Hussein bin Talal was King of Jordan from 11 August 1952 until his death in 1999. As a member of the Hashemite dynasty, the royal family of Jordan since 1921, Hussein was a 40th-generation direct descendant of Muhammad.
Hussein was born in Amman as the eldest child of Talal bin Abdullah and Zein al-Sharaf bint Jamil. Talal was then the heir to his own father, King Abdullah I. Hussein began his schooling in Amman, continuing his education abroad. After Talal became king in 1951, Hussein was named heir apparent. The Parliament forced Talal to abdicate a year later due to his illness, and a regency council was appointed until Hussein came of age. He was enthroned at the age of 17 on 2 May 1953. Hussein was married four separate times and fathered eleven children.
Hussein, a constitutional monarch, started his rule with what was termed a "liberal experiment," allowing, in 1956, the formation of the only democratically elected government in Jordan's history. A few months into the experiment, he forced that government to resign, declaring martial law and banning political parties.