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The Emirate of Transjordan was the name given to this small state when it was recognized in 1921, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the promulgation of the Balfour Declaration.
It contains the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea, and the Great Rift Valley, which was created twenty million years ago when tectonic plates shifted, stretching from Lake Tiberius south through Jordan and into eastern Africa. In 1946, the population was about 400,000; in 1997, it reached 4.6 million, a figure twice that of 1981.After the 1967 war with Israel and Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, there were sudden and massive influxes of Palestinian Arab refugees, who now make up more than two-thirds of the population.In 1996, 1,359,000 Palestinian refugees living in Jordan were registered with United Nations; 250,000 Palestinians continue to live in ten refugee camps.Nomadic people, predominantly Bedouin, account for more than 10 percent of the total population.The population is young, with a birthrate that is double the world average; 43 percent of the people are under age fifteen. English is taught to all students and is widely spoken. The flag has black, white, and green horizontal stripes with a red triangle on the hoist side bearing a white seven-pointed star.By the year 2012, the population is expected to double. The flag of the Palestinian people is identical but does not have the white star.
From Mount Nebo in western Jordan, many people believe that Moses saw the Promised Land.When the Ottoman Empire collapsed after four hundred years of rule, Britain divided up the Fertile Crescent, and modern Jordan was born. Jordan is the only Arab country where Palestinians can become citizens.The differentiation between Jordanians, Bedouins, and Palestinians is clear in this society.Jordanians are defined as residents who have lived east of the Jordan River since before 1948.Palestinians are defined as residents whose birthright extends back to areas west of the Jordan River.People of Bedouin descent are considered to be of the purest Arab stock. In deserts with little vegetation and water, Bedouin families have lived in the traditional way for thousands of years.