Territorial Growth of the Saudi State 1902–26

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Map Code: Ax01175

Between 1902–26 the isolated patchwork of tribal regions that became modern Saudi Arabia were conquered by the Al Saud leader, Ibn Saud. Saud began his conquests by travelling from Kuwait and reconquering his family home in Riyadh (1902), taking it from the Al Rashid dynasty. In 1904 the combined forces of Al Rashid and the Ottomans (who were providing military support) defeated Ibn Saud at Buraydah. Saud launched a series of guerrilla attacks over two years, winning back regional control of Nejd and eastern Arabia. In 1912, Ibn Saud formed the Ikhwan, a Saudi army of nomadic tribesman, used to subdue the different tribes by settling them in colonies (hijrahs) around oases, where they were to practise agriculture, abandon their nomadic way of life and adhere to Wahhabism (conservative Islam). By 1926, Ibn Saud had formed an absolutist monarchy and controlled most of the Arabian peninsula.

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