Chronography of Saudi Arabia

Page last modified 24 August 2023


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See also Islam and Middle East for links to other countries.

For oil see Geology


Choropleth map, % growth Islamic population by country 1960 � 2000.


Demography of Saudi Arabia


14 September 2019, A drone attack on a major oil refinery at Abqaiq took out 50% of the Kingdom�s oil refining capacity, sending world oil prices uop 20% although they later fell back. The US beleived the drone came directly from Iran, rather than from the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

2 August 2019, Saudi women were allowed to travel abroad without their husband�s permission.

26 September 2017, Saudi Arabia lifted the ban on women driving. From 24 June 2018 women would be allowed to drive there.

5 June 2017, Two weeks after US President Trump visited the Middle East and expressed backing for Saudi Arabia, the Saudis and their allies in the region cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and closed the border. They alleged that Qatar was supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Iran.

2 January 2016, Saudi Arabia announced the execution of a prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr-al-Nimr, along with 46 others accused of promoting violent dissent. There were violent protests by Shia Muslims across the Middle East.

24 September 2015, 717 pilgrims died and 863 were injured in a stampede at Mina during the Haj, Mecca.

11 September 2015, A crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque, Mecca, killing 109 worshippers.

10 March 2011, Saudi police opened fire on protestors.

12 January 2006, 364 pilgrims were killed at the Haj, Mecca, during the �stoning of the Devil� ritual.

1 August 2005, King Fahd died, and was succeeded by Crown Prince Abdullah.

30 May 2004, 30 Westerners were killed by Islamic extremists, after they had been kidnapped in Saudi Arabia.

1 February 2004, 251 pilgrims were killed at the Haj, Mecca, during a stampede at Mina, in the �stoning of the Devil� ritual.

9 November 2003, In Riyadh a suicide bomber blew up his lorry outside a housing compound, killing 17 people, mostly Saudi expatriate workers.

12 May 2003, Synchronised suicide bombings against four western compounds killed 35 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

29 April 2003, Saudi Arabia and the USA announced that almost all US forces would be withdrawn from Saudi Arabia within a few months. The presence of US forces at Saudi air bases over the past decade had beena major cause of anti-US Islamist fundamentalism in the region.

15 April 1997, A fire in a tent camp at the Haj in Mecca killed 340 and injured over 1,500.

25 June 1996. Bin Laden�s Al Quaeda group bombed the Khobar Towers HQ of the US Air Force in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. 19 Americans died. See also Islam.

13 November 1995, Seven died as a bomb exploded at a US military base in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

28 January 1991. Iraqi troops invaded the Saudi border town of Khafji, abandoned by its residents as Operation Desert Storm began on 16 January 1991. Allied forces recaptured it on 31 January 1991.

6 November 1990, 14 women staged a protest drive in Saudi Arabia, where women at that time were not allowed to drive cars. They drove a short way out of a supermarket before being stopped and arrested.

2 July 1990. 1,426 Muslims were killed in a stampede in a pedestrian tunnel in Mecca. In 43 Centigrade heat, air conditioning failed in a tunnel containing 5,000 pilgrims. Panic and a stampede broke out, and 1,400 were crushed to death.

31 July 1987, 400 Iranian pilgrims died in clashes with Saudi security forces in Mecca.

28 October 1986, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia dismissed Sheikh Yamani from his post at the Oil Ministry. King Fahd was dissatisfied with the low price Yamani had set for Saudi oil.

13 September 1985, The Saudi Arabian oil minister, Ahmad Zaki Yamani, began selling oil in large quantities cheaply, so try and force out of production the higher costs oilfields in Algeria, Canada, Egypt, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, the UK, the USA and Venezuela, The world oil price fell 60% over the next few months.

31 August 1985, Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia from 2017 and Saudi Defence Minister from 2015, was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


King Khalid, 1975-82

13 June 1982. King Khalid of Saudi Arabia died.His brother, Fahd, became King.

26 December 1981, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait reached agreement on division of the �neutral zones� between them.

23 April 1980, Saudi Arabia expelled the British Ambassador in protest at a British television programme about the execution of a Saudi princess and her lover for adultery.


Attack on Grand Mosque, Mecca

9 January 1980, Saudi Arabia beheaded 63 Shi�ite Muslim fanatics for their role in the siege of the Grand Mosque in Mecca from 23 November 1979. 500 armed extremists had held thousands of Muslim pilgrims hostage, and Saudi Arabia feared Iranian attempts to overthrow its government. Iran protested at the executions, and the US was concerned about complications to the Iranian US hostages crisis.

24 November 1979, Saudi troops stormed the Great Mosque in Mecca to evict Iranian religious fanatics.

23 November 1979. Militant Sunni Muslims occupied the Grand Mosque in Mecca, holding out there until 4 December 1979. After false radio reports on 21 November 1979 that US forces had taken the Grand Mosque, the US Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, was attacked by a mob and set on fire, killing four people.


25 March 1975. In Saudi Arabia, King Faisal was assassinated by his 31-year-old mentally deranged nephew, and Crown Prince Khalid Ibn Abdul Aziz acceded to the throne. The US had regarded Faisal as a moderating influence in the unstable Middle East.


18 December 1969, The agreement on the neutral zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait was formally exchanged between the two countries. However whilst agreement on sharing out current oil reveniues has been reached, there could still be potential disagreement oif new diuscovereis are made in the area.

7 July 1965, An agreement was signed at al Hadda, between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, dividing up their neutral zone between them. See 18 December 1969.

2 November 1964. King Faisal became King of Saudi Arabia, succeeding his brother, King Saud, who had abdicated.

6 November 1962, In his first meeting with his cabinet, Saudi Arabia's Prime Minister Faisal (later the King) announced his plans to abolish slavery within the Kingdom and to have the government pay owners for the manumission of their slaves.

21 December 1960. King Saud took over the Saudi Arabian government.

9 November 1953, King Ibn Saud (1880-1953)of Saudi Arabia died aged 73; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is named after him. He was succeeded by his son, Saud Ibn Abdel Aziz.

31 December 1935, King Salman of Saudi Arabia was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Saudi-Yemen War 1934

20 May 1934, A brief war between Saudi Arabia under Prince Faisal and Yemen under Imam Yahya over possession of Asir province ended with victory to Saudi Arabia. The moderate terms of the peace treaty imposed by Faisal ensured friendly relations between him and Yahya for life.

13 May 1934, An armistice was signed in the Saudi�Yemeni War.

6 May 1934. Saudi Arabian forces captured the Yemeni city of Hodeida. On 13 May 1934 Saudi Arabia signed a truce with Yemen in Jeddah.


20 September 1932, The Sultanate of Nejd, the Kingdom of Hejaz, and their conquered dependencies were united as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

4 June 1931, Ibn Hussein, King of the Hejaz, died.

20 May 1927. Britain recognised the independence of Saudi Arabia, under the Treaty of Jeddah.

8 January 1926. The new King, Ibn Saud, 43, renamed Hejaz as Saudi Arabia.

17 December 1925, The siege of Jeddah ended in victory for Ibn Saud.

5 December 1925, Medina capitulated to Ibn Saud.

20 October 1924, Ibn Saud seized control of Mecca, defeating the Hashemites.

3 October 1924, In Arabia, King Hussein abdicated as King of Hejaz in favour of his son, Ali.

2 December 1922, Under the Uqair Convention, the Saudi Arabia � Iraq frontier was settled, but two �neutral zones� were left, one between Iraq and Saudi arabia, and another between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The sovereignty of three islands in the Gulf, Kubbar, Qaruh and Umm al Mara, was also left undecided. The administration of these �neutral zones�was not settled iuntil May 1938. These zones were provisionally divided between the neighbouring countries in July 1975 but this agreement was not ratified at the time. See 26 December 1981.

5 May 1922, Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia and the British High Commissioner for Iraq signed the Treaty of Mohammerah (Khorramshahr), settling relations between the two countries. However the boundary between them was not yet fully delineated.

25 October 1918, Arab forces loyal to Prince Faisal captured Aleppo.

1 January 1917, Britain, France and Italy recognised the Kingdom of Hejaz in Arabia.

9 June 1916. Sherif Hussein of Mecca led a revolt against the Ottoman Turks. The Arabs were angered by the Young Turks nationalist and secular policies.

29 November 1916, The Sheriff of Mecca, Hussein, was proclaimed King of the Arabs.

21 June 1916. Hussein, the Grand Sheikh of Mecca, declared war on Ottoman Turkey with the aim of achieving Arabia�s independence from Britain.

1912, Abd-el-Wahab founded the frst of many co-operastove farming communities, known as Ikhwaan (Brethren). Providing the Bedouin with a more settled existence, these communities also assured a supply of soldiers for the defence of the Saudi Kingdom.

20 January 1902, The beginnings of Saudi Arabia. The Bedouin warrior, Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, 20-year old Emir of the Wahhabi, seized Riyadh, capital of the Nejd. He became a focus for the Arab nationalist movement.

11 March 1868, Emir Talal of Arabia, suffering from an incurable illness, committed suicide.

1806, The Wahabis took Mecca.

14 October 1802, Emir Sbdul Aziz of Arabia, aged 82, was murdered by a Shia fanatic.

1760, The Wahabi branch of Islam was founded by Muslim scholar, Abd-el-Wahab (1703-92).He wanted to restore a pure, original, version of Islam, His teachings gained credence across much of the Arabian Peninsula.

17 July 1517, The Sherif (Chief magistrate) of Mecca accepted Ottoman suzerainty over Arabia.

639, A few thousand Muslims entered Alexandria, and Egypt soon adopted the new religion.

8 June 632. Mohammed died, aged about 62.He was buried in Mecca.See 16 July 622.

16 July 622. The traditional starting day of the Islamic era, when Mohammad fled persecution in Mecca for the city of Medina, then known as Yattrib. This flight is called the Hejirah. In Arabia around 610, Mohammed had called for an end to the demons and idols of the Arab religion and to convert to monotheistic worship of Allah. Born around 570, Mohammed was of the Quraysh tribe, a Bedouin tribe in the Arabian peninsula. This tribe occupied Mecca, a wealthy caravan trading centre, and Mohammed was married to a wealthy widow. Arabs also came to Mecca to worship at the Kaaba, a black meteoric stone of which the Qurayshi are guardians. Mohammed denounced the idol worship associated with the Kaaba, and made enemies of some wealthy merchants, especially with his calls to help the poor. Mohammed died on 8 June 632. He saw himself as an instrument of God. His new religion was called Islam, meaning submission; its adherents were Moslems, or those who submit. In 630 the citizens of Mecca accepted his new religion; in return Mohammed agreed that the Kaaba should remain as a place of pilgrimage for Moslems.

595, Mohammed, a 25-year-old camel driver, married his wealthy 40-year-old employer, the widow Khadija.

20 April 570, Birth of prophet Mohammed, founder of Islam.

421, Al Mondhir, a warrior of Hira, was instrumental in Bahram I becoming ruler of Persia.

400, The Ghassan tribe, a Christian people originating in Yemen, settled in what is now north-western Saudi Arabia, just east of the River Jordan. They were a vassal of Rome, and fought frequently with the Hira, especially during the 500s. Eventually the Hira prevailed.

400, The Kingdom of Hira in what is now north-eastern Saudi Arabia became prosperous as a vassal of Persia.


See also Islam.


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