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Royal and National Arms

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Various ancient sovereign kingdoms in the region of Jordan have included the Kingdoms of Edom, Ammon, Moab, Israel/Judah, all of which are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and other ancient Near Eastern documents.

During the Greco-Roman period of influence, a number of semi-independent city-states also developed in the region of Jordan under the umbrella of the Decapolis including: Gerasa (Jerash), Philadelphia (Amman), Raphana (Abila), Dion (Capitolias), Gadara (Umm Qays), and Pella (Irbid).

Later, the lands of Jordan became part of the Islamic Empire across its different Caliphates’ stages, including the Rashidun Empire, Umayyad Empire and Abbasid Empire. After the decline of the Abbasid, the region of Jordan was ruled by several conflicting powers including the Mongols, the Christian Crusaders, the Ayyubids and the Mamluks until it became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1516.


After the Ottoman Empire

With the break-up of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, the League of Nations and the occupying powers chose to redraw the borders of the Eastern Mediterranean. The ensuing decisions, most notably the Sykes–Picot Agreement, gave birth to the French Mandate of Syria and British Mandate of Palestine. In September 1922, Transjordan was formally created from within the latter, after the League of Nations approved the British Transjordan memorandum which stated that the Mandate territories east of the River Jordan would be excluded from all the provisions dealing with Jewish settlement.

The country was under British supervision until after World War II. In 1946, the British requested that the United Nations approve an end to British Mandate rule in Transjordan. Following the British request, the Transjordanian Parliament proclaimed King Abdullah as the first ruler of the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. Abdullah I continued to rule until a Palestinian Arab assassinated him in 1951 as he was departing from the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Jordan occupied the area of Cisjordan (Judaea/Samaria) now known as West Bank, which it continued to control in accordance with the 1949 Armistice Agreements and a political union formed in December 1948. The Second Arab-Palestinian Conference held in Jericho on December 1, 1948, proclaimed Abdullah King of Palestine and called for a union of Arab Palestine with the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. The Transjordanian Government agreed to the unification on December 7, 1948, and on December 13 the Transjordanian parliament approved the creation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The step of unification was ratified by a joint Jordanian National Assembly on April 24, 1950. The Assembly was composed of 20 representatives each from the East and West Bank. The Act of Union contained a protective clause which preserved Arab rights in Palestine without anticipating any final settlement.




The royal and national arms of Jordan are said to have been designed in 1921. No drawing or document is obtainable decribing or showing the original form of the achievement. It is only from the time of the Kingdom that the achievement is documented in some European collections of national arms. Today the achievement and its explanation can be found on several websites.


Of the achievement of Jordan three versions are known which can be ascribed to three of the four rulers of Transjordan and Jordan


British Transjordan Mandate

Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan

Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan



24.04.1950- present


Abd Allah I

Amir under Britsh mandate 1921-1946

King 1946-1951


The achievement of  Emir Abd Allah was created at his request on the 1st of Ramadan 1339 (= 1921)



Arms: Or.

Crest: An eagle displayed to the sinister Sable, standing on a globe Azure.

Supporters: Two spears, two national flags, being of three horizontal stripes black, white and green and a red triangle at the mast-end, charged with a white seven-pointed star, two swords and two bows and arrows in saltire

Garland: Three ears of wheat on the dexter and a palm-leaf on the sinister issuing from a ribbon Or.

Motto: Unknown

Mantle: Gules, lined Argent, tasseled Or, decorated with six six-pointed stars Or and with a bordure of six six-pointed stars also Or; crowned with the royal Jordanian Crown.


In this version, which is rarely documented, the flag and the mantle are decorated with six- or eight-pointed stars while seven-pointed stars are to be expected, as the triangle of the flag is charged with a white seven-pointed star. See illustration.


The achievement is explained as follows:


X The golden shield are the arms by which the first Holy War was fought.

X The black eagle (uqab) is the standard of the Messenger of God in the Holy War (Jihad). He has the color of one of his banners. He is displayed to show his spanning the world (i.e. by the Holy War Islam is spread over the world).

* The Encyclopaedia of Islam points out that:

Each tribe of pre-Islamic Arabs had its own identifying coloured banner, and Muhammad himself is reported to have had a flag called ‘uqab’ which according to one account was white, according to another was square, black, and spotted with divers colours, while a third says he had two, a large black one and a small white one. [1]

X The red of the mantle is the color of the Hashemite Dynasty.

X The crown is the crown of H.M. the King.


On August 25, 1934, the Executive Council (the Council of Ministers at the time) issued Directive No. 558 declaring the Coat of Arms (Arabic: شعار المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية‎), the official emblem of the country and describing its specific design.





Husayn ibn Talal

*14.xi.1935 - † 7.ii.1999

1952/ 2.V.1953-1999




For Husayn the motto was changed into: on a ribbon Or: “Al Hussain ibn Talal ibn Abdullah, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan who prays that God may bring him happiness and help” in arabic and in black arab script.


On February 21, 1982, the Council of Ministers issued the official Notification No. 6, which gave written specifications and explanations of the official emblem of the country.


Abd Allah II

            08.02.1999 - present


For Abd Allah II the motto was changed into: “Abdullah II bin Al Hussein bin Aoun, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Who seeks support and guidance from God.”


ð See illustration in the head of this essay


* Aoun is the great grandfather of Al Sharif Al Hussein bin Ali


Royal Ensign





Armed Forces


The Jordanian Armed Forces was formed on 1 March 1956 by renaming the Arab Legion.



Royal Jordan Armed Forces Arms (pulpit version)


The Arab Legion   الجيش العربي



The Arab Legion (al-Jaysh al-Arabī) was the regular army of Transjordan and then Jordan in the early part of the 20th century.

In October 1920, after taking over the Transjordan region, the United Kingdom formed a unit of 150 men called the "Mobile Force" under the command of Captain Frederick Gerard Peake to defend the territory against both internal and external threats. The Legion was based in Zarqa and 80% of its men were the local Chechens.

It was quickly expanded to 1,000 men recruiting Arabs who had served in the military of the Ottoman Empire. On 22 October 1923, the police were merged with the Reserve Mobile Force, still under Peake, who was now an employee of the Emirate. The new force was named Al Jeish al Arabi (the Arab Army) but was always known officially in English as the Arab Legion. The Arab Legion was financed by Britain and commanded by British officers. The force was formed as a police force to keep order among the tribes of Transjordan and to guard the important Jerusalem–Amman road.


Trans-Jordan Frontier Force


Hat Badge


The Trans-Jordan Frontier Force was formed, on 1 April 1926, as a para-military border guard to defend Trans-Jordan's northern and southern borders. The TJFF was also an Imperial Service regiment whose Imperial Service soldiers agreed to serve wherever required and not just within the borders of their own colony, protectorate or, in the case of the Transjordan, mandate. The Amir Abd Allah was an Honorary Colonel of the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force from its inception.




The Royal Naval Force is the naval entity of the Jordanian Armed Forces. It was established at Aqaba in 1951 as the Royal Coast Guard.

Royal Naval Force Emblem

RNF cap badge


RNF ensign


Air Force


RJAF arms


The first air bases had been set up in Trans Jordan in 1931 by the British Royal Air Force. By 1950, Jordan began to develop a small air arm which came to be known as the Arab Legion Air Force  (ALAF).

By 1955, King Hussein began to realize the need for Jordan to have a more modern Air Force, so the RJAF was established on 25 September 1955. By 1958 the Royal Air Force had left Jordan and the RJAF had taken control of the airfields in the country.




RJAF roundel




Dairat al-Mukhabarat al-Ammah (General Intelligence Directorate, or GID) is the intelligence agency of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and a branch of the Jordanian Armed Forces.


The arms of the Service are explained as follows:


The Crown: The Hashemite Royal Crown represents the Constitutional Monarchy.

The Olive Wreath: Two branches of olive symbolize prosperity, welfare and peace.

The Shield: An Arabic Islamic shield with a twenty-five pointed arab decoration symbolizing independence day, May 25. It also symbolizes the defense of the security of the nation and the safeness of the Home Land.

The Eagle: Symbolizes power, invulnerability and controlling the target.

The Snake: Symbolizes the invisible enemy either internal or external.

The Two Swords in saltire symbolize the use of power against terrorism, evil and corruption.

The Motto: The holy verses "say the truth has prevailed," meaning that the truth has to be implemented and the untrue has to be fought. It also supports the two swords and the two olive branches.




Public Security Directorate Arms


On 11/4/1921, the Hashemite leadership decided to establish a Force for security purposes and keeping order. This consisted of Gendarme units at fixed stations in the cities, a reserve battalion of Gendarme, a battalion of regulars and a Hajjanah Unit, in addition to a mobilized force, whose Commander was then called the Councilor Advisor for Security and Discipline equivalent in rank of a Minister in the final Government that was formed in the Emirate of East (Trans-) Jordan.


On 11/09/1923, the post of the Public Security Director was postponed. The units that were linked to it were incorporated to the Arab Army. The Security units continued to perform their duties with the Arab Army until 14/07/1956 when a law was issued for separation. They were re-linked again to the army on 25/04/1957. Then law number (29) for the year (1958) was passed which separated the Public Security from the Army and was linked to the Ministry of Interior.


PSD Ensign



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 © Hubert de Vries 2011-06-13


[1] ‘Alam, in Encyclopaedia of Islam, p. 248. Dr. Ettinghausen points out that ‘uqab means ‘eagle’. Thus the name is an interesting example of the persistent association of the royal bird and the flag. The flags reported respectively by Jabir (contemporary with the prophet), al-Bara ibn ‘Azib (a companion of Muhammad), and Ibn ‘Abbas, and cited, but without specific references, by T.P. Hughes, A dictionary of Islam, London, 1885, pp. 606-7.

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