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Prince Faisal & Lawrence of Arabia After the Turkish defeat in World War I, the territory of Jordan became part of the short-lived Syrian kingdom of king Faisal I (later king of Iraq). After the French forces defeated Faisal in 1920, Transjordan was incorporated into Britain's League of Nations' mandate of Palestine. Transjordan was treated separately from Palestine, however, and its residents were assured that it would not be affected by the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the future. His majesty king Abdullah, Faisal's brother, was chosen to rule over Transjordan in 1921. He cooperated closely with the British, who helped create the Arab Legion, a small army later commanded by Sir John Glubb. In 1928 a treaty with Britain made Transjordan a constitutional monarchy. A second treaty with the British on Mar. 22, 1946, created the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan.

Transjordan opposed the partition of Palestine and joined the other Arab League nations in fighting the new Israeli state in 1948. By the end of the war it occupied a section of West Bank territory designated for the Arabs in the United Nations partition plan. The country's name was changed to Jordan in 1949, and in 1950 it formally annexed the West Bank territory, including Old Jerusalem.

His majesty king Abdullah was assassinated in 1951, and a year later his son Talal stepped down in favor of Talal's son Hussein I. Hussein established greater independence from Britain, especially after 1956.

Jordan's former official area of 97,740 sq km (37,738 sq mi) included the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with an area of 5,878 sq km (2,270 sq mi). This area, which had been designated as Arab by the United Nations in 1947 when it voted to divide PALESTINE into Arab and Jewish states, was occupied by Jordanian forces during the first of the Arab-Israeli wars and was formally annexed by Jordan in 1950. The Jordanian annexation, however, was not recognized by the United Nations or by any nation except Great Britain and Pakistan, and the area has been occupied by Israel since the Arab-Israeli War of 1967.

Jordan implicitly renounced its West Bank claims at a 1974 Arab summit meeting when it signed the Rabat resolution, which declared the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. On July 31, 1988, Jordan announced that it was officially severing all legal and administrative ties to the West Bank and surrendering its claims to the PLO.


Petra Village life in Jordan dates from at least 8000 BC at Jericho. Hebrew states developed on the hills west of the Jordan River, while the small states of Edom, Gilead, Moab, and Ammon were settled east of the Jordan River. The area was frequently invaded by the Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, and Persians.

In the 4th century BC the northern area was incorporated into the kingdom of the Seleucids, but the south was ruled by the Arab tribe of Nabataeans, who established their capital at Petra. The Romans displaced the Seleucids in the 1st century BC, but Petra did not fall to Rome until AD 106.

The Muslim Arabs dominated from the 7th century until the 16th century, except for an interlude of Crusader control. The Ottoman Turks conquered the area in 1517.

Situated as it was between the great civilizations of Egypt to the west and Mesopotamia to the east, Jordan was destined to be a busy crossroads. In the Iron Age, during the first Millennium BC, several small kingdoms prevailed in the area.

The Edomites ruled southern Jordan; the Moabites settled in the centre of the country; and the Amorites had their capital at Hisban, south of Amman; the Ammonites controlled the area around Amman; and the Kingdom of Gilead reigned in the northern region around the Zerqa River. The Arab Nabataeans established their kingdom in southern Jordan at the end of the 1st Millennium BC, with its secure capital at Petra, but finally succumbed to Roman control in the early 2nd Century AD.

The Romans ruled Jordan Constantinople, brought Christianity to the area for some 400 years. In the 7th Century AD, the armies of Islam came out of Arabia and established the Umayyad Caliphate at Damascus, and Jordan has been an Islamic land ever since. In 1916, the Sherif Hussein of the Hijaz launched the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottomans, and by the early 1920 the Emirate of Transjordan was established under the rule of the Emir Abdallah, grandfather of His Majesty King Hussein.

Jordan became fully independent from Great Britain in 1946, and has developed without interruption as the independent Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan ever since.