Saudi Arabia History

Saudi Arabia History

Medieval to modern times

The real history of the Arabian Peninsula or Saudi Arabia begins with the flight of the Prophet Mohammed from Mecca to Medina 622. This year is the beginning of the Islamic era. Until then, areas of what is now Saudi Arabia were part of the Kingdom of the Nabataeans, which dates back to AD 100. annexed by the Romans and declared Roman province “Arabia”. The influence of Roman culture on today’s territory remained minimal, however, the nomadic tribes (Bedouins) living in the interior remained largely unaffected.

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According to AbbreviationFinder, Abul Kasim Muhammad Ibn Abd Allah, the Prophet Mohammed creator of Islam, was born in Mecca around 570 and began writing the Koran, the holy book of Islam around 608 (114 chapters = suras). In 622 he went from Mecca to Medina, from there he began to unite the Arab tribes. After his death in 632, the so-called caliphs (“God’s representative”) continued his work, Mecca became the religious center of a unified state, Medina its political center. Under Caliph Omar I and Caliph Othman, the Arab empire expanded in the 7th century by conquering Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Persia and by penetrating Arab troops to North Africa. After Othman’s death, the Islamic movement split over the question of the righteous successor of the Prophet, the Shiites and Sunnis emerged as the most important parties (today around 90% of all followers of Islam are Sunnis). The seat of the caliph was moved to Damascus, as a result of which the Arabian Peninsula lost its political importance, while the holy cities of Mecca and Medina remained an attraction for all believers. In the area of ​​what is now Saudi Arabia, a large number of small empires were formed, over which the Bedouin kingdoms ruled.

In the 13th century, the coastal areas were occupied by the Mameluks from Egypt, and in the early 16th century the Ottomans conquered large parts of the coastal regions and the north of the Arabian Peninsula. Inland, the small empire Al Riyad (today: Riyadh) was founded around 1450 by ancestors of the Saud dynasty ruling in today’s kingdom. The Bedouin Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Saud allied himself around 1745 with the Sheikh Mohammad Ibn Abd Al Wahhab, who had founded the Wahhabi sect who believed in strict faith. With the help of their armed forces, they began to unite the tribes that had been hostile for centuries in the interior.

19th and early 20th centuries

The first Wahhabi Empire emerged, which was able to conquer Mecca in 1806, but was only destroyed by the Ottomans a few years later (1818).

The Saudi dynasty started again with the establishment of an empire, the Saudi territories were recaptured by the Turkish sovereignty. In 1902 Abd Al Aziz occupied Ibn Saud III. the city of Riyadh, he is considered the founder of today’s Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Despite Ottoman sovereignty, the family managed to secure their rule over the emirate. In 1915 Ibn Saud III. recognized by Great Britain as an independent ruler of the Nadjd, who in turn concluded a protection contract with the great power, which was opposed to the war of the Ottoman Empire.

After the First World War, clashes between the Saudis and the Hashemite kingdom began under the leadership of Husain Ibn Ali, who ruled over Hijas in the north of the country and the holy cities. In 1926 Ibn Saud III. proclaimed king of the Hejaz, in 1932 he united the two provinces of Nadjd and Hejaz and gave the new state the name of Saudi Arabia.

In 1938, with the help of the United States, the development of the extensive oil fields that had been discovered five years earlier began (25% of the deposits known worldwide today). This raw material (export from 1944) made Saudi Arabia a wealthy and economically influential country. In 1945 the country was one of the founding members of the “Arab League”, the goal of which was the closer economic, political and military cooperation of the Arab states. The kingdom was highly respected within the league, not least as the guardian of the two holiest sites in Islam. In the conflict with Israel, Saudi Arabia was part of the anti-Israeli camp, but only took part in the Middle East wars with the financial support of the Arab states. On the other hand, economic and political relations with the United States were further expanded, which included an arms base within the country (Dhahran). In 1960, Saudi Arabia, together with Iraq, Iran, Venezuela and Kuwait, founded the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), whose declared aim is to secure guaranteed and long-term income from oil sales for the producing countries by stabilizing the world oil market secure guaranteed and long-term income from oil sales to the producing countries by stabilizing crude oil market secure guaranteed and long-term income from oil sales to the producing countries by stabilizing crude oil market prices.

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Recent developments

In 1964, King Saud IV was forced to abdicate due to a crisis caused by excessive government spending, and his brother Faisal succeeded him. Saudi Arabia remained an absolute monarchy. Without violating traditional Islamic values, King Faisal implemented extensive reforms in the judiciary, social and educational systems. In the run-up to the 3rd Middle East War (“Six-Day War”) Saudi Arabia was approaching Egypt, with which there had been disputes over the Yemen issue since the 1950s (civil war in Yemen 1962-70, Egypt supported this financially and militarily) Republican South Yemen, Saudi Arabia North Yemen). The country did not directly participate in this war or in the so-called “October War” against Israel in 1973, but supported the Arab camp massively, among other things through arms deliveries and the temporary reduction in oil deliveries to the United States and the United Kingdom, which led to drastic price increases for crude oil. Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia’s good economic relations with the West remained in principle.

King Faisal’s successor in 1975 was his half-brother Chalid, who was replaced in 1982 by King Fahd Ibn Abd Al Aziz. In the course of the 1st Gulf War between Iraq and Iran (1980-88) Saudi Arabia sided with Iraq, in the 2nd Gulf War (1990-91) the country was an ally of the United States against Iraq and the anti-Iraqi armed forces the country is available as a base for deployment, not least as a protective measure against an Iraqi invasion.

In 1993 there were some democratic reforms in Saudi Arabia, such as the establishment of the Consultative Assembly, which is by the King’s side, but without its own competencies. Border incidents between Saudi Arabia and Yemen occurred again in the mid and late 1990s, prompted by suspected oil deposits in the disputed areas. At that time, Saudi Arabia had already become the world’s largest oil producer with around 400 million tons of crude oil. The profits were used to build an efficient industry (petrochemical, steel industry) that was independent of the petroleum sector. In June 2000, Yemen and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement that resolved the longstanding territorial conflict through a new border between the two countries. To avoid further border incidents,

From 2005, Abdullah Ibn Abdul-Aziz was king and prime minister, his successor since 2015 is Salman Ibn Abd al-Aziz. The pro-western politics of the royal family and reform-oriented forces are being opposed by an increasingly fundamentalist section of the population from which many of the most wanted terrorists, including Osama bin Laden, come. The Interior Ministry announced at the end of 2007 that more than 200 people belonging to Al Qaeda cells had been arrested that year. They have been accused of planning attacks on buildings, oil plants and civilians. With a comprehensive judicial reform, the legal system under Abdullah Ibn Abdul-Aziz was adapted to the conditions of the world economy, so there are courts for commercial and labor law for the first time;The Sharia remains the basis of the case law.

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