Background: Following World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the UK received a mandate to govern much of the Middle East. Britain separated out a semi-autonomous region of Transjordan from Palestine in the early 1920s, and the area gained its independence in 1946; it adopted the name of Jordan in 1950. The country's long-time ruler was King HUSSEIN (1953-99). A pragmatic leader, he successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers (US, USSR, and UK), various Arab states, Israel, and a large internal Palestinian population. Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel in the 1967 war and barely managed to defeat Palestinian rebels who attempted to overthrow the monarchy in 1970. King HUSSEIN in 1988 permanently relinquished Jordanian claims to the West Bank. In 1989, he reinstituted parliamentary elections and initiated a gradual political liberalization; political parties were legalized in 1992. In 1994, he signed a peace treaty with Israel. King ABDALLAH II, the son of King HUSSEIN, 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. In 2003, Jordan staunchly supported the Coalition ouster of Saddam in Iraq and following the outbreak of insurgent violence in Iraq, absorbed thousands of displaced Iraqis. Municipal elections were held in July 2007 under a system in which 20% of seats in all municipal councils were reserved by quota for women. Parliamentary elections were held in November 2010 and saw independent pro-government candidates win the vast majority of seats.
Location: Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia
Area land: 88,802 sq km
Area water: 540 sq km
Coastline: 26 km
Country name conventional long form: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Country name conventional short form: Jordan
Country name former: Transjordan
Population: 6,508,271 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 35.3% (male 1,180,595/female 1,114,533); 15-64 years: 59.9% (male 1,977,075/female 1,921,504); 65 years and over: 4.8% (male 153,918/female 160,646) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: 0.984% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 26.79 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 2.69 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -14.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female; total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 16.42 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 16.98 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 15.83 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 80.05 years; male: 78.73 years; female: 81.45 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 3.39 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2001 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 600 (2007 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 500 (2003 est.);
Nationality: noun: Jordanian(s); adjective: Jordanian;
Ethnic groups: Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%;
Religions: Sunni Muslim 92%, Christian 6% (majority Greek Orthodox, but some Greek and Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Protestant denominations), other 2% (several small Shia Muslim and Druze populations) (2001 est.);
Languages: Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes;
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 89.9%; male: 95.1%; female: 84.7% (2003 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $33.79 billion (2010 est.); $32.74 billion (2009 est.); $31.98 billion (2008 est.);
GDP (official exchange rate): $27.13 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 3.2% (2010 est.); 2.4% (2009 est.); 5.8% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $5,300 (2010 est.); $5,200 (2009 est.); $5,200 (2008 est.);
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3.4%; industry: 30.3%; services: 66.2% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 14.2% (2002);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3%; highest 10%: 30.7% (2006);
Labor force: 1.719 million (2010 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 2.7%; industry: 20%; services: 77.4% (2007 est.);
Unemployment rate: 13.4% (2010 est.); 12.9% (2009 est.);
Budget: revenues: $6.269 billion; expenditures: $8.701 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: clothing, fertilizers, potash, phosphate mining, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, cement, inorganic chemicals, light manufacturing, tourism;
Industrial production growth rate: 2.7% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 12.21 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 10.4 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - exports: 176 million kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - imports: 200 million kWh (2007 est.);
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
Displaying 1 to 4 of 19 items.
With Syria in crisis and Egypt in flux, Jordan is being forced to adopt energy policies that put the country on a path to sustainable development.
The peace treaty between Israel and Jordan could serve as a starting point for thinking creatively about a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.
The Arab Spring has urged Jordan to unleash a deep political reform process that will reflect its vision of modernization and development.
When looking at the Middle East in recent years, there are far more examples of religion dividing us than bringing us together, begging a reminder of our common values.