This chapter provides a brief historical background and a description of major events in Jordan. It also provides basic political, economic, and social data arranged in the following categories: polity, economy, population, purchasing power parities, life expectancy, ethnic groups, capital, political rights, civil liberties, and status. The chapter discusses the progress and decline of political rights and civil liberties in Jordan. Escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians during 2001 stirred up frustrations among Jordan's largely Palestinian population and presented King Abdullah with the most serious challenge of his short reign. The king holds broad executive powers and may dissolve parliament or dismiss the prime minister or cabinet at his discretion. Parliament may approve, reject, or amend legislation proposed by the cabinet, but is restricted in its ability to initiate legislation. The electoral law has been a point of contention since its implementation in 1993.