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Jordan - Country facts

Map

Small map of Jordan
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Flag

Country flag: Jordan

Capital

'Amman

Currency

Jordanian dinar (JOD)

Internet Code

.jo

Location

Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia

Background

For most of its history since independence from British administration in 1946, Jordan was ruled by King HUSSEIN (1953-99). A pragmatic ruler, he successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers (US, USSR, and UK), various Arab states, Israel, and a large internal Palestinian population, despite several wars and coup attempts. In 1989 he reinstituted parliamentary elections and gradual political liberalization; in 1994 he signed a formal peace treaty with Israel. King ABDALLAH II - the eldest son of King HUSSEIN and Princess MUNA - 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. After a two-year delay, parliamentary and municipal elections took place in the summer of 2003. The Prime Minister and government appointed in April 2005 declared they would build upon the previous goernment's achievements to respect political and human rights and improve living standards.

Climate

mostly arid desert; rainy season in west (November to April)

Terrain

mostly desert plateau in east, highland area in west; Great Rift Valley separates East and West Banks of the Jordan River

Population

5,759,732 (July 2005 est.)

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 Shi'a Muslim and Druze populations) (2001 est.)

Languages

Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes

Map of Jordan

Large map of Jordan
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