The small Kingdom of Jordan occupies a strategic location in the Middle East. This arid and ancient land (of biblical fame) has witnessed centuries of conquests and invading armies.
Inhabited since the Paleolithic period (50000 - 17000 BC), Jordan's history didn't truly begin until the Bronze Age (3200 - 1950 BC) when permanent villages and forts were constructed.
Civilization further spread during increased migrations to the Middle East at the dawn of the Middle Bronze Age (1950 - 1550 BC).
Then, during the first and second century, the ancient kingdoms of the Nabatean Petra, Edom, Ammon, and Moab thrived across Jordan. It was the Nabateans who developed the Arabic Script, a cross between Aramaean and ancient Classical Arabic, which eventually transformed into Modern Arabic.
At the turn of the 7th century AD, Jordan evolved into the main core of the Arabic Islamic Empire. It was ruled by the Abbasid Empire, followed by the Mongols, the Crusaders, the Ayyubids, and the Mamluks until the Ottoman Empire took control in 1516.
After World War I ended, the Ottoman Turks were finally driven out, and the British influence began.
Jordan gained its independence in 1946, following the United Nations' approval of the end to the British Mandate, and King Abdullah was declared Jordan's first king - ruling until his assassination in 1951.
Tensions emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s between Israel and a number of Arab countries, including Jordan, which lasted until 1991 when peace negotiations were arranged.
Following the peace treaty, the United States continued to service Jordan with hundreds of millions of dollars in an annual foreign aid stipend, and constituted the country as a free trade zone.
After the death of King Hussein in 1999, his eldest son, King Abdallah II, assumed the throne, and subsequently began a very aggressive and progressive economic reform program. Jordan began participating in the World Trade Organization, the European Free Trade Association and other economic associations.
Tragedy struck Jordan in late 2005 as the country endured three terrorist bombings in Amman. Later, the citizenship of thousands of Palestinians was revoked to prevent Israel from permanently re-settling the West Bank. In 2013, a new government was sworn in and for the first time, King Abdullah constulted with Parliament on cabinet membership.
The modern (and historic) city of Amman, the capital city, is only five hours driving time from anywhere in the country, and serves as the administrative and commercial center.
Tourism is one of the most important factors of Jordan's economy, and the country served 8 million people from many different countries in 2010. Jordan is also well known for health and medical tourism, focusing on the Dead Sea area.
The country's major tourist attraction is the rose-red city of Petra, founded around 1000 BC. Hiking and scuba diving for nature enthusiasts also should not be missed in the Aqaba's reefs along the Gulf of Aqaba.
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