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The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the
Arabs The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technica ...

Arabs
") is a
peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el ...

peninsula
of
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...

Western Asia
, situated northeast of
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...

Africa
on the
Arabian Plate The Arabian Plate is a minor tectonic plate in the northern and eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Line ...
. At , the Arabian Peninsula is the largest peninsula in the world. Geographically, the Arabian Peninsula includes
Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regi ...

Kuwait
,
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. Formerly a maritime empire, Oman is the oldest continuously in ...

Oman
,
Qatar Qatar (, , or ; ar, قطر, Qaṭar ; local vernacular pronunciation: ), officially the State of Qatar,) is a country in Western Asia. It occupies the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and shares it ...

Qatar
,
Saudi Arabia (''Shahada'') , national_anthem = "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia, " "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia" , image_map = Saudi Arabia (orthographic projection).svg , capital = Riyadh , coordinates ...

Saudi Arabia
, the
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, الإمارات العربية المتحدة ) or the Emirates ( ar, الإمارات ), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregio ...

United Arab Emirates
(UAE), and
Yemen ) , image_map = Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Sana'a Sanaa ( ar, صَنْعَاء, ' , Yemeni Arabic: ; Old South Arabian: 𐩮 ...

Yemen
, as well as the southern portions of
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
and
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In ge ...

Jordan
. The biggest of these is Saudi Arabia. The Peninsula, plus
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ar, البحرين, al-Baḥrayn, , locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain ( ar, مملكة البحرين, links=no '), is a country in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf. The Island country, island nation c ...

Bahrain
, the
Socotra Archipelago Socotra Archipelago ( ar, أرخبيل سقطرى ') or Suqutra is officially one of the governorates of Yemen, governorates of Yemen. It is composed of the Guardafui Channel's archipelago of Socotra. History Since before British rule, Socotr ...
, and other nearby
island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, i ...

island
s form a
geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...
region called Arabia, which is the largest region in the world without any permanent rivers. The Arabian Peninsula formed as a result of the rifting of the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a North ...

Red Sea
between 56 and 23 million years ago, and is bordered by the Red Sea to the west and southwest, the
Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of , ) is a in . The body of water is an extension of the () through the and lies between to the northeast and the to the southwest.United Nations Group of Exper ...
and the
Gulf of Oman The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman ( ar, خليج عمان ''khalīj ʿumān''; fa, دریای عمان ''daryâ-ye omân''), also known as Gulf of Makran or Sea of Makran ( ar, خلیج مکران ''khalīj makrān''; fa, دریای مکرا ...
to the northeast, the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
and
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
to the north and the
Arabian Sea The Arabian Sea ( ar, بحر العرب ''Bahr al-Arab'') is a region of the northern Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering or 19.8% of the water Water is an Inorganic co ...
and the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
to the southeast. The peninsula plays a critical
geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...
role in the
Arab world The Arab world ( ar, العالم العربي '), formally the Arab homeland ( '), also known as the Arab nation ( '), the Arabsphere, or the Arab states, consists of the 22 Member states of the Arab League, Arab countries which are members of ...

Arab world
and globally due to its vast reserves of
oil An oil is any nonpolar In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matter to the chemical compound ...

oil
and
natural gas Natural gas (also called fossil gas; sometimes just gas) is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture consisting of methane and commonly including varying amounts of other higher alkanes, and sometimes a small percentage of carbon dioxid ...

natural gas
. Before the modern era, the region was divided into primarily four distinct regions: the
Central Plateau
Central Plateau
(Najd or
Al-Yamama Al-Yamamah ( ar, اليمامة, al-Yamāmah) is an ancient historical region lying in the Nejd, Najd region of modern-day Saudi Arabia, or sometimes more specifically, the now-extinct ancient village of Jaww Al-Yamamah, near Al-Kharj, after whic ...
), the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean Coast (South Arabia or
Hadhramaut Hadhramaut ( ar, حَضْرَمَوْتُ \ حَضْرَمُوتُ, Ḥaḍramawt / Ḥaḍramūt; Hadramautic language, Hadramautic: 𐩢𐩳𐩧𐩣𐩩, ''Ḥḍrmt'') is a region in South Arabia, mostly in present-day eastern Yemen, and pa ...
), the Al-Bahrain (Eastern Arabia or Al-Hassa), and the
Red Sea Coast
Red Sea Coast
(Hejaz or
Tihamah Tihamah or Tihama ( ar, تِهَامَةُ ') refers to the Red Sea coastal plain of the Arabian Peninsula from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Bab el Mandeb. Etymology Tihāmat is the Proto-Semitic language's term for 'sea'. Tiamat (or Tehom, in mascul ...

Tihamah
).
Eastern Arabia Eastern Arabia was historically known as ''Al-Bahrain'' ( ar, اَلْبَحْرَيْنِ) until the 18th century. This region stretched from the south of Basra along the Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=Xa ...
consists of the entire coastal strip of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
Hejaz The Hejaz (, also ; ar, ٱلْحِجَاز, al-Ḥijāz, lit=the Barrier, ) is a region in the west of Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic ...

Hejaz
and
Najd Najd ( ar, نَجْدٌ, ), or the Nejd, forms the geographic center of Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic oath, one of the Five Pilla ...

Najd
make up most of Saudi Arabia.
South Arabia South Arabia also known as Greater Yemen is a historical region that consists of the southern region of the Arabian Peninsula, mainly centered in what is now the Republic of Yemen, yet it has also historically included Najran Region, Najran, Jiz ...
consists of Yemen, a sizable part of Saudi Arabia (
'Asir The ʿAsir Region ( ar, عَسِيرٌ, ʿAsīr, lit=difficult) is a region of Saudi Arabia located in the southwest of the country that is named after the ʿAsīr tribe. It has an area of and an estimated population of 2,211,875 (2017). It sh ...
,
Jizan Jazan ( ar, جازان, Jāzān), also spelled ''Jizan'' ( ar, جيزان, Jīzān), ''Gizan'' or ''Gazan'', is a port city and the capital of Jizan Region Jizan Region also spelled Jazan ( ar, جيزان, Jizan) is the second smallest (after A ...
, and
Najran Najran ( ar, نجران '), is a city in southwestern Saudi Arabia near the border with Yemen. It is the capital of Najran Province. Designated as a new town, Najran is one of the fastest-growing cities in the kingdom; its population has risen fro ...
) and (
Dhofar The Dhofar Governorate ( ar, مُحَافَظَة ظُفَار, Muḥāfaẓat Ẓufār) is the largest of the 11 Governorates of Oman, Governorates in the Oman, Sultanate of Oman in terms of area. It lies in Southern Oman, on the eastern border ...
) in Oman.


Geography

The Arabian Peninsula is located in the continent of Asia and is bounded by (clockwise) the Persian Gulf on the northeast, the
Strait of Hormuz The Strait of Hormuz ( fa, تنگه هرمز ''Tangeh-ye Hormoz'' ar, مَضيق هُرمُز ''Maḍīq Hurmuz'') is a between the and the . It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean and is one of the wo ...

Strait of Hormuz
and the Gulf of Oman on the east, the Arabian Sea on the southeast, the
Gulf of Aden The Gulf of Aden ( ar, خليج عدن, so, Gacanka Cadmeed 𐒅𐒖𐒐𐒕𐒌 𐒋𐒖𐒆𐒗𐒒) also known as the ''Gulf of Berbera Berbera (; so, Barbara, ar, بربرة) is the capital of the Sahil, Somaliland, Sahil region of Soma ...

Gulf of Aden
,
Guardafui Channel The Guardafui Channel ( so, Marinka Gardafuul) is an oceanic strait off the tip of the Horn of Africa that lies between the Puntland region of Somalia and Socotra to the west of the Arabian Sea. It connects the Gulf of Aden to the north with the ...
and Somali Sea on the south, the
Bab-el-Mandeb The Bab-el-Mandeb (Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countr ...

Bab-el-Mandeb
Strait on the southwest and the Red Sea, which is located on the southwest and west. The northern portion of the peninsula merges with the
Syrian Desert The Syrian Desert ( ar, بادية الشام, ''Bādiyat Ash-Shām''), also known as the Syrian steppe, the Jordanian steppe, or the Badia, is a region of desert, Semi-arid climate, semi-desert and steppe covering of the Middle East, including p ...

Syrian Desert
with no clear borderline, although the northern boundary of the peninsula is generally considered to be the northern borders of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The most prominent feature of the peninsula is
desert A desert is a barren area of landscape where little precipitation occurs and, consequently, living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life. The lack of vegetation exposes the unprotected surface of the ground to the processes of ...

desert
, but in the southwest, there are mountain ranges, which receive greater rainfall than the rest of the peninsula. Harrat ash Shaam is a large volcanic field that extends from northwestern Arabia into Jordan and southern
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
.


Political boundaries

The Peninsula's constituent countries are (clockwise from north to south) Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the east, Oman on the southeast, Yemen on the south, and Saudi Arabia at the center. The island country of Bahrain lies just off the east coast of the Peninsula. Due to Yemen's jurisdiction over the
Socotra Archipelago Socotra Archipelago ( ar, أرخبيل سقطرى ') or Suqutra is officially one of the governorates of Yemen, governorates of Yemen. It is composed of the Guardafui Channel's archipelago of Socotra. History Since before British rule, Socotr ...
, the Peninsula's geopolitical outline faces the
Guardafui Channel The Guardafui Channel ( so, Marinka Gardafuul) is an oceanic strait off the tip of the Horn of Africa that lies between the Puntland region of Somalia and Socotra to the west of the Arabian Sea. It connects the Gulf of Aden to the north with the ...
and the Somali Sea to the south. Six countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) form the
Gulf Cooperation Council The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf ( ar, مجلس التعاون لدول الخليج العربية), originally (and still colloquially) known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC, ), is a regional intergovernmental organ ...

Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia covers the greater part of the Peninsula. The majority of the population of the Peninsula lives in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The Peninsula contains the world's largest reserves of oil. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are economically the wealthiest in the region. Qatar, the only peninsular country in the Persian Gulf on the larger peninsula, is home to the
Arabic-language Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Stre ...

Arabic-language
television station
Al Jazeera Al Jazeera ( ar, الجزيرة, translit-std=DIN, translit=al-jazīrah, , literally "The Island", though referring to the Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَ ...
and its English-language subsidiary
Al Jazeera English Al Jazeera English (AJE) is a television news channel broadcast to the world by the Al Jazeera Media Network Al Jazeera Media Network (AJMN) is a Qatari international International is an adjective (also used as a noun) meaning "between n ...
. Kuwait, on the border with Iraq, is an important country strategically, forming one of the main staging grounds for coalition forces mounting the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
-led
2003 invasion of Iraq The 2003 invasion of Iraq was the first stage of the Iraq War The Iraq WarThe conflict is also known as the Second Gulf War or the Third Gulf War by those who consider the Iran–Iraq War the first Gulf War. The war was also called the ...
.


Population

Though historically lightly populated, political Arabia is noted for a high population growth rate – as the result of both very strong inflows of migrant labor as well as sustained high birth rates. The population tends to be relatively young and heavily skewed gender ratio dominated by males. In many states, the number of South Asians exceeds that of the local citizenry. The four smallest states (by area), which have their entire coastlines on the Persian Gulf, exhibit the world's most extreme population growth, roughly tripling every 20 years. In 2014, the estimated population of the Arabian Peninsula was 77,983,936 (including expatriates). The Arabian Peninsula is known for having one of the most uneven adult sex ratios in the world, with females in some regions (especially the east) constituting only a quarter of vicenarians and tricenarians.


Cities

The ten most populous cities on the Arabian Peninsula are:


Landscape

Geologically, this region is perhaps more appropriately called the Arabian subcontinent because it lies on a
tectonic plate This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth's surface Earth is the third planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibri ...
of its own, the
Arabian Plate The Arabian Plate is a minor tectonic plate in the northern and eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Line ...
, which has been moving incrementally away from the rest of Africa (forming the Red Sea) and north, toward Asia, into the
Eurasian Plate The Eurasian Plate is a tectonic plate This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth's surface. Tectonic plates are pieces of Earth's crust and uppermost mantle, together referred to as the lithosphere. The plates are around thick and consist ...
(forming the
Zagros Mountains The Zagros Mountains ( fa, کوه‌های زاگرس, ''Kuh hā-ye Zāgros;'' Luri language, Luri: کویل زاگروس‎, ''Koyal Zagros;'' Turkish language, Turkish: ''Zagros Dağları;'' ku, چیاکانی زاگرۆس, translit=Çiyakani ...
). The rocks exposed vary systematically across Arabia, with the oldest rocks exposed in the
Arabian-Nubian Shield File:Pannotia.svg, 300px, The Arabian-Nubian Shield in the supercontinent Pannotia c. 570 million years ago, before the rift, opening of the Red Sea. The Arabian-Nubian Shield (ANS) is an exposure of Precambrian crystalline rocks on the flanks of th ...

Arabian-Nubian Shield
near the Red Sea, overlain by earlier sediments that become younger towards the Persian Gulf. Perhaps the best-preserved
ophiolite An ophiolite is a section of Earth's oceanic crust The oceanic crust is the uppermost layer of the oceanic portion of the tectonic plates This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth's surface. Tectonic plates are pieces of Earth's crust ...

ophiolite
on Earth, the
Semail Ophiolite The Semail Ophiolite of the Hajar Mountains of Oman and the United Arab Emirates is a large slab of oceanic crust, made of volcanic rocks and ultramafic rocks from the Earth's upper mantle, that was overthrust onto continental crust as an ophiolite ...
, lies exposed in the mountains of the UAE and northern Oman. The peninsula consists of: # A central plateau, the
Najd Najd ( ar, نَجْدٌ, ), or the Nejd, forms the geographic center of Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic oath, one of the Five Pilla ...

Najd
, with fertile valleys and pastures used for the grazing of
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order (biology), order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name ''sheep'' applies to many species ...

sheep
and other livestock # A range of deserts: the Nefud in the north, which is stony; the
Rub' al Khali The Rub' al KhaliOther standardized transliterations include: / . The ' is the assimilated Arabic definite article An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identifiability of the re ...
or Great
Arabian Desert The Arabian Desert ( ar, ٱلصَّحْرَاء ٱلْعَرَبِيَّة) is a vast desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab Emirates">Rub'_al_Khali.html" ;"title="Sand ...

Arabian Desert
in the south, with sand estimated to extend below the surface; between them, the Dahna #
Mountains A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust 350px, Plates in the crust of Earth Earth's crust is a thin shell on the outside of Earth, accounting for less than 1% of Earth's volume. It is the top component of the lithosphere, a ...
# Stretches of dry or marshy coastland with coral reefs on the Red Sea side (
Tihamah Tihamah or Tihama ( ar, تِهَامَةُ ') refers to the Red Sea coastal plain of the Arabian Peninsula from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Bab el Mandeb. Etymology Tihāmat is the Proto-Semitic language's term for 'sea'. Tiamat (or Tehom, in mascul ...

Tihamah
) # Oases and marshy coast-land in
Eastern Arabia Eastern Arabia was historically known as ''Al-Bahrain'' ( ar, اَلْبَحْرَيْنِ) until the 18th century. This region stretched from the south of Basra along the Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=Xa ...
, the most important of which are those of
Al Ain Al Ain ( ar, ٱلْعَيْن, , literally ''The Spring'') is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Scien ...

Al Ain
( Tawam in the
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, الإمارات العربية المتحدة ) or the Emirates ( ar, الإمارات ), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregio ...

United Arab Emirates
and
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. Formerly a maritime empire, Oman is the oldest continuously in ...

Oman
) and
Al-HasaAl-Ahsa or Al-Hasa may refer to: * Al-Ahsa Governorate, a governorate in Saudi Arabia * Al-Ahsa Oasis, an oasis region in eastern Saudi Arabia * Hofuf, also known as Al-Ahsa, an urban center in the Al-Ahsa Oasis * Al-Ahsa International Airport, Hofu ...
(in Saudi Arabia), according to one author # Tropical
monsoon A monsoon () is traditionally a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology ...

monsoon
coastline in
Dhofar The Dhofar Governorate ( ar, مُحَافَظَة ظُفَار, Muḥāfaẓat Ẓufār) is the largest of the 11 Governorates of Oman, Governorates in the Oman, Sultanate of Oman in terms of area. It lies in Southern Oman, on the eastern border ...

Dhofar
and Al-Mahra (known as
Khareef 300px, During the ''khareef'', the Dhofar Mountains around Salalah and Al-Ghaydah">Salalah.html" ;"title="Dhofar Mountains around Salalah">Dhofar Mountains around Salalah and Al-Ghaydah are rainsoaked and shrouded in fog ''Khareef'' ( ar, خَ ...
in the Arabian Peninsula). Arabia has few lakes or permanent rivers. Most areas are drained by ephemeral watercourses called
wadi Wadi ( ar, وَادِي, wādī), alternatively ''wād'' ( ar, وَاد), North African Arabic Oued, is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountains, ...

wadi
s, which are dry except during the rainy season. Plentiful ancient
aquifer An aquifer is an underground layer of -bearing , rock fractures or unconsolidated materials (, , or ). can be extracted using a water . The study of water flow in aquifers and the characterization of aquifers is called . Related terms include a ...

aquifer
s exist beneath much of the peninsula, however, and where this water surfaces,
oases In geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population i ...
form (e.g. Al-Hasa and
Qatif Qatif or Al-Qatif ( ar, ٱلْقَطِيف ''Al-Qaṭīf'') is a governorate and urban area located in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shaha ...

Qatif
, two of the world's largest
oases In geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population i ...
) and permit agriculture, especially , which allowed the peninsula to produce more than any other region in the world. In general, the climate is extremely hot and
arid A region is arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or preventing the growth and development Development or developing may refer to: Arts *Development hell, when a project is stuck in d ...

arid
, although there are exceptions. Higher elevations are made temperate by their altitude, and the Arabian Sea coastline can receive surprisingly cool, humid breezes in summer due to cold upwelling offshore. The peninsula has no thick forests. Desert-adapted wildlife is present throughout the region. According to NASA's
Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) was a joint mission of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Twin satellites took detailed measurements of Earth's gravity Gravitational field, field gravity anomaly, anomalies from its lau ...
(GRACE) satellite data (2003–2013) analysed in a University of California, Irvine (UCI)-led study published in
Water Resources Research ''Water Resources Research'' is a Peer review, peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the American Geophysical Union, covering research in the social and natural sciences of water. The editor-in-chief is Martyn Clark (National Center for Atmo ...
on 16 June 2015, the most over-stressed aquifer system in the world is the Arabian Aquifer System, upon which more than 60 million people depend for water. Twenty-one of the thirty seven largest aquifers "have exceeded sustainability tipping points and are being depleted" and thirteen of them are "considered significantly distressed". A plateau more than high extends across much of the Arabian Peninsula. The plateau slopes eastwards from the massive, rifted escarpment along the coast of the Red Sea, to the shallow waters of the Persian Gulf. The interior is characterised by ''cuestas'' and valleys, drained by a system of ''wadis''. A crescent of sand and
gravel Gravel is a loose aggregation of rock fragments. Gravel occurs naturally throughout the world as a result of sedimentary and erosive geologic processes; it is also produced in large quantities commercially as crushed stone. Gravel is classifie ...

gravel
deserts lies to the east.


Mountains

There are mountains at the eastern, southern and northwestern borders of the peninsula. Broadly, the ranges can be grouped as follows: * Northeast: , shared by the UAE and northern Oman * Southeast: The
Dhofar Mountains The Dhofar Mountains ( ar, جِبَال ظُفَار, Jibāl Ẓufār) are a mountain range in the southeastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. In a broad sense, they extend from Dhofar Governorate in Oman to Hadhramaut Governorate in Yemen, and a ...
of southern Oman, contiguous with the eastern Yemeni
Hadhramaut Hadhramaut ( ar, حَضْرَمَوْتُ \ حَضْرَمُوتُ, Ḥaḍramawt / Ḥaḍramūt; Hadramautic language, Hadramautic: 𐩢𐩳𐩧𐩣𐩩, ''Ḥḍrmt'') is a region in South Arabia, mostly in present-day eastern Yemen, and pa ...
* West: Bordering the of the Red Sea are the , which can be seen to include the
Haraz Mountains Jabal Haraz ( ar, جَبَل حَرَاز, Jabal Ḥarāz) is a mountainous region of Yemen ) , image_map = Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital ...
of eastern Yemen, and the
'Asir The ʿAsir Region ( ar, عَسِيرٌ, ʿAsīr, lit=difficult) is a region of Saudi Arabia located in the southwest of the country that is named after the ʿAsīr tribe. It has an area of and an estimated population of 2,211,875 (2017). It sh ...
and
Hijaz Mountains#REDIRECT Hijaz Mountains The Hijaz Mountains ar, جِـبَـال ٱلْـحِـجَـاز, Jibāl al-Ḥijāz () or Hejaz Range is a mountain range located in the Hejaz The Hejaz (, also ; ar, ٱلْحِجَاز, al-Ḥijāz, lit=the Barr ...
of western Saudi Arabia, the latter including the
Midian Midian (; he, מִדְיָן ''Mīḏəyān'' ; ar, مَدْيَن, Madyan; grc-gre, Μαδιάμ, ''Madiam'') is a geographical place mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and Quran. William G. Dever states that biblical Midian was in the "northwest A ...
in northwestern Saudi Arabia * Northwest: Aside from the Sarawat, the northern portion of Saudi Arabia hosts the
Shammar Mountains The Shammar Mountains ( ar, جِبَال شَمَّر, Jibāl Shammar) is a mountain range in the northwestern Saudi Arabia (Shahada) , national_anthem = "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia, " "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia" , image_map ...
, which include the Aja and Salma subranges * Central: The Najd hosts the
Tuwaiq A view of the Tweig (Tuwaiq) Escarpment from the west. The Saudi capital Riyadh lies just beyond the horizon. Jabal Tuwaiq ( ar, جَبَل طُوَيْق) is a narrow escarpment that cuts through the plateau of Najd in central Arabia, running a ...

Tuwaiq
Escarpment or Tuwair range From the
Hejaz The Hejaz (, also ; ar, ٱلْحِجَاز, al-Ḥijāz, lit=the Barrier, ) is a region in the west of Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic ...

Hejaz
southwards, the mountains show a steady increase in altitude westward as they get nearer to Yemen, and the highest peaks and ranges are all located in Yemen. The highest,
Jabal An-Nabi Shu'ayb ''Jabal An-Nabī Shuʿayb'' ( ar, جَبَل ٱلنَّبِي شُعَيْب, lit=Mountain of the Prophet Shuaib), also called ''Jabal Hadhur'' ( ar, جَبَل حَضُوْر, link=no, Jabal Ḥaḍūr), is a mountain of the Harazi subregion of t ...
or Jabal Hadhur of the Haraz subrange of the Sarawat range, is about high. By comparison, the Tuwayr, Shammar and Dhofar generally do not exceed in height. Not all mountains in the peninsula are visibly within ranges.
Jebel Hafeet Jabal Hafeet ( ar, جَبَل حَفِيْت, Jabal Ḥafīt, "Mount Hafeet"; variously transcribed Jabal, Jabel or Jebal and Hafit or Hafeet – literally "empty mountain") is a mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's cru ...

Jebel Hafeet
in particular, on the border of the UAE and Oman, measuring between , is not within the Hajar range, but may be considered an
outlier In statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a ...

outlier
of that range. File:Jebel Hafeet sunrise.jpg ,
Jebel Hafeet Jabal Hafeet ( ar, جَبَل حَفِيْت, Jabal Ḥafīt, "Mount Hafeet"; variously transcribed Jabal, Jabel or Jebal and Hafit or Hafeet – literally "empty mountain") is a mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's cru ...

Jebel Hafeet
on the border of Oman and the UAE, near the city of
Al Ain Al Ain ( ar, ٱلْعَيْن, , literally ''The Spring'') is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Scien ...

Al Ain
. It can be considered an outlier of
Al Hajar Mountains Al-Hajar Mountains ( ar, جِبَال ٱلْحَجَر, Jibāl al-Ḥajar, ''The Rocky Mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs f ...

Al Hajar Mountains
. File:Contrasting Landscape.jpg, The northeastern Hajar Mountains, shared by Oman and the UAE, as seen from the desert of
Sharjah Sharjah ( ar, ٱلشَّارقَة '; Gulf Arabic Gulf Arabic ( ' local pronunciation: or ', local pronunciation: ) is a variety of the Arabic language Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language that first emer ...
File:Salalah Oman.jpg, The Dhofar mountainous region in southeastern Oman, where the city of
Salalah Salalah ( ar, صَلَالَة, Ṣalālah) is the capital and largest city of the southern Omani Governorates of Oman, governorate of Dhofar Governorate, Dhofar. Its population in 2009 was about 197,169. Salalah is the third-largest city in th ...

Salalah
is located, is a tourist destination known for its annual ''
khareef 300px, During the ''khareef'', the Dhofar Mountains around Salalah and Al-Ghaydah">Salalah.html" ;"title="Dhofar Mountains around Salalah">Dhofar Mountains around Salalah and Al-Ghaydah are rainsoaked and shrouded in fog ''Khareef'' ( ar, خَ ...
'' season File:1992 Mukalla.jpg, The Hadhramaut Mountains of eastern Yemen, contiguous with the Omani Dhofar range, as seen from the city of Al-
Mukalla Mukalla ( ar, ٱلْمُكَلَّا, ') is a seaport and the capital city of Yemen's largest governorate, Hadhramaut Governorate, Hadhramaut. The city is in the South Arabia, southern part of the Arabian Peninsula on the Gulf of Aden, on the shore ...

Mukalla
File:Yemen landscape 05.jpg, Terraced fields in the Harazi subrange of the Sarawat Mountains in western Yemen File:Al Sawda peak.jpg,
Jabal Sawda Jabal Sawda ( ar, جَبَل ٱلسَّوْدَة ', ) is a peak located in Saudi Arabia, with a claimed elevation of , on the basis of which it is claimed to be the highest point in Saudi Arabia. In a 2018 GPS survey the peak's elevation was ...
h of the 'Asir range in southwestern Saudi Arabia, near the border with Yemen File:Faifa city.jpg, The Faifa mountains in the
Asir Region The ʿAsir Region ( ar, عَسِيرٌ, ʿAsīr, lit=difficult) is a regions of Saudi Arabia, region of Saudi Arabia located in the southwest of the country that is named after the ʿAsīr tribe. It has an area of and an estimated population of ...
, southwestern Saudi Arabia. File:علقان4 (9411760068).jpg, The Midian Mountains of
Tabuk Province Tabuk ( ar, مِنْطَقَة تَبُوْك '), also spelled ''Tabouk'', is a region of Saudi Arabia, located along the north-west coast of the country, facing Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is ...
, in northwestern Saudi Arabia, near the border with Jordan File:شعيب جو بجبال أجـــا - panoramio.jpg, The Aja subrange of the Shammar Mountains in the
region In geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and Solar System, planets. The ...
of Ha'il, northern Saudi Arabia File:Tuwaik escarpment-15h23m15s-s.jpg, The Tuwaiq Escarpment or Tuwayr mountainous region in the
Najd Najd ( ar, نَجْدٌ, ), or the Nejd, forms the geographic center of Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic oath, one of the Five Pilla ...

Najd
,
southwest The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...
of the Saudi capital city of
Riyadh Riyadh ( ar, الرياض, 'ar-Riyāḍ, Literal translation, lit.: 'The Gardens' Najdi Arabic, Najdi pronunciation: ) is the capital of Saudi Arabia and the largest city on the Arabian Peninsula. Located in the center of the An Nafud, an-Naf ...

Riyadh


Land and sea

Most of the Arabian Peninsula is unsuited to agriculture, making irrigation and land reclamation projects essential. The narrow coastal plain and isolated oases, amounting to less than 1% of the land area, are used to cultivate grains,
coffee Coffee is a drink prepared from roasted s, the seeds of from certain s in the ' genus. From the coffee fruit, the seeds are separated to produce a stable, raw product: unroasted ''green coffee''. The seeds are then , a process which transfo ...

coffee
and
tropical fruit The tropics are the region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continent A continent is one of several larg ...

tropical fruit
s. Goat, sheep, and
camel A camel is an even-toed ungulate The even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla , ) are ungulates—hoofed animals—which bear weight equally on two (an even number) of their five toes: the third and fourth. The other three toes are either present, ...

camel
husbandry is widespread elsewhere throughout the rest of the Peninsula. Some areas have a summer humid
tropical monsoon climate An area of tropical monsoon climate (occasionally known as a tropical wet climate or a tropical monsoon and trade-wind littoral climate) is a type of climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmos ...
, in particular the
Dhofar The Dhofar Governorate ( ar, مُحَافَظَة ظُفَار, Muḥāfaẓat Ẓufār) is the largest of the 11 Governorates of Oman, Governorates in the Oman, Sultanate of Oman in terms of area. It lies in Southern Oman, on the eastern border ...

Dhofar
and
Al Mahrah Al Mahrah ( ar, ٱلْمَهْرَة '), or simply Mahra, is a governorate ('' muhafazah'') of Yemen ) , image_map = File:Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Sana'a (''Houthi takeover in Ye ...
areas of Oman and Yemen. These areas allow for large scale coconut plantations. Much of Yemen has a tropical
monsoon A monsoon () is traditionally a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology ...

monsoon
rain influenced mountain climate. The plains usually have either a tropical or subtropical arid
desert climate The desert climate or arid climate (in the Köppen climate classification ''BWh'' and ''BWk''), is a climate which there is an excess of evaporation over precipitation. The typically bald, rocky, or sandy surfaces in desert climates hold little mo ...
or arid
steppe climate A semi-arid climate, semi-desert climate, or steppe climate is the climate of a region that receives precipitation below potential evapotranspiration, but not as low as a desert climate. There are different kinds of semi-arid climates, depending ...
. The sea surrounding the Arabian Peninsula is generally with a very rich tropical sea life and some of the world's largest, undestroyed and most pristine coral reefs. In addition, the organisms living in
symbiosis Symbiosis (from Ancient Greek, Greek , , "living together", from , , "together", and , bíōsis, "living") is any type of a close and long-term biological interaction between two different Organism, biological organisms, be it Mutualism (biolog ...

symbiosis
with the Red Sea coral, the
protozoa Protozoa (singular protozoon or protozoan, plural protozoa or protozoans) is an informal term for a group of Unicellular organism, single-celled eukaryotes, either free-living or Parasitism, parasitic, that feed on organic matter such as other mi ...

protozoa
and
zooxanthellae Zooxanthellae is a colloquial term for single-celled dinoflagellate The dinoflagellates (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a count ...

zooxanthellae
, have a unique hot weather adaptation to sudden rise (and fall) in sea water temperature. Hence, these coral reefs are not affected by coral bleaching caused by rise in temperature as elsewhere in the indopacific coral sea. The reefs are also unaffected by mass tourism and diving or other large scale human interference. However, some reefs were destroyed in the Persian Gulf, mostly caused by phosphate water
pollution Pollution is the introduction of contaminant Contamination is the presence of a constituent, impurity, or some other undesirable element that spoils, corrupts, infects, makes unfit, or makes inferior a material, physical body, natural en ...

pollution
and resultant increase in algae growth as well as oil pollution from ships and pipeline leakage. The fertile soils of Yemen have encouraged settlement of almost all of the land from sea level up to the mountains at . In the higher reaches, elaborate terraces have been constructed to facilitate grain, fruit, coffee, ginger and
khat Khat or qat ( ''ch’at''; Oromo: ''Jimaa'', so, qaad, khaad or khat, ar, القات ''al-qāt'') is a flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angi ...

khat
cultivation. The Arabian peninsula is known for its rich oil, i.e. petroleum production due to its geographical location.


Etymology

During the
Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31  ...

Hellenistic
period, the area was known as ''Arabia'' or ''Aravia'' ( el, Αραβία). The
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
named three regions with the prefix "Arabia", encompassing a larger area than the current term "Arabian Peninsula": *
Arabia Petraea Arabia Petraea or Petrea, also known as Rome's Arabian Province ( la, Provincia Arabia; ar, العربية البترائية; grc, ἐπαρχία Πετραίας Αραβίας) or simply Arabia, was a frontier Roman province, province of ...

Arabia Petraea
("Stony Arabia"): for the area that is today southern modern Syria, Jordan, the
Sinai Peninsula The Sinai Peninsula, or simply Sinai (now usually ) (, ), is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other ...

Sinai Peninsula
and northwestern Saudi Arabia. It was the only one that became a
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...
, with
Petra The Positron-Electron Tandem Ring Accelerator (PETRA) is one of the particle accelerator A particle accelerator is a machine that uses electromagnetic fields to propel electric charge, charged particles to very high speeds and energies, and to ...

Petra
as its capital. *
Arabia Deserta Arabia Deserta (Latin meaning "Abandoned/Deserted Arabia"), also known as Arabia Magna ("Great Arabia"), signified the desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab Emirates">Ru ...
("Desert Arabia"): signified the desert interior of the Arabian peninsula. As a name for the region, it remained popular into the 19th and 20th centuries, and was used in Charles M. Doughty's ''
Travels in Arabia Deserta ''Travels in Arabia Deserta'' (1888) is a travel book by Charles Montagu Doughty (1843–1926), an English poet, writer, and traveller. Doughty had travelled in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, trans ...
'' (1888). *
Arabia Felix ''Arabia Felix'' (literally: ''Fertile/Happy Arabia''; also Ancient Greek: ''Eudaemon Arabia'') was the Latin name previously used by geographers to describe South Arabia, or what is now Yemen. Name Etymology The term Arabia Felix (Latin: “Happy ...
("Fortunate Arabia"): was used by geographers to describe what is now Yemen, which enjoys more rainfall, is much greener than the rest of the peninsula and has long enjoyed much more productive fields. The Arab inhabitants used a north–south division of Arabia: Al Sham-Al Yaman, or Arabia Deserta-Arabia Felix. Arabia Felix had originally been used for the whole peninsula, and at other times only for the southern region. Because its use became limited to the south, the whole peninsula was simply called Arabia. Arabia Deserta was the entire desert region extending north from Arabia Felix to Palmyra and the Euphrates, including all the area between Pelusium on the Nile and Babylon. This area was also called Arabia and not sharply distinguished from the peninsula. The Arabs and the Ottoman Empire considered the west of the Arabian Peninsula region where the Arabs lived 'the land of the Arabs' – Bilad al-Arab (Arabia), and its major divisions were the bilad al-Sham (Syria), bilad al-Yaman (the Land of the southern Peninsula), and Bilad al-Iraq and modern-day Kuwait (the Land of the River Banks). The Ottomans used the term Arabistan in a broad sense for the region starting from
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
, where the Euphrates river makes its descent into Syria, through
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
, and on through the remainder of the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas. ''The provinces of Arabia were:'' Al Tih, the Sinai peninsula, Hedjaz, Asir, Yemen, Hadramaut, Mahra and Shilu, Oman, Hasa, Bahrain, Dahna, Nufud, the Hammad, which included the deserts of Syria, Mesopotamia and Babylonia.


History

The history of the Arabian Peninsula goes back to the beginnings of human habitation in Arabia up to 130,000 years ago. However, a
Homo sapiens Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of primate, characterized by bipedality, bipedalism and large, complex brains. This has enabled the development of advanced tools, culture, and language. Humans are highl ...

Homo sapiens
fossilized finger bone was found at Al Wusta in the Nefud Desert, which indicates that the first human migration out of Africa to Arabia might date back to approximately 90,000 years ago. Nevertheless, the stone tools from the Middle Paleolithic age along with fossils of other animals discovered at Ti's al Ghadah, in northwestern Saudi Arabia, might imply that hominids migrated through a "Green Arabia" between 300,000 and 500,000 years ago. Acheulean tools found in Saffaqah, Riyadh Region reveal that hominins lived in the Arabian Peninsula as recently as 188,000 years ago. However, 200,000-year-old stone tools were discovered at Shuaib Al-Adgham in the eastern Al-Qassim Province, which would indicate that many prehistoric sites, located along a network of rivers, had once existed in the area.


Pre-Islamic Arabia

There is evidence that human habitation in the Arabian Peninsula dates back to about 106,000 to 130,000 years ago.Saudi Embassy (US) Website
retrieved 20 January 2011
The harsh climate historically prevented much settlement in the pre-Islamic Arabian peninsula, apart from a small number of urban trading settlements, such as Mecca and Medina, located in the
Hejaz The Hejaz (, also ; ar, ٱلْحِجَاز, al-Ḥijāz, lit=the Barrier, ) is a region in the west of Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic ...

Hejaz
in the west of the peninsula. Archaeology has revealed the existence of many civilizations in pre-Islamic Arabia (such as the Thamud), especially in
South Arabia South Arabia also known as Greater Yemen is a historical region that consists of the southern region of the Arabian Peninsula, mainly centered in what is now the Republic of Yemen, yet it has also historically included Najran Region, Najran, Jiz ...
. South Arabian kingdoms in pre-Islamic Arabia, South Arabian civilizations include the Sheba, the Himyarite Kingdom, the Kingdom of Awsan, the Minaeans, Kingdom of Ma'īn and the Sabaean Kingdom. Central Arabia was the location of the Kindah, Kingdom of Kindah in the 4th, 5th and early 6th centuries AD. Eastern Arabia was home to the Dilmun civilization. The earliest known events in Arabian history are migrations from the peninsula into neighbouring areas. The Arabian peninsula has long been accepted as the original ''Urheimat'' of the Semitic languages by a majority of scholars.


Rise of Islam

The seventh century saw the rise of Islam as the peninsula's dominant religion. The Islamic prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca in about 570 and first began preaching in the city in 610, but Hijra (Islam), migrated to Medina in 622. From there he and his companions united the tribes of Arabia under the banner of Islam and created a single Arab Muslim religious polity in the Arabian peninsula. Muhammad established a new unified polity in the Arabian peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion of Arab power well beyond the Arabian peninsula in the form of a vast Muslim Arab Empire with an area of influence that stretched from the northwest Indian subcontinent, across Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, southern Italy, and the Iberian Peninsula, to the Pyrenees. With Muhammad's death in 632 AD, disagreement broke out over who would succeed him as leader of the Muslim community. Umar ibn al-Khattab, a prominent sahaba, companion of Muhammad, nominated Abu Bakr, who was Muhammad's intimate friend and collaborator. Others added their support and Abu Bakr was made the first caliph. This choice was disputed by some of Muhammad's companions, who held that Ali ibn Abi Talib, his cousin and son-in-law, had been designated his successor. Abu Bakr's immediate task was to avenge a recent defeat by Byzantine (or Eastern Roman Empire) forces, although he first had to put down a rebellion by Arab tribes in an episode known as the Ridda wars, or "Wars of Apostasy". Following Muhammad's death in 632, Abu Bakr became leader of the Muslims as the first Caliph. After putting down a rebellion by the Arab tribes (known as the Ridda wars, or "Wars of Apostasy"), Abu Bakr attacked the Byzantine Empire. On his death in 634, he was succeeded by Umar as caliph, followed by Uthman ibn al-Affan and Ali ibn Abi Talib. The period of these first four caliphs is known as ''al-khulafā' ar-rāshidūn'': the Rashidun Caliphate, Rashidun or "rightly guided" Caliphate. Under the Rashidun Caliphs, and, from 661, their Umayyad Caliphate, Umayyad successors, the Arabs rapidly expanded the territory under Muslim control outside of Arabia. In a matter of decades Muslim armies decisively defeated the Byzantine Empire, Byzantine army and destroyed the Sassanid Empire, Persian Empire, Muslim conquests, conquering huge swathes of territory from the Iberian peninsula to India. The political focus of the Muslim world then shifted to the newly conquered territories. Nevertheless, Mecca and Medina remained the spiritually most important places in the Muslim world. The Qur'an requires every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it, as one of the five pillars of Islam, to make a pilgrimage, or Hajj, to Mecca during the Islamic calendar, Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah at least once in his or her lifetime. The Masjid al-Haram (the Grand Mosque) in Mecca is the location of the Kaaba, Islam's holiest site, and the Masjid al-Nabawi (the Prophet's Mosque) in Medina is the location of Muhammad tomb; as a result, from the 7th century, Mecca and Medina became the pilgrimage destinations for large numbers of Muslims from across the Islamic world.


Middle Ages

Despite its spiritual importance, in political terms Arabia soon became a peripheral region of the Islamic world, in which the most important Caliphate, medieval Islamic states were based at various times in such far away cities as Damascus, Baghdad, and Cairo. However, from the 10th century (and, in fact, until the 20th century) the Hashemite Sharifs of Mecca maintained a state in the most developed part of the region, the
Hejaz The Hejaz (, also ; ar, ٱلْحِجَاز, al-Ḥijāz, lit=the Barrier, ) is a region in the west of Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic ...

Hejaz
. Their domain originally comprised only the holy cities of Mecca and Medina but in the 13th century it was extended to include the rest of the
Hejaz The Hejaz (, also ; ar, ٱلْحِجَاز, al-Ḥijāz, lit=the Barrier, ) is a region in the west of Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic ...

Hejaz
. Although, the Sharifs exercised at most times independent authority in the
Hejaz The Hejaz (, also ; ar, ٱلْحِجَاز, al-Ḥijāz, lit=the Barrier, ) is a region in the west of Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic ...

Hejaz
, they were usually subject to the suzerainty of one of the major Islamic empires of the time. In the Middle Ages, these included the Abbasids of Baghdad, and the Fatimids, Ayyubids and Mamluks of Egypt.Encyclopædia Britannica Online: History of Arabia
retrieved 18 January 2011


Modern history

The provincial Ottoman Army for Arabia (Arabistan Ordusu) was headquartered in Syria (region), Syria, which included Palestine, the Transjordan region in addition to Lebanon (Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate, Mount Lebanon was, however, a semi-autonomous mutasarrifate). It was put in charge of Syria, Cilicia, Iraq, and the remainder of the Arabian Peninsula. The Ottomans never had any control over central Arabia, also known as the
Najd Najd ( ar, نَجْدٌ, ), or the Nejd, forms the geographic center of Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic oath, one of the Five Pilla ...

Najd
region. The Damascus Protocol of 1914 provides an illustration of the regional relationships. Arabs living in one of the existing districts of the Arabian peninsula, the Emirate of
Hejaz The Hejaz (, also ; ar, ٱلْحِجَاز, al-Ḥijāz, lit=the Barrier, ) is a region in the west of Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic ...

Hejaz
, asked for a British guarantee of independence. Their proposal included all Arab lands south of a line roughly corresponding to the northern frontiers of present-day Syria and Iraq. They envisioned a new Arab state, or confederation of states, adjoining the southern Arabian Peninsula. It would have comprised
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
– İskenderun and Mersin, Iraq with Kuwait, Syria, Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate, Jordan, and State of Palestine, Palestine. In the modern era, the term bilad al-Yaman came to refer specifically to the southwestern parts of the peninsula. Arab geographers started to refer to the whole peninsula as 'jazirat al-Arab', or the peninsula of the Arabs.


Late Ottoman rule and the Hejaz Railway

The railway was started in 1900 at the behest of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II and was built largely by the Turkey, Turks, with German Empire, German advice and support. A public subscription was opened throughout the Islamic world to fund the construction. The railway was to be a waqf, an inalienable religious endowment or charitable trust.


The Arab Revolt and the foundation of Saudi Arabia

The major developments of the early 20th century were the Arab Revolt during World War I and the subsequent collapse and partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. The Arab Revolt (1916–1918) was initiated by the Sherif Hussein ibn Ali with the aim of securing independence from the ruling Ottoman Empire and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen. During World War I, the Sharif Hussein entered into an alliance with the United Kingdom and France against the Ottomans in June 1916. These events were followed by the foundation of Saudi Arabia under King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. In 1902, Ibn Saud had captured
Riyadh Riyadh ( ar, الرياض, 'ar-Riyāḍ, Literal translation, lit.: 'The Gardens' Najdi Arabic, Najdi pronunciation: ) is the capital of Saudi Arabia and the largest city on the Arabian Peninsula. Located in the center of the An Nafud, an-Naf ...

Riyadh
. Continuing his conquests, Abdulaziz subdued Al-Hasa, Emirate of Jabal Shammar, Jabal Shammar, Kingdom of Hejaz, Hejaz between 1913 and 1926 founded the modern state of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis absorbed the Idrisid Emirate of Asir, Emirate of Asir, with their expansion only ending in 1934 after a Saudi–Yemeni War (1934), war with Yemen. Two Saudi states were formed and controlled much of Arabia before Ibn Saud was even born. Ibn Saud, however, established the third Saudi state.


Oil reserves

The second major development has been the discovery of vast reserves of oil in the 1930s. Its production brought great wealth to all countries of the region, with the exception of Yemen.


Civil war in Yemen

The North Yemen Civil War was fought in Yemen Arab Republic, North Yemen between royalists of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen and factions of the Yemen Arab Republic from 1962 to 1970. The war began with a coup d'état carried out by the republican leader, Abdullah as-Sallal, which dethroned the newly crowned Muhammad al-Badr and declared Yemen a republic under his presidency. The Imam escaped to the Saudi Arabian border and rallied popular support. The royalist side received support from Saudi Arabia, while the republicans were supported by Egypt and the Soviet Union. Both foreign irregular and conventional forces were also involved. The President of Egypt, Egyptian President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, supported the republicans with as many as 70,000 troops. Despite several military moves and peace conferences, the war sank into a stalemate. Egypt's commitment to the war is considered to have been detrimental to its performance in the Six-Day War of June 1967, after which Nasser found it increasingly difficult to maintain his army's involvement and began to pull his forces out of Yemen. By 1970, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia recognized the republic and a truce was signed. Egyptian military historians refer to the war in Yemen as their Vietnam War, Vietnam.


Gulf War

In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. The invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi forces led to the 1990–91 Gulf War. Egypt, Qatar, Syria and Saudi Arabia joined a multinational Coalition of the Gulf War, coalition that opposed Iraq. Displays of support for Iraq by Jordan and Palestine resulted in strained relations between many of the Arab states. After the war, a so-called "Damascus Declaration" formalized an alliance for future joint Arab defensive actions between Egypt, Syria, and the GCC member states.


Yemen Arab Spring

The Arab Spring reached Yemen in January 2011. People of Yemen took to the street demonstrating against three decades of rule by President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The demonstration lead to cracks in the ruling General People's Congress (GPC) and Saleh's Sanhani clan. Saleh used tactic of concession and violence to save his presidency. After numerous attempt Saleh accepted the Gulf Cooperation Council mediation. He eventually handed power to Vice President Hadi. He was sworn in as President of Yemen on 25 February 2012. He launched a national dialogue to address new constitution, political and social issues. Saudi Arabia launched a Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, military intervention in Yemen in March 2015. The Famine in Yemen (2016–present), famine in Yemen is the direct result of the military intervention and blockade of Yemen.


Transport and industry

The extraction and refining of oil and gas are the major industrial activities in the Arabian Peninsula. The region also has an active construction sector, with many cities reflecting the wealth generated by the oil industry. The service sector is dominated by financial and technical institutions, which, like the construction sector, mainly serve the oil industry. Traditional handicrafts such as carpet-weaving are found in rural areas of Arabia.


Gallery

File:Sanaa.JPG, The Old City of Sana'a, old city of Sanaa, Yemen. Peninsular Arabs trace their lineage to Qahtanite, Qahtan, who was reportedly based in Yemen. File:Map of Ancient Arabia - 1720.tif, A map of the peninsula made in 1720 by the German publisher Christoph Weigel File:Western Europe to the Arabian Peninsula.ogv, This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 29 on board the International Space Station, ISS on a pass from Western Europe to the peninsula File:عين زبيدة.png, Ain Zubaydah was built to water the pilgrims in Mecca File:Omar Mosque.jpg, Omar ibn al-Khattab Mosque, Omar Mosque in Dumat al-Jandal, Saudi Arabia. File:Madain Saleh (6730128379).jpg, The facade of a tomb with its details and architectural elements. File:Qasr al Farid.JPG, Qasr al Farid, tomb in Archeological site Mada'in Saleh, Al-`Ula, Saudi Arabia File:Diriyahpic.jpg, Diriyah the capital of the first Saudi state File:Jemen1988-022 hg.jpg, Dam of Marib, Dam of Ma'rib File:Dhamar Ali Yahbur II.jpg, Himyarite Kingdom, Himyarite King Dhamar'ali Yahbur II File:AradFort.jpg, Arad Fort in Bahrain File:Nizwa (5).jpg, Nizwa Fort in Oman File:Dubai Jumeirah Creek Museum Jumeirah 9-12th century model 1301200712751.jpg, The ruins of Umayyad Caliphate, Umayyad city in the historic Jumeirah district of Dubai. File:Coper head of bull Dilmun1.jpg, Bull's head, made of copper in the early period of Dilmun (ca. 2000 BC), Bahrain. File:Al-Magar - Saluki Artifact (المقر - سلوقي - قطعة أثرية).jpg, The head and body of a Saluki is made of stone from the Al-Magar civilization, in the Neolithic period, (about 8000 BC). File:مدين.jpg, Midian


See also

* Ancient history of Yemen * Arabian Gulf Cup * Arab League *
Arab world The Arab world ( ar, العالم العربي '), formally the Arab homeland ( '), also known as the Arab nation ( '), the Arabsphere, or the Arab states, consists of the 22 Member states of the Arab League, Arab countries which are members of ...

Arab world
*
Eastern Arabia Eastern Arabia was historically known as ''Al-Bahrain'' ( ar, اَلْبَحْرَيْنِ) until the 18th century. This region stretched from the south of Basra along the Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=Xa ...
* European exploration of Arabia *
Gulf Cooperation Council The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf ( ar, مجلس التعاون لدول الخليج العربية), originally (and still colloquially) known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC, ), is a regional intergovernmental organ ...

Gulf Cooperation Council
* Iram of the Pillars * Kingdom of Aksum * List of Arabian cities by population * Mashriq * Musandam Peninsula


Notes


References


External links


Travels in Arabia
1892
High resolution scan of old map of Arabia

The Coast of Arabia the Red Sea, and Persian Sea of Bassora Past the Straits of Hormuz to India, Gujarat and Cape Comorin
from the World Digital Library, depicts a map from 1707. *
Arabia: Cultural-Historical ZonesOld maps of Arabia
Eran Laor Cartographic Collection, The National Library of Israel {{Authority control Arabian Peninsula, Articles containing video clips Geography of the Middle East Historical regions Landforms of the Middle East Peninsulas of Asia Regions of Asia