Hussein of Jordan

Hussein
Hussein of Jordan 1997.jpg
Hussein in 1997
King of Jordan
Reign11 August 1952 – 7 February 1999
Regency ended2 May 1953
PredecessorTalal
SuccessorAbdullah II
Prime Ministers
Born(1935-11-14)14 November 1935
Amman, Transjordan
Died7 February 1999(1999-02-07) (aged 63)
Amman, Jordan
Burial8 February 1999
Raghadan Palace
SpouseDina bint Abdul-Hamid
(m. 1955; div. 1957)

Antoinette Gardiner
(m. 1961; div. 1972)

Alia Touqan
(m. 1972–77; her death)
Lisa Halaby
(m. 1978–99; his death)
Issue
Details and adopted children
Princess Alia
Abdullah II
Prince Faisal
Princess Aisha
Princess Zein
Princess Haya
Prince Ali
Prince Hamzah
Prince Hashim
Princess Iman
Princess Raiyah
Full name
Hussein bin Talal bin Abdullah bin Hussein
HouseHashemite
FatherTalal of Jordan
MotherZein Al-Sharaf
ReligionSunni Islam
SignatureHussein's signature

Hussein bin Talal (Arabic: حسين بن طلال‎, Ḥusayn ibn Ṭalāl; 14 November 1935 – 7 February 1999) was King of Jordan from the abdication of his father, King Talal, on 11 August 1952, until his death in 1999. According to Hussein, he was a 40th-generation direct descendant of Muhammad as he belonged to the Hashemite family which has ruled Jordan since 1921.

He was born in Amman as the eldest child of Crown Prince Talal and his wife, Princess Zein Al-Sharaf. Hussein began his schooling in Amman, continuing his education abroad. Hussein was named crown prince after his father became king. When Talal was forced to abdicate by Parliament a year after he became king due to illness, a Regency Council was appointed until Hussein came of age. He was enthroned at the age of 17 on 2 May 1953. He was married four separate times and fathered eleven children: Princess Alia from Dina bint Abdul-Hamid; Abdullah II, Prince Faisal, Princess Aisha, and Princess Zein from Antoinette Gardiner; Princess Haya and Prince Ali from Alia Touqan; Prince Hamzah, Prince Hashim, Princess Iman, and Princess Raiyah from Lisa Halaby.

Hussein, a constitutional monarch, started his rule with what was termed a "liberal experiment", allowing, in 1956, the formation of the only democratically elected government in Jordan's history. A few months later, he forced that government to resign, declaring martial law and banning political parties. Jordan fought three wars with Israel under Hussein, including the 1967 Six Day War, which ended in Jordan's loss of the West Bank. In 1970 Hussein expelled Palestinian fighters (fedayeen) from Jordan after they had threatened the country's security in what became known as Black September. The King renounced ties to the West Bank in 1988 after the Palestine Liberation Organization was recognized internationally as the sole representative of the Palestinians. He lifted martial law and reintroduced elections in 1989 when riots over price hikes spread in southern Jordan. In 1994 he became the second Arab head of state to sign a peace treaty with Israel.

In 1952, when he was a 17-year old schoolboy, Hussein became king to a young nation that included the then Jordanian-controlled West Bank. The country had few natural resources, and a large Palestinian refugee population as a result of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Hussein led his country through four turbulent decades of the Arab–Israeli conflict and the Cold War, successfully balancing pressures from Arab nationalists, Soviet Union, Western countries, and Israel, transforming Jordan by the end of his 46-year reign to a stable modern state. After 1967 he increasingly engaged in efforts to solve the Palestinian problem, he also acted as conciliatory intermediate between various Middle Eastern rivals; Hussein came to be seen as the Middle East's peacemaker. He was revered for pardoning political dissidents and opponents, and giving them senior posts in the government. Hussein, who survived dozens of assassination attempts and plots to overthrow him, was the region's longest-reigning leader. The King died at the age of 63 from cancer on 7 February 1999. His funeral at the time, was the largest gathering of world leaders since 1995. He was succeeded by his eldest son Abdullah II.

Early life

Hussein (age six) and his mother, Zein Al-Sharaf, 1941

Hussein was born in Amman on 14 November 1935 to Crown Prince Talal and Princess Zein Al-Sharaf.[1] Hussein was the eldest among his siblings, three brothers and two sisters – Princess Asma, Prince Muhammad, Prince Hassan, Prince Muhsin, and Princess Basma.[2] During one cold Ammani winter, his baby sister Princess Asma died from pneumonia, an indication of how poor his family was then – they could not afford heating in their house.[2]

Hussein was the namesake of his great-grandfather, Hussein bin Ali (Sharif of Mecca), the leader of the 1916 Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire.[3] Hussein claimed to be an agnatic descendant of Muhammad's daughter Fatimah and her husband Ali, the fourth caliph, since Hussein belongs to the Hashemite family who have ruled Mecca for over 700 years – until its 1925 conquest by the House of Saud – and has ruled Jordan since 1921.[4][5] The Hashemites, the oldest ruling dynasty in the Muslim world, are the second-oldest-ruling dynasty in the world (after the Imperial House of Japan).[6]

The young prince started his elementary education in Amman. He was then educated at Victoria College in Alexandria, Egypt.[1] He proceeded to Harrow School in England, where he befriended his second cousin Faisal II of Iraq, who was also studying there.[1] Faisal was then King of Hashemite Iraq, but was under regency since he was the same age as Hussein.[1]

Hussein (age eleven) seen behind his grandfather King Abdullah I after the independence of Jordan was declared, 25 May 1946.

King Abdullah I, the founder of modern Jordan, did not see in his two sons Talal and Nayef potential for kingship, he focused his efforts on the upbringing of his grandson Hussein.[7] A special relationship grew between the two. Abdullah assigned Hussein a private tutor for extra Arabic lessons,[7] and Hussein acted as interpreter for his grandfather during his meetings with foreign leaders, as Abdullah understood English but could not speak it.[7] On 20 July 1951 15-year-old prince Hussein traveled to Jerusalem to perform Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque with his grandfather.[1] A Palestinian assassin opened fire on Abdullah and his grandson, amid rumors that the King had been planning to sign a peace treaty with the newly established state of Israel.[5] Abdullah died, but Hussein survived the assassination attempt and, according to witnesses, pursued the assassin.[5] Hussein was also shot, but the bullet was deflected by a medal on his uniform that his grandfather had given him.[5]

Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: Hussein (Iok-tàn)
беларуская: Хусейн бен Талал
čeština: Husajn I.
فارسی: ملک حسین
한국어: 후세인 1세
Bahasa Indonesia: Hussein dari Yordania
لۊری شومالی: ملک ھوسئین
Bahasa Melayu: Hussein dari Jordan
日本語: フセイン1世
Runa Simi: Hussein I
slovenčina: Husajn bin Talál
српски / srpski: Хусеин од Јордана
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Hussein I od Jordana
українська: Хусейн бен Талал
Tiếng Việt: Hussein của Jordan