Ted Thornton
History of the Middle East Database
Benchmarks in the History of Saudi Arabia

Origins of Key Geographical Terms


History by Region or State


History by Time Period


Special Topics









1744: Saudi-Wahhabi alliance forged.

1773:  Saudis capture Riyadh.

1905: Saudi-Ottoman Treaty.

1924: Wahhabi raid.

1926: Ibn Saud proclaimed king of Hijaz.

1929: Saudis put down Wahhabi rebellion.

1931: American phlianthropist Charles Crane is invited to Saudi Arabia to search for water (he finds oil instead).

1932: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia formed.

1933: ARAMCO.  

1938: Americans strike oil in S. Arabia.

1945: Saudi-American alliance.

1953: Death of King Abd al-Aziz, accession of King Saud.

1957: Eisenhower Doctrine.

1960: OPEC formed.

1962: Muslim World League.

1964: King Saud is forced to abdicate.

1969: Organization of the Islamic Conference.

1975, March 25: King Faisal is assassinated by a nephew.

1979: Great Mosque in Mecca seized by Wahhabi dissidents (Sunni Saudi claim to leadership of Islam worldwide challenged by Shiite Iran). More on Iran. See also origins of Sunni-Shia Fitna ("civil strife").

1982: Death of King Khalid, accession of King Fahd.

1987: Hajj riots (Shia again challenge Saudi Sunni authority). 

1990: U.S. troops deployed to Saudi Arabia to defend against Saddam Hussein.

1994: Buraydah Uprising: Wahhabi dissidents.

1995: Riyadh bombing: U.S. military targeted.

1996, June 26:  A massive truck bomb kills U.S. soldiers in Dharan.

2001:  September 11 and Saudi citizens.

2002, March: The government absolves its religious police from blame in the deaths of schoolgirls barred from escaping a burning school because they were not properly covered.

2002, August: U.S. families of victims killed in 9/11 attacks sue Saudi government. 

2002, October 29:  Saudi prince urges kingdom to embrace globalization. 

2003, May 12:  Riyadh bombing targets foreigners. 

2003, September:  American troops pull out of Saudi Arabia. 

2003, November 9:  Bombing in Riyadh targets foreigners.

2004, April 24:  Attack on security headquarters in Riyadh.

2005, August 1:  King Fahd dies and is succeeded by Crown Prince Abdullah.

2005, November: Tensions between religious conservatives and reformers.

2006, April: Talks on Oil Deal Between China and Saudi Arabia.

2007, November: Controversy over woman sentenced in a rape case.

2008, March: Saudis to retrain 40,000 imams in efforts to promote religious tolerance.

** See also The Wahhabi Movement


Last Revised: March 21, 2008