By Amara Thornton
In the final years of the First World War, British imperial military forces defeated Ottoman troops to occupy Ottoman territory in Palestine. After the Peace Conference in Paris in 1919, Allied politicians agreed that Palestine
would be administered by Britain under a Mandate agreement through the newly constituted League of Nations.
The land that would become Transjordan had also been Ottoman territory, and was after the war incorporated into the Palestine Mandate. The alliance made with the powerful Sherif Hussein bin Ali of Mecca during the war, in return for his assistance in defeating the Ottoman Turkish forces in the region, meant that Hussein's son Abdullah subsequently became Emir (ruler) in Transjordan. Britain's role was to 'assist' the transition of these former Ottoman lands into new independent nations.
In practice, this meant that British officials worked in various government departments, and the British military maintained a presence in the country. A High Commissioner was installed in Jerusalem, headquarters of the British administration, as the chief British official for both Palestine and Transjordan. He reported on progress to the Middle East Department of the Colonial Office in London. A British Resident was put in place in Amman, the new capital of Transjordan, and the seat of King Abdullah's government.
By 1928, a new agreement was signed with Abdullah separating Transjordan from Palestine. However, as the High Commissioner in Jerusalem had oversight over both, they were closely linked in terms of the British representatives in country.
Abu Nowar, Maan. 1989. The History of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: The Creation and Development of Transjordan 1920-1929. Oxford: Ithaca Press.
Rogan, Eugene. 1992. Frontiers of the State in the late Ottoman Empire: Transjordan 1850-1921. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wilson, Mary. 1990. King Abdullah, Britain and the Making of Jordan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.