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THE Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the latest State name to take its place on the maps of the world and in the annals of history. The name has just
been officially conferred on the dual country that since 1927 hat been known as "The Kingdoms of He jas and Ne jrL" The name "Saudi, Arabia" tells the story, of the carving out of a great Arabian State by a powerful dynasty (says a bulletin of the National Geo graphic Society). The present kingdom has a larger part of the great peninsula of Arabia under one effective control than any State has had for centuries. Even under Turkey, before the World War, control was divided among scores of amirs and tribal leaders; leaving the Turks with Uttle real power* Immedi ately-after the World War the penin sula- was rimmed with numerous narrow: coastal States, independent of each other and of the Bedouin powers in the interior. ■ It was in Nejd, the great central plateau of Arabia, with its rocky wastes, its shifting sands, its scrub covered wildernesses, and its oases that the Saud dynasty arose. During the early part of the twentieth century the, Saud family • gained strength, in Nejd. After the World War , Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, present King of Saudi Arabia, gained complete control of his native Nejd and- began extending his power toward Hejaz and its capital, Holy Mecca. He captured that city in 1924* and has since steadily consoli dated his huge dominions. . Saudi. Arabia, extends entirely across the Arabian peninsula for, 80ft miles, haying coastlines along two bodies of salt water, the Red Sea on the west and the. Persian Gulf on the .east.
North and south the country extends for more than a thousand miles, reach ing from Transjordsaio to the hazy desert boundary where Hadbramaut begins. Starting with Nejd, the new political entity absorbed three of the "edge states" of the peninsula; Hasa on the east, and Hejaz and Asir on. the west On the south it is still fenced off from the Arabian Sea by British Aden and by the more or less inde pendent states of Yemen, Hadbramaut, and Oman. Saudi Arabia, however* covers by far the greater part of the peninsula. Of Arabia's approximately 1,000,000 square miles the new state embraces about 800,000, with a popu lation close to 5,000,000. Many Types ml Men. TT is a diverse country with diverse ■*■ peoples over Which King Ibn Saud rules. Along the entire Red Sea coast of his domain are low broken ranges" of mountains extending inland in places for sixty miles or more. Beyond this minor barrier is a plateau region sloping gently toward the Persian Gulf. Many of the mountains are bare, but the higher Hejaz mountains south of Mecca and those of Asir have coffee and fruit trees on their slopes. Close to these mountains on the east is a fertile strip of upland country, reason ably well watered. Much of Saudi Arabia, however, is desert or almost barren wilderness, in which are seat* tered numerous oases, large and small; The gardens of these oases are usually watered from wells whose waters are drawn to the surface in leather buckets by plodding camels. Many of the smaller oases continue to exist only because of the stubborn efforts of the gardeners who protect their plots from the drifting sands by mud walls and by thick wind-breaks cf tamarisk trees. Along the sea coasts the natives.en gage in fishing. In the ports are traders and merchants whose ways of life have been affected to a certain extent by . contacts with* foreigners. The moun taineers of the eastern and south-east, em highlands are distinct from the otfher tribesmen. They are a hardy and tough race, more cruel in war than, the Arab of the plains. Inland in the Nejd is the typical Arab, whether he live in the oasis villages and towns, or whether he be a Bedouin who wanders with his flocks. The camels, sheep, and goats raised in 'this' region constitute one of the greatest sources of . Arabia's wealth. Many of them axe exported to neigh bouring countries. Another important economic factor in the country's-life is ihe wealth' spent, by the many thou^ sands, of devout Mohammedans who .go each year from all over the Islamic world to the holy .shrines of Mecca and Medina. Because of upset economic conditions this stream of pilgrims has fallen, off in recent Sears, and as a result Saudi Arabia also has its de pression.