Arabian Peninsula

Arabian Peninsula

Overview
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

 and covers 3,237,500 km2 (1,250,000 mi2). The area is an important part of the Asian continent and plays a critical geopolitical
Geopolitics
Geopolitics, from Greek Γη and Πολιτική in broad terms, is a theory that describes the relation between politics and territory whether on local or international scale....

 role of the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

 due to its vast reserves of oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 and natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

.

The Arabian Peninsula is bounded by (clockwise) the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 on the northeast, the Strait of Hormuz
Strait of Hormuz
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow, strategically important waterway between the Gulf of Oman in the southeast and the Persian Gulf. On the north coast is Iran and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman....

 and the Gulf of Oman
Gulf of Oman
The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman is a strait that connects the Arabian Sea with the Strait of Hormuz, which then runs to the Persian Gulf. It is generally included as a branch of the Persian Gulf, not as an arm of the Arabian Sea. On the north coast is Pakistan and Iran...

 on the east, the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

 on the southeast and south, the Gulf of Aden
Gulf of Aden
The Gulf of Aden is located in the Arabian Sea between Yemen, on the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and Somalia in the Horn of Africa. In the northwest, it connects with the Red Sea through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which is about 20 miles wide....

 on the south, the Bab-el-Mandeb
Bab-el-Mandeb
The Bab-el-Mandeb meaning "Gate of Grief" in Arabic , is a strait located between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, Djibouti and Eritrea, north of Somalia, in the Horn of Africa, and connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden...

 strait on the southwest, and the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 on the southwest and west.
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Encyclopedia
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

 and covers 3,237,500 km2 (1,250,000 mi2). The area is an important part of the Asian continent and plays a critical geopolitical
Geopolitics
Geopolitics, from Greek Γη and Πολιτική in broad terms, is a theory that describes the relation between politics and territory whether on local or international scale....

 role of the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

 due to its vast reserves of oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 and natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

.

Geography


The Arabian Peninsula is bounded by (clockwise) the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 on the northeast, the Strait of Hormuz
Strait of Hormuz
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow, strategically important waterway between the Gulf of Oman in the southeast and the Persian Gulf. On the north coast is Iran and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman....

 and the Gulf of Oman
Gulf of Oman
The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman is a strait that connects the Arabian Sea with the Strait of Hormuz, which then runs to the Persian Gulf. It is generally included as a branch of the Persian Gulf, not as an arm of the Arabian Sea. On the north coast is Pakistan and Iran...

 on the east, the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

 on the southeast and south, the Gulf of Aden
Gulf of Aden
The Gulf of Aden is located in the Arabian Sea between Yemen, on the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and Somalia in the Horn of Africa. In the northwest, it connects with the Red Sea through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which is about 20 miles wide....

 on the south, the Bab-el-Mandeb
Bab-el-Mandeb
The Bab-el-Mandeb meaning "Gate of Grief" in Arabic , is a strait located between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, Djibouti and Eritrea, north of Somalia, in the Horn of Africa, and connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden...

 strait on the southwest, and the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 on the southwest and west. The northern portion of the peninsula merges with the Syrian Desert
Syrian Desert
The Syrian Desert , also known as the Syro-Arabian desert is a combination of steppe and true desert that is located in the northern Arabian Peninsula covering 200,000 square miles . also the desert is very rocky and flat...

 with no clear border line, although the northern boundary of the Arabian Peninsula is generally considered to be the northern borders of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 and Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

.

The most prominent feature of the peninsula is desert, but in the southwest there are mountain ranges which receive greater rainfall than the rest of the Arabian Peninsula. Harrat ash Shaam is a large volcanic field that extends from the northwestern Arabian Peninsula into Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 and southern Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

.

Political boundaries



The peninsula's constituent countries are (clockwise north to south) Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

, Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

, Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

, and the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 (UAE) on the east, Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

 on the southeast, Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 on the south and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 at the center. The island nation of Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

 lies off the east coast of the peninsula.

Eight countries of the list above, excluding Yemen, form the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), mainly known as the Arab states of the Persian Gulf
Arab states of the Persian Gulf
"Arab states of the Persian Gulf" or "Arab Persian Gulf states" or "Persian Gulf Arab states" or "Arabic Persian Gulf states" or "Arab States of The Gulf", are terms that refer to the six Arab states of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, bordering the Persian Gulf....

.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia covers the greater part of the peninsula. The majority of the population of the peninsula live in Saudi Arabia and in Yemen. The peninsula contains the world's largest reserves of oil. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are economically the wealthiest in the region. Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

, a small peninsula in the Persian Gulf on the larger peninsula, is home of the famous Arabic-language
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 television station Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera is an independent broadcaster owned by the state of Qatar through the Qatar Media Corporation and headquartered in Doha, Qatar...

 and its English-language subsidiary Al Jazeera English. Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

, on the border with Iraq, is an important country strategically, forming one of the main staging grounds for coalition forces mounting the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Population


As of 2000, the estimated population of the Arabian Peninsula is 77,983,936. In the Persian Gulf states there are many residents who are non-nationals: in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 they are 20% of the population, and in the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 they are 89%.

Landscape




Geologically, this region is perhaps more appropriately called the Arabian subcontinent because it lies on a tectonic plate of its own, the Arabian Plate
Arabian Plate
The Arabian Plate is one of three tectonic plates which have been moving northward over millions of years and colliding with the Eurasian Plate...

, which has been moving incrementally away from the rest of Africa (forming the Red Sea) and north, toward Asia, into the Eurasian plate
Eurasian Plate
The Eurasian Plate is a tectonic plate which includes most of the continent of Eurasia , with the notable exceptions of the Indian subcontinent, the Arabian subcontinent, and the area east of the Chersky Range in East Siberia...

 (forming the Zagros mountains
Zagros Mountains
The Zagros Mountains are the largest mountain range in Iran and Iraq. With a total length of 1,500 km , from northwestern Iran, and roughly correlating with Iran's western border, the Zagros range spans the whole length of the western and southwestern Iranian plateau and ends at the Strait of...

). The rocks exposed vary systematically across Arabia, with the oldest rocks exposed in the Arabian-Nubian Shield
Arabian-Nubian Shield
The Arabian-Nubian Shield is an exposure of Precambrian crystalline rocks on the flanks of the Red Sea. The crystalline rocks are mostly Neoproterozoic in age. Geographically - and from north to south - the ANS includes the nations of Israel, Jordan. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Eritrea,...

 near the Red Sea, overlain by earlier sediments that become younger towards the Persian Gulf. Perhaps the best-preserved ophiolite on Earth, the Semail ophiolite, lies exposed in the mountains of the UAE and northern Oman.

The peninsula consists of:
  1. a central plateau, the Nejd, with fertile valleys and pastures used for the grazing of sheep and other livestock.
  2. a range of deserts: the Nefud
    Nefud
    An Nafud or Al-Nefud or The Nefud is a desert in the northern part of the Arabian Peninsula at , occupying a great oval depression...

     in the north, which is stony; the Rub' Al-Khali or Great Arabian Desert in the south, with sand estimated to extend 600 ft (182.9 m). below the surface; between them, the Dahna.
  3. stretches of dry or marshy coastland with coral reefs on the Red Sea
    Red Sea
    The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

     side (Tihamah
    Tihamah
    Tihamah or Tihama is a narrow coastal region of Arabia on the Red Sea. It is currently divided between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. In a broad sense, Tihamah refers to the entire coastline from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Bab el Mandeb Strait but it more often refers only to its southern half, starting...

    ).
  4. ranges of mountains, paralleling the Red Sea
    Red Sea
    The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

     coast on the west (e.g., Asir province) but also at the southeastern end of the peninsula (Oman). The mountains show a steady increase in altitude westward as they get nearer to Yemen, and the highest peaks and ranges are all located in Yemen. The highest, Jabal Al-Nabi Shu'ayb in Yemen, is 3666 m high.


Arabia has few lakes or permanent rivers. Most are drained by ephemeral watercourses called wadi
Wadi
Wadi is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some cases, it may refer to a dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain or simply an intermittent stream.-Variant names:...

s, which are dry except during the rainy season. Plentiful ancient aquifers exist beneath much of the peninsula, however, and where this water surfaces, oases form (e.g., Al-Hasa
Al-Hasa
Al-Ahsa is the largest governorate in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, named after Al-Ahsa oasis. The name Al-Ahsa is also given to the biggest city in the region, Hofuf. In classic Arabic, Ahsa means the sound of water underground. It has one of the largest oases in the world with Date Palms of...

 and Qatif
Qatif
Qatif or Al-Qatif is a governorate and urban area located in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. It extends from Ras Tanura and Jubail in the north to Dammam in the south, and from the Persian Gulf in the east to King Fahd International Airport in the west...

, two of the worlds largest oases) and permit agriculture, especially palm trees, which allowed the peninsula to produce more dates
Date Palm
The date palm is a palm in the genus Phoenix, cultivated for its edible sweet fruit. Although its place of origin is unknown because of long cultivation, it probably originated from lands around the Persian Gulf. It is a medium-sized plant, 15–25 m tall, growing singly or forming a clump with...

 than any other region in the world. In general, the climate is extremely hot and arid
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

, although there are exceptions. Higher elevations are made temperate by their altitude, and the Arabian Sea coastline can receive surprisingly cool, humid breezes in summer due to cold upwelling offshore. The peninsula has no thick forests, although desert-adapted wildlife is present throughout the region.

A plateau more than 2500 feet (762 m) high extends across much of the Arabian Peninsula. The plateau slopes eastwards from the massive, rifted escarpment along the coast of the Red Sea, to the shallow waters of the Persian Gulf. The interior is characterised by cuestas and valleys, drained by a system of wadis. A crescent of sand and gravel
Gravel
Gravel is composed of unconsolidated rock fragments that have a general particle size range and include size classes from granule- to boulder-sized fragments. Gravel can be sub-categorized into granule and cobble...

 deserts lies to the east.

Land and sea


Most of the Arabian Peninsula is unsuited to agriculture, making irrigation and land reclamation projects essential.The narrow coastal plain and isolated oases, amounting to less than 1% of the land area, are used to cultivate grains, coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

 and tropical fruits.Goat, sheep, and camel
Camel
A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia,...

 husbandry is widespread elsewhere throughout the rest of the Peninsula.Some areas have a summer humid tropical monsoon climate
Tropical monsoon climate
Tropical monsoon climate, occasionally also known as a tropical wet climate or tropical monsoon and trade-wind littoral climate in climate classification, is a relatively rare type of climate that corresponds to the Köppen climate classification category "Am."Tropical monsoon climates have monthly...

, in particular the Dhofar
Dhofar
The Dhofar region lies in Southern Oman, on the eastern border with Yemen. Its mountainous area covers and has a population of 215,960 as of the 2003 census. The largest town in the region is Salalah. Historically, it was the chief source of frankincense in the world. However, its frankincense...

 and Al Mahrah areas of Oman and Yemen.
These areas allow for large scale coconut plantations. Much of Yemen has a tropical monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 rain influenced mountain climate. The plains usually have either a tropical or subtropical arid desert climate
Desert climate
A desert climate , also known as an arid climate, is a climate that does not meet the criteria to be classified as a polar climate, and in which precipitation is too low to sustain any vegetation at all, or at most a very scanty scrub.An area that features this climate usually experiences less than...

 or arid steppe climate.The sea surrounding the Arabian Peninsula are generally tropical sea
Coral Sea
The Coral Sea is a marginal sea off the northeast coast of Australia. It is bounded in the west by the east coast of Queensland, thereby including the Great Barrier Reef, in the east by Vanuatu and by New Caledonia, and in the north approximately by the southern extremity of the Solomon Islands...

 with a very rich tropical sea life and some of the world's largest, undestroyed and most pristine coral reefs. In addition, the organisms living in symbiosis
Symbiosis
Symbiosis is close and often long-term interaction between different biological species. In 1877 Bennett used the word symbiosis to describe the mutualistic relationship in lichens...

 with the Red Sea coral, the protozoa
Protozoa
Protozoa are a diverse group of single-cells eukaryotic organisms, many of which are motile. Throughout history, protozoa have been defined as single-cell protists with animal-like behavior, e.g., movement...

 and zooxanthellae, have a unique hot weather adaptation to sudden rise (and fall) in sea water temperature. Hence these coral reefs are not affected by coral bleaching caused by rise in temperature as elsewhere in the indopacific coral sea. The reefs are also unaffected by mass tourism and diving or other large scale human interference.
However, some reefs where destroyed in the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

, mostly caused by phosphate water pollution
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

 and resultant increase in algae growth as well as oil pollution from ships and pipeline leakage.

The fertile soils of Yemen have encouraged settlement of almost all of the land from sea level up to the mountains at 10000 feet (3,048 m). In the higher reaches elaborate terraces have been constructed to facilitate grain, fruit, coffee, ginger and khat
Khat
Khat, qat, gat or Waquish Spoken from true Yemeni, is a flowering plant native to tropical East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula....

 cultivation.

Etymology


During the Hellenistic period the area was known as Arabia or Aravia (in Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: Αραβία). The Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 named three regions with the prefix "Arabia", encompassing a larger area than the current term "Arabian Peninsula":
  • Arabia Petraea
    Arabia Petraea
    Arabia Petraea, also called Provincia Arabia or simply Arabia, was a frontier province of the Roman Empire beginning in the 2nd century; it consisted of the former Nabataean kingdom in modern Jordan, southern modern Syria, the Sinai Peninsula and northwestern Saudi Arabia. Its capital was Petra...

    : for the area that is today southern modern Syria
    Syria
    Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

    , Jordan
    Jordan
    Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

    , the Sinai Peninsula
    Sinai Peninsula
    The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

     and northwestern Saudi Arabia
    Saudi Arabia
    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

    . It was the only one that became a province
    Roman province
    In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

    , with Petra
    Petra
    Petra is a historical and archaeological city in the Jordanian governorate of Ma'an that is famous for its rock cut architecture and water conduits system. Established sometime around the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan as well as its most visited...

     as its capital.
  • Arabia Deserta
    Arabia Deserta
    Arabia Deserta in Latin signified the desert interior of the Arabian peninsula. In ancient times, this land was populated by nomadic tribes who frequently invaded richer lands, such as Mesopotamia and Arabia Felix....

     ("Desert Arabia"): signified the desert
    Desert
    A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

     interior of the Arabian peninsula. As a name for the region, it remained popular into the 19th and 20th centuries, and was used in Charles M. Doughty's Travels in Arabia Deserta
    Travels in Arabia Deserta
    Travels in Arabia Deserta was written by Charles Montagu Doughty who was an English poet, writer, and traveller.-References and further reading:* Cousin, John W. . 1910.* Hogarth, D.G. The Life Of Charles M. Doughty. 1928...

    (1888).
  • Arabia Felix ("Fortunate Arabia"): was used by geographers to describe what is now modern-day Yemen
    Yemen
    The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

    , which enjoys more rainfall, is much greener than the rest of the peninsula and has long enjoyed much more productive fields.


The Arab inhabitants used a north-south division of Arabia: Al Sham-Al Yaman, or Arabia Deserta-Arabia Felix. Arabia Felix had originally been used for the whole peninsula, and at other times only for the southern region. Because its use became limited to the south, the whole peninsula was simply called Arabia. Arabia Deserta was the entire desert region extending north from Arabia Felix to Palmyra and the Euphrates, including all the area between Pelusium on the Nile and Babylon. This area was also called Arabia and not sharply distinguished from the peninsula.

The Arabs and the Ottoman Empire considered the west of the Arabian Peninsula region where the Arabs lived 'the land of the Arabs' – bilad al-Arab (Arabia), and its major divisions were the bilad al-Sham (Syria), bilad al-Yaman (the Land of the southern Peninsula), and Bilad al-Iraq and modern day Kuwait (the Land of the River Banks). The Ottomans used the term Arabistan in a broad sense for the subcontinent itself starting from Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

, where the Euphrates river makes its descent into Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, through Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, and on through the remainder of the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas

The provinces of Arabia were: Al Tih, the Sinai peninsula, Hedjaz, Asir, Yemen, Hadramaut, Mahra and Shilu, Oman, Hasa, Bahrian, Dahna, Nufud, the Hammad, which included the deserts of Syria, Mesopotamia and Babylonia.

Ancient history



The Arabian peninsula has long been accepted as the original Urheimat
Urheimat
Urheimat is a linguistic term denoting the original homeland of the speakers of a proto-language...

of the Semitic languages
Semitic languages
The Semitic languages are a group of related languages whose living representatives are spoken by more than 270 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa...

 by a majority of scholars.

"Shamir of Dhu-Raydan and Himyar had called in the help of the clans of Habashat for against the kings of Saba; but Ilmuqah granted... the submission of Shamir of Dhu-Raydan and the clans of Habashat."
The historical importance of the Persian Sassanid
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

 port, Siraf
Siraf
Siraf is a city in the Central District of Kangan County, Bushehr Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 3,500, in 722 families....

 to ancient trade is only now being realised. Discovered there in past archaeological excavations are ivory objects from east Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, pieces of stone from India, and lapis from Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. Sirif dates back to the Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

n era.

Medieval history



The seventh century saw the introduction of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. The Islamic prophet Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 established a new unified polity in the Arabian peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun
Rashidun
The Rightly Guided Caliphs or The Righteous Caliphs is a term used in Sunni Islam to refer to the first four Caliphs who established the Rashidun Caliphate. The concept of "Rightly Guided Caliphs" originated with the Abbasid Dynasty...

 and Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

 Caliphate
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

s saw a century of rapid expansion of Arab power well beyond the Arabian peninsula in the form of a vast Muslim Arab Empire with an area of influence that stretched from the northwest Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, across Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

, the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, southern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, and the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

, to the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

.

Muhammad began preaching Islam at Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 before migrating
Hijra (Islam)
The Hijra is the migration or journey of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. Alternate spellings of this Arabic word are Hijrah, Hijrat or Hegira, the latter following the spelling rules of Latin.- Hijra of Muhammad :In September 622, warned of a plot to...

 to Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

, from where he united the tribes of Arabia
Tribes of Arabia
Tribes of Arabia refers to Arab clans hailing from the Arabian Peninsula.Much of the lineage provided before Ma'ad relies on biblical genealogy and therefore questions persist concerning the accuracy of this segment of Arab genealogy...

 into a singular Arab Muslim religious polity. With Muhammad's death in 632 AD, disagreement broke out over who would succeed him as leader of the Muslim community. Umar ibn al-Khattab, a prominent companion
Sahaba
In Islam, the ' were the companions, disciples, scribes and family of the Islamic prophet...

 of Muhammad, nominated Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr was a senior companion and the father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate from 632-634 CE when he became the first Muslim Caliph following Muhammad's death...

, who was Muhammad's intimate friend and collaborator. Others added their support and Abu Bakr was made the first caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

. This choice was disputed by some of Muhammad's companions, who held that Ali ibn Abi Talib, his cousin and son-in-law, had been designated his successor. Abu Bakr's immediate task was to avenge a recent defeat by Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 (or Eastern Roman Empire) forces, although he first had to put down a rebellion by Arab tribes in an episode known as the Ridda wars
Ridda wars
The Ridda wars , also known as the Wars of Apostasy, were a series of military campaigns against the rebellion of several Arabian tribes launched by the Caliph Abu Bakr during 632 and 633 AD, after prophet Muhammad died....

, or "Wars of Apostasy".

His death in 634 resulted in the succession of Umar as the caliph, followed by Uthman ibn al-Affan and Ali ibn Abi Talib. These four are known as al-khulafā' ar-rāshidūn ("Rightly Guided Caliphs"). Under them, the territory under Muslim rule expanded deeply into Persian and Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 territories.

Modern history


The provincial Ottoman Army for Arabia (Arabistan Ordusu) was headquartered in Syria, which included Lebanon, Palestine, and the Transjordan region. It was put in charge of Syria, Cilicia, Iraq, and the remainder of the Arabian Peninsula. It is important to point out that the Ottomans never had any control over central Arabia also known as The Najd
Najd
Najd or Nejd , literally Highland, is the central region of the Arabian Peninsula.-Boundaries :The Arabic word nejd literally means "upland" and was once applied to a variety of regions within the Arabian Peninsula...

 region, Oman, or Yemen.

The Damascus Protocol
Damascus Protocol
The Damascus Protocol was a document given to Faisal bin Hussein by the Arab secret societies al-Fatat and Al-'Ahd on his second visit to Damascus during a mission to consult Turkish officials in Constantinople...

 of 1914 provides an illustration of the regional relationships. Arabs living in one of the existing districts of the Arabian peninsula, the Emirate of Hejaz
Hejaz
al-Hejaz, also Hijaz is a region in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia. Defined primarily by its western border on the Red Sea, it extends from Haql on the Gulf of Aqaba to Jizan. Its main city is Jeddah, but it is probably better known for the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina...

, asked for a British guarantee of independence. Their proposal included all Arab lands south of a line roughly corresponding to the northern frontiers of present-day Syria and Iraqokuwait. They envisioned a new Arab state, or confederation of states, adjoining the southern Arabian Peninsula. It would have comprised Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

 – İskenderun
Iskenderun
İskenderun is a city and urban district in the province of Hatay on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. The current mayor is Yusuf Hamit Civelek .-Names:...

 and Mersin
Mersin
-Mersin today:Today, Mersin is a large city spreading out along the coast, with Turkey's second tallest skyscraper , huge hotels, an opera house, expensive real estate near the sea or up in the hills, and many other modern urban...

, Iraq with Kuwait, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, and Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

.

In the modern era, the term bilad al-Yaman came to refer specifically to the southwestern parts of the peninsula. Arab geographers started to refer to the whole peninsula as 'jazirat al-Arab', or the peninsula of the Arabs.

Late Ottoman rule and the Hejaz Railway


In the beginning of the 20th century, the Ottomans embarked on an ambitious project: the construction of a railway connecting Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, the capital of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and the seat of the Islamic Caliphate
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

, and Hejaz
Hejaz
al-Hejaz, also Hijaz is a region in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia. Defined primarily by its western border on the Red Sea, it extends from Haql on the Gulf of Aqaba to Jizan. Its main city is Jeddah, but it is probably better known for the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina...

 with its holiest shrines of Islam which are the yearly pilgrimage destination of the Hajj
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

. Another important goal was to improve the economic and political integration of the distant Arabian provinces into the Ottoman state, and to facilitate the transportation of military troops in case of need.

The Hejaz Railway was a narrow gauge railway (1050 mm) that ran from Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 to Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

, through the Hejaz region of Arabia. It was a part of the Ottoman railway network and was built in order to extend the previously existing line between Istanbul and Damascus (which began from the Haydarpaşa Terminal
Haydarpasa Terminal
The Haydarpaşa Terminal or Haydarpaşa Station is a major intercity rail station and transportation hub in Kadıköy, İstanbul. It is the busiest rail terminal in Turkey and the Middle East and one of the busiest in Eastern Europe. The terminal also has connections to İETT bus and ferry service. The...

) all the way to the holy city of Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 (eventually being able to reach only Medina due to the interruption of the construction works caused by the outbreak of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

).

The railway was started in 1900 at the behest of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II
Abdul Hamid II
His Imperial Majesty, The Sultan Abdülhamid II, Emperor of the Ottomans, Caliph of the Faithful was the 34th sultan of the Ottoman Empire...

 and was built largely by the Turk
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

s, with German
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 advice and support. A public subscription was opened throughout the Islamic world to fund the construction. The railway was to be a waqf
Waqf
A waqf also spelled wakf formally known as wakf-alal-aulad is an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law, typically denoting a building or plot of land for Muslim religious or charitable purposes. The donated assets are held by a charitable trust...

, an inalienable religious endowment or charitable trust.

The Arab Revolt and the unification of Saudi Arabia


The major developments of the early 20th century were the Arab Revolt
Arab Revolt
The Arab Revolt was initiated by the Sherif Hussein bin Ali with the aim of securing independence from the ruling Ottoman Turks and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.- Background :...

 during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and the subsequent collapse and partitioning of the Ottoman Empire
Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire
The Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire was a political event that occurred after World War I. The huge conglomeration of territories and peoples formerly ruled by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire was divided into several new nations.The partitioning was planned from the early days of the war,...

. The Arab Revolt (1916–1918) was initiated by the Sherif Hussein ibn Ali with the aim of securing independence from the ruling Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

 in Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 to Aden
Aden
Aden is a seaport city in Yemen, located by the eastern approach to the Red Sea , some 170 kilometres east of Bab-el-Mandeb. Its population is approximately 800,000. Aden's ancient, natural harbour lies in the crater of an extinct volcano which now forms a peninsula, joined to the mainland by a...

 in Yemen. During World War I, the Sharif Hussein entered into an alliance with the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 against the Ottomans in June 1916.

These events were followed by the unification of Saudi Arabia
Unification of Saudi Arabia
The unification of Saudi Arabia was the process by which the various tribes, sheikhdoms, and emirates of most of the Arabian Peninsula were consolidated under the control of the House of Saud, or Al Saud, between 1902 and 1932, when the modern-day Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was proclaimed...

 under King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud
Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia
King Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia was the first monarch of the Third Saudi State known as Saudi Arabia. He was commonly referred to as Ibn Saud....

. In 1902 Ibn Saud had captured Riyadh
Riyadh
Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

. Continuing his conquests, Abdul Aziz subdued Al-Hasa
Al-Hasa
Al-Ahsa is the largest governorate in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, named after Al-Ahsa oasis. The name Al-Ahsa is also given to the biggest city in the region, Hofuf. In classic Arabic, Ahsa means the sound of water underground. It has one of the largest oases in the world with Date Palms of...

, the rest of Nejd, and the Hejaz
Hejaz
al-Hejaz, also Hijaz is a region in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia. Defined primarily by its western border on the Red Sea, it extends from Haql on the Gulf of Aqaba to Jizan. Its main city is Jeddah, but it is probably better known for the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina...

 between 1913 and 1926, defeating the Sherif Hussein ibn Ali, and founded the modern state of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

. Ibn Saud was not the first Saudi ruler to control much of Arabia. The house of Saud had been ruling parts of Arabia since the 17th century AD. Two Saudi states were formed and controlled much of Arabia before Ibn Saud was even born. Ibn Saud however, established the third Saudi state.

Oil reserves


The second major development has been the discovery of vast reserves of oil in the 1930s. Its production brought great wealth to all countries of the region, with the exception of Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

.

Civil war in Yemen


The North Yemen Civil War
North Yemen Civil War
The North Yemen Civil War was fought in North Yemen between royalists of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen and factions of the Yemen Arab Republic from 1962 to 1970. The war began with a coup d'état carried out by the republican leader, Abdullah as-Sallal, which dethroned the newly crowned Imam...

 was fought in North Yemen
North Yemen
North Yemen is a term currently used to designate the Yemen Arab Republic , its predecessor, the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen , and their predecessors that exercised sovereignty over the territory that is now the north-western part of the state of Yemen in southern Arabia.Neither state ever...

 between royalists of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen
Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen
The Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen , sometimes spelled Mutawakelite Kingdom of Yemen, also known as the Kingdom of Yemen or as North Yemen, was a country from 1918 to 1962 in the northern part of what is now Yemen...

 and factions of the Yemen Arab Republic
Yemen Arab Republic
The Yemen Arab Republic , also known as North Yemen or Yemen , was a country from 1962 to 1990 in the western part of what is now Yemen...

 from 1962 to 1970. The war began with a coup d'etat
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 carried out by the republican leader, Abdullah as-Sallal
Abdullah as-Sallal
Abdullah al-Sallal was the leader of the North Yemeni Revolution of 1962. He served as the first President of the Yemen Arab Republic from 27 September 1962 to 5 November 1967....

, which dethroned the newly crowned Imam Al-Badr and declared Yemen a republic under his presidency. The Imam escaped to the Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

n border and rallied popular support.

The royalist side received support from Saudi Arabia, while the republicans were supported by Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Both foreign irregular and conventional forces were also involved. The Egyptian President
President of Egypt
The President of the Arab Republic of Egypt is the head of state of Egypt.Under the Constitution of Egypt, the president is also the supreme commander of the armed forces and head of the executive branch of the Egyptian government....

, Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

, supported the republicans with as many as 70,000 troops. Despite several military moves and peace conferences, the war sank into a stalemate. Egypt's commitment to the war is considered to have been detrimental to its performance in the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

 of June 1967, after which Nasser found it increasingly difficult to maintain his army's involvement and began to pull his forces out of Yemen.

By 1970, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia
Faisal of Saudi Arabia
Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975. As king, he is credited with rescuing the country's finances and implementing a policy of modernization and reform, while his main foreign policy themes were pan-Islamic Nationalism, anti-Communism, and pro-Palestinian...

 recognized the republic and a truce was signed. Egyptian military historians refer to the war in Yemen as their Vietnam.

Kuwait and the Gulf War


The British proposed a treaty with the Ottoman Empire in 1913 to establish Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 as an autonomous kaza. It was a district of the vilayet of Basra
Basra
Basra is the capital of Basra Governorate, in southern Iraq near Kuwait and Iran. It had an estimated population of two million as of 2009...

. The treaty was never ratified due to the outbreak of World War I. In 1990 Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 made claims upon Kuwaiti territory, and insisted that the borders had never been properly delimited by the British in 1951.

The invasion of Kuwait by Iraq forces, led to the 1990–91 Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

. Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 joined a multinational coalition that opposed Iraq. Displays of support for Iraq by Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 and the Palestinians resulted in strained relations between many of the Arab states. After the war, a so-called "Damascus Declaration" formalized an alliance for future joint Arab defensive actions between Egypt, Syria, and the GCC states.

Transport and industry


The extraction and refining of oil and gas are the major industrial activities in the Arabian Peninsula. The region also has an active construction sector, with many cities reflecting the wealth generated by the oil industry. The service sector is dominated by financial and technical institutions, which, like the construction sector, mainly serve the oil industry. Traditional handicrafts such as carpet-weaving are found in rural areas.

See also


  • Ancient history of Yemen
    Ancient history of Yemen
    The ancient history of Yemen is especially important because Yemen is one of the oldest centers of civilization in the Near East...

  • Iram of the Pillars
    Iram of the Pillars
    Iram of the Pillars , also called Aram, Iram, Irum, Irem, Erum, Wabar, Ubar, or the City of a Thousand Pillars, is a lost city on the Arabian Peninsula.-Introduction:Ubar, a name of a region or a name of a people, was mentioned in ancient records, and was spoken of in folk...

  • Arab World
    Arab world
    The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

  • Araby
    Araby
    Araby may refer to:* Araby , a historic home listed on the NRHP* "Araby" , from James Joyce's 1914 Dubliners* Araby , a country in the Warhammer Fantasy setting by Games Workshop* Araby, LA, USA...

  • Arab League
    Arab League
    The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

  • European exploration of Arabia
    European exploration of Arabia
    The Arabian Peninsula, much of which now comprises the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has always held a mysterious attraction for European explorers. Until modern times it was uncharted, inaccessible, dangerous and forbidden...

  • Rub' al Khali (desert
    Desert
    A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

    )
  • Arabia Deserta
    Arabia Deserta
    Arabia Deserta in Latin signified the desert interior of the Arabian peninsula. In ancient times, this land was populated by nomadic tribes who frequently invaded richer lands, such as Mesopotamia and Arabia Felix....

  • Arabia Petraea
    Arabia Petraea
    Arabia Petraea, also called Provincia Arabia or simply Arabia, was a frontier province of the Roman Empire beginning in the 2nd century; it consisted of the former Nabataean kingdom in modern Jordan, southern modern Syria, the Sinai Peninsula and northwestern Saudi Arabia. Its capital was Petra...

  • Arabia Felix
  • Arabian Desert and East Sahero-Arabian xeric shrublands
  • Mashreq
  • Kingdom of Aksum


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