Jordan (/ˈdʒɔːrdən/; Arabic: الأردن Al-Urdunn), officially The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (Arabic: المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية Al-Mamlakah Al-Urdunnīyah Al-Hāshimīyah), is an Arab kingdom in Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the east and south, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north, Israel, Palestine and the Dead Sea to the west and the Red Sea in its extreme south-west. Jordan is strategically located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe. The capital, Amman, is Jordan's most populous city as well as the country's economic and cultural centre.
What is now Jordan has been inhabited by humans since the Paleolithic period. Three stable kingdoms emerged there at the end of the Bronze Age: Ammon, Moab and Edom. Later rulers include the Nabataean Kingdom, the Roman Empire, and the Ottoman Empire. After the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottomans in 1916 during World War I, the Ottoman Empire was partitioned by Britain and France. The Emirate of Transjordan was established in 1921 by the then Emir Abdullah I and became a British protectorate. In 1946, Jordan became an independent state officially known as The Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. Jordan captured the West Bank during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War and the name of the state was changed to The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1949. Jordan is a founding member of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and is one of two Arab states to have signed a peace treaty with Israel. The country is a constitutional monarchy, where the king holds wide executive and legislative powers.
Jordan is a relatively small semi-arid almost landlocked country with a population numbering at 9.5 million. Sunni Islam, practiced by around 92% of the population, is the dominant religion in Jordan. It coexists with an indigenous Christian minority. Jordan is considered to be among the safest of Arab countries in the Middle East, and has historically managed to keep itself away from terrorism and instability. In the midst of surrounding turmoil, it has been greatly hospitable, accepting refugees from almost all surrounding conflicts as early as 1948, with most notably the estimated 2 million Palestinians and the 1.4 million Syrian refugees residing in the country. The kingdom is also a refuge to thousands of Iraqi Christians fleeing the Islamic State. While Jordan continues to accept refugees, the recent large influx from Syria placed substantial strain on national resources and infrastructure.
Jordan is classified as a country of "high human development" with an "upper middle income" economy. The Jordanian economy is attractive to foreign investors based upon a skilled workforce. The country is a major tourist destination, and also attracts medical tourism due to its well developed health sector. A lack of natural resources, large flow of refugees and regional turmoil have crippled economic growth.
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