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Kingdom of Saudi Arabia :: History

People of various cultures have lived in the peninsula over a span of more than 5,000 years. The Dilmun culture, along the Persian Gulf coast, was contemporaneous with the Sumerians and ancient Egyptians, and most of the empires of the ancient world traded with the states of the peninsula. Except for a few major cities and oases, the harsh climate historically prevented much settlement of the Arabian Peninsula.


First Saudi State

The First Saudi State was established in the year 1744 (1157 A.H.) when leader Sheikh Mohammed ibn Abd al Wahhab settled in Diriyah and Prince Mohammed Ibn Saud agreed to support and espouse his cause, with a view to cleansing the Islamic faith from distortions. The House of Saud with other allies rose to become the dominant state in Arabia controlling most of the Najd, but not either coast.This Saudi state lasted for about seventy-five years.

Concerned at the growing power of the Saudis the Ottoman Sultan instructed Mohammed Ali Pasha to reconquer the area. Ali sent his son Ibrahim Pasha who was successful in routing the Saudi (Wahhabi) forces in 1817. It would only be a few years before the Sauds would return to power, forming the Second Saudi State.

Rulers of the first Saudi state:

  • Imam Mohammed Ibn Saud 17261765 (11391179 H)
  • Imam Abdul Aziz Ibn Mohammed Ibn Saud 17651803 (11791218 H)
  • Imam Saud Ibn Abdul Aziz Ibn Mohammed Ibn Saud (Saud Al Kabeer) 18031814 (12181233 H)
  • Imam Abdullah bin Saud 18141818


Second Saudi State

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 dynasty of Ha'il. In 1902 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 rulers of the second state:

  • Amir Mushari ibn Saud ibn Abd al-Aziz 1819 - 1819
  • Amir Turki ibn Abdallah ibn Muhammad (first time) 1819 - 1820
  • Amir Turki ibn Abdallah ibn Muhammad (second time) 1824 - 1834
  • Amir Mushari ibn Abd al-Rahman ibn Mushari 1834 - 1834
  • Amir Faisal ibn Turki ibn Abdallah (first time) 1834 - 1838
  • Amir Khalid ibn Saud ibn Abd al-Aziz 1838 - 1841
  • Amir Abdallah ibn Thunayyan ibn Ibrahim 1841 - 1843
  • Amir Faisal ibn Turki (second time) 1843 - 1865
  • Amir Abdallah ibn Faisal ibn Turki (first time) 1865 - 1871
  • Amir Saud ibn Faisal ibn Turki 1871 - 1871 (first time)
  • Amir Abdallah ibn Faisal ibn Turki (second time) 1871 - 1873
  • Amir Saud ibn Faisal ibn Turki (second time) 1873 - 1875
  • Amir Abd al-Rahman ibn Faisal ibn Turki (first time) 1875 - 1876
  • Amir Abdallah ibn Faisal ibn Turki (third time) 1876 - 1889
  • Amir Abd al-Rahman ibn Faisal ibn Turki (second time) 1889 - 1891


Third Saudi state

The Third Saudi state was founded by the late King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud (known internationally as Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud). In 1902 Abdul Aziz 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 Hijaz between 1913 and 1926. On January 8, 1926 Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud became the King of Hijaz. On January 29, 1927 he took the title King of Nejd (his previous Nejdi title was Sultan). By the Treaty of Jedda, signed on May 20, 1927, the United Kingdom recognized the independence of Abdul Aziz's realm (then known as the Kingdom of Hijaz and Nejd). In 1932, these regions were unified as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The discovery of oil on March 3, 1938 in Dhahran transformed the country.

1939: Oil exploitation starts, allowing King Ibn Saud to begin a large-scale modernizing program.

1951: A new agreement with Aramco (Arabian American Oil Company), gives Saudi Arabia 50% of all earnings from the oil, as Aramco starts paying tax to Saudi Arabia instead of to the US government.

1953 November 9: King Abdul Aziz dies. He is succeeded by his son Saud.

1957: As a result of a visit by King Saud to USA, relations with USA are enhanced. This especially involved increase in Saudi buys of US military equipment. Later this year Saudi Arabia declared that the Gulf of Aqaba was Saudi territory.

1958: Change in the constitutional construction, where the kings absolute power was reduced, and legislative and executive powers were transferred to the prime minister. A couple of months later a cabinet system was introduced.

1964: Prince Faisal replaces Saud as king. The political system of Faisal is the system that has been used up to our times.

1973: Saudi Arabia plays a leading role in a oil boycott against those Western countries that supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War. This resulted in oil prices four times higher than earlier.

1974: Saudi Arabia takes over more of the control over Aramco, and revenues increases greatly.

1975: King Faisal is murdered. Khalid becomes new king.

1980: Saudi Arabia takes full control over Aramco.

1982: King Khalid dies. He is succeeded by Fahd.

1992: Constitutional changes where a consultative council, shura, is established, along with a bill of rights and clear rules for succession for the king.

2005: King Fahd dies. He is succeeded by Abdullah, formerly Crown Prince.