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King Abdullah I Bin Al-Hussein 1882-1952

 

History will never cease to refer to King Abdullah Bin al Hussein, as the founder of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He holds the unique character in contemporary Arab history. King Abdullah engaged himself with the upbringing and guidance role of his grandson, the late King Hussein I. King Abdullah's personality was a blend of the traditional and the modern.

In his reign he was a modernizer aiming to lead the path towards prosperity. He was one of the earliest Arab leaders to adapt a constitutional monarchy regime. The experience proved later to be a realistic and sharing-based one. King Abdullah led Arab forces during the Great Arab Revolt. He was inspired and derived his ideas from the struggle ethics of his father, Sharif Hussein, and likewise, were his brothers Ali, Faisal and Zeid. Towards the end of the First World War, Damascus, modern Jordan, and most of the Arab peninsula became liberated from the Ottomans.

Faisal was crowned King of Syria, but after the battle of Maysaloun, event accelerated, and Prince Abdullah moved to Jordan, to establish a state, while Faisal was destined to hold the Iraqi throne. The Emirate of Trans-Jordan was established by King Abdullah on 21 April 1921. Thus, the first central government system was created, in a society dominated by a tribal and bedioun order. The King concentrated in the thirty coming years on building the State. He developed the institutional governance base for his statehood. Driven by an independent vision, he aimed for self rule and independence, through democratic legitimacy.

The first constitution for Jordan was in place by 1928, dubbed as the Legislative Council and elections for the first Parliament took place in 1929. The King held during these three decades a number of treaties between Trans-Jordan and England, which culminated in the end of the British mandate on Trans-Jordan on 22 March 1946, thus giving Jordan full independence, and identifying the State on 25 May 1946 as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. With independence, Jordan assumed a progressive Arab and International role.

It marked a presence in conferences, the first of which was Anshas Summit in 1946, days after the State's independence. Jordan assumed a staunch defending and supporting position over the Palestinian cause on the Arab and international arenas. During the Arab Israeli war in 1948, the Jordan Arab Army defended Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine.

It's valour and courage became recognized, as was its high professional level. The Jordan Arab Army defeated the Jewish forces in Bab al Wad, Latroun, and East Jerusalem, despite consequent Israeli attacks, the enemy faced one defeat after the other. The Arab Israeli war finished in mid July 1948, whereby a number of truce treaties were signed, between Arab countries and Israel, in the Rhodes Conference, and the borders between East Jordan and Palestine were drawn. On 20 July 1951, King Abdulla I went to Jerusalem for Friday prayers, with his young grandson, Hussein. But fate was lurking aside.

The King was assassinated at the foot of the stairs of Al-Aqsa Mosque, near the tomb of his father, Sharif Hussein, who himself, forsaked his life for all Arabs.

The young grandson, late King Hussein, was beside his grandfather. A bullet hit a metal medal on his chest and saved him from physical harm, but the effect on the young prince then, were deeply engraved inside him throughout his life. The young prince realized there and then the importance and inevitability of death, and the grave duties and responsibilities lying ahead. In his biography, (Uneasy Lies the Head), written in English, late King Hussein tells of how his grandfather had told him three days before his assassination while in Jerusalem:

"Son, you have to realize that one day, you will have to shoulder the responsibility. I aspire that you will exert your utmost, to conclude what I have been doing. I aspire for you to continue to save our people."

The young prince promised earnestly to render all there is, to fulfill his duty. King Abdullah and his grandson did not realize how soon this will be put into effect. A liberal constitution was also developed during his short reign.

This constitution made the government collectively, and ministers individually, responsible to the Parliament. The constitution was passed in Parliament on 1 January 1952.

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