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The greatest territorial and cultural empire in the history of humanity was the British Empire. From its first colony in 1583 in what is today Newfoundland, Canada (in 1867 Canada was also the first nation of the empire to become politically independent by peaceful means) it grew to vast areas of every inhabited continent on earth. The "sun never sets on the British empire" and "Britannia rules the waves" weren't just hollow patriotic buzzwords to be dutifully repeated ad nauseam; they were reality. The British, while a mighty military force in the world, were also a mighty force of civilization and civility for the world.

Also included within the territory under Britain's authority was a vast area of the Middle East. Much of Arabia, including areas of it known today as Saudi Arabia and Iraq (numerous independent nations in the region were born, not in spite of British rule, but by means of British rule, including Israel - see the Fact Finder question below) were under British dominance, as was "Palestine" and the area east of the Jordan which was designated as "Transjordan," meaning across the Jordan. Today, it is known as the Kingdom of Jordan.

Transjordan In Bible History

The area east of The Jordan River was the scene of many notable and well-known events of Bible History. Many people are surprised to learn that the territory immediately east of the Jordan was, is, in fact part of the physical Israelite Promised Land (see the map below). Some of the other notable events that occurred east of the Jordan:

Transjordan Moses died and is buried there:

"So Moses the servant of The Lord [see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD] died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of The Lord. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab" (Deuteronomy 34:5-6 KJV)

The Lord renamed Jacob as "Israel" there:

"And He said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel [see also Physical and Spiritual Israel]: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed" (Genesis 32:28 KJV)

The prophet Elijah (see also The Elijahs) was from Tishbi, a town east of the Jordan:

"And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As The Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. And the word of The Lord came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan" (1 Kings 17:1-3 KJV)

John the Baptist spent much of the time of his ministry east of the Jordan. It was there that Herod Antipas (see The Herods) arrested and imprisoned John in the fortress of Machaerus, located in the southern part of the transjordan (see John's Last Days):

"For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her." (Matthew 14:3-4 KJV)

Fact Finder: How was the British Empire, and later the budding American empire, involved in the birth of modern-day "Israel"?
See United States, Britain and Israel

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