Hussein I. (Jordan)

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Hussein I. on a visit to the USA on April 2, 1997
Postage stamp featuring Hussein from Jordan 1959

Hussein bin Talal ( Arabic الحسين بن طلال, DMG al-Ḥusain bin Ṭalāl ; * November 14, 1935 in Amman , Jordan ; †  February 7, 1999 ibid) was King of Jordan ( Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan ) from 1952 to 1999 .


Hussein bin Talal was born to Talal and the grandson of Abdallah ibn Hussain , son of the Sherif Hussein of Mecca . Alongside Hassan II of Morocco , he was regarded in the Arab world as one of the two rulers of that time who were considered direct descendants of the Prophet Mohammed . He received his education at Victoria College in Alexandria ( Egypt ). From 1951 he attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom . On July 20, 1951, during a visit to Jerusalem, he witnessed how his grandfather King Abdallah was shot by an Arab assassin in front of the al-Aqsa mosque . Hussein almost got shot too. The assassin probably feared that the king was trying to bring about peace between the Arabs and Israel . Talal became Abdallah's successor; on August 11, 1952, he was deposed because of an incurable nervous disease. Only sixteen years old, Hussein was proclaimed the new king the same day, but remained in Sandhurst until he ascended the throne on May 2, 1953.

US President Jimmy Carter and King Hussein of Jordan in the White House on April 25, 1977

King Hussein pursued a moderate pro-Western policy after he had forced the left-wing nationalist reform government Sulaimān an-Nābulusī to resign in 1957 . His entire term in office was overshadowed by the Middle East conflict . Since the mid-1960s, tensions with Israel over Israel's use of the water of the Jordan and Jordan’s support for the PLO increased. In the Six Day War in July 1967, Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan . Large numbers of Palestinians fled the territories now occupied by Israel to Jordan, and the PLO became a major factor in the country's domestic politics, which increasingly threatened the king's power. On September 1, 1970, the Marxist-Leninist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine carried out an assassination attempt on the king. The direct consequence of the unsuccessful attack was " Black September ", the Jordanian-Palestinian civil war from 1970 to 1971. With the help of the Bedouins, Hussein smashed the Palestinian organizations in Jordan, which were increasingly threatening power in the state. In 1974 the PLO was recognized by Hussein and in 1988 all Jordanian claims to the West Bank were waived in favor of the PLO. During his 47-year reign, he survived more than 30 assassinations and was able to avert several conspiracies and attempts to overthrow.

Visit of the von Weizsäcker 1985.
v. l. Right: King Hussein Bin Talal, Marianne von Weizsäcker , Queen Noor, Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker

During the Second Gulf War (1990–1991), the occupation of Kuwait by Iraq and the subsequent attack by the US- led Allied troops to liberate Kuwait, Jordan fell into extensive political isolation when Hussein tried to mediate between the Allies and Iraq. The situation only eased when the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty was signed in 1994 . In 1991, with the admission of parties , the country began to become more democratic .

On the occasion of the memorial service for the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, who was murdered in 1995, on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, King Hussein stepped onto Jerusalem for the first time since the murder of his grandfather. In his personal address during the funeral ceremony, he said:

“My sister, Mrs. Leah Rabin, my friends, I never believed that the moment would come when I would mourn the loss of a brother, a colleague and a friend - a man and a soldier whom we respected like him respected us. You lived as a soldier and you died as a soldier of peace and I think it is time for all of us to take a clear stand here and now and for all future. […] Let us hope and pray that God will give each one of us - according to his respective sphere of activity - the strength to do everything in his power to realize the better future on which Yitzchak Rabin built so resolutely and courageously [...]. "

Reception in Aqaba by King Hussein of Jordan on November 14, 1964 on the occasion of his 29th birthday

Hussein succumbed to non-Hodgkin lymphoma on February 7, 1999 . Shortly before his death, he had changed his will to the effect that not his brother Hassan ibn Talal should succeed him, but his son Abdullah . The importance Hussein and the recognition of his longstanding efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East were by the presence of 17 ruling heads of state, representatives of various monarchies and former political negotiating partners, including the former US president Gerald Ford , Jimmy Carter and George HW Bush , on Funeral celebrations underlined. The State of Israel also raised its flags to half-mast.

Hussein I. as a radio amateur

Hussein I. and a large part of the royal family were or are radio amateurs ; as an amateur radio call sign he only used the country prefix of Jordan, JY1 , contrary to the regulations of the ITU .

In 1993 he wrote in RadCom magazine about the importance of amateur radio for him and for Jordan:

"The amateur radio made it possible for me to meet people all over the world, one or the other personally, and to recognize that we belong to one big family, whose home today is the whole world."

He also emphasized the practical importance:

"Ham radio has often helped us organize humanitarian aid, especially in 1967–1970 when conventional telecommunications equipment was badly damaged."

The licensing of his second wife Princess Muna as JY2 is seen as a political rally to empower women in Arab society.

At the same time, Hussein emphasized the importance of amateur radio for the development of a modern Jordan:

"Through my personal example, I have encouraged many Jordanians to work in this area - both technically and, just as importantly, in interpersonal communication."

Contrary to this self-portrayal, however, the activity from Jordan, which is very often heard in Europe, concentrated mainly on the royal court, whereby the royal family is automatically licensed. Nevertheless, Hussein I saw the promotion of amateur radio as an opportunity to technically develop Jordan.

Wives and offspring


  • My dangerous life ; Munich: Paul List Verlag, 1962.
  • My war with Israel ; as recorded by Vick Vance and Pierre Lauer; Vienna, Munich, Zurich: Verlag Fritz Molden , 1969.

Web links

Commons : Hussein I.  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ New York Times of September 2, 1970: Hussein escapes attempt on life , accessed on September 2, 2009
  2. from: Leah Rabin : I continue on his way. Memories of Yitzchak Rabin ; Droemer Knaur 1997; ISBN 3-426-26975-9 ; P. 42f.
predecessor Office successor
Talal King of Jordan
Abdullah II