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Jordan History

  • Columns in Romam City of Jerash
  • Resting camels
  • Ancient Temple in Petra

Areas like Aqaba, Jerash and Wadi Arabab, as well as many others, have been responsible for some of the earliest archaeological discoveries in Jordan. Flint axes, knives and scrapers have been uncovered that date back to the Paleolithic Age. By the time of the Middle Bronze Age (2,100-1,500 BC), much of Jordan was flourishing and culture was beginning to emerge. The Late Bronze Age (1,500-1,200 BC) saw Jordan trading with Egypt, Greece and Cyprus, allowing the country to continue to grow.

The Nabateans were a very important group in the early history of Jordan. Their kingdom was established in 168 BC and soon they controlled many regional and international trade routes. Nabatean territory included the whole of modern Jordan as well as the southern part of Syria and part of the Arabian Peninsula. They helped to develop the Arabic script which would evolve into modern Arabic. The Nabateans however were absorbed into the Roman Empire in 106 AD.

Early in the seventh-century Arab armies invaded making Jordan part of the Arabic Islamic Empire. During the next few centuries, the country enjoyed stability and prospered. The 11th and 12th centuries saw Jordan become the site of Crusader battles before coming under Mamluk control. However, early in the 16th century, Jordan became part of the Ottoman Empire and remained under Turkish rule until the beginning of the 20th century.

Following the First World War, Western powers began breaking up the Ottoman Empire and Jordan came under British rule due to a League of Nations mandate. The mandate ended in 1946, granting full independence to Jordan. The country then came under the rule of King Abdullah I bin al-Hussein until 1951 when he was assassinated. After King Hussein Ibn Talal abdicated in 1952, his son Hussein bin Talal succeeded him, going on to rule Jordan until 1999.

In 1948, Jordan supported Palestinian nationalists who were opposed to the establishment of Israel and took part in the ensuing warfare. An armistice was reached in 1949 leaving Jordan with control of the West Bank. The country maintained control of the West Bank until the Six Days War of 1967 (although Jordan did not formally relinquish its claim on the region until 1988). During the 1970s and early 1980s, Jordan decided to focus more on domestic politics rather than regional issues.

The Gulf War of 1991 was a disaster for the nation both politically and economically. For many years, Jordan had maintained good relations with the United States and Iraq and was financially dependent on both countries. The Gulf War unfortunately forced Jordan to choose. The country suffered when Jordan could not give full support to a US-led coalition against the Iraqis. Sanctions that were placed on Baghdad by the United Nations during the 1990s had implications for Jordan, but it also forced King Hussein to enter into a peace agreement with Israel in 1994. King Hussein became the second Arab head of state to recognize Israel.

Upon King Hussein’s death in 1999, his son Abdullah II became king. He set about reaffirming the peace treaty with Israel as well as relations with the United States. He focused on improving the economy as well as modernizing the country. Jordan now enjoys one of the freest economies in the Middle East. Tourism is one of the most important sectors of the economy as visitors come from around the world to experience what Jordan has to offer. Whether it is exploring medieval mosques and churches, taking advantage of the health benefits of the Dead Sea or simply enjoying the company of the incredibly friendly Jordanian locals, Jordan truly offers unique experiences for everyone.



Jordan Travel Information

At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to Jordan.

Learn about the history and culture of Jordan, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Jordan's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Jordan for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Jordan tours today!


Extend Your Trip

After your Jordan tours, why not consider one of Goway's Europe Tours



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AfricaExperts is the exclusive division of Goway that specializes in planning and organizing Jordan tours and experiences. Choose from a simple city stopover, a small group tour, a holiday of a lifetime, a stay of distinction, a beach stay and much more. We want to be your first choice when next you go globetrotting to Jordan.

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