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Pre-Historic Era



Pre-Islamic Kingdoms
Image by Haidan
Islamic Caliphate Era





15,000 to 20,000 ago

First concrete evidence of human presence in the Arabian Peninsula. Bands of hunter-gatherers roamed the land, living off wild animals and plants.

15,000 ago

As the European ice cap melted during the last Ice Age, the climate in the peninsula became dry. Vast plains, once covered with lush grasslands, gave way to scrubland and deserts, and wild animals vanished. River systems also disappeared, leaving in their wake the dry river beds (Wadis) that are found in the peninsula today.


The climate change forced humans to move into the lush mountain valleys and oases. No longer able to survive as hunter-gatherers, they had to develop another means of survival. As a result, agriculture developed – first in Mesopotamia, then the Nile River Valley, and eventually spreading across the Middle East.


The development of agriculture brought other advances. Pottery allowed farmers to store food. Animals, including goats, cattle, sheep, horses and camels, were domesticated, and people abandoned hunting altogether.  These advances made intensive farming possible. In turn, settlements became more permanent, leading to the foundations of what we call civilization – language, writing, political systems, art and architecture.


Located between the two great centers of civilization, the Nile River Valley and Mesopotamia, the Arabian Peninsula was the crossroads of the ancient world. Trade was crucial to the area’s development; caravan routes became trade arteries that made life possible in the sparsely populated peninsula.


The people of the Arabian Peninsula remained untouched by the political turmoil in Mesopotamia, the Nile Valley and the Eastern Mediterranean. Their goods and services were in great demand regardless of which power was dominant at the moment – Babylon, Egypt, Persia, Greece or Rome. In addition, the peninsula’s great expanse of desert formed a natural barrier that protected it from invasion by powerful neighbors.

9000 – 7000 BCE

Al-Magar was an advanced prehistoric culture of the Neolithic whose epicenter laid in modern-day southwestern Najd (geographic center of KSA). Possibly one of the first cultures in the world where widespread domestication of animals occurred, particularly the horse, during the Neolithic period.

3000 – 2001 BCE

Dilmun, or Telmun, was an ancient East Semitic-speaking civilization in Eastern Arabia from the 3rd millennium BC onwards. It was located in the Persian Gulf area, on a trade route between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley civilization, close to the sea and to artesian springs. Dilmun encompassed Bahrain, Kuwait, and eastern Saudi Arabia.

2000 BCE

Around 2000 years before Christ (A.S.), Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) migrated with his Wife Hagar and new born son Ismail (A.S.) to Makkah, where he left them saying the following supplication, which is preserved in the Quran:


Our Lord! I have settled some of my offspring in a barren valley, near Your Sacred House, our Lord, so that they may establish prayer. So make the hearts of ˹believing˺ people incline towards them and provide them with fruits, so perhaps they will be thankful. [Quran: 14:37]


Ibrahim (A.S.) would subsequently often come back to Makkah. On one such occasion, when Ismail (A.S.) had grown to manhood, both father and son set about to build the Ka’bah, an event which was also recorded in the Quran:


And ˹remember˺ when Abraham raised the foundation of the House with Ishmael, ˹both praying,˺ “Our Lord! Accept ˹this˺ from us. You are indeed the All-Hearing, All-Knowing. [Quran: 2:127]


Our Lord! Make us both ˹fully˺ submit to You and from our descendants a nation that will submit to you. Show us our rituals, and turn to us in grace. You are truly the Acceptor of Repentance, Most Merciful. [Quran: 2:128]


Our Lord! Raise from among them a messenger who will recite to them Your revelations, teach them the Book and wisdom, and purify them. Indeed, You ˹alone˺ are the Almighty, All-Wise.” [Quran: 2:129]

800 BC – 500 AD

Thamud were an ancient Arabian tribe or tribal confederation that occupied the northwestern Arabian peninsula between the late-eighth century BCE and the fifth century CE. The Kingdom of Thamud was the first existing kingdom on the Arabian peninsula.  Thamud rejected the message of prophet Salih (PBUH) and were thus annihilated, except for Salih and a few righteous tribesmen.

450 – 550 CE

The Kingdom of Kinda, also called the Kindite Kingdom, refers to the rule of the nomadic Arab tribes of the Ma’add confederation in north and central Arabia by the Banu Akil al-Murar, a family of the South Arabian tribe of Kinda, in 450 – 550 CE.

610 CE

Mohammad (PBUH), a native of the thriving commercial center of Makkah, received messages from God through the Angel Gabriel regarding the oneness of the Universal God – Allah.

622 CE

Learning of an assassination plot against him, the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) led his followers to the town of Yathrib, now known as Madinah. This immigration or Hijrah in Arabic marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.

622 – 628 CE

From Madinah, the Prophet (PBUH) united the tribes of Arabia under the banner of Islam and created a single Arab Muslim religious society. Several battles took place between the Prophet Mohammad and the pagans of Makkah.

628 CE

From Madinah, the Prophet (PBUH) united the tribes of Arabia under the banner of Islam and created a single Arab Muslim religious society. Several battles took place between the Prophet Mohammad and the pagans of Makkah.

632 – 661 CE

The Rashidun or “rightly guided” Caliphate

632 – 634 CE

Following the death of Mohammad (PBUH) in 632, Abu Bakr became the leader of the Muslims as the first Caliph.

Put down a rebellion by the Arab tribes. Conquered the Byzantine Empire.

634 – 644 CE

Following the death of Abu Bakr (R.A.) in 634, Umar became the Caliph.

656 – 661 CE

Following the death of Uthman, Ali ibn Abi Talib became the Caliph.

661 – 750 CE

The Umayyad Empire was the second of the four major Caliphates established after the death of Mohammad (PBUH).

Continued the Muslim Conquests, incorporating the Transoxiana, Sindh, the Maghreb and Hispania (Al-Andalus) under Islamic rule.


By 710 CE, the Islamic Empire extended from Spain to parts of India and China. Large numbers of pilgrims began regularly visiting the peninsula, with some settling in the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.


The emergence of Arabic as the language of international learning was another major factor in the cultural development of the Arabian Peninsula. The Muslim world became a center for learning and scientific advances during the “Golden Age.” Muslim scholars made major contributions in many fields including medicine, biology, philosophy, astronomy, arts and literature. Many of the ideas and methods pioneered by Muslim scholars became the foundation of modern sciences.

750 – 1258 CE

The Abbasid dynasty was the second great Islamic Empire, established after the revolt in 747 CE overthrew the last Umayyad Caliph.

1258 CE

Mongol Invasion into the Middle East ending the Abbasid Rule.

1260 – 1517 CE

The Mamluks

1517 CE

The Ottoman Empire acquired the most populous areas of what was later to become Saudi Arabia. The degree of control over these lands varied over the next four centuries.


First Saudi State was established in Diryiah by Mohammad bin Saud under the spiritual guidance of bin Abdul Wahhab and later extended to include most of the Arabian peninsula.


Ottoman forces besieged and destroyed Diriyah, routing the Saudi forces out and destroying the First Saudi State.


The Al-Saud family regained political control of central Arabia. The Saudi ruler Turki bin Abdullah al-Saud transferred his capital to Riyadh and established the Second Saudi State and retook most of the lands lost to the Ottomans.


Ottoman armies captured parts of the Saudi State supporting the Al-Rashid family of Hail to make a concerted effort of overthrowing the Second Saudi State.


Abdul Rahman bin Faisal Al-Saud was forced to seek refuge with the Bedouin tribes of the Rub’ al-Khali then to Kuwait, marking the destruction of the Second Saudi State.


Abdul Aziz al Saud and his followers staged a night march into Riyadh retaking the city and later re-capturing all of Hijaz and uniting the warring tribes into one nation.

Modern Day Kingdom



Image by Eugene Ga





September 23, 1932

Modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was established by King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud


King Abdul Aziz


King Faisal


King Khalid


King Fahd


King Abdullah

2015- Present

King Salman

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