Saudi Arabia

Coordinates: 24°N 45°E / 24°N 45°E / 24; 45

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
المملكة العربية السعودية (Arabic)
Al-Mamlakah al-ʿArabīyah as-Suʿūdīyah
Motto: لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا ٱلله، مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُوْلُ ٱلله
"Lā ʾilāha ʾillā Llāh, Muḥammadur rasūlu Llāh"
"There is no god but God; Muhammad is the messenger of God."[1][b] (Shahada)
Anthem: ٱلنَّشِيْد ٱلْوَطَنِي ٱلسُّعُوْدِي
"an-Našīd al-Waṭanīy as-Suʿūdī"
"National Anthem of Saudi Arabia"
Location of Saudi Arabia
Location of Saudi Arabia
Capital
and largest city
Riyadh
24°39′N 46°46′E / 24.650°N 46.767°E / 24.650; 46.767
Official languagesArabic[5][6]
Ethnic groups
(2014[7])
90% Arab
10% Afro-Arab
Religion
(2010)[9]
Demonym(s)
GovernmentUnitary Islamic absolute monarchy
• King
Salman of Saudi Arabia
Mohammed bin Salman
Legislaturenone[c]
Establishment
1727
1824
13 January 1902
23 September 1932
24 October 1945
31 January 1992
Area
• Total
2,149,690[5] km2 (830,000 sq mi) (12th)
• Water (%)
0.7
Population
• 2022 estimate
Increase38,401,000[12] (40th)
• Density
15/km2 (38.8/sq mi) (174th)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
• Total
$2.00 trillion[13] (17th)
• Per capita
$55,400[13] (25th)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
• Total
$1.04 trillion[13] (18th)
• Per capita
$28,800[13] (35th)
Gini (2013)45.9[14]
medium
HDI (2021)Increase 0.875[15]
very high · 35th
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,[d] officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA),[e] is a country on the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It has a land area of about 2,150,000 km2 (830,000 sq mi), making it the fifth-largest country in Asia, the second-largest in the Arab world, and the largest in Western Asia. It is bordered by the Red Sea to the west; Jordan, Iraq, and Kuwait to the north; the Persian Gulf, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to the east; Oman to the southeast; and Yemen to the south. Bahrain is an island country off the east coast. The Gulf of Aqaba in the northwest separates Saudi Arabia from Egypt. Saudi Arabia is the only country with a coastline along both the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, and most of its terrain consists of arid desert, lowland, steppe, and mountains. Its capital and largest city is Riyadh. The country is home to Mecca and Medina, the two holiest cities in Islam.

Pre-Islamic Arabia, the territory that constitutes modern-day 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.[16] The world's second-largest religion,[17] Islam, emerged in what is now Saudi Arabia. In the early 7th century, the Islamic prophet Muhammad united the population of Arabian Peninsula and created a single Islamic religious polity.[18] 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 parts of Central and South Asia 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.

The area of modern-day Saudi Arabia formerly consisted of mainly four distinct historical regions: Hejaz, Najd, and parts of Eastern Arabia (Al-Ahsa) and South Arabia ('Asir).[19] The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 by King Abdulaziz (known as Ibn Saud in the West). 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 an absolute monarchy, where political decisions are made on the basis of consultation among the King, the Council of Ministers, and the country’s traditional elites that oversee a highly authoritarian regime.[20][21][22] The ultraconservative Wahhabi religious movement within Sunni Islam has been described as a "predominant feature of Saudi culture",[21][23] although the power of the religious establishment has been significantly eroded in the 2010s.[24] In its Basic Law, Saudi Arabia continues to define itself as a sovereign Arab Islamic state with Islam as its official religion, Arabic as its official language, and Riyadh as its capital.

Petroleum was discovered on 3 March 1938 and followed up by several other finds in the Eastern Province.[25][26] 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 fourth-largest gas reserves.[27] The kingdom is categorized as a World Bank high-income economy and is the only Arab country to be part of the G20 major economies.[28][29]

The kingdom spends 8% of its GDP on the military (highest in the world after Oman),[30] which places it as the world's third biggest military spender behind the United States and China,[31] and the world's largest arms importer from 2015 to 2019, receiving half of all the US arms exports to the Middle East.[32][33] According to the BICC, Saudi Arabia is the 28th most militarized country in the world and possesses the second-best military equipment qualitatively in the region, after Israel.[34] By the late 2010s, there have been continual calls for halting of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, mainly due to alleged war crimes in Yemen[35] and especially following the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.[36][37] The state has attracted criticism for a variety of reasons, including its role in the Yemeni Civil War, alleged sponsorship of Islamic terrorism and its poor human rights record, which has been characterized by the excessive and often extrajudicial use of capital punishment,[38] failure to adopt adequate measures against human trafficking, state-sponsored discrimination against religious minorities and atheists,[39][40] and antisemitism, and its strict interpretation of Sharia law.[41][42]

Saudi Arabia is considered both a regional and middle power.[43][44] The Saudi economy is the largest in the Middle East; the world's eighteenth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the seventeenth-largest by PPP. As a country with a very high Human Development Index,[45] it offers a tuition-free university education, no personal income tax,[46] and a free universal health care system. Saudi Arabia is home to the world's third-largest immigrant population. It also has one of the world's youngest populations, with approximately 50 per cent of its population of 34.2 million being under 25 years old.[47] In addition to being a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Saudi Arabia is an active and founding member of the United Nations, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Arab League, Arab Air Carriers Organization and OPEC.


Cite error: There are <ref group=lower-alpha> tags or {{efn}} templates on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist|group=lower-alpha}} template or {{notelist}} template (see the help page).

  1. ^ "About Saudi Arabia: Facts and figures". The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington, DC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2012.
  2. ^ "God". Islam: Empire of Faith. PBS.
  3. ^ 'Islam and Christianity', Encyclopedia of Christianity (2001): Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews also refer to God as Allah.
  4. ^ L. Gardet. "Allah". Encyclopaedia of Islam Online.
  5. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference CIA World Factbook was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ "Basic Law of Governance". Ministry of Education. Ministry of Education – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  7. ^ "The World Factbook". 2 July 2014. Archived from the original on 2 July 2014.
  8. ^ "Saudi Arabia – The World Factbook". CIA. CIA. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Religious Composition by Country" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 March 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  10. ^ Hefner, Robert W. (2009). Remaking Muslim Politics: Pluralism, Contestation, Democratization. Princeton University Press. p. 202. ISBN 978-1-4008-2639-1.
  11. ^ "Analysts: Saudi Arabia Nervous About Domestic Discontent". www.voanews.com. VoA News - English. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  12. ^ "The total population – General Authority for Statistics". stats.gov.sa. Archived from the original on 3 April 2019. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  13. ^ a b c d "Saudi Arabia". International Monetary Fund.
  14. ^ "The World Factbook". CIA.gov. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Human Development Report 2021/2022" (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 8 September 2022. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  16. ^ "88,000-Year-Old Finger Bone Pushes Back Human Migration Dates". National Geographic.
  17. ^ "The Global Religious Landscape". Pew Forum. 18 December 2012.
  18. ^ Lindsay, James E. (2005). Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World. Greenwood Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-313-32270-9.
  19. ^ Madawi Al-Rasheed (2013). A Most Masculine State: Gender, Politics and Religion in Saudi Arabia. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-521-76104-8.
  20. ^ "Council of Ministers System | The Embassy of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia". www.saudiembassy.net. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  21. ^ a b Tripp, Culture Shock, 2003: p. 14
  22. ^ "The Authoritarian Resurgence: Saudi Arabia's Anxious Autocrats". Carnegie Endowment. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  23. ^ Malbouisson, p. 23
  24. ^ Dadouch, Sarah (3 August 2021). "Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed seeks to reduce influential clerics' power". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 3 August 2021.
  25. ^ Caryl, Sue (20 February 2014). "1938: Oil Discovered in Saudi Arabia". National Geographic. National Geographic Society. Archived from the original on 12 December 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  26. ^ Learsy, Raymond (2011). Oil and Finance: The Epic Corruption. p. 89.
  27. ^ "International – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)". eia.gov.
  28. ^ Wynbrandt, James (2004). A Brief History of Saudi Arabia. Infobase Publishing. p. 242. ISBN 978-1-4381-0830-8.
  29. ^ Soldatkin, Vladimir; Astrasheuskaya, Nastassia (9 November 2011). "Saudi Arabia to overtake Russia as top oil producer-IEA". Reuters.
  30. ^ "Country Comparison :: Military expenditures — The World Factbook – Central Intelligence Agency". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  31. ^ Global defence spending: the United States widens the gap (IISS) – 14 February 2020
  32. ^ "USA and France dramatically increase major arms exports; Saudi Arabia is largest arms importer, says SIPRI". SIPRI. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  33. ^ Wezeman, Pieter D.; Kuimova, Alexandra (May 2019). "Military Spending and Arms Imports by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE" (PDF). SIPRI Fact Sheet: 1.
  34. ^ "Global Militarisation Index 2019" (PDF). BICC: 8 and 14. 2019.
  35. ^ "The UK Is Greenlighting Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia Again. That's a Travesty". Human Rights Watch. 15 July 2020. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  36. ^ "Austria calls for EU-wide halt in arms sales to Saudi Arabia". Reuters. 25 October 2018. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  37. ^ "Germany extends ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  38. ^ "The death penalty in Saudi Arabia: Facts and Figure". Amnesty International. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  39. ^ "Saudi Arabia: Official Hate Speech Targets Minorities". Human Rights Watch. 26 September 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  40. ^ "Saudi Arabia is worst country to be an atheist, report says". National Secular Society. 29 October 2018. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  41. ^ Bjørgo, Tore (2004). Root Causes of Terrorism: Myths, Reality and Ways Forward. Routledge. p. 193. ISBN 978-1-134-26562-6.
  42. ^ Byman, Daniel L. (1 February 2005). "Confronting Passive Sponsors of Terrorism". Brookings Institution. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  43. ^ Buzan, Barry (2004). The United States and the Great Powers. Cambridge: Polity Press. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-7456-3375-6.
  44. ^ "The erosion of Saudi Arabia's image among its neighbours". Middle East Monitor. 7 November 2013. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013.
  45. ^ Human Development Report 2014 (PDF). United Nations. 2013. p. 159.
  46. ^ "Tax in Saudi Arabia | Saudi Arabia Tax Guide – HSBC Expat". www.expat.hsbc.com. Retrieved 26 June 2022.
  47. ^ "Why Saudi Arabia". Invest Saudi. Archived from the original on 13 February 2020. Retrieved 17 February 2019.

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