The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, like the majority of the Levant and North Africa, was subject to external rule throughout its tumultuous history. The decline of the Byzantine era preluded the rise of Islamic rule in the form of the Rashidun Caliphate. Three more caliphates would rule the Arab world until the rise of the Ottoman Empire in 1516. During the First World War, the Allies negotiated an agreement with Sharif Hussein of Mecca to help them overthrow the Ottoman Empire in exchange for independence.
Instead, what followed the Great Arab Revolt of 1916 were new Middle Eastern borders drawn by the Allied forces. These new lines of demarcation designated in the Sykes-Picot Agreement created the borders of modern-day Jordan and today are often credited as a foundational cause of unrest in the Arab world.
Jordan, or Transjordan initially, was recognized as a British mandate in 1922, and obtained its full independence after World War II in 1946. Four kings have ruled Jordan since its independence: King Abdullah I (1921-1951), King Talal (1951-1952), King Hussein (1952-1999), and King Abdullah II (1999-Present). Its modern existence has been mired in conflict, revolving primarily around the state of Israel, including the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the Six-Day War in 1967, and the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Today, Jordan maintains domestic stability, but it is bordered by unrest. To the west is Israel and Palestine; to the north is Sryia; and Iraq to the east is Iraq. The Arab Spring in 2011 swept across the Middle East, leaving destruction and civil strife in its path. In response, King Abdullah II implemented domestic reforms, including the establishment of parliamentary governments and proportional representation.
However, civil unrest is prevalent in Jordan too: King Abdullah II is responsible for answering to a diversity of interests, from those living in the educated, cosmopolitan Amman to the traditional Bedouin tribes. Additionally, the influx of refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Palestine has strained the resource-deprived Jordanian economy, resulting in high unemployment (especially among the youth), rapid inflation, and underdeveloped infrastructure.