Al-Urdun, officially Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan, Arabic al-Mamlakah al-Urdunniyah al-Hashimiyah is a young state that occupies an ancient land associated with civilizations of antiquity. It is bounded to the north by Syria, to the east by Iraq, to the southeast and south by Saudi Arabia, and to the west by Israel and the West Bank. (In 1988 the country renounced its claims to the West Bank, which had been under its rule from 1948 to 1967.)
The region has 16 miles (26 km) of coastline on the Gulf of Aqaba in the southwest, where its only port, is located. The total area is 34,342 square miles (88,946 square km), which excludes 147 square miles (380 square km) of territory per the Israel treaty of October 1994. The capital and largest city is Amman.
A semi-desert principality in Palestine, more than half the country is desert. Crops of citrus fruis, vegetables, olives, barley and wheat are grown in the fertile western part of the country. Industrial products are tobacco, olive oil, flur, textiles, plastics, and cement. Its only minerals are potash from the Dead Sea, and phosphate, a valuable export.
The area was once included in the British mandate of Palestine and was given a separate administration under Emir Abdullah in 1923. Britain recognized its independence in 1946 and the Emir became King Abdullah ibn Hussein.
When Israel declared its independence in 1948, the country became the battleground for the war in which the Arab League tried but failed to crush the jewish state. A truce agreement gave Old Jerusalem to the government and designated eastern Palestine as an asylum for the inhabitants. Annexation of the area with its million refugees by Egypt and al-Urdun created many problems.
Abdullah was assassinated by a league member in 1951. His son Talal, mentally ill, was deposed and Talal's son became Hussein II in 1952. Considered pro-western, Hussein was frequently in dispute with his neighbors. In 1958 he turned from Britain to the United States for financial aid.
The Arab League urged Hussein to a sterner attitude towards Israel, culminating in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Defeat brought the loss of Old Jerusalem and the territory west of the River.
Throughout 1968 serious clashes continued with Israel and some local guerrillas. In 1970, Palestinian Refugees attempted to seize power and were quickly defeated and were confined to a few camps in the north.
The kingdom was briefly involved in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war and has continued with good relations with the United States.
OFFICIAL NAME(S) Al-Mamlakah al-Urdunniyah al-Hashimiyah (Al-Urdun) CAPITAL: Amman FORM OF GOVERNMENT: constitutional monarchy with an Assembly comprising two legislative houses (Senate ; House of Deputies ) HEAD OF STATE: King assisted by Prime Minister HEAD OF GOVERNMENT: King assisted by Prime Minister MONETARY UNIT: 1 Dinar (JD) = 1,000 fils; valuation JD 1.00 = U.S.$1.41 = £0.83. OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: Arabic POPULATION : 6,198,677 RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION : Islam ETHNIC COMPOSITION : Arab 98%, of which Palestinian c. 50%; Circassian 1%; Armenian 1%. LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH : male 64.4 yrs; female 69.9
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