Jordan - national flag
The flag has been official since 1928. The colors are the Pan-Arab and
originate from the revolutionary flag that Husayn ibn Ali introduced in 1917.
His son Abdallah ibn Husayn changed the order of the colors to the current one
and added the seven-pointed star, which stands for Islam. seven main
sentences. The colors are said to stand for ancient caliph families; red is
the color of the Jordanian royal family. The flag is the model for many Arab
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Jordan - prehistory
The oldest traces of human activity in Jordan are more than 700,000 years
old. The area was then inhabited by Homo erectus. Settlements are known from
later periods of the Old Stone Age.
The transition to the Peasant Stone Age (Preceramic Stone Age) took place
around 8000 BC, and the early period is richly represented in eg Beidha in
southern Jordan. Pga. over-utilization of forests for e.g. fuel, the wild
animals disappeared, and domestic cattle, pigs and sheep became the primary
source of animal food.
At the beginning of 5000-tkKr. most villages were abandoned, but later, in
the ceramic stone age, many new villages were founded.
From Chalcolithic times (5000-3500 BC) numerous settlements are known in the
Jordan Valley and the mountains in West Jordan. Among other things, they
cultivated olives, figs, flax, cereals and vegetables. Ghassul by the Dead Sea
was a religious center with a clergy. The houses in the 20-hectare town were
adorned with murals.
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The earliest part of the Bronze Age in Jordan (3500-3000 BC) is characterized
by a number of unfortified cities, most in the northern part of the country, as
the agricultural areas east of Amman had been depleted earlier. Relatively large
cities arose, also in the desert areas; the climate was wetter than today,
making dry farming possible.
Between 3000 and 2200 BC. created an actual urban culture with fortified
cities. One of them has been excavated at Bab al-Dhira near the Dead Sea, and
here one of the Levant's largest burial sites has been found, mainly consisting
of shaft graves. From the same period originates a large number of giant tombs
in the western highlands. Early Bronze Age ended with a recession, probably due
to increasing drought. The cities were abandoned and a large part of the
population became nomads. Only in the Jordan Valley and southern Jordan did
village communities survive by farmers.
Urban foundations took place again from around 2000 BC. in the Middle Bronze
Age, and Jordan was now closely culturally linked to the rest of
Syria-Palestine. The population was smaller than before, and large areas in the
south were uninhabited. After a period of transition, during which one city
after another perished, the Late Bronze Age began with the Egyptian conquest of
Syria-Palestine around 1550 BC. Jordan became part of the international trading
system in the eastern Mediterranean, but despite growing trade, the population
declined again. However, the large cities, such as Irbid, Pella, Amman and
Sahab, were still inhabited and fortified. From this period the first written
testimonies of Jordan are known from Egypt.
Kingdoms may have developed as early as the end of the Bronze Age and came to
greatly influence the Iron Age, which began approximately 1200 BC One of them was Ammon,
which had Amman as its capital; from an temple in Deir Allah in the Jordan
Valley, an Aramaic inscription is known in the same tradition as the Balaam
prophecies in Numbers. The Kingdom of Moab east of the Dead
Sea probably originated at about the same time and probably had the present
Kerak as its capital. From Moab are known Meshastelen from 700-tkKr. with
inscription in Moabite. South of the Dead Sea, the kingdoms developed later, but
from 700 BC. one knows Edom with the capital Buseira.
Jordan - history
Jordan was conquered by Assyria, and after the collapse of the Iron Age
kingdoms, nomadic Arab cultural elements, represented by the Nabataeans in
particular, gained ground. After the defeat of the Assyrians to the Babylonians
in 612 BC. Jordan, along with Palestine and Syria, joined the 6th Satrapia of
the Persian Empire, divided into smaller units under their respective
governors. Persian rule ended with Alexander the Great's conquest of the Levant
around 330 BC. After his death in 323 BC. Jordan was first ruled by the
Ptolemies in Egypt. The Nabataeans, however, had real control of southern
Jordan, and they began to spread northward. In 198 BC. Jordan fell to Syria
under the Seleucid rulerAntiochus 3. He and his successors founded a series of
Hellenistic, free cities.
|Heads of State
||Abdallah ibn Husayn
The decline of the Seleucid Empire from the middle of 100 BC. led to the
Nabataeans and the newly created Hasmonean state of Palestine gaining a better
foothold in the country. The Hasmonean kings conquered and destroyed several
cities, and the Nabataeans became settlers in several places throughout Jordan
and were able to control the caravans from southern Arabia to Gaza and Damascus.
Roman and Byzantine times
I 63 f.Kr. the Roman army commander Pompey conquered Syria, Palestine and
Jordan. He let the lands be ruled by client kings, and in northern Jordan he
restored a number of free cities, which were later organized as Decapolis. The
free cities were expanded with Roman colonnades, temples, baths and theaters
etc. The Nabataean kingdom with its capital in Petra had its heyday during this
period, but in 106 AD. the kingdom was annexed by Emperor Trajan and admitted to
the new province of Arabia. After a series of invasions from the east,
Emperor Diocletian established around the year 300 a number of military bases
facing the Arab tribes, ensuring peace right up until the Islamic conquest in
Jordan became Christian during the 300's, and several churches and monasteries
were built, the remains of which can be seen throughout Jordan.
After Muhammad's death in 632, Jordan was subordinated to the Caliph of
Medina. When the Umayyads in 661 made Damascus the new capital of
the caliphate, a growing number of Muslim Arabs settled in Jordan, where they,
among other things. built several impressive castles that were simultaneously
intended as a framework for agricultural production. With the Crusaders'
conquest of Jerusalem in 1099, parts of Jordan came under their rule until
the Battle of Hattin in 1187, when the Christian army was defeated by
Sultan Saladin. Then the rule of Jordan passed to Egypt. In 1517, Jordan was
incorporated into the Ottoman Empire, of which it remained a part until the end
of World War I.
Mandate and independence (1916-46)
In 1916, Husayn ibn Ali launched an Arab revolt against the Ottomans in
al-Hijaz, after in October 1915 he was promised by the United Kingdom Arab
independence for the parts of the Arab world under Turkish control. However, the
promise was not fulfilled, and a conference held in Cairo in 1921 agreed that
Transjordan, ie. the part of Jordan east of the Jordan River was to be
established as an independent mandate under British control with Husayn's
son Abdallah ibn Husayn as emir. The decision was confirmed in 1922 by the
League of Nations, and in 1928 Transjordan gained increased independence. In
1946, the country became fully independent, after which Abdallah assumed the
title of king.
Jordan - a weak state (1946-67)
With the formation of the state of Israel in May 1948, Transjordan also
participated among other Arab states in the First Arab-Israeli War (War of
Independence 1948-49) against the new Jewish state. When a ceasefire was signed
in 1949, the Transjordanian army had secured control of the West Bank and
eastern Jerusalem. In 1950, Abdallah annexed the territories that had been
conquered in 1948-49 and renamed his kingdom the Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan.
The Palestinian people in the West Bank were opposed to the Jordanian
annexation, and in July 1951, Abdallah was assassinated in Jerusalem because he
was known to have entered into secret negotiations with Israel. He was succeeded
by his son Talal (1909-72), who abdicated the following year. The new king was
Talal's son Hussein, who has ruled Jordan since 1952.
Since its independence, Jordan has had close economic and security relations
with the West, first with Britain and then with the United States. The country's
geopolitical location close to Israel has since 1948 led to three major refugee
flows to the country. In 1948-49, approximately 280,000 Palestinians to the West
Bank, which in 1950 became part of Jordan. In 1967, approximately 300,000
Palestinians there, and in the spring of 1991, 350,000-400,000 Palestinians
expelled by Kuwait came to Jordan.
At the transition to independence in 1946, Jordan was given a constitution
stating that the country was a constitutional monarchy with a popularly elected
parliament. The monarchy's close relations with the West, however, led to
King Hussein and leading Jordanian politicians being subjected to fierce
criticism from pan-Arab nationalist groups. In 1957, political parties were
banned, and in 1958 the government for a time summoned British troops as
security against the growing discontent.
Jordan since 1967
In the 1967 Six-Day War (the Third Arab-Israeli War), Jordan lost the West
Bank and East Jerusalem, which was conquered by Israel. For the next 20 years,
changing Jordanian governments unsuccessfully supported various attempts to
bring peace between Israel and the Arab countries. After the war in 1967, the
Palestinian Liberation Organization (see PLO) located its political and
military center in Jordan. A very large part of the Jordanian population were
Palestinians, many of whom were strongly critical of the Jordanian
government. In 1970, the Jordanian army launched a military showdown with the
various PLO groups and eventually secured full political control of the country.
Jordan maintained until the summer of 1988 that the West Bank was part of the
Hashimite Kingdom. However, the Palestinian intifada in 1987 prompted the
Jordanian government to consider the situation, and in a 1988 speech, King
Hussein indicated that Jordan was no longer claiming the right to the West
Bank. This paved the way for a rapprochement between the PLO and Jordan, and
both parties have since reached agreements with Israel.
Throughout the 1980's, Jordan initiated ever closer political cooperation with
Iraq, which due to the war against Iran (see Iran -Iraq War) imported many of
its goods via the Jordanian port city of Aqaba on the Red Sea. The Jordanian
king therefore played a prominent role in the attempts to resolve the political
conflict triggered by Iraq's occupation of Kuwait in August 1990 (see Gulf
After the Arab defeat in the war in 1967, Jordan was provided with large
economic aid programs from the oil-producing Arab states. But despite this, the
economic development of the country during the 1980's drastically
deteriorated. This led in 1988 to significant social unrest in several Jordanian
In 1989, it became possible for people affiliated with the Muslim
Brotherhood to run for office as independent candidates. Throughout the 1990's,
the political system was partially liberalized, and prior to new elections in
1993, amendments to the Electoral Code were passed, making it possible for the
first time since 1956 for parties to run in parliamentary elections. At the
election, the first woman was elected to parliament. In connection with social
unrest in 1996, there were political austerity measures. Tightens were also
introduced in 1997 in relation to the country's media, and the Muslim
Brotherhood and its political body, the Islamic Action Front, IAF, together
boycotted several other smaller parties this year. After King Hussein's death in
February 1999, his son became Abdallah, who the month before had surprisingly
been appointed new crown prince in place of Hussein's brother Prince Hassan,
installed as the country's new king. In the local elections in July 1999, the
IAF participated again and secured influence in all the major cities of the
country. Jordanian security forces made arrests of Islamists in both 1999 and
2000, and in 2001 a planned election was postponed.
Throughout the 1990's, Jordan had paid a high economic price for its
cooperation with Iraq. King Hussein managed to get renewed support from the
United States when Jordan and Israel signed a peace agreement in 1994. Jordan
backed the United States and the West in the war on international terrorism
launched after the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York on September 11,
2001, and changes in the constitution paved the way for Jordanian units to
participate in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The king had also succeeded in
establishing economically favorable relations with Arab oil states such as Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait. In the run-up to the international invasion of Iraq in 2003,
Jordan refused to allow attacks on Iraq from its territory. The Jordanian
government was under pressure from the renewed Israeli occupation of parts of
the West Bank in March-April 2002, which led to large demonstrations throughout
the country. The demonstrations, which were also the result of a generally
deteriorating economic situation for the poorer section of the population, led
in 2002 to several violent clashes in the town of Maan in the southern part of
the country. New elections to the Jordanian parliament were held in June 2003.
The election was won by independents and parties supporting the king. The
opposition parties were elected 24 candidates out of a total of 110. In the
November 2007 election, independent and royalist candidates made further
progress, and the only real opposition party, the IAF, declined from 17 to six
seats. However, international observers questioned whether the election method
used actually reflected the political views of the population.
Since King Abdallah's ascension to the throne, a number of political reform
programs have been launched, the most far-reaching of which is the National
Agenda of 2005, which is still referred to in Jordanian politics. However,
the al-Qaeda- led bombing of three hotels in Amman (SAS Radisson, Hyatt and Days
Inn) on November 9, 2005 - referred to as Jordan's September 11 - put security
and the fight against terrorism at the top of the political agenda, and the
political reform process was put in the background.
However, the economic reform process has continued with the winding up of
subsidies and a radical privatization, which has resulted in Jordan again in
recent years succeeding in attracting much-needed foreign investment. However,
the country's close security policy cooperation with the United States and the
peace agreement with Israel make it difficult for the country to balance so that
both international and national considerations can be taken into account.