Like many of its modern neighboring Arab countries, Jordan was part of the Ottoman Empire until the end of World War I. Under the mandate of the British government in 1923, Jordan became a political entity known as Transjordan. However, Jordan gained its independence and was declared a Kingdom in 1946. In 1948, Jordan witnessed a mass migration of at least 700,000 Palestinians as a result of the creation of the state of Israel. The union of Transjordan and the West Bank (of Palestine) in 1950 produced the current name of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. As a result of the 1967 war, the West Bank fell under Israel's occupation and another wave of Palestinian refugees moved to Jordan adding to its population. Geographically, Jordan is almost entirely landlocked, with the port of Aqaba in the far south being its only outlet to the red sea. Palestine and Israel separate Jordan from the Mediterranean sea, Saudi Arabia lies to the south and east, Iraq to the northeast, and Syria to the north (Fig. 11.1). Three climate zones characterize Jordan, running from the west to the east of the country. These zones include the Jordan Valley which is largely below sea level and considered semitropical; the highlands east of the Jordan Valley which can be considered to have a Mediterranean climate; and the low-lying desert to the east of the highlands. Jordan is about the size of the state of Indiana, USA. Over 80% of Jordan's land is characterized by semi-desert conditions with some scattered wetlands including the Azraq Basin. Administratively, Jordan is divided into 12 governorates, which are grouped into three regions - the North region (Irbid, Jarash, Ajloun, and Mafraq), the Central region (Amman, Zarqa, Balqa, and Madaba), and the South region (Karak, Tafielah, Ma'an, and Aqaba) (Fig. 11.1). The major cities are Amman (the capital), Zarqa, and Irbid. Jordan is a small country with limited natural resources and a 13% unemployment rate in 2008. The bulk of Jordan's labor force is engaged in providing services, 20% in industry and only 2.7% in agriculture. Jordan's major exports include clothing, fertilizers, potash, phosphates, vegetables, and pharmaceuticals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)