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Saudi Arabia

Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, Gulf of Aqaba, Arabian Peninsula, religion of Islam, Red Sea

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Saudi Arabia, monarchy in southwestern Asia, occupying most of the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Arabia is a land of vast deserts and little rainfall. Huge deposits of oil and natural gas lie beneath the country’s surface. Saudi Arabia was a relatively poor nation before the discovery and exploitation of oil, but since the 1950s income from oil has made the country wealthy. The religion of Islam developed in the 7th century in what is now Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 by Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, and it has been ruled by his descendants ever since.

Saudi Arabia is bounded on the north by Jordan, Iraq, and Kuwait; on the east by the Persian Gulf and Qatar; on the southeast by the United Arab Emirates and Oman; on the south by Yemen; and on the west by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. The country’s border with the United Arab Emirates is not precisely defined. Saudi Arabia has an area of about 2,240,000 sq km (about 864,900 sq mi). The capital and largest city is Riyadh.


For younger readers

Broberg, Catherine. Saudi Arabia in Pictures. Lerner, 2002. For readers in grades 6 to 10.

Fazio, Wende. Saudi Arabia. Children's Press, 1999. In the True Books series, for readers in grades 3 to 5.

Goodwin, William. Saudia Arabia. Lucent, 2001. In the Modern Nations of the World Series, for readers in grades 5 to 8.

Kort, Michael G. The Handbook of the Middle East. 21st Century, 2002. For readers in grades 7 and up.

Heinrichs, Ann. Saudi Arabia. Scholastic, 2001. For readers in grades 6 to 9.

Saudi Arabia

AlMunajjed, Mona. Women in Saudi Arabia Today. Macmillan, 1997. How Islam, Saudi culture, and historical events have shaped the present opportunities in education and employment for Saudi women.

Brown, Anthony Cave. Oil, God and Gold: The Story of Aramco and the Saudi Kings. Houghton Mifflin, 1999. Carefully researched story of the vast Arabian oil fields and the formation of the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco).

Choueiri, Youssef M. Arab Nationalism: A History. Blackwell, 2001. A concise survey that examines Arab nationalism as a historical movement and as a doctrine.

Fandy, Mamoun. Saudi Arabia and the Politics of Dissent. St. Martin's, 1999. A candid look at Islamic opposition within Saudi Arabia.

Long, David E. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. University Press of Florida, 1997. Includes brief chapters on geography, history, politics, the oil industry, and foreign policies.

Mackey, Sandra. Passion and Politics: The Turbulent World of the Arabs. Plume, 1994. History of Arab culture and politics.

Peterson, J. E. Historical Dictionary of Saudi Arabia. Scarecrow, 1993. Comprehensive coverage.

Simons, Geoff. Saudi Arabia: The Shape of a Client Feudalism. St. Martin's, 1998. Outlines the challenges facing the royal family as an independent Saudi Arabia emerges. Examines human rights issues of free speech, corruption, the penal system, and repression of women.

Vassiliev, Alexei. The History of Saudi Arabia. New York University Press, 2000. Provides comprehensive coverage, from Saudi Arabia's emergence in 1745 to its position in the 1990s.

Yamani, Hani A. Z. To Be a Saudi. Janus, 1998. Brief portrait of contemporary Saudi Arabia.


Toth, Anthony B., B.A., M.A., D.Phil. Historian of Arabia. Author of the "Qatar" entry in Persian Gulf States: Country Studies and other publications.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.

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