The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is an Arab country in the Middle East bordered by Syria to the north, Iraq to the north-east, Saudi Arabia to the east and south, and Israel and the West Bank to the west. It has two coastlines, one on the Dead Sea, which it shares with Israel, and one on the Gulf of Aqaba, which it shares with Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The ethnic groups of Jordan are composed of an Arab majority and small communities of Circassians, Armenians and Kurds. The religious groups represented in Jordan are Sunni Muslims (97.2 percent) and Christians (2.2 percent). The population of Jordan is estimated to be 9.5 million. Amman, the capital and largest city in Jordan, has an estimated population of 4 million.
The climate in Jordan is generally that of a desert environment, with little rain, cool nights and moderate winters. Amman and Madaba typically receive rain and snowfall between November and March. Spring and autumn are the most pleasant seasons in Jordan, with clear skies and comfortable temperatures. The summer is usually characterized by dry, hot conditions.
Jordan’s independence was established in 1946 by the League of Nations according to a mandate administered by the United Kingdom. Before that, Jordan was known as “Transjordan” and was part of the British Mandate Palestine, established in 1921. Prince Abdullah I, who had semi-autonomous control during the British Mandate, became the first King of Jordan. HM King Abdullah II, Jordan’s current king, is King Abdullah I’s great-grandson.
Jordan is a constitutional monarchy governed by the King, his council of minsters and the National Assembly. The latter is composed of the Chamber of Deputies, whose 110 members are elected by universal suffrage and by the Senate, which is appointed by the King. Jordan’s legal system is based on Islamic Law and French codes. Jordan has close relations with the United States and is a member of the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.