by Susan Flantzer
A Brief Background History: Transjordan was once part of the Ottoman Empire and became part of Palestine in 1917. In 1921, Transjordan became an autonomous division of Palestine under the leadership of Sharif Abdullah bin al-Hussein who then became Emir of Transjordan. Abdullah bin al-Hussein was the son of Hussein bin Ali, Sharif and Emir of Mecca, who was instrumental in starting the Great Arab Revolt against Ottoman Empire. In 1916, Hussein bin Ali proclaimed himself King of Hejaz, a region of present-day Saudi Arabia, and also declared himself King of all Arabs. This last move enraged another Arab leader, Abdul Aziz Al Saud, who defeated Hussein bin Ali in 1924, caused him to abdicate the throne of Hejaz, and then became the first King of Saudi Arabia. Hussein bin Ali’s three sons all became kings: Ali was briefly was King of Hejaz, Abdullah was King of Jordan, and Faisal was King of Iraq and Syria. Faisal was an important figure in the revolt against the Ottoman Empire and received assistance from British Army Captain T. E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia. In 1946, Transjordan became a kingdom, Emir Abdullah was proclaimed the king, and the name of the country was changed from the Emirate of Transjordan to the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. In 1948, the Parliament of Transjordan approved the creation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which is the complete name of the country.
King Abdullah I of Jordan was the first King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He was born His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah bin al-Hussein of Mecca and Hejaz in February 1882 in Mecca, Hejaz, Ottoman Empire, the third of the five children and the second of three sons of Hussein bin Ali, Sharif and Emir of Mecca and his first wife Abdiyya Khanum. Mecca is now in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Abdullah had four full siblings:
- Prince Ali, last King of Hejaz (1879 – 1935), married Nafissa Khanum, had one son and four daughters
- Hasan bin Hussein, died young
- Princess Fatima, married a Muslim businessman from France
- Prince Faisal, King of Iraq and Syria (1885 – 1933), married to Huzaima bint Nasser, had one son and three daughters
Abdullah had one half-sister by his father’s second wife Madiha Khanum:
- Princess Saleha, married Abdullah bin Muhammed
Abdullah had one half-sister and one half-brother by his father’s third wife Adila Khanum:
- Princess Sara, married Muhammad Atta Amin in July 1933, divorced September 1933
- Prince Zeid (1898 – 1970), married Princess Fahrelnissa Zeid, had one son
Abdullah had three wives. His first wife Musbah bint Nasser was the first Queen Consort of Jordan and Abdullah’s senior wife.
In 1904, Abdullah married his first wife Musbah bint Nasser. They had three children:
- Princess Haya (1907 – 1990), married Prince Abdul-Karim Ja’afar Zeid Dhaoui
- King Talal I (1909 – 1972), married Zein al-Sharaf Talal, had six children including King Hussein I of Jordan
- Princess Munira (1915 – 1987), unmarried
In 1913, Abdullah married his second wife Suzdil Khanum in 1913. They had two children:
- Prince Nayef (1914 – 1983), Princess Mihrimah Selcuk Sultana, had two sons
- Princess Maqbula (1921 – 2001), married Prince Hussein bin Nasser, Prime Minister of Jordan, had one son and one daughter
In 1949, Abdullah married his third wife Nahda bint Uman in 1949. They had no children.
In 1916, Abdullah took part in the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottomans with his brother Faisal. As a result, Abdullah was proclaimed King of Iraq on March 8, 1920, and on the same day, Faisal was proclaimed King of Syria. However, Abdullah refused the throne of Iraq. After his refusal, Faisal, who had just been defeated in Syria and was in need of a kingdom, accepted the position. In 1921, Abdullah was recognized by the United Kingdom as the Emir of Transjordan under British protectorate. In May 1946, Transjordan was released from the status of a British protectorate and recognized as the independent nation of Jordan and Abdullah became the first King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan (renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1949). In 1947, Abdullah was the only Arab ruler to accept the United Nation’s plan for Palestine. However, Jordan took part in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and annexed the territories of the West Bank captured by the Jordanian troops in Palestine.
On July 20, 1951, 69-year-old King Abdullah I of Jordan was assassinated as he entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem, probably because of his moderate attitude towards Israel. The assassin was Mustapha Shukri Usho, a 21-year-old tailor from Jerusalem who belonged to a group that wanted to prevent a permanent division of Palestine by Jordan and Israel. King Abdullah had been accompanied by his 15-year-old grandson, the future King Hussein I of Jordan. Hussein was at his grandfather’s side and was hit too, but a medal that had been pinned to Hussein’s chest at his grandfather’s insistence deflected the bullet and saved his life. King Abdullah’s son succeeded him as King Talal and Talal’s son Hussein was named Crown Prince. However, King Talal suffered from mental illness and was forced to abdicate just a year later. The 16-year old Crown Prince became King Hussein I with a regency council established until he reached the age of 18.
- De.wikipedia.org. (2017). Abdallah ibn Husain I.. [online] Available at: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdallah_ibn_Husain_I. [Accessed 23 Jul. 2017].
- En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Abdullah I of Jordan. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdullah_I_of_Jordan [Accessed 23 Jul. 2017].
- Nl.wikipedia.org. (2017). Abdoellah I van Jordanië. [online] Available at: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdoellah_I_van_Jordani%C3%AB [Accessed 23 Jul. 2017].
- Nytimes.com. (2017). ABDULLAH LABORED TO UNITE NEAR EAST; KING OF JORDAN ON INSPECTION TOUR–ASSASSINATION SITE. [online] Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/1951/07/21/archives/abdullah-labored-to-unite-near-east-king-of-jordan-on-inspection-to.html [Accessed 23 Jul. 2017].
- Times., A. (2017). Abdullah, Jordan King, Slain By an Arab in Old Jerusalem; ABDULLAH IS SLAIN IN OLD JERUSALEM. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/1951/07/21/archives/abdullah-jordan-king-slain-by-an-arab-in-old-jerusalem-abdullah-is.html [Accessed 23 Jul. 2017].
- Unofficial Royalty. (2017). Jordanian Royal Burial Sites. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/royal-burial-sites/jordanian-royal-burial-sites/ [Accessed 23 Jul. 2017].
- Unofficial Royalty. (2017). King Hussein I of Jordan. [online] Available at: http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/february-7-1999-death-of-king-hussein-of-jordan/ [Accessed 23 Jul. 2017].