plan involved constructing two 1000 MW reactors but has been scrapped due to financial constraints. Currently, the country's Jordan Atomic Energy Commission, Atomic Energy Commission is considering building small modular reactors instead, whose capacities hover below 500 MW and can provide new water sources through desalination. In 2018, the commission announced that Jordan was in talks with multiple companies to build the country's first commercial nuclear plant, a Helium-cooled reactor that is scheduled for completion by 2025. Rock phosphate, Phosphate mines in the south have made Jordan one of the largest producers and exporters of the mineral in the world.


Industry

Jordan's well developed industrial sector, which includes mining, manufacturing, construction, and power, accounted for approximately 26% of the GDP in 2004 (including manufacturing, 16.2%; construction, 4.6%; and mining, 3.1%). More than 21% of Jordan's labor force was employed in industry in 2002. In 2014, industry accounted for 6% of the GDP. The main industrial products are potash, phosphates, cement, clothes, and fertilisers. The most promising segment of this sector is construction. Petra Engineering Industries Company, which is considered to be one of the main pillars of Jordanian industry, has gained international recognition with its air-conditioning units reaching NASA. Jordan is now considered to be a leading pharmaceuticals manufacturer in the MENA region led by Jordanian pharmaceutical company Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Hikma. Jordan's military industry thrived after the King Abdullah Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) defence company was established by King Abdullah II in 1999, to provide an indigenous capability for the supply of scientific and technical services to the Jordanian Armed Forces, and to become a global hub in security research and development. It manufactures all types of military products, many of which are presented at the bi-annually held international military exhibition Special Operations Forces Exhibition, SOFEX. In 2015, KADDB exported $72 million worth of industries to over 42 countries.


Science and technology

Science and technology is the country's fastest developing economic sector. This growth is occurring across multiple industries, including information and communications technology (ICT) and nuclear technology. Jordan contributes 75% of the Arabic content on the Internet. In 2014, the Information and communications technology, ICT sector accounted for more than 84,000 jobs and contributed to 12% of the GDP. More than 400 companies are active in telecom, information technology and video game development. There are 600 companies operating in active technologies and 300 start-up companies. Nuclear science and technology is also expanding. The Jordan Research and Training Reactor, which began working in 2016, is a 5 MW training reactor located at the Jordan University of Science and Technology in Ar Ramtha. The facility is the first nuclear reactor in the country and will provide Jordan with radioactive isotopes for medical usage and provide training to students to produce a skilled workforce for the country's planned commercial nuclear reactors. Jordan was also selected as the location for the Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) facility, supported by UNESCO and CERN. This particle accelerator that was opened in 2017 will allow collaboration between scientists from various rival Middle Eastern countries. The facility is the only particle accelerator in the Middle East, and one of only 60 synchrotron radiation facilities in the world.


Demographics

The 2015 census showed Jordan's population to be 9,531,712 (Female: 47%; Males: 53%). Around 2.9 million (30%) were non-citizens, a figure including refugees, and illegal immigrants. There were 1,977,534 households in Jordan in 2015, with an average of 4.8 persons per household (compared to 6.7 persons per household for the census of 1979). The capital and largest city of Jordan is
Amman Amman (; ar, عَمَّان, ' ) is the capital and largest city of Jordan and the country's economic, political and cultural centre. With a population of 4,007,526, Amman is the largest city in the Levant region and the sixth-largest city in t ...

Amman
, which is one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities and one of the most modern in the Arab world. The population of Amman was 65,754 in 1946, but exceeded 4 million by 2015. Arabs make up about 98% of the population. The remaining 2% consist largely of peoples from the Caucasus including Circassians, Armenians, and Chechens, along with smaller minority groups. About 84.1% of the population live in urban areas.


Immigrants and refugees

Jordan is a home to 2,175,491 Palestinian refugees as of December 2016; most of them, but not all, were granted Jordanian citizenship. The first wave of Palestinian refugees arrived during the
1948 Arab–Israeli War The 1948 (or First) Arab–Israeli War was the second and final stage of the 1947–49 Palestine war. It formally began following the end of the British Mandate for Palestine at midnight on 14 May 1948; the Israeli Declaration of Independence ...
and peaked in the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1990 Gulf War. In the past, Jordan had given many Palestinian refugees citizenship, however recently Jordanian citizenship is given only in rare cases. 370,000 of these Palestinians live in UNRWA refugee camps. Following the capture of the West Bank by Israel in 1967, Jordan revoked the citizenship of thousands of Palestinians to thwart any attempt to permanently resettle from the West Bank to Jordan. West Bank Palestinians with family in Jordan or Jordanian citizenship were issued yellow cards guaranteeing them all the rights of Jordanian citizenship if requested. Up to 1,000,000 Iraqis in Jordan, Iraqis moved to Jordan following the Iraq War in 2003, and most of them have returned. In 2015, their number in Jordan was 130,911. Many Iraqi Christians (Assyrian people, Assyrians/Chaldeans) however settled temporarily or permanently in Jordan. Immigrants also include 15,000 Lebanese who arrived following the 2006 Lebanon War. Since 2010, over 1.4 million Refugees of the Syrian civil war, Syrian refugees have fled to Jordan to escape the violence in Syria, the largest population being in the Zaatari refugee camp. The kingdom has continued to demonstrate hospitality, despite the substantial strain the flux of Syrian refugees places on the country. The effects are largely affecting Jordanian communities, as the vast majority of Syrian refugees do not live in camps. The refugee crisis effects include competition for job opportunities, water resources and other state provided services, along with the strain on the national infrastructure. In 2007, there were up to 150,000 Assyrian People, Assyrian Christians; most are Eastern Aramaic speaking refugees from Iraq. Kurds number some 30,000, and like the Assyrians, many are refugees from Iraq, Iran and Turkey. Descendants of Armenians that sought refuge in the Levant during the 1915 Armenian Genocide number approximately 5,000 persons, mainly residing in Amman. A small number of ethnic Mandeans also reside in Jordan, again mainly refugees from Iraq. Around 12,000
Iraqi Christians The Christians of Iraq are considered to be one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world. The vast majority of Iraqi Christians are indigenous Eastern Aramaic-speaking ethnic Assyrians who are the descendants of the inhabitants ...
have sought refuge in Jordan after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Islamic State took the city of Mosul in 2014. Several thousand Libyans, Yemenis and Sudanese have also sought asylum in Jordan to escape instability and violence in their respective countries. The 2015 Jordanian census recorded that there were 1,265,000 Syrians, 636,270 Egyptians, 634,182 Palestinians, 130,911 Iraqis, 31,163 Yemenis, 22,700 Libyans and 197,385 from other nationalities residing in the country. There are around 1.2 million illegal, and 500,000 legal, migrant workers in the kingdom. Thousands of foreign women, mostly from the Middle East and Eastern Europe, work in nightclubs, hotels and bars across the kingdom. American and European expatriate communities are concentrated in the capital, as the city is home to many international organizations and diplomatic missions.


Religion

Sunni Islam is the dominant religion in Jordan. Muslims make up about 95% of the country's population; in turn, 93% of those self-identify as Sunnis. There are also a small number of Ahmadiyya, Ahmadi Muslims, and some Shiites. Many Shia are Iraqi and Lebanese refugees. Muslims who convert to another religion as well as missionaries from other religions face societal and legal discrimination. Jordan contains some of the Christianity in Jordan, oldest Christian communities in the world, dating as early as the 1st century AD after the crucifixion of Jesus. Christians today make up about 4% of the population, down from 20% in 1930, though their absolute number has grown. This is due to high immigration rates of Muslims into Jordan, higher emigration rates of Christians to the Western world, West and higher birth rates for Muslims. Jordanian Christians number around 250,000, all of whom are Arabic-speaking, according to a 2014 estimate by the Orthodox Church, though the study excluded minority Christian groups and the thousands of Western, Iraqi and Syrian Christians residing in Jordan. Christians are exceptionally well integrated in the Jordanian society and enjoy a high level of freedom. Christians traditionally occupy two cabinet posts, and are reserved nine seats out of the 130 in the parliament. The highest political position reached by a Christian is the Deputy Prime Minister, currently held by Rajai Muasher. Christians are also influential in the media. Smaller religious minorities include Druze, Baháʼí Faith, Baháʼís and Mandaeans. Most Jordanian Druze live in the eastern oasis town of Azraq, some villages on the Syrian border, and the city of Zarqa, while most Jordanian Baháʼís live in the village of Adassiyeh bordering the Jordan Rift Valley, Jordan Valley. It is estimated that 1,400 Mandaeans live in Amman, they came from Iraq after the 2003 invasion fleeing persecution.


Languages

The official language is Modern Standard Arabic, a literary language taught in the schools. Most Jordanians natively speak one of the non-standard Arabic dialects known as Jordanian Arabic. Jordanian Sign Language is the language of the deaf community. English language, English, though without official status, is widely spoken throughout the country and is the ''de facto'' language of commerce and banking, as well as a co-official status in the education sector; almost all university-level classes are held in English and almost all public schools teach English along with Standard Arabic. Chechen language, Chechen, Circassian language, Circassian, Armenian language, Armenian, Tagalog language, Tagalog, and Russian language, Russian are popular among their communities. French language, French is offered as an elective in many schools, mainly in the private sector. German language, German is an increasingly popular language; it has been introduced at a larger scale since the establishment of the German-Jordanian University in 2005.


Culture


Art and museums

Many institutions in Jordan aim to increase cultural awareness of Jordanian Art and to represent Jordan's artistic movements in fields such as paintings, sculpture, graffiti and photography. The art scene has been developing in the past few years and Jordan has been a haven for artists from surrounding countries. In January 2016, for the first time ever, a Jordanian film called Theeb was nominated for the List of submissions to the 88th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. The largest museum in Jordan is The Jordan Museum. It contains much of the valuable archaeological findings in the country, including some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Neolithic limestone statues of
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and a copy of the
Mesha Stele The Mesha Stele, also known as the Moabite Stone, is a stele dated around 840 BCE containing a significant Canaanite inscription in the name of King Mesha of Moab (a kingdom located in modern Jordan). Mesha tells how Chemosh, the god of Moab, had ...

Mesha Stele
. Most museums in Jordan are located in Amman including The Children's Museum Jordan, The Martyr's Memorial and Museum and the Royal Automobile Museum. Museums outside Amman include the Aqaba Archaeological Museum. The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts is a major contemporary art museum located in Amman. Music in Jordan is now developing with a lot of new bands and artists, who are now popular in the Middle East. Artists such as Omar Al-Abdallat, Toni Qattan, Diana Karazon and Hani Mitwasi have increased the popularity of Jordanian music. The Jerash Festival is an annual music event that features popular Arab singers. Pianist and composer Zade Dirani has gained wide international popularity. There is also an increasing growth of alternative Arabic rock bands, who are dominating the scene in the Arab World, including: El Morabba3, Autostrad (band), Autostrad, JadaL, Akher Zapheer and Aziz Maraka. Jordan unveiled its first underwater military museum off the coast of Aqaba. Several military vehicles, including tanks, troop carriers and a helicopter are in the museum.


Literature

Several Jordanian writers and poets have gained fame in the Arab world including Mustafa Wahbi Tal (Arar), Tayseer Sboul, Nahed Hattar, Fadi Zaghmout and others.


Sports

While both team and individual sports are widely played in Jordan, the Kingdom has enjoyed its biggest international achievements in Taekwondo. The highlight came at the 2016 Summer Olympics, 2016 Rio Olympic Games when Ahmad Abughaush, Ahmad Abu Ghaush won Jordan's first ever medal of any colour at the Games by taking gold in the -67 kg weight. Medals have continued to be won at World and Asian level in the sport since to establish Taekwondo as the Kingdom's favourite sport alongside association football, football and basketball. Association football, Football is the most popular sport in Jordan. The Jordan national football team, national football team came within a play-off of reaching the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when they lost a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification (inter-confederation play-offs), two-legged play-off against Uruguay. They previously reached the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup in 2004 and 2011. Jordan has a strong policy for inclusive sport and invests heavily in encouraging girls and women to participate in all sports. The Jordan women's national football team, women's football team gaining reputation, and in March 2016 ranked 58th in the world. In 2016, Jordan hosted the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, with 16 teams representing six continents. The tournament was held in four stadiums in the three Jordanian cities of Amman, Zarqa and Irbid. It was the first women's sports tournament in the Middle East. Basketball is another sport that Jordan continues to punch above its weight in, having qualified to the 2010 FIBA World Championship, FIBA 2010 World Basketball Cup and more recently reaching the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, 2019 World Cup in China. Jordan came within a point of reaching the 2012 Summer Olympics, 2012 Olympics after losing the final of the 2010 Asian Cup to China by the narrowest of margins, 70–69, and settling for silver instead. Jordan's Jordan national basketball team, national basketball team is participating in various international and Middle Eastern tournaments. Local basketball teams include: Al-Orthodoxi Club, Al-Riyadi, Zain, Al-Hussein and Al-Jazeera. Boxing, Karate, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Muay-Thai and Jujutsu, Ju-Jitsu are also popular. Less common sports are gaining popularity. Rugby football, Rugby is increasing in popularity, a Rugby Union is recognized by the Jordan Olympic Committee which supervises three national teams. Although cycling is not widespread in Jordan, the sport is developing as a lifestyle and a new way to travel especially among the youth. In 2014, a NGO Make Life Skate Life completed construction of the 7Hills Skatepark, the first skatepark in the country located in Downtown Amman.


Cuisine

As the 8th largest producer of olives in the world, olive oil is the main cooking oil in Jordan. A common appetizer is hummus, which is a puree of chick peas blended with tahini, lemon, and garlic. Ful medames is another well-known appetiser. A typical worker's meal, it has since made its way to the tables of the upper class. A typical Jordanian meze often contains kebbeh, koubba maqliya, labaneh, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, olives and Pickled cucumber, pickles. Meze is generally accompanied by the
Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria, which included present-day ...

Levant
ine alcoholic drink Arak (drink), arak, which is made from grapes and aniseed and is similar to ouzo, rakı and pastis. Jordanian wine and Beer in Jordan, beer are also sometimes used. The same dishes, served without alcoholic drinks, can also be termed "muqabbilat" (starters) in Arabic. The most distinctive Jordanian dish is mansaf, the national dish of Jordan. The dish is a symbol for Jordanian hospitality and is influenced by the Bedouin culture. Mansaf is eaten on different occasions such as funerals, weddings and on religious holidays. It consists of a plate of rice with meat that was boiled in thick yogurt, sprayed with pine nuts and sometimes herbs. As an old tradition, the dish is eaten using one's hands, but the tradition is not always used. Simple fresh fruit is often served towards the end of a Jordanian meal, but there is also dessert, such as baklava, hareeseh, knafeh, halva and qatayef, a dish made specially for Ramadan. In Jordanian cuisine, drinking coffee and tea flavoured with Mentha, na'na or Salvia officinalis, meramiyyeh is almost a ritual.


Health and education

Life expectancy in Jordan was around 74.8 years in 2017. The leading cause of death is cardiovascular diseases, followed by cancer. Childhood immunization rates have increased steadily over the past 15 years; by 2002 immunisations and vaccines reached more than 95% of children under five. In 1950, Water supply and sanitation in Jordan, water and sanitation was available to only 10% of the population; in 2015 it reached 98% of Jordanians. Jordan prides itself on its health services, some of the best in the region. Qualified medics, a favourable investment climate and Jordan's stability has contributed to the success of this sector. The country's health care system is divided between public and private institutions. On 1 June 2007, Jordan Hospital (as the biggest private hospital) was the first general specialty hospital to gain the international accreditation JCAHO. The King Hussein Cancer Center is a leading cancer treatment centre. 66% of Jordanians have medical insurance. The Jordanian educational system comprises 2 years of pre-school education, 10 years of compulsory basic education, and two years of secondary academic or vocational education, after which the students sit for the General Certificate of Secondary Education Exam (''Tawjihi)'' exams. Scholars may attend either private or public schools. According to the UNESCO, the literacy rate in 2015 was 98.01% and is considered to be the highest in the Middle East and the Arab world, and one of the highest in the world. UNESCO ranked Jordan's educational system 18th out of 94 nations for providing gender equality in education. Jordan has the highest number of researchers in research and development per million people among all the 57 countries that are members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In Jordan there are 8060 researchers per million people, while the world average is 2532 per million. Primary education is free in Jordan. Jordan has 10 public universities, 19 private universities and 54 community colleges, of which 14 are public, 24 private and others affiliated with the Jordanian Armed Forces, the Civil Defense Department, the Ministry of Health and UNRWA. There are over 200,000 Jordanian students enrolled in universities each year. An additional 20,000 Jordanians pursue higher education abroad primarily in the United States and Europe. According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are the University of Jordan (UJ) (1,220th worldwide), Jordan University of Science & Technology (JUST) (1,729th) and Hashemite University (2,176th). UJ and JUST occupy 8th and 10th between Arab universities. Jordan has 2,000 researchers per million people.


See also

* Index of Jordan-related articles * Outline of Jordan


References


Sources

* *


Further reading

*
excerpt
* case studies of trade in textiles, pharmaceuticals, and financial services. * Goichon, Amélie-Marie. ''Jordanie réelle''. Paris: Desclée de Brouwer (1967–1972). 2 vol., ill. * * * Sixth edition 2016.


External links


Jordan Travel Guide

Government of Jordan

Jordan
''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency.
Jordan profile
from the BBC News *
Google Street View locations
{{coord, 31.24, 36.51, display=title Jordan, 1946 establishments in Jordan Arabic-speaking countries and territories Countries in Asia Member states of the Arab League Member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Member states of the United Nations Middle Eastern countries Near Eastern countries States and territories established in 1946 Western Asian countries