July 20

This Day in History

General Interest

Jul 20, 1951:

King of Jordan assassinated

While entering a mosque in the Jordanian sector of east Jerusalem, King Abdullah of Jordan is assassinated by a Palestinian nationalist.

Abdullah was a member of the Hashemites, an Arab dynasty said to be directly descended from the Prophet Muhammad. During World War I, with British support, Abdullah led an Arab revolt against Turkish rule in Jordan. In 1921, the British made him the emir of Transjordan, and with Jordanian independence in 1946 he became the country's monarch. Two years later, he led his armies against the newly declared state of Israel, and Jordan annexed east Jerusalem along with the portions of Palestine now known as the West Bank. In 1951, his efforts to create an Arab federation under Hashemite rule ended when he was assassinated in Jerusalem.

After a brief sojourn on the Jordanian throne, Abdullah's son was declared mentally unfit to rule and was replaced by Abdullah's grandson, Hussein bin Talal. King Hussein ruled until he died in 1999; he was succeeded by his son, Abdullah.

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