These are the most important facts that best describes Saudi’s history
20 September 2017| Last updated on 22 October 2018
Did you know that Saudi Arabia is actually the third state of the Kingdom? The county has a rich history that many people are unaware of. Here is what you need to know:
1744: The first Saudi state - The Emirate of Diriyah – is established
The Emirate of Diriyah was established after an alliance was formed by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Prince Muhammad bin Saud. The alliance was created to establish a new religious sect that aimed to reform and cleanse the Islamic faith from distortions. They intended to do this by using the Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad.
After Prophet Mohammad passed away, there were two schools of thought of who should take over from him: Sunni and Shia Muslims. Sunni Muslims believed that Prophet Mohammad didn’t leave clear instructions on who should be his successor. Because of this, the Muslim community acted according to his Sunnah and elected the first caliph (leader of the Islamic community) - Abu Bakr who was Prophet Mohammed’s father-in-law.
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The Shia Muslims believed that Prophet Mohammad intended his son-in-law and cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib, to be his successor. Rivalry between these two schools of thought still exist to this day.
The alliance was solidified when Muhammad bin Saud's son married the Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab daughter. The empire lasted for 75 years until the Ottoman troops invaded the Arabian Peninsula in 1817.
1824: Emirate of Nejd – the second Saudi state is established
Despite fear and destruction caused by Muhammad Ali's forces, residents in urban and rural area’s remained loyal to the Al Saud family. In 1820 Prince Mishari bin Saud unsuccessfully tried to re-establish the Saudi rule but it only lasted a couple of months.
In 1824 Imam Turki bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud however succeeded in this and established the second Saudi state and its capital Riyahd. The second Saudi state also implemented the Sharia (Islamic laws) and arts and sciences prospered.
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1891: Al-Saud family takes exile in Kuwait
The Ottoman troops soon returned again and there were ongoing battles for the control of, what is now known as, Saudi Arabia for most of the 18th century until 1891 when the Al Saud family was overthrown by Al Rashid. After defeating the Al-Saud family, Al Rashid drove them to exile in Kuwait
1902: Abdul-Aziz bin Saud returns from exile and retakes Riyadh
Abdul-Aziz bin Saud returned from exile with 40 men and managed to recapture Riyadh for his family. After this, Abdul-Aziz drove Al Rashid out of Najd, acquired Al-Hasa, Asir, and finally the Northern Emirates.
1926: Abdul-Aziz declares himself King of Hejaz and Sultan of Nejd
After acquiring most of Saudi Arabia, Abdul-Aziz declared himself king of the Hejaz on 10 January 1926. A year later, on 27 January 1927, he also took the title ‘King of Najd’ previously known as Sultan of Nejd.
1927: The Treaty of Jeddah is signed and Saudi Arabia becomes independent of Great Britain
The United Kingdom and Abdul-Aziz came to an agreement where the United Kingdom recognized the independence of the Kingdom of Hejaz and Najd and in return, Abdul-Aziz agreed that his forces would stop attacking and harassing neighbouring British protectorates.
1930: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – the third Saudi State is established
After the treaty was signed, the Ikhwan leaders wanted to expand the Wahhabist realm into Transjordan, Iraq and Kuwait. Abdul-Aziz however recognised the dangers of attacking states that were protected by the British. This lead to the battle of Sabilla in which the Ikhwan Revolt was overthrown in 1929.
On September 23rd, 1930 King Abdul-Aziz united the kingdom of Hejaz and Najd to create the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This day is known as National Day and is yearly celebrated throughout the country. Except for religious holidays like Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha, is this the only public holiday in Saudi.
SEE ALSO: National Day In Saudi Arabia
1938: Oil is discovered in the Dammam Dome
CASOC, the California Arabian Standard Oil Company, sent geologists to survey numerous areas and found some sites that looked promising. For three years the company was unsuccessfully drilling for oil until March 3rd, 1938. Chief geologist Max Steineke insisted that there must be something there and they just had to drill a bit deeper. Eventually they struck gold and found the first of many crude oil reserves. Later it was discovered that Saudi Arabia has the largest source of crude oil in the world.
1973: The Saudi Arabia flag is standardised and implemented
The Wahhabi religious movement had since the 18th century used the shahada on their flags. Since the Al-Saud family was closely associated with the Wahhabi movement, they also used the same flag. In 1902 Abdul-Aziz added a sword to the flag. This stuck, although everyone added their own twist to it: some added two swords while others just drew a white line.
On March 15th, 1973 the flag of Saudi Arabia was standardised to be green and have the shahada (Islamic declaration of faith) inscription on the flag, written in Thuluth script and a sword facing to the left.
The green colour of the flag represents Islam and the sword represents the strictness of applying justice. The shahada on the flag reads: “There is no god but God: Muhammad is the Messenger of God”
The sword points to which way the flag is supposed to be hoisted.