IV. The Early Modern Period, 1500–1800 > C. The Middle East and North Africa, 1500–1800 > 2. The Middle East, 1501–1808 > d. Arabia
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
(See 945, Dec)
 
d. Arabia
 
The Arabian peninsula, the birthplace of Muhammad and Islam, became of marginal importance in Middle Eastern history not long after the Arabs began their conquests in the 7th century. Various Middle Eastern states extended their formal authority to the coastal region of the Hijaz, site of Mecca and Medina, and intermittently to Yemen, but seldom to the interior of the peninsula. The Ottomans established a hold in Yemen and eastern Arabia in the 16th century, but by the 18th century their authority was confined to the Hijaz, where the Hashemite emirs enjoyed autonomy while acknowledging Ottoman suzerainty. Throughout the peninsula powerful family and tribal elites ruled over essentially sovereign emirates. Several of the dynastic regimes established in the 18th century—in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain—have survived to this day.  1
 
1745
 
BIRTH OF THE FIRST SAUDI-WAHHABI STATE. Muhammad ibn Sa‘ud (d. 1765), chief of a tribal emirate based in Dar'iyya in the central Arabian region of Najd, forged an alliance with MUHAMMAD IBN ABD AL-WAHHAB (1703–92), a theologian preaching a message of puritanical reform of Islam. Ibn Abd al-Wahhab criticized the laxities of Muslim observance. He sought to do away with all misguided innovations in Islam, such as the veneration of saints and Sufi rituals, and to return the faith to its fundamental scriptural principles. In the next 60 years Ibn Sa‘ud and his successors extended their domination and the Wahhabi ideas over most of Arabia. The first Saudi state was finally destroyed in 1818.  2
 
1748–75
 
Abbas al-Mahdi ruled as imam of Yemen.  3
 
1749
 
Ahmad ibn Sa‘id became ruler of Oman, beginning the rule of the BU SA‘ID DYNASTY, which remains in power today.  4
 
1752
 
Sabah ibn Jabir of the Banu Utub Arabs became ruler of Kuwait, beginning the rule of the SABAH DYNASTY, which still holds power today.  5
 
1762–1812
 
Abdallah ibn Sabah ruled as sheik of Kuwait.  6
 
1765–1803
 
Abd al-Aziz ruled as Saudi emir after the death of his father Muhammad ibn Sa‘ud, who had unified most of Najd under his rule. He continued the expansion of Saudi control in the peninsula.  7
 
1773
 
The Wahhabis annexed Riyadh.  8
 
1775–1809
 
Ali al-Mansur ruled as imam of Yemen.  9
 
1782
 
Ahmad ibn Khalifa of the Banu Utub Arabs became the ruler of Bahrain, establishing the rule of the AL-KHALIFA DYNASTY, which still holds power today.  10
 
1783
 
Death of Ahmad, ruler of Oman; he was succeeded by his son Sa‘id.  11
 
1787
 
The Wahhabis took Hail and gained control of the region of Jabal Shammar in central Arabia.  12
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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