Saudi Arabia occupies most of the Arabian Peninsula, with the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba to the west and the Persian Gulf to the east. Neighboring countries are Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, Yemen, and Bahrain, connected to the Saudi mainland by a causeway. Saudi Arabia contains the world's largest continuous sand desert, the Rub Al-Khali, or Empty Quarter. Its oil region lies primarily in the eastern province along the Persian Gulf.
Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy. However, according to the Basic Law of Saudi Arabia adopted by royal decree in 1992, the king must comply with Sharia (Islamic law) and the Quran, while the Quran and the Sunnah (the traditions of Muhammad) are declared to be the country's constitution.
Prior to the 7th century, most of Saudi Arabia was inhabited by nomadic tribes. In 570 Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was born in Mecca. In the 7th century Muhammad united many of the tribes in Saudi Arabia. After he died in 632, his followers, the Arabs, began to expand the area of Muslim rule well beyond Arabia. In the 16th century the Ottoman Empire became prominent in the area taking control of the Persian Gulf and Red Sea coasts. In the 18th century the House of Saud began to emerge as a power. The founder of the Saud dynasty, Muhammad bin Saud, started the dynasty and it came to power until the Ottomans regained control in 1818. Another family, the Al Rashid, came to power in the late 1800s. Saudi Arabia became an independent nation after the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I. Abdul-Aziz bin Saud regained power for the House of Saud. In 1932 the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was formed with Abdul-Aziz was king.
Economy Of Saudi Arabia
Major Industries: crude oil production, petroleum refining, basic petrochemicals; ammonia, industrial gases, cement, fertilizer, plastics; metals, commercial ship repair, commercial aircraft repair, construction
Agricultural Products: wheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus; mutton, chickens, eggs, milk
Natural Resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper
Major Exports: petroleum and petroleum products 90%
Major Imports: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles, textiles
Currency: Saudi riyal (SAR)
National GDP: $687,700,000,000