With many civilisations occupying its lands, there is evidence that Jordan has been inhabited since as early as 90,000 BC.
Jordan was occupied by nomadic tribes during the Bronze Age (3200-1950 BC), which then became a cluster of small kingdoms during the Iron Age. The Ammon, Moab, and Edom were the most notable kingdoms that made up Jordan during this time. The Ammonites’ capital was in Rabbath Ammon (modern-day Amman); the Moabites settled in what is now known as Kerak (Kir of Moab); and the Edomites settled in southern Jordan in Bozrah (modern-day Buseira/Busayr). According to the Old Testament, this is the age of the Exodus, during which Moses led the Israelites through Egypt and Jordan to the ‘Promised Land’.
A few hundred years later came the rule of the Israelite kings David and Solomon. Trade reached a peak during this golden age, with an increase in trade and the construction of trade routes crossing the deserts from Arabia to the Euphrates.
Due to its centralised geographical location, Jordan changed hands several times, from the Assyrians; to the Babylonians; the Persians; and the Seleucids (around 330 BC). Conflict between the Seleucids and Egypt’s Ptolemies enabled the Nabataeans to create a kingdom in southeast Jordan, claiming Petra as their capital, bordering the Roman Empire. During the Roman period, the Decapolis cities were formed. These included Philadelphia (current Amman), Jerash, and Gadara (current Umm Qais). The Roman Empire’s rule left exceptional ruins that are much admired today.
Modern Jordan became a part of the Umayyad Empire in the early 7th century, and in the 8th century, the Abbasids who occupied the land changed their capital from Damascus to Kufa, leading to their decline. Parts of Jordan soon fell under the rule of several powers and empires including the Mongols, the Crusaders, the Ayyubids, the Mamlukes, and the Ottomans.
Following the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, Jordan fell under the British mandate. In 1928, Transjordan was founded by Abdullah I and Britain officially accepted King Abdullah as ruler of Jordan.
Transjordan gained full independence on the 25th of May, 1946.
In 1953, King Hussein Ibn Talal became monarch and Jordan had one of the most liberal societies in the Middle East. In February 1999, King Hussein died, leaving his eldest son, Prince Abdullah II as the successor to the throne and he remains king to this day.