Saudi Arabia

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

المملكة العربية السعودية (Arabic)
al-Mamlakah al-ʿArabīyah as-Saʿūdīyah
Motto: لا إله إلا الله، محمد رسول الله
'Lā ʾilāha ʾillā Llāh, Muḥammadan rasūlu Llāh'
'There is no god but God; Muhammad is the messenger of God.'[1][a] (Shahada)
Anthem: النشيد الوطني السعودي
"an-Našīd al-Waṭanīy as-Saʿūdī"
"National Anthem of Saudi Arabia"
Location of Saudi Arabia
Capital
and largest city
Riyadh
24°39′N 46°46′E / 24°39′N 46°46′E / 24.650; 46.767
Official languagesArabic[3]
Spoken languagesNajdi, Hejazi, Gulf, Bedawi, Bareqi, etc.
Religion
Sunni Islam[4]
Demonym(s)
GovernmentUnitary Islamic absolute monarchy[5]
• King
Salman
Mohammad
LegislatureNone[b]
Establishment
23 September 1932
24 October 1945
31 January 1992
Area
• Total
2,149,690[3] km2 (830,000 sq mi) (12th)
• Water (%)
0.7
Population
• 2018 estimate
33,000,000[6] (40th)
• Density
15/km2 (38.8/sq mi) (216th)
GDP (PPP)2019 estimate
• Total
$1.924 trillion[7] (14th)
• Per capita
$56,817[7] (12th)
GDP (nominal)2019 estimate
• Total
$762.259 billion[7] (18th)
• Per capita
$23,566[7] (35th)
Gini (2013)45.9[8]
medium
HDI (2017)Decrease 0.853[9]
very high · 38th
CurrencySaudi riyal (SR) (SAR)
Time zoneUTC+3 (AST)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy (AH)
Driving sideright
Calling code+966
ISO 3166 codeSA
Internet TLD

Saudi Arabia,[c] officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,[d] is a country in Western Asia constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula. With a land area of approximately 2,150,000 km2 (830,000 sq mi), Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest sovereign state in the Middle East, the second-largest in the Arab world (after Algeria), the fifth-largest in Asia, and the 12th-largest in the world. Saudi Arabia is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast and Yemen to the south; it is separated from Israel and Egypt by the Gulf of Aqaba. It is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, and most of its terrain consists of arid desert, lowland and mountains. As of October 2018, the Saudi economy was the largest in the Middle East and the 18th largest in the world.[7] Saudi Arabia also has one of the world's youngest populations; 50 percent of its 33.4 million people are under 25 years old.[10]

The territory that now constitutes Saudi Arabia was the site of several ancient cultures and civilizations. The prehistory of Saudi Arabia shows some of the earliest traces of human activity in the world.[11] The world's second-largest religion,[12] Islam, emerged in modern-day Saudi Arabia. In the early 7th century, the Islamic prophet Muhammad united the population of Arabia and created a single Islamic religious polity.[13] 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 the West to modern-day Pakistan in the East) in a matter of decades.Arab dynasties originating from modern-day Saudi Arabia founded the Rashidun (632–661), Umayyad (661–750), Abbasid (750–1517) and Fatimid (909–1171) caliphates as well as numerous other dynasties in Asia, Africa and Europe.[14][15][16][17][18]

The area of modern-day Saudi Arabia formerly consisted of mainly four distinct regions: Hejaz, Najd and parts of Eastern Arabia (Al-Ahsa) and Southern Arabia ('Asir).[19] The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 by Ibn Saud. He united the four regions into a single state through a series of conquests beginning in 1902 with the capture of Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud. Saudi Arabia has since been a totalitarian absolute monarchy, effectively a hereditary dictatorship governed along Islamist lines.[20][21][22][23] The ultraconservative Wahhabi religious movement within Sunni Islam has been called "the predominant feature of Saudi culture", with its global spread largely financed by the oil and gas trade.[20][21] Saudi Arabia is sometimes called "the Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Al-Masjid al-Haram (in Mecca) and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (in Medina), the two holiest places in Islam. The state's official language is Arabic.

Petroleum was discovered on 3 March 1938 and followed up by several other finds in the Eastern Province.[24] Saudi Arabia has since become the world's second largest oil producer (behind the US) and the world's largest oil exporter, controlling the world's second largest oil reserves and the sixth largest gas reserves.[25] The kingdom is categorized as a World Bank high-income economy with a high Human Development Index[26] and is the only Arab country to be part of the G-20 major economies.[27] The state has attracted criticism for a variety of reasons including: its treatment of women, its excessive and often extrajudicial use of capital punishment, state-sponsored discrimination against religious minorities and atheists, its role in the Yemeni Civil War, sponsorship of Islamic terrorists, and its strict interpretation of Sharia law.[28][29][30][31][32][33][34] The kingdom has the world's third-highest military expenditure[35][36] and, according to SIPRI, was the world's second largest arms importer from 2010 to 2014.[37] Saudi Arabia is considered a regional and middle power.[38] In addition to the GCC, it is an active member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and OPEC.[39]

Etymology

Following the amalgamation of the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd, the new state was named al-Mamlakah al-ʿArabīyah as-Saʿūdīyah (a transliteration of المملكة العربية السعودية in Arabic) by royal decree on 23 September 1932 by its founder, Abdulaziz bin Saud. Although this is normally translated as "the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" in English,[40] it literally means "the Saudi Arab kingdom",[41] or "the Arab Saudi Kingdom".[42]

The word "Saudi" is derived from the element as-Saʿūdīyah in the Arabic name of the country, which is a type of adjective known as a nisba, formed from the dynastic name of the Saudi royal family, the Al Saud (Arabic: آل سعود‎). Its inclusion expresses the view that the country is the personal possession of the royal family.[43][44] Al Saud is an Arabic name formed by adding the word Al, meaning "family of" or "House of",[45] to the personal name of an ancestor. In the case of the Al Saud, this is Saud ibn Muhammad ibn Muqrin, the father of the dynasty's 18th-century founder, Muhammad bin Saud.[46]