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From the 10th century to the early 20th century Mecca and Medina were under the control of a local Arab ruler known as the Sharif of Mecca, but at most times the Sharif owed allegiance to the ruler of one of the major Islamic empires based in Baghdad, Cairo or Istanbul.Most of the remainder of what became Saudi Arabia reverted to traditional tribal rule.
Their first capital was Qaryat Dhāt Kāhil, today known as Qaryat al-Fāw.The area of modern-day Saudi Arabia formerly consisted of four distinct regions: Hejaz, Najd and parts of Eastern Arabia (Al-Ahsa) and Southern Arabia ('Asir).The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 by Ibn Saud.Their loosely controlled trading network, which centered on strings of oases that they controlled, where agriculture was intensively practiced in limited areas, and on the routes that linked them, had no securely defined boundaries in the surrounding desert.Trajan conquered the Nabataean kingdom, annexing it to the Roman Empire, where their individual culture, easily identified by their characteristic finely potted painted ceramics, was adopted into the larger Greco-Roman culture. Jane Taylor, a writer, describes them as "one of the most gifted peoples of the ancient world".For much of the 10th century the Isma'ili-Shi'ite Qarmatians were the most powerful force in the Persian Gulf.
In 930, the Qarmatians pillaged Mecca, outraging the Muslim world, particularly with their theft of the Black Stone.
Its inclusion expresses the view that the country is the personal possession of the royal family.
In ancient times the Arabian peninsula served as a corridor for trade and exhibited several civilizations.
One reason was to thwart Portuguese attempts to attack the Red Sea (hence the Hejaz) and the Indian Ocean.
The emergence of what was to become the Saudi royal family, known as the Al Saud, began in Nejd in central Arabia in 1744, when Muhammad bin Saud, founder of the dynasty, joined forces with the religious leader Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, A much smaller second "Saudi state", located mainly in Nejd, was established in 1824.
Following his death in 632, his followers rapidly expanded the territory under Muslim rule beyond Arabia, conquering huge and unprecedented swathes of territory (from the Iberian Peninsula in west to modern day Pakistan in east) in a matter of decades.