Jordan's area includes what in Biblical times were the lands of Gilead, Ammon, Moab, and Edom, on the eastern side of the Jordan River and Dead Sea; and most of Judah and Israel (later Judea and Samaria) on the western side.

Jordan was created out of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I. As Trans-Jordan, the land east of the river became a British mandate in 1920, with Abdullah ibn-Hussein of the Hashemite dynasty as ruler.