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King Hussein
Birth: Nov. 14, 1935
Amman, Jordan
Death: Feb. 7, 1999
Amman, Jordan

King of Jordan. During his lifetime, he transformed Jordan into a parliamentary democracy, and worked hard to bring peace to the Middle East. His commitment to democracy, civil liberties and human rights has helped to make Jordan a model state for the Middle East, and the kingdom is internationally recognized for having the most exemplary human rights record in the Middle East. Because of this, he has often been the target of numerous assassination attempts from radicals. Born Hussein bin Talal in Amman, Jordan, to Prince Talal bin Abdullah and Princess Zein al-Sharaf bint Jamil, of the Jordanian royal family. He attended Victoria College in Alexandria, Egypt, and Harrow School in England, and later attended the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst, England. On July 20, 1951, his grandfather, King Abdullah was assassinated while the two were going to prayers at the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Hussein would have also died, except the assassin’s bullet was stopped by a medal that his grandfather had given him days earlier. King Abdullah’s oldest son, Talal, (Hussein’s father) then assumed the throne in accordance with Jordanian custom, but was forced to abdicate because of mental illness (Queen Noor, in her book, “Leap of Faith,” described it as schizophrenia). On August 11, 1952, Hussein was proclaimed King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, at the age of 16. A Regency Council ruled until his formal accession to the throne on May 2, 1953, when he assumed constitutional powers. During his reign, King Hussein was considered a moderate in a region full of extremists, and was often the target of those who disagreed with his political philosophy. But he would chart his own course in the world of dangerous Middle East politics. In September 1982, he expelled the Palestine Liberation Organization from Jordan. While he participated in three wars against Israel, he would also sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1994. During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, he sided with Iraqi President Sadaam Hussein, despite being officially neutral, which angered many other Arab leaders (he felt the Gulf War would lead to a permanent American presence in the region, which would make peace more difficult to attain). He wrote three books, two of which are printed in English: “Uneasy Lies the Head” (1962) and “My War with Israel” (1969). An accomplished aircraft pilot, he also enjoyed amateur short wave radio, and could often be found talking directly to other people around the world. His reign also saw dramatic development for the benefit of the Jordanian people: In 1960, only 30 percent of the people were literate, while in 1996, over 85 percent were literate. In 1950, water, sanitation and electricity reached only ten percent of the population; by 1995, 99 percent of the population had these utilities. As a result, infant mortality in Jordan declined from 7 percent in 1981 to 3.7 percent in 1991, the greatest decline in infant mortality in the Middle East. In 1989, 1993, and 1997, Jordan held parliamentary elections that were internationally accredited as among the freest and fairest ever held in the Middle East. He was married four times, divorced from his first two wives and the third died in a tragic helicopter crash. His fourth wife, Elizabeth Halaby, was an American who became Queen Noor al Hussein upon her marriage. He had twelve children from his wives, and in accordance with Jordanian custom, his eldest son became King Abdullah II upon his death in 1999 from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. At the time of his death, he was the longest serving head of state in the world. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson) 
Family links: 
   King Talal Bin Abdullah (1909 - 1972)
Hashemite Family Cemetery
Amman, Jordan
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Mar 08, 1999
Find A Grave Memorial# 4673
King Hussein
Added by: Henk J. Orie
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