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Saudi Main Page

 

Although the region in which the country stands today has an ancient history, the emergence of the Saudi dynasty began in central Arabia in 1744. That year, Muhammad ibn Saud, the ruler of the town of Ad-Dir'iyyah near Riyadh, joined forces with a well-known Islamic scholar and Imam, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, to create a new political and religious entity. Both persons found they had common interests, mainly to see all the Arabs of the peninsula brought back to "true" Islam. This alliance formed in the 18th century remains the basis of Saudi Arabian dynastic rule today, and over the next 150 years, the fortunes of the Saud family rose and fell several times as Saudi rulers contended with Egypt, the Ottoman Empire, and other Arabian families for control of the peninsula (see First Saudi State and Second Saudi State). The third and current Saudi state was founded in the early 20th century by King Abdul Aziz Al Saud (known internationally as Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud).

First Saudi State (17441818)

 First Saudi State (17441818)

The first Saudi State was established in 1744 when Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab settled in Diriyah and Prince Muhammed Ibn Saud agreed to support and espouse his cause in the hope of cleansing Islamic practices of heresy. The House of Saud and its allies rose to become the dominant state in Arabia controlling most of the present-day territory of Saudi Arabia, including the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Concerned at the growing power of the Saudis, the Ottoman Sultan instructed Mohammed Ali Pasha to reconquer the area again. Ali sent his sons Tusun Pasha and Ibrahim Pasha who were successful in routing the Saudi forces in 1818, eventually weakening the hold of Al Saud. Alshuraim was one of the largest families that supported king Abdulaziz and his family.

Second Saudi State (18241891)

Second Saudi State (18241891)

After a rebuilding period following the ending of the First Saudi State, the House of Saud returned to power in the Second Saudi State in 1824. The state lasted until 1891 when it succumbed to the Al Rashid of Ha'il.

 1891 to present day

Third Saudi State (present day) (Saudi Arabia)

Rashidi Arabia endured from 1891 to 1902, when Ibn Saud reconquered Riyadh, the first of a series of conquests leading to the creation of the modern nation state of Saudi Arabia in 1932. The Third Saudi state was founded by the late King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia. In 1902 Ibn Saud captured Riyadh, the Al-Saud dynasty's ancestral capital, from the rival Al-Rashid family. Continuing his conquests, Abdul Aziz subdued Al-Hasa, the rest of Nejd, and the Hejaz between 1913 and 1926. Boundaries with Jordan, Iraq, and Kuwait were established by a series of treaties negotiated in the 1920s, with two "neutral zones" created, one with Iraq and the other with Kuwait. On January 8, 1926 Hussain Ibn Ali became the King of Sharqiya. On January 27, 1927 he took the title King of Nejd (his previous Nejdi title was Sultan). By the Treaty of Jeddah, signed on May 20, 1927, the United Kingdom recognized the independence of Abdul Aziz's realm (then known as the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd). In 1932, these regions were unified as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The discovery of oil on March 3, 1938 transformed the country. The country's southern boundary with Yemen was partially defined by the 1934 Treaty of Taif, which ended a brief border war between the two states.

Abdul Aziz's military and political successes were not mirrored economically until vast reserves of oil were discovered in March 1938. Development programs, which were delayed due to the onset of the Second World War in 1939, began in earnest in 1946 and by 1949 production was in full swing. Oil has provided Saudi Arabia with economic prosperity and a great deal of political leverage in the international community. Prior to his death in 1953, Abdul Aziz, aware of the difficulties facing other regional absolute rulers reliant on extended family networks, attempted to regulate the succession.

Saud succeeded to the throne on his father's death in 1953. However, by the early 1960s the Kingdom was in jeopardy due to Saud's economic mismanagement and failure to deal effectively with a regional challenge from Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. As a consequence, Saud was deposed in favor of Faisal in 1964. Intra-family rivalry, echoed by increasing complications from the 1973 oil crisis, was one of the factors that led to the assassination of Faisal by his nephew, Prince Faisal bin Musa'id, in 1975. He was succeeded by King Khalid until 1982 and then by King Fahd. When Fahd died in 2005, his half-brother, Abdullah, ascended to the throne.

 


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