On the Aerodrome at Amman. Colonel Laurence (T.E. Lawrence). Sir Herbert Samuel. Amir Abdullah. April, 1921


At the conclusion of World War I, the victorious allies named Britain the mandatory power for Palestine, Transjordan, and Iraq, all former territories of the Ottoman Empire which, with Germany, had been defeated in the war. In April 1921, the British convened meetings of Arab and British officials at Amir Abdullah ibn Hussein's camp at Amman, during the course of which British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel proclaimed Amir Abdullah the ruler of the new Emirate of Transjordan. This photograph, taken at these meetings, shows Colonel T.E. Lawrence, Samuel, and Amir Abdullah. The man at the far right is possibly Sheik Majid Pasha el Adwan, the woman at the far left possibly Gertrude Bell. Lawrence, more commonly known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” had helped to stir up an Arab revolt against the Ottomans. Bell was a writer and archeologist who, with Lawrence, played a role in the founding of the post-Ottoman states in Jordan and Iraq. The photograph is by the Photo Department of the American Colony in Jerusalem, a Christian utopian community that was established in 1881 and that in subsequent years developed a substantial archive on the Middle East. It is part of an album in the papers of John D. Whiting, a member of the American Colony in Jerusalem, in the collections of the Library of Congress.

Last updated: June 2, 2015