Archaeological remains in the Jordan River valley date back to 8000 B.C. In the 12th century B.C, the area east of the Jordan River was inhabited by the Edomites, Moabites and Ammonites. The Ammonites established the city that is now Amman, Jordan's capital.

Between the 12th century B.C. and the 7th century A.D., the area was successively part of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire, the dominions of Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire and the Christian Byzantine Empire.

The Nabataeans controlled the southern part of Jordan between the 4th century B.C. and the 2nd century A.D., when the Romans conquered the area. The Nabataeans built an extensive system of water collection and distribution. The rock city of Petra is an impressive reminder of this people. In the 7th century A.D., Islam was established in the Arabian Peninsula and spread north to the Jordan River. Over the next few centuries, different Islamic groups - the Omayyeds, the Abbasids, the Ayyubids and the Mamelukes - controlled the area.
 Did you know?
In 1978 King Hussein married an American of Syrian heritage, Lisa Halaby. She took the name Noor al-Hussein (Light of Hussein) when she converted to Islam.

In the 16th century, the Ottoman Turks conquered the area. The Ottoman Empire lasted until the early 20th century. During the First World War, the Bedouins and the British, led by T.E. Lawrence (known as Lawrence of Arabia), drove the Turks out of the area east of the Jordan River.

After the war, Britain controlled Jordan and Palestine. The state of Transjordan was created in April 1921. Its leader, Abdullah Ibn al-Hussein negotiated independence from Britain in 1946, although British resources still supported the country. The country was renamed Jordan and Abdullah was crowned king. He was assassinated in 1951 and was succeeded by his grandson Hussein.

In 1948, when the state of Israel was formed, Jordan joined the Arab League. War broke out between Israel and the Arab nations. When it ended in 1949, the peace treaty divided the West Bank of the Jordan River between Jordan and Israel. Palestinians who wanted to remove Israelis from Palestine formed the Palestine Liberation Organization, based in Jordan.

In 1967, in the Six-Day War, Israel occupied the West Bank. Arab-Israeli conflict continued into the 1990s, but in 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement. King Hussein, who had promoted the peace talks, died in 1999 and was succeeded by his son, Abdullah.