According to Countryaah, Jordan is a state in southwestern Asia, in the Near East; the territory borders to the North with Syria, to the NE with Iraq, to the SE and to the South with Saudi Arabia, to the West with Israel. Until 1967 it included Transjordan (E of the Jordan River) and the West Bank, which then came under the control of Israel; since 1988 the Jordanian government has interrupted the residual legal and administrative ties with the West Bank, although without reaching a formal repeal of the act of annexation (April 1950) of this territory, whose future status juridical will depend on the evolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict and more specifically on the Palestinian question.
- Physical characteristics
The vast plateau of Transjordan is an integral part of the Syro-Arabian desert and sub-desert region. These tabular expanses are separated from the western highlands by the Palestinian tectonic depression, the section of the Great Rift Valley that runs from the Sea of Galilee to the Gulf of Aqabah, encompassing the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea.
The climate is subtropical, warm and dry with little rainfall, concentrated in the winter period and which decreases as you proceed towards the E and towards the S: while on the West Bank reliefs, 600 mm of rain fall, and 400 mm of rain in Amman, in the extreme eastern and southern regions there is conditions of almost absolute drought. Axis of the very poor hydrography is the Jordan which, before throwing itself into the Dead Sea, receives, among others, the Yarmuk and the az-Zarqa; its regime is very variable, with significant winter floods and strong summer lean periods. The vegetation is mainly steppe, with the exception of the wetter areas where the Mediterranean scrub flourishes.
G.’s demographic structure was heavily affected by the difficult political situation created in the Near East after World War II. It is estimated that the population amounted to 200,000 residents in 1920, to 300,000 in 1938 and to 450,000 in 1947. With the successive immigration waves of Arab refugees, after the establishment of the State of Israel and the Arab-Israeli war and, then, following the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the population it has multiplied dramatically (1.3 million residents in 1952, passing to 1.7 ten years later and more than 4 million in Transjordan alone at the 1994 census), up to over 6 million in the first decade of the 2000s. Excluding desert areas, about 80% of the land area, the density is very high and in some governorates it exceeds 300 residents / km2. The urban population has experienced an accelerated and disordered growth, mainly linked to the high concentration in the cities of residents of Palestinian origin. There is also an intense sedentarization of the nomadic population, favored in recent decades by government intervention. Main cities are, in addition to the capital, az-Zarqa and Irbid. The other centers are basically just rural villages.
Regarding the language ➔ Arabi.
- Economic conditions
The Jordanian economy has long had to face the consequences of the difficult political situation in the Middle East: on the one hand, the territory and the scarce resources present have suffered for many years the strong demographic pressure of the numerous Palestinian refugees; on the other hand, the country was heavily penalized by the embargo decreed by the United Nations against Iraq, which drastically reduced transit trade, a fundamental component of the economy. In the last years of the 20th century. however, Jordan has recorded important economic progress, thanks to the launch of modernization plans that have led the country to integrate effectively into world trade (entry into the WTO in 2000) and to the huge funding secured by foreign aid.
Since the primary sector occupies a prominent place among the productive sectors, a large part of the available resources has been directed towards the enhancement of agricultural productivity, with the aim of reducing food imports. The main products grown are wheat and barley and, to a more limited extent, sorghum and maize; followed by lentils, tomatoes, citrus fruits, grapevines, olives, bananas and dates. Sheep farming is widespread, traditionally practiced by the Bedouin tribes, which offers a valuable contribution to the population’s diet.
Jordan is a country relatively endowed with phosphates (about 5.7 million tons extracted in 2007) and potassium salts (1.100.000 tons), which together make up a large part of exports. The presence of petroleum, copper, manganese, iron ores, not yet exploited, is reported. The shortage of energy sources represents one of the major limitations for industrial development. Until the 2003 war, Iraq ensured the satisfaction of almost all of its oil demand at a preferential rate; today, to produce thermal energy destined for internal consumption, Jordan uses part of the crude oil which, from Saudi Arabia, is conveyed to the coasts of the Mediterranean through an oil pipeline. The manufacturing sector, which participates with just under 15% in the formation of national income,
Annually the Jordan is visited by over 2,013,000 tourists, attracted above all by the ancient historical cities of Petra and Gerasa and by the seaside resources of the coast on the Red Sea.
There are few communication routes, the route of which largely follows the ancient caravans. Overall, the road network counts 7601 km (2005), while the operation of the railway network, which is represented by a single line that crosses the country longitudinally, connecting it to Syria, is reduced to a minimum (293 km in 2005).