May 25th is a special day in Jordanian history, as it marks their independence from Great Britain in 1946. As a newbie in Jordan, I noticed something was brewing as the week leading up to Independence Day I saw a lot of cars stopped on the side of the road selling Jordanian flags…
And of course the beeping & stopped traffic, especially near Al Hussein Park…
As I’m forever curious, I wanted to learn a little bit more about how the modern-day Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan came to be.
Here’s what I learned…
Jordan’s history goes back around 1000 BC, when the name “Jordan” appeared on an ancient Egyptian papyrus. However, the lands where modern-day Jordan is currently found, were historically called “Transjordan”, which refers to their location “beyond the Jordan River”. This name was then changed during the Muslim conquest of the Levant region (7th century) into the Arabic version – “Al Urdunn”. When the lands were under Crusader rule (12th century), it was referred to as “Oultrejordain” (Old French for “beyond the Jordan”). The history doesn’t stop there…but to not make you read an entire history book right now, let’s skip forward to 1921.
The Emirate of Transjordan: 1921-1946
The Emirate of Transjordan was a British protectorate established in April 1921 following the Battle of Maysalun. Originally, the British in neighboring Palestine chose to avoid any connection to the lands where Jordan was, but this changed at a March 1921 conference. At the conference, it was agreed that Abdullah bin Hussein would become Emir of Transjordan and rule the territory with a fully autonomous governing system, but under the guidance of Great Britain.
Emir Abdullah bin Hussein, who belonged to the Hashemite house, ruled the Emirate of Transjordan from 1921 until March 22, 1946. On March 22, 1946, the Treaty of London was signed between the United Kingdom and Transjordan, giving sovereignty and independence to the British protectorate of Transjordan. On May 25, 1946, the Emir Abdullah I became King Abdullah I, renaming the former Emirate to “Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan” and establishing the date we celebrate as Jordanian Independence Day.
Did you know? The complete independence of The Hashemite Kingdom was not in effect until June 17, 1946 in accordance with the Treaty of London ratifications that took place in Amman, but the the celebrated day remains May 25. Three years later, in 1949, the name was changed again to its current name – “Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan”.