History Of Jordan

Mideast topographic relief map with CAIRO - EGYPT, JERUSALEM - ISRAEL, BEIRUT - LEBANON, AMMAN - JORDAN, and DAMASCUS - SYRIA locators, 7-13-06 AP

President Bush arrived in Amman to begin a two-day visit with Jordan's king and Iraq's prime minister for talks on finding a way to calm the sectarian violence that threatens to tear Iraq apart. Find out more about Jordan's history and people.


Who was King Hussein?
For most of its history since independence from British administration in 1946, Jordan was ruled by King Hussein (1953-99). A pragmatic ruler, he successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers, various Arab states, Israel, and a large internal Palestinian population, despite several wars and coup attempts. In 1989 he reinstituted parliamentary elections and gradual political liberalization; in 1994 he signed a formal peace treaty with Israel.


Who is King Abdallah II?
King Abdallah II - the eldest son of King Hussein and Princess Muna - assumed the throne following his father's death in February 1999. Since then, he has consolidated his power and undertaken an aggressive economic reform program. Jordan acceded to the World Trade Organization in 2000, and began to participate in the European Free Trade Association in 2001.


When did parliamentary elections occur?
After a two-year delay, parliamentary and municipal elections took place in the summer of 2003. The Prime Minister and government appointed in April 2005 declared they would build upon the previous government's achievements to respect political and human rights and improve living standards.


What is Jordan's economy?
Jordan is a small Arab country with inadequate supplies of water and other natural resources such as oil. Debt, poverty, and unemployment are fundamental problems, but King Abdallah, since assuming the throne in 1999, has undertaken some broad economic reforms in a long-term effort to improve living standards. Amman in the past three years has worked closely with the IMF, practiced careful monetary policy, and made substantial headway with privatization.


What are the religions of Jordan?
Sunni Muslims comprise 92 percent of the population. Christians make up 6 percent, the majority of whom are Greek Orthodox. Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Protestant denominations) comprise another 2 percent of the population.


To learn more about Jordan:

• Click here for more facts about the people, economy, and history of Turkey from CBSNews.com.

• To see the life of Jordan's King Abdullah in pictures, click here.

  • Melissa McNamara

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