Geography of Jordan

A Geographical and Historical Overview of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Red Sea at Jordan
A view of Al’Aqabah (or Aqaba), Jordan from the Red Sea. Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

Capital: Amman
Population: 6,508,887 (July 2012 estimate)
Area: 34,495 square miles (89,342 sq km)
Coastline: 16 miles (26 km)
Border Countries: Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Syria
Highest Point: Jabal Umm ad Dami at 6,082 feet (1,854 m)
Lowest Point: Dead Sea at -1,338 feet (-408 m)

Jordan is an Arab country located to the east of the Jordan River. It shares borders with Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria and West Bank and covers an area of 34,495 square miles (89,342 sq km). Jordan's capital and largest city is Amman but other large cities in the country include Zarka, Irbid and As-Salt. The population density of Jordan is 188.7 people per square mile or 72.8 people per square kilometer.

History of Jordan

The British divided this region in 1922 when it established the Emirate of Transjordan. Britain's mandate over Transjordan then ended on May 22, 1946. On May 25, 1946 Jordan gained its independence and became the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. In 1950 it was renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The term "Hashemite" refers to the Hashemite royal family, which is said to have descended from Mohammed and rules Jordan today.

In the late 1960s Jordan was involved in a war between Israel and Syria, Egypt and Iraq and lost its control of the West Bank (which it took over in 1949). By the end of the war, Jordan's increased considerably as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled to the country. This eventually led to instability in the country however, because Palestinian resistance elements known as fedayeen grew in power in Jordan caused fighting to erupt in 1970 (U.S. Department of State).

Throughout the rest of the 1970s, 1980s and into the 1990s, Jordan worked to restore peace in region. It did not participate in the Gulf War of 1990-1991 but instead participated in peace negotiations with Israel. In 1994 it signed a peace treaty with Israel and has since remained relatively stable.

Government of Jordan

Economics and Land Use in Jordan

Geography and Climate of Jordan

The climate of Jordan is mostly arid desert and drought is very common throughout the country. There is however a short rainy season in its western regions from November to April. Amman, the capital and largest city in Jordan, has an average January low temperature of 38.5ºF (3.6ºC) and an average August high temperature of 90.3ºF (32.4ºC).

To learn more about Jordan, visit the Geography and Maps of Jordan on this website.