History Of Saudi Arabia: First Saudi State 1744-1818

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History of Saudi Arabia: First Saudi State 1744-1818

History of Saudi Arabia: First Saudi State 1744-1818


For the most part, Arabian history has been the account of small pockets of settled civilization, subsisting mainly on trade, in the midst of nomadic tribes. The earliest urban settlements developed in the south-west, where the flourishing Minaean kingdom is believed to have been established in the 12th century BC. This was followed by the Sabaean and Himyarite 'kingdoms' (loose federations of city states), which lasted until the sixth century AD. As an important trading station between east and west, southern Arabia was brought into early contact with the Persian and Roman empires, and thereby with Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and later Christianity. Politically, however, the south Arabian principalities remained independent (Fergany, 2001). This paper discusses history of Saudi Arabia from 1744 to 1818 in a concise and comprehensive way.

History of Saudi Arabia: First Saudi State 1744-1818

By the end of the sixth century the centre of power had shifted to the west coast, to the Hedjaz cities of at-Ta'if, Mecca and Yathrib (later known as Medina, or 'madinat an-nabi'—city of the prophet). While the southern regions fell under the control of the Sasanid rulers of Persia, the independent Hedjaz grew in importance as a trade route between the Byzantine Empire, Egypt, and the East. From the fifth century Mecca was dominated by the tribe of Quraish. Meanwhile, the central deserts remained nomadic, and the inhospitable east coast remained, for the most part, under Persian influence.

The development of Arab-Islamic civilization from the seventh century, inspired by the Prophet Muhammad (the founder of Islam), proceeded, for the most part, outside the Arabian peninsula itself. The Islamic unification of the Near and Middle East reduced the importance of the Hedjaz as a trade route. Mecca retained a unique status as a centre of pilgrimage for the entire Islamic world, but Arabia as a whole, temporarily united under Muhammad and his successors, soon drifted back into disunity, starting with Yemen from the ninth century onwards. Mecca also had its semi-independent governors, though their proximity to Egypt made them more cautious in their attitude towards the Caliphs and the later rulers of that country, particularly the Fatimids of the 10th to 12th centuries (Fergany, 2001).

Arabia remained unsettled until the beginning of the 16th century, when much of the peninsula came under the nominal suzerainty of the Ottoman Sultans in Istanbul. Their control was never very strong, even in the Hedjaz, and in Oman and Yemen native imams once again exercised unfettered authority before the end of the century. More important for the future of the peninsula was the appearance of European merchant adventurers in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf. The Portuguese were the first to arrive, in the 16th century, and they were followed in the 17th and 18th centuries by the British, Dutch and French. By the beginning of the 19th century the United Kingdom had supplanted its European rivals and had established its influence firmly along the Gulf littoral and, ...
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