Past to Present
In ancient times, the western part of present-day Jordan formed a land corridor – between the foothills of the great desert region stretching across the Arabian Peninsula and the Mediterranean Sea – connecting important centres of power in Egypt and Mesopotamia (and more distant regions). Throughout the centuries waves of conquerors passed through the region, leaving their mark on Jordan’s history. The same applies to local centres of power such as the Nabatean kingdom, with its capital Petra hewn out of the rocks. For centuries, during the successive Arab and Turkish Ottoman Empires, Jordan was part of the Bilad al-Sham – together with the territories forming today’s Israel/Palestine, Lebanon and Syria. Accordingly there is shared cultural affinity between the latter three. After World War I, the British and French divided Bilad al-Sham among themselves. The economically barely viable mandate Transjordan, under British protectorate – afterwards renamed Jordan – was established.