USM Open Source History Text: The World at War: World History 1914-1945

The Odd State of Trans-Jordan

The creation of Transjordan, today’s Jordan, seems now like an accident of history. Following the suppression of the Arab Revolt under the leadership of Faysal and the British T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia), another Hashemite leader and brother of Faysal, Amir ‘Abdullah, marched north from Mecca to fight the French in Syria. The prospect of another war in the region prompted the British to intervene. The British called a conference in Cairo and in 1921 decided to split the mandate territory of Palestine into two parts. The eastern part of the area, to the east of the Jordan River, would be called Trans-Jordan and would be given to Amir ‘Abdullah in return for his cessation of military action. The small caravan stop at which his forces had come to a halt, Amman, would become his capital. Though Trans-Jordan would remain under British control until after WWII, the foundation was set for independence under Hashemite leadership. Amazingly, Hashemite kings have ruled the tiny, poor nation from its inception in 1946 until today—with massive Western backing. In terms of its founding as an independent territory separate from the rest of the Palestinian mandate zone, it is significant that the British closed Trans-Jordan to Jewish immigration, a movement that was dramatically increasing in the 1920s and 1930s and instability and violence spread in Europe.

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