History of Saudi Arabia

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The rise of Islam in the 620s CE, the subsequent religious importance of the Arabian cities of Makkah al-Mukarramah (Mecca) and Medina (the two holiest places in Islam), and the discovery of large oil reserves in the early twentieth century, have given the rulers of this territory significant influence beyond the peninsula.


Early history

People of various cultures have lived in the peninsula over a span of more than 5,000 years. The Dilmun culture, along the Persian Gulf, was contemporaneous with the Sumerians and ancient Egyptians, and most of the empires of the ancient world traded with the states of the peninsula. Except for a few major cities and oases, the harsh climate historically prevented much settlement of the Arabian Peninsula. The earliest known events in Arabian history are migrations from the peninsula into neighbouring areas.[1] About 3500 BC, semitic-speaking peoples of Arabian origin migrated into the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Mesopotamia and became the Assyro-Babylonians (see Babylonia and Assyria).[citation needed]

Islamic conquest

The religion of Islam became predominant beginning in the 7th century. Prophet of Islam Muhammad began preaching at Makkah before migrating to Medina, from where he united the tribes of Arabia into a singular Arab Muslim religious polity. With Muhammad's death in 632, his companions unanimously agreed on nominating Abu Bakr as his successor. Abu Bakr's immediate task was to avenge a recent defeat by Byzantine (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, or "Wars of Apostasy".[2]

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