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Jordan (Arabic: الأردن‎ al-Urdun), also known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (Arabic: المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية‎ al-Mamlakah al-Urdunīyah al-Hāshimīyah) is a country in West Asia, bordering Israel and Palestine to the west, Iraq to the east, Syria to the north, and Saudi Arabia to the south. It received its name from the River Jordan, which forms its western border.

This desert kingdom arose when the Ottoman Empire imploded after World War I. It was put under British supervision until 1946, when it was named the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. It, like the other countries, did not take Israel's founding well, and started the first Arab–Israeli Conflict. Jordan held the West Bank until 1967, when it was taken by Israel. It later renounced its claim to the West Bank on the King's orders, saying that it was now the Palestinians' responsibility to gain independence from Israel. Later, it became the second Arab country (after Egypt) to sign a peace treaty with Israel, and relations between the two countries are nowadays cordial; Israel has helped Jordan to modernize with its technological expertise, while those Muslim pilgrims who want to visit the Holy Land can do so via a transit in Jordan.


Today, it is struggling to improve its standard of living and the King has had to contend with protests for more economic opportunities and political freedom.

Jordan is mostly composed of Arabs, with a Circassian minority from the Caucasus. These are descendants of refugees from Russia who came in the 1800s due to religious and ethnic persecution. Some of them form an elite royal guard over the King.

Unlike other Arab countries, it has little to no oil, but it had the luck of having ample phosphate deposits which it developed. The fact that it was the site of ancient states like Ammon as well as being the site of the Roman city of Petra, a Mecca for Christian pilgrims, also aided its bottom line. However, it still has a high unemployment rate. As one of the most stable nations in the region, Jordan hosts an enormous population of Palestinian refugees from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; it's estimated that as many as a half of the population are Palestinians. Unlike the other Arab countries, the Palestinians have more or less naturalized and have gained citizenship as well, making them a full part of Jordan's society; in fact, the current king's wife, Rania, is a Palestinian from both of her parents' sides. Since the start of the Syrian Civil War, Jordan has hosted hundreds of thousands displaced by fighting in neighboring Syria as well.


By the way, the current King, Abdullah II, is a Star Trek fanboy and even guested as an extra in one episode of Star Trek: Voyager.

The Jordanian flag

The black, white and green bands represent the Abbasid, Umayyad and Fatimid Caliphates, respectively. The red triangle at the hoist side commemorates the 1916 Arab Revolt against the Ottomans; at its center is a white seven-pointed star, representing the first seven verses of the Qur'an.


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