The Kingdom of Jordan lies east of Israel, and borders the Palestinian West Bank. Its relations with its Arab neighbours are troubled by its relatively close ties to the US.
Geography: Mostly desert plateaus, with occasional salt pans. Lowest parts lie along the eastern shores of the Dead Sea and the Jordan River.
Climate: Hot, dry summers. Cool, wet winters. Areas below sea level very hot in summer, and warm in winter.
People and Society: Jordan is predominantly Muslim with a strong national identity, but its people have Bedouin roots. There is a Christian minority, while Palestinians who have emigrated from Israeli-occupied territory make up a third of the population. Jordan ceded its claim to the West Bank to the aspiring Palestinian state in 1988. The monarchy’s power base lies among the rural tribes, which also provide the backbone of the military.
The Economy: Lack of water. Exports garments, potash, fertilizers, and phosphates. Tourism hit by regional instability.
Insight: The Nabataean ruins of the ancient city of Petra attract thousands of tourists every year
Official Name: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Date of Formation: 1946
Population: 6.32 million
Total Area: 35,637 sq. miles (92,300 sq. km)
Density: 184 people per sq. mile
Religions: Muslim (mainly Sunni) 92%, other (mostly Christian) 8%
Ethnic Mix: Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%
Currency: Jordanian dinar = 1000 fils