The country of two shrines

Prehistory

The name "Saudi Arabia" is a derivative of the ruling Arab country Saudi. The modern kingdom, which arose in 1932, is considered to be the third Saudi state. The history of the first two of them belongs to the period when the Arabian Peninsula was in the sphere of influence of the Ottoman Empire. The Turks came to the peninsula in the XVI century. Their power in this region was not constant. The desert areas were a patchwork quilt divided between nomadic tribes. Some recognized vassalage in relation to Istanbul, others rebelled.

The first Saudi state (Dirian emirati) arose in 1744. His ideology was the teaching of the Muslim theologian Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. Wahhabism united significant Arab forces led by the Saudis. In 1803 - 1813 they even controlled Mecca, having won it from the Sultan. The loss of the holy city of Muslims was a serious blow to the Ottoman Empire. As a result, a protracted war ensued. In it on the side of the Turks participated their Egyptian vassals. The conflict ended with the destruction of the rebel emirate.


Abdullah ibn Saud, 1810s

The second Saudi state (the emirate of Nejd) existed in 1818-1891. It did not withstand the pressure of the powerful Arab clan of Rashidids. After the fall of the emirate, the Saud family went into exile in Kuwait.

The core of the monarchy

By the beginning of the 20th century, the emirate of Jebel Shammar, ruled by Rashidids, became the largest state on the Arabian Peninsula. They relied on the military power of the Shammar tribe and the support of the Turks, but they were not popular with the rest of the local population. At the same time, the United Kingdom began to intervene in Arabian affairs, which sought to weaken Istanbul’s influence in the region.

In 1900, the Kuwaitis and their allies Saudi princes organized a campaign in Jebel Shammar. The Russian consul in Basra A. Adamov reported on their initial successes in St. Petersburg. After the intervention of Turkey, the Saudis returned to Kuwait. But already in the beginning of 1902, the 21-year-old Abdul-Aziz Al Saud (or simply Ibn Saud) made a new invasion attempt and seized the ancestral capital of Riyadh with a detachment of 60 people. From this episode began the conquest of the prince, thirty years later became the king of Saudi Arabia.


Railway construction in Arabia, 1906

Having established his power in Riyadh, Ibn Saud proclaimed himself the emir of Nejd. He did this after his father Abdurrahman refused the title. Arriving to his son from Kuwaist, he became the chief adviser of the young emir.

The British supported the Arabs in the fight against the Turks

The actions of the Saudis were indirectly supported by the British. British Arabist Gertrude Bell made such a portrait of Ibn Saud: “He had thin hands with tender fingers - a feature common among the tribes of purely Arabic blood. Despite his height and broad shoulders, he gave the impression of a tired man. It was the weariness of an ancient, uncommunicative people, who strained their vitality so much and drew so little energy beyond their insurmountable boundaries. His leisurely movements, his slow, pleasant smile, his eyes looking thoughtfully out from under heavy eyelids — all this added to his dignity also his charm, but did not accord with the Western concept of an active personality. Nevertheless, stories about him speak of his physical endurance, rare even in Arabia with its harsh conditions. ”

The birth of the kingdom

During the period of the First World War, the Middle East became the scene of confrontation between the agonizing Ottoman Empire and the forces of the Entente. Especially tried the British, who were active in Palestine and Mesopotamia. In the fight against Porta, they gained the support of the Arabs who had raised a national uprising. His key figure was the sheriff of Mecca. The British side was represented by the famous captain Thomas Lawrence, nicknamed Arabian. The uprising (1916-1918) ended with the declaration of independence by several Arab states. In total, by the end of the First World War in Arabia there were five formations: Nejd (who occupied the eastern part of the peninsula), Hejaz, Jebel Shammar, Yemen and Asher.

Oil is ¾ Saudi revenue

When the Ottoman threat was finally eliminated, Ibn Saud began to conquer Arab neighbors who did not recognize his authority. The first was eliminated Jebel Shammar. In 1926, Ibn Saud joined the Hejaz. Thus was created the kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz - the direct predecessor of Saudi Arabia. Then the king established a protectorate over the emirate of Asher.

In September 1932, Hejaz government officials wrote a petition to Abd al-Aziz. The authors of the appeal asked the monarch to reformat the state and make it unitary. And once the people united by tradition and faith became one, then the name of the new country should be different - the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This petition turned out to be a formal reason for a grand reform. September 18, 1932 was issued a decree.


The first oil rig in Saudi Arabia, 1938

In the late 1930s, giant deposits of oil were discovered in Saudi Arabia. Their development was delayed due to the start of the Second World War, but with the onset of peace in the country created a super-profit industry. Today, oil accounts for страны of the country's income.

Ibn Saud died in 1953. All the subsequent six kings of Saudi Arabia are his children (including Salman, who took the throne in 2015. One of them, Fahd, also assumed the title of Guardian of the Two Shrines in 1986. These are the Al-Haram Mosque in Mecca and the Mosque The Prophet in Medina. Every year Muslims from all over the world visit Saudi Arabia, making pilgrimage hajj.

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