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World - Middle East

Highlights of King Hussein's life

February 7, 1999
Web posted at: 5:59 p.m. EST (2259 GMT)

November 14, 1935

young hussein
In 1953, Hussein bin Talal was named king of Jordan, and would go on to become the world's longest ruling monarch  

Born Hussein bin Talal in Amman to the Hashemite royal family that was the traditional guardian of the Islamic holy cities Mecca and Medina.

His grandfather, King Abdullah, had ascended the throne in 1920 when Britain carved the emirate of Transjordan out of lands taken from the Ottoman Empire in World War I.

July 20, 1951

Abdullah, now king of an independent Jordan, is assassinated. Hussein's mentally ill father, Crown Prince Talal, is installed as king in September.

August 11, 1952

Jordan's parliament forces Talal to abdicate, then names 17- year-old Crown Prince Hussein as king. A Regency Council is appointed to govern until the prince comes of age.

May 2, 1953

Hussein assumes full constitutional powers.

March 1956

With Arab nationalism inspired by Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser on the rise, Hussein replaces senior British officers in the army with Jordanians after criticism that he is too influenced by the West.

April 1957

Hussein defuses an uprising by Arab nationalist army officers by making a dramatic personal appeal to the troops. It is the first of many coup attempts he will face.

July 1958

Hussein puts down another revolt by pro-Nasser elements, but must request the intervention of U.S. and British troops to maintain his rule.

November 1966

Retaliatory strike by Israel against Palestinian guerrillas based in Jordan sparks Palestinian rioting that almost topples Hussein.

June 1967

Joins Egypt and Syria to attack Israel in the disastrous Six Day War.

Jordan loses control of the West Bank and east Jerusalem and sees its military shattered, but Hussein shores up his support among the country's growing Palestinian population.

November 1967

Helps draft U.N. Resolution 242, which calls on Israel to relinquish the newly occupied territories in exchange for Arab recognition of its right to exist.

September 17, 1970

Launches full-scale military attack to expel the Palestine Liberation Organization, which had increasingly flouted Hussein's authority and worked to undermine his rule.

Ten days of bloody street fighting force the guerrillas from Amman, but lower-level fighting continues until August 1971, when the final PLO elements flee the country. The assault again strains Jordan's relations with its Arab neighbors.

October 1974

Arab leaders back the PLO over Jordan as "the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people."

June 15, 1978

Hussein marries a fourth time, to U.S.-born Elizabeth Halaby. The new queen of Jordan becomes known as Queen Noor.

September 24, 1979

Despite U.S. pressure, denounces the Camp David peace accords in front of the U.N. General Assembly as contrary to Arab interests. The gesture again moves Hussein into the Arab mainstream and opens the way for increased financial support.

July 31, 1988

Formally relinquishes Jordan's claims to the West Bank.

November 1989

Begins process of moving Jordan toward democracy by holding first parliamentary elections since 1967.

January 1991

Opts for neutrality in the Persian Gulf War between Iraq and the U.N. coalition, despite heavy pressure from the United States. The decision costs Jordan economically, but bolsters Hussein's popular support.


Overcomes renal cancer.

July 1994

Signs peace accord with Israeli Premier Minister Yitzhak Rabin, ending 46 years of hostilities between the two neighbors.

July 1998

Begins chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

October 1998

Helps stave off the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by leaving the hospital to make a dramatic appearance at the Wye River peace talks in Maryland.

wye river
Last October, while battling cancer, Hussein helped President Clinton broker the Wye River interim peace agreement between Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  

January 19, 1999

Returns to a tumultuous welcome in Jordan after undergoing cancer treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

January 25, 1999

Appoints his eldest son, Prince Abdullah, as heir. Hours later, he returns to the United States for further medical care at the clinic.

February 4, 1999

Hussein's private physician announces that the king's second bone marrow transplant has failed, and Hussein returns to Amman.

King Hussein returning to Jordan after cancer treatment fails
February 4, 1999
Jordan's King Hussein undergoes bone marrow transplant
February 2, 1999
Palestinians closely watch Jordan's power shift
January 31, 1999
Despite changes, Jordan an oasis of stability
January 30, 1999
Jordan's new crown prince meets with Arafat
January 30, 1999
Hussein's cancer relapse prompts 10 more days of chemotherapy
January 28, 1999
Naming of new heir, Hussein's departure raise uncertainty in Jordan
January 26, 1999

The Office of King Hussein I of Jordan
Mayo Clinic Health Oasis

Jordan Radio and Television Corp.
The CIA World Factbook - Jordan
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