Middle East: Jordan

About Jordan

For most of its history since independence from British administration in 1946, Jordan was ruled by King HUSSEIN (1953-1999). A pragmatic ruler, he successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers (US, USSR, and UK), various Arab states, Israel, and a large internal Palestinian population, through several wars and coup attempts. In 1989 he resumed parliamentary elections and gradually permitted political liberalization; in 1994 a formal peace treaty was signed with Israel. 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 established his domestic priorities.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Amman
Population: 5,153,378 (July 2001 est.)
Percent below poverty: 30% (1998 est.)
Language: Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes
Date of independence: 25 May 1946 (from League of Nations
Form of government: constitutional monarchy
Title of Leader: King, Prime Minister
Natural Resources: phosphates, potash, shale oil
Environmental Issues: limited natural fresh water resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
Agricultural Products: wheat, barley, citrus, tomatoes, melons, olives; sheep, goats, poultry
Imports: crude oil, machinery, transport equipment, food, live animals, manufactured goods
Exports: phosphates, fertilizers, potash, agricultural products, manufactures
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: Iraq, Germany, US, Japan, UK, Italy, Turkey, Malaysia, Syria, China
EXPORTS: India, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, EU, Indonesia, UAE, Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, Ethiopia


Jordan Headlines


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