King Abdullah I

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The first king and founder of the stateof Jordan was born in 1882 in Mecca. Like his father, Abdullah began life as arepresentative of the Ottoman court but his prestigious education and exposureto Arab tribal customs soon made him aware of the growing nationalist sentimentamong his people.

 

In the Arab Revolt, Abdullah led several Arab battalionsagainst the Ottoman Turks. Afterwards, he left the Hijaz and settled in Maan,where he was received as a leader and sharif. While the European governmentswere dividing the region among themselves, Abdullah was building support andunity among the tribes and townspeople of Jordan.

 

The future king led a modest existence, often staying withleaders of different sects and sectors of society, developing relationshipswith them. He spent much of his time amongst the local bedouin tribes. In 1921,he organised his first government in Amman, thus establishing the Emirate ofTransjordan.

 

For the next thirty years, Emir Abdullah concentrated his effortson state-building. In 1928, the Prince oversaw the country’s first legislativecouncil and the drafting of a constitution. One year later, he held the firstparliamentary elections. On 22 March 1946, Transjordan secured itsindependence, and Abdullah was crowned king later that year.

 

As King Abdullah I was centralising government in Jordan, thesituation in Palestine was deteriorating into a full-scale war between theArabs and the Zionist movement over the final territorial disposition ofMandate Palestine. When the 1948 Arab-Israeli War erupted, King Abdullah Ijoined the Arab forces, and Jordan’s Arab Legion defended the holy city ofJerusalem and other parts of Palestine, defeating Jewish forces in Bab Al Wad,Latroun and East Jerusalem. The war ended in July 1948, and a truce was signedbetween the Arab countries and Israel. Two years later, Jordan and the WestBank were united into a single state.

 

King Abdullah I regularly attended Friday prayers at Al AqsaMosque in Jerusalem. On 20 July 1951, he was assassinated on the stairs of AlAqsa Mosque. His grandson, Hussein, was with him at the time. A bullet struckthe young man but was deflected by a medal which his grandfather had pinned tohis chest earlier that day.

 

After the death of King Abdullah I, his son, Talal ascendedthe throne. Due to ill health, King Talal soon abdicated in favor of Hussein,his eldest son. Although King Talal’s reign was short, he introduced aliberalised constitution for the Kingdom that made the government more responsibleto the parliament and paved the way for future political development.

 

King Talal Bin Abdullah died in 1972.

 

*Source:King Abdullah II Official site



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