Jordan History

Jordan History

Early period until the 19th century

Archaeological finds on today’s state territory refer to hunters who already inhabited the region in the Paleolithic Age. The East Bank was closely linked to the history of Palestine and thus that of the Israelite tribes in the early days. The Moabites were ethnically related to the Israelites and shared the Baal cult with them. Under King David, Moab became a vassal state, but it changed in the 9th century BC. could free again. This was followed by the rule of the Assyrians, then the Babylonians and from the 5th century BC. that of the Nabataeans.

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In the 1st century BC the kingdom built by the Nabataeans was occupied by the Romans, but remained largely independent politically – with tribute payments. Under Roman rule, new towns and villages were founded and an economic boom spread across the entire area, known as Arabia Petraea and Petra’s first capital. According to AbbreviationFinder, Christianity began in AD 313. recognized and numerous churches emerged during this period. With Byzantine sovereignty it was under the rule of Arab-Christian Ghassanids. From the 6th century AD Muslim Arabs conquered the country and it became part of Syria. The Islamization of the country started in parallel with the conquest. A drastic change took place after about 800 years, ie in the 16th century, when Jordan came under the rule of the province of Damascus and thus the Ottoman sultans.

British domination

After around 400 years of Ottoman rule, the country became a British mandate together with the whole of Palestine in 1920. In the area east of the Jordan was the emirate of Transjordan, which was also under a British mandate. The reason for the separation of this region was growing unrest between the Jewish and the Arab population. Jews were prohibited from settling Transjordan and in 1923 the area became an independent emirate with Amman as the capital. However, it remained under a British mandate. The port of Aqaba on the Red Sea was bought from Saudi Arabia.

Until 1946, Great Britain remained a mandate for the artificial state structure, which was not viable without financial support from abroad. After the Arab League was founded in 1945 with the aim of greater cooperation among the Arab states, Great Britain released Transjordan to independence in 1946 and Emir Abdullah was declared king.

State establishment

In 1948 – after the first Arab-Israeli war – the West Bank and East Jerusalem were incorporated into the kingdom. Hundreds of thousands of Jews fled to Israel from the Arab countries, and up to one million Arabs in turn left Israel and fled to reception camps that neighboring Arab countries built up on their territory. In April 1950, Transjordan was officially renamed the “Hashemite Kingdom” and adopted a new constitution. But when King Abdullah I fell victim to an assassination attempt in 1950, his son and successor were only able to hold power briefly, and on August 11, 1952, his son Hussein Bin Talai was declared the new king of the country at the age of 17 (King Hussein II.).

In 1964 the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) was founded in the Jordanian part of Jerusalem, which soon became a threat to the royal family and the young state. The Six Day War followed in 1967, during which Israeli troops occupied the country west of the Jordan (West Bank) and East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula. This has had a serious impact on Jordan. 350,000 Palestinians fled to the country from the occupied regions, and Jordan lost the fertile agricultural areas on the West Bank (West Bank). In addition, the domestic political situation became increasingly difficult. After various PLO groups called for the overthrow of the monarchy and bomb attacks in Jordanian cities increased, King Hussein severely restricted their influence as part of the “Black September” campaign.

Nevertheless, a few years later in 1974, Jordan had to accept the decision of a summit conference of the Arab states, which appointed the PLO to represent all the Palestinians. The Kingdom waived the West Bank in favor of the PLO in the following years, and in 1988 King Hussein also formally announced that he would not use the West Bank and restricted the administrative and legal anchoring of his Kingdom to the area east of the Jordan.

But the domestic political situation still needed further political changes. After social unrest, King Hussein II agreed to political reforms and in 1989 the free elections to the House of Representatives resulted in approximately equal numbers of fundamentalist Islamists and loyalist conservatives as elected members. Mudar Badran became head of government.

Jordan took an ambivalent position in the Gulf War; the royal family was not clearly on the side of the United States and its Arab allies, which made it politically isolated in the Arab and Western world for several years. Numerous refugees from Iraq, but above all many Jordanian guest workers expelled from the Gulf States, further deepened the country’s existing economic problems.

In November 1993, supporters of a reconciliation policy with Israel were elected to the government in new elections, and Abdal Salam Majali became prime minister. The peace treaty between Israel and Jordan brought about a noticeable economic and political turning point. It was signed in 1994 after several years of partially secret negotiations. In 1995 Abdal Salam Majali resigned and Sharif Said Ibn Shakir was appointed the new head of government, who was succeeded by Abdul Karim al-Kabariti the following year. The years before the turn of the millennium were marked by the efforts of King Hussein II, the longest-serving Arab head of state, to find a final solution to the problems in Palestine.

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In 1997 Abdal Salam Majali took over again as head of government. The elections to the lower house resulted in a clear majority for the loyal tribal leaders after the Islamist-oriented parties called for a boycott. In 1998, the King of Jordan entered the world public one last time when – already seriously ill – he played an important mediating role in direct negotiations between the PLO and Israel in the United States. Hussein II died in early 1999 after 47 years in government and his son King Abdullah II. Ibn al-Hussein succeeded him. The political goals of the new king include – in addition to continuing the role of mediator in the Middle East conflict – the systematic modernization of Jordan.

King Abdullah II succeeded in normalizing relations with Egypt, Syria and the Gulf States, while at the same time maintaining strong ties with Britain and the United States in particular. The Iraq was threatened to undermine these efforts: under pressure from the Jordanian population, Abdullah II distanced himself from the United States, but allowed the United States military to access Iraq through Jordanian territory. In 2005, the king set up a committee to work out a reform and development plan for the next decade with the “National Agenda”. In mid-2006 the king launched another reform initiative (“We are all Jordan”).

After the parliamentary elections in November 2007, Abdullah II appointed Nader Dahabi, a reform-oriented prime minister; the Islamists had performed surprisingly badly. After disputes over the effectiveness of the people’s representation, the king dissolved it in November 2009 and ordered new elections to take place in 2010. They were boycotted by the opposition Islamic Action Front. As in the previous elections, representatives of the traditional elites and tribal leaders, who were loyal to the king, entered parliament.

As a result of the overthrow in Tunisia, protests in Amman and other cities in January 2011 against social grievances and inadequate political participation. The king then appointed a new government in February 2011 to carry out economic and political reforms. In the course of 2012, the passing of a new electoral and political party law and the establishment of an independent electoral commission and a constitutional court brought about important changes in the political framework. The parliament was dissolved again by the king in October 2012 to clear the way for early elections in January 2013. The Islamic Front for Action boycotted these elections as well. The new government under Prime Minister Abdullah Ensur was sworn in in April 2013.

Jordan President