Jordan's early state-building processes depended significantly on the interaction between King Abdullah (then Emir Abdullah) and the mainly tribal society that constituted the majority of the Emirate's population between 1920-1948 (200,000-400,000). The population of Transjordan in 1922, a year after Emir Abdullah arrived in Amman, was estimated at more than 225,000 of which almost half (about 103,000) were nomadic.
The Emirate accommodated tribal leaders allowing them a vital role in the incorporation of their tribes into the state by creating incentives and interests for them in its institutions, mainly the military. The submission of the tribes to the rule of the central government which was completed before Jordan's independence was achieved relatively peacefully through the skilled governance of King Abdullah I, his ability to engage naturally in tribal politics and the maintenance of many aspects of the traditional tribal institutions (tribal customary law), tribal culture and ethos, as well as the privileges accorded to tribal leaders by the state. This was a significant task in view of the elementary stage of state building.
As the state grew in strength and began to dominate economic, political and military spheres of life, the pace of modernization inevitably accelerated and tribal society became dependent upon the government. The accelerating pace of social mobilization in Jordan is highlighted in the rapid growth of its urban population from 55% of total population in 1975 to 73% in 1997, while the average growth rate for the Middle East and north Africa region for 1998 was 58%. Jordan's population after the unity with the West Bank rose to 1,329,989 inhabitants in 1952 (587,303 on the East Bank and 742,686 on the West Bank) from a population of 433,659 of which 99,261 were unsettled Bedouins in 1946. Jordan had two towns of more than 10,000 inhabitants in 1946 (Amman 65,754 and Salt 14,479). By 1952, the influx of Palestinian refugees increased the population of Amman to 108,412, as well as the population of Irbid and Zarqa, which rose from less than 10,000 inhabitants each, to more than 23,000 and 28,000 respectively.
The Palestinian problem constituted a particularly significant factor in the process of development of Jordanian national identity. Jordanian identity building constituted a series of cultural and political transactions in the midst of the upheaval in Palestine and its repercussions on the Jordanian state. Jordanian identity underlines the significant and fundamental common denominators that make it inclusive of Palestinian identity, particularly in view of the shared historic, social and political development of the people on both sides of the Jordan.
The Jordanian government, in view of the historical and political relationship with the West Bank underlined by the Unity Agreement between the two Banks in 1950, granted all Palestinian refugees on its territory full citizenship rights while protecting and upholding their political rights as Palestinians (right of return or compensation).
In addition to the socio-political repercussions of the Palestine problem on Jordan’s evolution, the Arab Israeli conflict had affected Jordan more than any other neighboring country in the Middle East. Jordan lost a significant portion of its territory in 1967 including East Jerusalem and had to consecrate a great part of its resources in defending the Arab world’s longest border with Israel. In 1988 Jordan declared its disengagement decision from the West Bank allowing the PLO to exercise full responsibility for the Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories.