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Saudi Arabia History Timeline

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Saudi Arabia's Information

Flag of Saudi Arabia
Land Area 2,149,690 km2
Water Area 0 km2
Total Area 2,149,690 km2
Population 28,160,273
Population Density 13.10 / km2
Government Type Absolute Monarchy
GDP (PPP) $1,730.00 Billion
GDP Per Capita $54,100
Currency Rial (SAR)
Largest Cities
  • Riyadh (4,205,961)
  • Jeddah (2,867,446)
  • Mecca (1,323,624)
  • Medina (1,300,000)
  • Sultanah (946,697)
  • Dammam (768,602)
  • Ta'if (530,848)
  • Tabuk (455,450)
  • Buraydah (391,336)
  • Khamis Mushait (387,553)
570 AD - 1800s
  • (570) Muhammad, founder of Islam, was born into the Quaraysh tribe in the Makkah province
  • (622) Muhammad drafted Constitution of Medina, a formal agreement between himself, the Muslims, Jews and pagans
  • (622) Muhammad and his followers moved from Mecca to Medina
  • (624 - 628) Jewish clans in Arabian Peninsula and Quraysh, an Arab tribe, went to war against Muhammad
  • (630) Muhammed and his army took over Mecca, the area became the first mosque
  • (632) Muhammed died
  • (632 - 661) Rashidun Caliphate was founded after Muhammad's death, became one of the largest empires of its time
  • (644) Umar of Arabia, second Caliph of Islam, was stabbed and died four days later, council appointed Uthman as next caliph; Uthman continued to expand the Muslim Empire
  • (1400s) Saud Dynasty was founded near Riyadh
  • (1742 - 1765) Muhammad bin Saud Al Saud, a member of the House of Saud, allied with Wahhabists and expanded the family's domain
  • (1780) Al-Ajyad Castle was built in Mecca to protect the city and shrines from invaders
  • (1801) Saudi Arabs led Sunni raids into Iraq, killed about 5,000
  • (1804) Wahhabis captured Medina
  • (1806) Saudi Arabs led more Sunni raids into Iraq, killed another 5,000
  • (1813) Wahhabis were driven out of Mecca
  • (1824) Saud family established new capital at Riyadh, established second Saudi State
  • (1837) Sanusi, a Sufi order, was founded in Mecca
  • (1865) Ottomans captured parts of the Saudi State
  • (1871) Ottomans took control of Hasa province
  • (1891) Al-Saud family took exile in Kuwait
  • (1902) Al-Saud's son, Abdulaziz, and 40 followers, retook Riyadh
  • (1906 - 1926) Saudi forces captured Al Hijaz, Asir, Al Hasa regions
  • (1908) Sharif Hussein became Emir of Mecca
  • (1916) Hussein initiated Arab Revolt against Ottoman Empire during World War I
  • (1916) Mecca fell to Arabs during Great Arab Revolt
  • (1916) T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was assigned to be the British liaison to Prince Faisal Hussein
  • (1917) Arab army fought Turkish forces at Akaba, killed 300, captured 160 Turkish soldiers
  • (1918) Arab forces seized Deraa, Jordan
  • (1918) Arab forces, led by Prince Faisal, took control of Syria
  • (1921) Winston Churchill and T. E. Lawrence proposed that Hussein and his sons would rule the region under the watch of British
  • (1924 - 1925) Abdulaziz captured all of Hijaz, including Mecca and Medina
  • (1924) King Hussein abdicated the throne in favor of his son, Ali
  • (1925) King Ali left Hejaz
  • (1926) Abdul Aziz declared King of Hejaz and Sultan of Nejd
  • (1932) Government of Hejaz and Nejd officially changed name to Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was proclaimed
  • (1932) Abd-al-Aziz was proclaimed to be the king
  • (1933) Saud, the eldest son of King Abd-al-Aziz was named crown prince
  • (1938) Oil was discovered in the Dammam Dome near the Persian Gulf
  • (1945) Saudi King al-Aziz and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt reached agreement that U.S. would protect the Saudi royal family in return for access to Saudi oil
  • (1945) Saudi Arabia was a founding member of Arab League
  • (1945) Saudi Arabia was one of the founding members of the United Nations (UN)
  • (1951) Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia was put into production, largest oil field ever found
  • (1953) King Abd-al-Aziz died, Crown Prince Saud named king
  • (1953) Saud's brother, Faisal, named crown prince
  • (1960) Saudi Arabia was one of the OPEC founders
  • (1962) Slavery was abolished
1900s continued
  • (1964) Faisal ibn Abdul Aziz Al Saud became king after family coup deposed King Saud
  • (1970) Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) was founded in Jeddah
  • (1972) Saudi Arabia gained 20% of Aramco oil company
  • (1973) Saudi Arabia and other Arab states held oil boycott against western countries that had supported Israel in war against Egypt and Syria; oil prices quadrupled
  • (1975) King Faisal shot to death by his nephew
  • (1975) Khalid Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Saud became king
  • (1975) At OPEC gathering in Vienna, Saudi Oil Minister, Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani and other OPEC ministers were kidnapped, three people killed, 11 taken hostage
  • (1979) Grand Mosque in Mecca was seized by over 200 armed men and women, denounced monarchy, demanded end to corrupting modernization and foreign ways
  • (1979) Security forces overran seized Grand Mosque and regained control
  • (1979) Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Egypt
  • (1980) 63 people were beheaded for their role in the 1979 raid on the Grand Mosque
  • (1980) Saudi Arabia took full control of Aramco oil company
  • (1981) Saudi Arabia was founding member of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
  • (1982) King Khalid died of heart attack, Crown Prince Fahd Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Saud became king
  • (1984) Gulf Cooperation Council members agreed to create a two-brigade Peninsula Shield Force to be based in Saudi Arabia near Kuwait and Iraq borders
  • (1985) Britain's Prime Minister Thatcher signed $80 billion, 20-year contract with Saudi Arabia to provide 120 fighter jets, other military equipment
  • (1986) King Fahd added title to his name of "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques"
  • (1987) Iranian pilgrims and riot police clashed in Mecca, 402 people were killed
  • (1987) Diplomatic relations with Egypt were renewed
  • (1990) About 1,400 Muslim pilgrims were suffocated or trampled to death in stampede in pedestrian tunnel leading to Mecca
  • (1990) Saudi Arabia condemned the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq , allowed Kuwaiti citizens, government officials and foreign troops to stay in country
  • (1990) U.S. President Bush ordered troops and warplane to Saudi Arabia to guard against possible Iraqi invasion
  • (1990) Egypt and Morocco sent troops to help U.S. forces prevent Iraqi attacks
  • (1992) King Fahd announced "Basic System of Government" outlining the duties and responsibilities of the ruler
  • (1993) Saudi Arabia divided into thirteen administrative divisions
  • (1993) Consultative Council established, consisted of chairman and 60 members appointed by the king
  • (1994) Osama Bin Laden, an Islamic dissident, stripped of Saudi nationality
  • (1995) Car bomb in Riyadh at military training facility killed seven, including five Americans, injured at least 60
  • (1995) Crown Prince Abdullah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Saud ran the country on a day-to-day basis after King Fahd suffered a stroke
  • (1996) King Fahd recovered from his stroke, resumed control of state affairs
  • (1996) Bomb explosion at U.S. military complex near Dhahran killed 19, injured over 300
  • (1997) 343 Muslim pilgrims died, 1290 were injured in a fire caused by cooking gas canisters outside Mecca
  • (1997) Membership of Consultative Council increased from 60 to 90
  • (1998) 2.3 million Muslims made the pilgrimage to Mecca, over 150 died at the "stoning of the devil" ritual during a stampede on the last day
  • (1999) Saudi women attended Consultative Council session for first time
  • (2000) Saudi Arabia and Yemen signed agreement ending years of border disputes
  • (2000) Amnesty International said Saudi Arabia's treatment of women was "untenable"
  • (2001) Several British workers were arrested following a series of blasts which killed a British national and an American in Riyadh
2000s continued
  • (2001) 15 of 19 hijackers in attacks on New York and Washington, DC were Saudi nationals
  • (2001) King Fahd called for end of terrorism, said it was prohibited by Islamic law
  • (2001) Saudi Arabian women issued ID cards for first time
  • (2001) Saudi government froze assets of people and groups suspected of terrorism links
  • (2002) Saudi Arabia would not allow U.S. to use facilities to attack Iraq
  • (2003) U.S. announced it would pull almost all troops out of Saudi Arabia
  • (2003) 35 people killed by suicide bombers in Riyadh in housing compounds for Westerners
  • (2003) Over 270 people arrested in center of Riyadh during rally calling for political reform
  • (2003) Suspected al-Qaeda militants killed 17, injured over 120 in suicide attack on residential compound in Riyadh
  • (2003) Power of Consultative Council expanded to include proposing legislation without permission of the King
  • (2004) Hajj pilgrimage stampede killed 251 during annual stoning ritual
  • (2004) Attacks near Riyadh killed four police officers, one security officer, al-Qaeda claimed responsibility
  • (2004) Al-Qaeda attack at security forces headquarters in Riyadh killed four, injured 148
  • (2004) Five foreigners killed in attack at petrochemical site in Yanbu
  • (2004) Saudi commandos stormed resort at Khobar to free 660 foreign hostages seized by Islamic militants, three suspects escaped
  • (2004) Gun attacks in Riyadh killed two Americans and a BBC cameraman
  • (2004) U.S. engineer abducted, beheaded
  • (2004) Security forces killed Abdul Aziz al-Muqrin, a local al-Qaeda leader
  • (2004) U.S. consulate in Jeddah was attacked killing five staff members and four attackers
  • (2005) Nationwide municipal elections took place for the very first time
  • (2005) King Fahd died, succeeded by former Crown Prince, Abdullah
  • (2005) Government employees received 15% pay raise, the first raise in 22 years
  • (2005) Bilateral free trade agreement was signed with U.S.
  • (2005) After 12 years of talks, Saudi Arabia's membership in World Trade Organization approved
  • (2005) For the first time, two women were elected to chamber of commerce posts in Jeddah
  • (2006) At stone-throwing ritual at Mecca, 363 Hajj pilgrims were killed
  • (2006) Hostel collapse in Mecca killed 76 during annual pilgrimage
  • (2006) Ambassador in Denmark was recalled in protest of series of published caricatures of prophet Muhammad
  • (2006) Security guards opened fire on suicide bombers in explosives-laden cars attempting an attack on oil processing facility, cars exploded
  • (2006) King Abdullah issued decree to lower domestic gasoline prices by 25% to 16 cents per liter
  • (2006) Plans to build electrified fence along 560-mile border with Iraq were announced
  • (2006) Saudi Arabia won seat on new UN Human Rights Council
  • (2006) In shootout with police, six men linked to al-Qaeda were killed
  • (2006) Allegiance council was established to choose succession for future monarchs to prevent infighting and internal power struggles
  • (2007) The largest Hajj pilgrimage ever held came to a close with no deadly incidents
  • (2007) Four French nationals were killed by gunmen in a suspected terrorist attack on a desert road leading to Medina
  • (2007) Police arrested 172 Islamic militants, some of whom had been trained as pilots for flying suicide missions; more than $32.4 million was seized
  • (2007) British media reported that Prince Bandar bin Sultan took about $2 billion in secret payments as part of a 1985 $80 billion arms deal signed between Britain and Saudi Arabia
  • (2007) $8.86 billion dollar deal was signed with Britain for the purchase of 72 Eurofighter jets
  • (2007) Overhaul of judicial system ordered by royal decree
  • (2007) 208 suspected terrorists in six cells were arrested, authorities also thwarted several planned attacks against oil installations
2000s continued
  • (2007) 28 men were arrested who had planned to attack holy sites during Hajj pilgrimage
  • (2008) Agreement for the final delineation of the border between Saudi Arabia and Qatar was completed
  • (2009) Interpol issued security alerts for 85 men suspected of planning attacks in Saudi Arabia
  • (2009) In government reorganization, King Abdullah fired head of religious police, most senior judge, central bank head and appointed country's first woman minister
  • (2009) 44 suspected militants with links to al-Qaeda were arrested
  • (2009) Buffer zone in northern Yemen was enforced after Saudi troops were involved in border clashes with rebels
  • (2009) Naval blockage was imposed on coast of Red Sea by Yemen to prevent weapons and fighters going to Shiite rebels
  • (2010) U.S. confirmed plans to sell $60 billion in war planes, helicopters and other weapons to Saudi Arabia
  • (2010) First metro transit system opened in Mecca
  • (2010) King Abdullah went to New York for medical treatment, handed temporary control to Crown Prince Sultan
  • (2010) Over an eight-months period, 149 al-Qaida suspects were arrested who had planned attacks on government officials, civilians and media personalities
  • (2010) Document released by whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks, indicated the U.S. was concerned that Saudi Arabia was the most significant source of funding for Sunni terrorists
  • (2011) Interpol placed 47 Saudis on most-wanted list after Saudi Arabia accused them of being involved in the al-Qaida network
  • (2011) King Abdullah announced increased welfare spending
  • (2011) Following small demonstrations in Shia areas in the east, all public protests were banned
  • (2011) Saudi women held symbolic protest regarding the ban on women drivers
  • (2011) Germany agreed to sell 200 Leopard tanks to Saudi Arabia
  • (2011) Women given right to vote, run in municipal elections and to be appointed to Shura Council
  • (2011) King Abdullah overturned 10 lashes sentence given to woman found guilty of driving
  • (2011) Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz al Saud died, Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz al Saud named heir to the throne
  • (2011) Sale of fighter jets to Saudi Arabia confirmed by U.S.
  • (2012) Embassy was closed and diplomats and staff pulled out in Damascus as Syria stepped up opposition attacks
  • (2012) Trial held for fifty men suspected of links to al-Qaida, charges included 2003 bombing of ex-pats' compound
  • (2012) Pakistan deported Osama bin Laden's three widows and children to Saudi Arabia
  • (2012) Crown Prince Nayef died, Defense Minister, Prince Salman succeeded him
  • (2012) Women athletes would be allowed to compete in the Olympics for the first time
  • (2012) Shiite protesters and Saudi security forces clashed in the east, killing one, wounding four
  • (2012) Ban on smoking in government offices and public places including restaurants, coffee shops, supermarkets and shopping malls went into effect
  • (2012) Shiite procession marking birthday of Prophet Mohammad turned into demonstration for reform and release of Shiite detainees, one killed three wounded
  • (2013) 30 women were sworn into Shura consultative, first time women have been able to hold political office
  • (2013) Five Yeminis were executed after being convicted of crimes, bodies were displayed in the public as deterrent for future criminals
  • (2013) Activist Raif Badawi was sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes for insulting Islam through his website and television comments
  • (2013) Saudi Arabia refused its seat on UN Security Council due to the failure to end the war in Syria
  • (2014) New anti-terrorism laws introduced
  • (2014) Muslim Brotherhood was designated as a terrorist organization
  • (2014) 282 people died from MERS virus, 688 were infected
  • (2014) 62 militants were arrested by authorities and accused of having ties to terrorists in Yemen and Syria, were also suspected of planning attacks on government installations, foreign interests and of plotting assassinations
  • (2014) King Abdullah dies at age 90. His brother Salman is named King of Saudi Arabia, amidst an international oil crisis and instability in neighbouring Yemen.

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