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name Jordan was shortened to such in 1946 from the name "Transjordan,"
which means across the Jordan, referring to the Jordan River, which today makes
up most of the northern border between Jordan and Israel. However, it seems the
term Jordan, in reference to the land, not the river, has been used inconsistently
since the 700s.
Despite the eastern half of the country being fairly empty and deserted, in the
west, Jordan is a land that has forever been visited, bypassed, and invaded by people
from nearly everywhere. This has led to a country that is somewhat diverse, but
more importantly, a country that has and continues to somehow balance extreme views
and people from everywhere under a peaceful umbrella.
The region that makes up modern day Jordan has been ruled over by the Israelites,
Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Arabs as it is home to great Roman ruins, hidden
trading cities, and much of the Bible's history. However most of these people
left little behind other than ruins and a deepening history. From a cultural perspective,
it was the Arabs and Islam that shaped much of modern day Jordan; however it was
this past diversity that was the origin of a people tolerant of differences and
open to changes.
The flag of Jordan is based on the Arab
Revolt flag used during World War I. The black on the flag represents the Abbasid
Caliphate, the white is for the Umayyad Caliphate, and the green is for the Fatimid
Caliphate. The red triangle is for the Great Arab Revolt of 1916, while the white
star in its interior includes seven points, which symbolize the seven verses of
the opening Sura of the Holy Quran as well as faith in One God, humanity, national
spirit, humility, social justice, virtue, and aspirations.
Name: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Independence: May 15, 1946
Population: 6,482,081 (2013 estimate)
Religion: Sunni Muslim
With the arrival of Islam in the 600s the local people accepted the religion and
eventually the Arabs comprised the region's majority. The people's lives,
then and now, are dictated by the Islamic faith as they follow numerous dietary
restrictions, social demands, and their greatest architectural achievements are
in the form of mosques.
From the 600s on, the people of modern day Jordan had few differences from their
neighboring people. During much of this time the people fell under foreign rulers
and these outside influences changed the people as the Middle East became more uniform.
Lebanese and Turkish foods became the dietary norm as the region fell under Syrian
and Turkish rulers among others. For most of the next 1500s years the people in
Jordan fell on the periphery of kingdoms so no substantial introductions ever arrived
as the country continued on its path.
After World War I ended in the 1910s, the British took over Jordan and the region's
culture began to substantially change. Technology, communication, infrastructure,
and more were introduced as the region modernized. The region also gained greater
freedom from neighboring countries such as Syria. This led to greater self-identity
as the people changed their dress and mentality in slight ways to differentiate
themselves from their neighbors, only at this point first calling themselves Jordanian.
After World War II ended in the 1940s, the Jordanian's identity was quite strong,
just as they gained independence and Israel was being formed. Israel created a perfect
antithesis to Jordanian identity and many people used these differences to magnify
Jordanian culture, while warring with their newly formed neighbor. Despite the initial
battles, the Jordanian people later turned to peace and diplomacy as they began
to view themselves as a more liberal variety of Islam, while opening their doors
to refugees from Israel. Today the Jordanians get along with the Israelis, Syrians,
Saudis, and Iranians along with many more as the country consists of Jordanians,
Palestinians, and many other people.
These relationships and modernization have also slightly shaped Jordan as the country
today mixes conservative Islamic values with technology, balancing conservative
diets, clothing, and beliefs with a vibrant night life in cafes and western-styled
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