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JordanThe 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.

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 clothing.

Information for Jordan was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks