When he was proclaimed king of Jordan, Talal's son,Hussein, was only 17 years of age, and legally unable to assume royal powers.His first months were guided by a Regency Council, until he was formallycrowned on 2 May 1953, at the age of 18.
Hussein Bin Talal was born in Amman on 14 November 1935 tothen Prince Talal and Princess Zein Al Sharaf Bint Jamil. Princess Zein, laternamed queen, was also a Hashemite. In the footsteps of his predecessors,Hussein reaped the benefits of an outstanding education. After finishingprimary school in Amman, he studied at Victoria College in Alexandria, Egypt,and Harrow School and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the UK.
King Hussein is considered the architect of modern Jordan. Hewas widely regarded as a man of the people. Today, he is remembered withreverence, as a statesman who guided Jordan safely through the strife andconflict of the late 20th century, making it the oasis of stability it istoday.
King Hussein often said that Jordan's people were itsgreatest asset, and he worked assiduously to improve their standard of livingand the opportunities available to them.
Early in his reign, he concentrated on establishing aneconomic and industrial infrastructure and increasing access to essentialservices. He was a strident promoter of education, building schools throughoutthe Kingdom and promoting the idea of education for every child. During hisreign, primary school enrollment skyrocketed, and literacy rose from 33 percent in 1960 to 85.5 per cent in 1996.
Throughout his 47-year reign, King Hussein strove to achieveMiddle East peace. After the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, he was instrumental indrafting United Nations Resolution 242, which called on Israel to withdraw fromall the Arab lands it had occupied in the 1967 war in exchange for peace. Thisresolution has served as the benchmark for all subsequent peace negotiations.In 1991, King Hussein also played a pivotal role in convening the Madrid PeaceConference while providing an "umbrella" for Palestinians tonegotiate their future as part of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation.
In 1994, under his leadership, Jordan became the second Arableader to sign a peace treaty with Israel, a controversial but necessary steptowards creating stability and advancing peace within the region.
King Hussein set Jordan down a path of politicalliberalization in 1989 and the Kingdom held elections that autumn. Jordanianshave returned to the polls four times since then. In 1990, King Husseinappointed a royal commission, representing the entire spectrum of Jordanianpolitical thought to draft a National Charter. That charter stands today, alongwith the Jordanian Constitution, as a guideline for democraticinstitutionalisation and political pluralism in the country. King Hussein'scommitment to democracy, civil liberties and human rights helped shape Jordanas a model state for reform and development in the region.
On the date of his passing on 7 February 1999, King Husseinwas the longest serving executive head of state in the world. Hundreds of worldleaders and dignitaries joined Jordanians in mourning his passing, a testamentto his renown and the respect he earned as a leader committed to the progressof his people and to peace and security for the peoples of the Middle East andbeyond.
King Hussein was succeeded by his eldest son, Abdullah, whowas crowned on 9 June 1999.
*Source:King Abdullah II Official site.