Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia

Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia
Abdul-Aziz bin Saud
عبد العزيز آل سعود
King of Saudi Arabia
King of Nejd and Hejaz
King of Saudi Arabia
Reign 14 August 1932 – 9 November 1953
(&1000000000000002100000021 years, &1000000000000008700000087 days)
Predecessor Himself as King of Nejd and Hejaz
Successor Saud
King of Nejd and Hejaz
Reign 8 January 1926 – 23 September 1932
(&100000000000000060000006 years, &10000000000000259000000259 days)
Successor Himself as King of Saudi Arabia
Prince Turki of Najd
King Saud
King Faisal
Prince Muhammad
King Khalid
Prince Nasr
Prince Saad
King Fahd
Prince Mansur
Prince Bandar
Prince Musa'id
King Abdullah
Prince Mishaal
Prince Sultan
Prince Abdul-Muhsin
Prince Majed
Prince Abdul-Rahman
Prince Mutaib
Prince Talal
Prince Badr
Prince Nawwaf
Crown Prince Nayef
Prince Turki the Sudairi
Prince Fawwaz
Prince Abdulillah
Prince Salman, Governor of Riyadh
Prince Ahmed
Prince Mamdouh
Prince Abdul-Majeed
Prince Sattam
Prince Muqrin
Princess Al-Bandari
Princess Sultana
Princess Luluwah
Prince Hamoud
Princess Huzza
Princess Haya
Princess Seeta
Full name
Abdul-Aziz bin Abdul Rahman bin Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Saud
House House of Saud
Father Abdul-Rahman bin Faisal
Born January, 15, 1876
Riyadh, Second Saudi State
Died 9 November 1953 (aged 77)
Saudi Arabia
Religion Sunni Islam Wahhabi

King Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia (15 January 1876[1] – 9 November 1953) (Arabic: عبد العزيز آل سعود‘Abd al-‘Azīz Āl Su‘ūd) was the first monarch of the Third Saudi State known as Saudi Arabia.[2] He was commonly referred to as Ibn Saud.[3]

Beginning with the reconquest of his family's ancestral home city of Riyadh in 1902, he consolidated his control over the Najd in 1922, then conquered the Hijaz in 1925. The nation was founded and unified as Saudi Arabia in 1932. As King, he presided over the discovery of petroleum in Saudi Arabia in 1938 and the beginning of large-scale oil exploitation after World War II. He was the father of many children, including all of the subsequent kings of Saudi Arabia.


Early life

Abdul-Aziz was born in 1876 in Riyadh, in the region of Najd in central Arabia.

In 1890, the Al Rashid conquered Riyadh. Abdul-Aziz was 14 at the time. He and his family initially took refuge with the Al-Murrah, a Bedouin tribe in the southern desert of Saudi Arabia. Later, the Al Sauds moved to Kuwait.

Abdul-Aziz lived with his family in a simple dwelling. His primary occupation, and the family's sole source of income, was undertaking raids in the Najd. He also attended the daily majlis of the emir of Kuwait, Mubarak Al-Sabah, from whom he learned the art of statecraft.[citation needed]

In the spring of 1901, he and some relatives – including a half-brother, Mohammed, and several cousins – set out on a raiding expedition into the Najd, targeting for the most part tribes associated with the Rashidis. As the raid proved profitable, it attracted more participants. The raiders' numbers peaked at over 200, though these numbers dwindled over the ensuing months.[citation needed]

In the fall, the group made camp in the Yabrin oasis. While observing Ramadan, he decided to attack Riyadh and retake it from the Al Rashidi. On the night of 15 January 1902, he set out with a raiding party of some twenty men (forty or more, mostly slaves, had remained at the oasis to guard the camels and baggage).[citation needed] Their raid was successful. The Rashidi governor of the city, Ajlan, was killed in front of the gate to his own fortress.

Rise to power

Following the capture of Riyadh, many former supporters of the House of Saud rallied to Ibn Saud's call to arms. He was a charismatic leader and kept his men supplied with arms. Over the next two years, he and his forces recaptured almost half of the Najd from the Rashidis.

In 1904, Ibn Rashid appealed to the Ottoman Empire for military protection and assistance. The Ottomans responded by sending troops into Arabia. On 15 June 1904, Ibn Saud's forces suffered a major defeat at the hands of the combined Ottoman and Rashidi forces.[citation needed] His forces regrouped and began to wage guerrilla warfare against the Ottomans. Over the next two years he was able to disrupt their supply routes, forcing them to retreat.

He completed his conquest of the Najd and the eastern coast of Arabia in 1912. He then founded the Ikhwan, a military-religious brotherhood which was to assist in his later conquests, with the approval of local Salafi ulema. In the same year, he instituted an agrarian policy to settle the nomadic pastoralist bedouins into colonies, and to dismantle their tribal organizations in favor of allegiance to the Ikhwan.[citation needed]

During World War I the British government established diplomatic relations with Ibn Saud. The British agent, Captain William Shakespear, was well received by the Bedouin.[4] Similar diplomatic missions were established with any Arabian power who might have been able to unify and stabilize the region. The British entered into a treaty in December 1915 (the "Treaty of Darin") which made the lands of the House of Saud a British protectorate and attempted to define the boundaries of the developing Saudi state.[5] In exchange, Ibn Saud pledged to again make war against Ibn Rashid, who was an ally of the Ottomans.

Shakespear died at the Battle of Jarrab. He was followed by St John Philby in 1917 seconded by the British India Office. The British Foreign Office had previously begun to support Sharif Hussein bin Ali, Emir of the Hejaz by seconding Lawrence of Arabia in 1915. The Saudi Ikhwan began conflict with Emir Feisal also in 1917 just as his sons Abdullah and Feisal entered Damascus. The Treaty of Darin remained in effect until superseded by the Jeddah conference of 1927 and the Dammam conference of 194 during both of which Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud extended his boundaries past the Anglo-Ottoman Blue Line. After Darin, he stockpiled the weapons and supplies with which the British provided him,[citation needed] including a 'tribute' of (£5,000 Sterling per month). After World War One he received further support from the British, including a glut of surplus munitions. He launched his campaign against the Al Rashidi in 1920; by 1922 they had been all but destroyed.

The defeat of the Al Rashidi increased the size of Saudi territory twofold. This allowed Ibn Saud the leverage to negotiate a new and more favorable treaty with the British. Their treaty, signed at Uqair in 1922, saw Britain recognize many of his territorial gains.[citation needed] In exchange, Ibn Saud agreed to recognize British territories in the area, particularly along the Persian Gulf coast and in Iraq. The former of these were vital to the British, as merchant traffic between British India and England depended upon coaling stations on the approach to the Suez Canal.

In 1925 the forces of Ibn Saud captured the holy city of Mecca from Sharif Hussein bin Ali, ending 700 years of Hashemite rule. On 10 January 1926, Ibn Saud proclaimed himself King of the Hejaz in the Great Mosque at Mecca. On 20 May 1927, the British government signed the Treaty of Jeddah, which abolished the Darin protection agreement and recognized the independence of the Hejaz and Najd with Ibn Saud as its ruler.

With international recognition and support, Ibn Saud continued to consolidate power throughout the Arabian Peninsula. After the alliance between the Ikhwan and the Al Saud collapsed, he suppressed the Ikhwan Revolt in the Battle of Sabilla in March 1929. In 1932, after conquering most of the Peninsula, he renamed his dominions "Saudi Arabia" and proclaimed himself "King of Saudi Arabia".

Oil and the rule of Ibn Saud

Oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia in 1938 by American geologists working for Standard Oil of California in partnership with Saudi officials. Through his advisers St. John Philby and Ameen Rihani, he granted substantial authority over Saudi oil fields to American oil companies in 1944, much to the dismay of the British who had invested heavily in the House of Saud's rise to power in hopes of open access to any oil reserves that were to be surveyed. Beginning in 1915, Ibn Saud signed the "friendship and cooperation" pact with Britain to keep his militia in line and cease any further attacks against thier protectorates for whom they were responsible. Not only did the British pay a generous monthly allowance for his cooperation, in 1935 he was knighted into the Order of the Bath.

His new found oil wealth brought with it a great deal of power and influence that, naturally, Ibn Saud would use to advantage in the Hijaz. He forced many nomadic tribes to settle down and abandon "petty wars" and vendettas. He also began widespread enforcement of new kingdom's ideology, based on the teachings of Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab. This included an end to traditionally sanctioned rites of pilgrimage, recognized by the orthodox schools of jurisprudence, but odds with those sanctioned by Abd al Wahhab. In 1926, after a caravan of Egyptians on the way to Mecca were beaten for playing bugles by his forces after which he was impelled to issue conciliatory statement to the Egyptian government. In fact, several such statements would have to be issued to Muslim government around the world as a result of beating suffered by the pilgrims visiting the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. With the uprising of and subsequent decimation thereafter of the Ikhwan in 1929, via British air power, however, the 1930s onward marked a turning point. With his rivals eliminated, Ibn Saud's ideology was in full force, ending nearly 1400 years of accepted religious practices surrounding the Hajj, the majority of which were sanctioned by a millennia of scholarship.

Foreign wars

He was able to gain loyalty from tribes even nearby Saudi Arabia, tribes such as those in Jordan. For example, he built very strong ties with Prince Sheikh Rashed Al- Khuzai from Al Fraihat tribe, one of the most influential and royal roots family during the Ottomans Empire. Prince Rashed Al-Khuzai and his tribe had dominated eastern Jordan before the arrival of Sharif Hussein.[6] Ibn Saud supported Prince Rashed Al-Khuzai and his followers in rebellion against the Hussein.[7][8]

Prince Rashed supported Izz ad-Din al-Qassam's Palestinian revolution in 1935 which led him and his followers in rebellion against King Abdullah of Jordan. And later at 1937, when they were forced to leave Jordan, Prince Rashed Al Khuzai, his family, and a group of his followers chose to move to Saudi Arabia, where Prince Al Khuzai was living for several years in the hospitality of King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13]

He positioned Saudi Arabia as neutral in World War II, but was generally considered to favor the Allies.[14] However, in 1938, when an attack on a main British pipeline in the Kingdom of Iraq was found to be connected to the German Ambassador, Dr. Fritz Grobba, Ibn Saud provided Grobba with refuge.[15] It was reported that he had been "on the outs" with the British since 1937.[16]

In 1948, he participated in the Arab-Israeli War. Saudi Arabia's contribution was generally considered token.[14]


King Ibn Saud converses with President Franklin D. Roosevelt (right) through translator Colonel Bill Eddy, on board the USS Quincy, after the Yalta Conference. Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy (left) watches.

The number of children that Ibn Saud fathered is unknown. One source indicates that he had 37 sons. His number of wives is put at 22.[17]

  1. Princess Wadha bint Muhammad Al-Hazzam
    1. Turki (I) (1900–1919)
    2. Saud (12 January 1902 – 23 February 1969); reigned 1953–1964
    3. Nura
    4. Munira
  2. Princess Tarfah bint Abdullah Al-AlSheikh
    1. Khaled (I) (born 1903, died in infancy)
    2. Faisal (April 1906 – 25 March 1975); reigned 1964–1975
    3. Saad (I) (1914–1919)
    4. Anud (born 1917)
  3. Princess Lulua bint Salih Al-Dakhil
    1. Fahd (I) (1905–1919)
  4. Princess Jauhara bint Musaid Al Saud
    1. Muhammad (1910–1988)
    2. Khalid (II) (1913 – 13 June 1982); reigned 1975–1982
  5. Princess Lajah bint Khalid bin Hithlayn
    1. Sara (1916 – June 2000)
  6. Princess Bazza I
    1. Nasser (1919–1984)
  7. Princess Jawhara bint Saad bin Abdul-Muhsin al-Sudairi
    1. Saad (II) (1920–1993)
    2. Musa'id (born 1923)
    3. Abdul-Mohsin (1925–1985)
    4. Al-Bandari (1928–2008)[18]
  8. Princess Hassa bint Ahmad al-Sudairi
    (The sons are known as the "Sudairi Seven")
    1. Fahd (II) (1920 – 1 August 2005); reigned 1982–2005
    2. Sultan (1928–2011)
    3. Luluwah (ca 1928–2008)[19]
    4. Abdul-Rahman (born 1931)
    5. Naif (born 1933); current crown prince
    6. Turki (II) (born 1934)
    7. Salman (born 1936)
    8. Ahmed (born 1942)
    9. Jawaher
    10. Lateefa
    11. Al-Jawhara
    12. Moudhi (died young)
    13. Felwa (died young)
  9. Princess Shahida
    1. Mansur (1922 – 2 May 1951)
    2. Mishaal (born 1926)
    3. Qumasha (born 1927)
    4. Mutaib (born 1931)
  10. Princess Fahda
    1. Abdullah (born August 1922); current king, since 2005
    2. Nuf
    3. Seeta (c. 1930 – 13 April 2011)
  11. Princess Bazza (the second wife named Bazza)
    1. Bandar (born 1923)
    2. Fawwaz (1934–2008)
    3. Mishari (1932 – 23 May 2000)
  12. Princess Haya bint Sa'ad al-Sudairy (1913 – 18 April 2003)
    1. Badr (I) (1931–1932)
    2. Badr (II) (born 1933)
    3. Huzza (1951 – July 2000)
    4. Abdul-Ilah (born 1935)
    5. Abdul-Majeed (1943–2007)
    6. Nura (born 1930)
    7. Mishail
  13. Princess Munaiyir (died December 1991, funeral prayer led by King Fahd[20])
    1. Talal (I) (1930–1931)
    2. Talal (II) (born 1932)[20]
    3. Nawwaf (born 1933)[20]
    4. Madawi[20]
  14. Princess Mudhi
    1. Sultana (ca. 1928 – 7 July 2008)[21]
    2. Haya (ca. 1929 – 2 November 2009)[22]
    3. Majid (II) (9 October 1938 – 12 April 2003)
    4. Sattam (born 21 January 1941)
  15. Princess Nouf bint al-Shalan
    1. Thamir (1937 – 27 June 1959)
    2. Mamduh (born 1941)
    3. Mashhur (born 1942)
  16. Princess Saida al-Yamaniyah
    1. Hidhlul (born 1941)
  17. Princess Khadra
  18. Princess Baraka al-Yamaniyah
    1. Muqrin (born 15 September 1945)
  19. Princess Futayma
    1. Hamoud (1947–1994)
  20. By Unknown
    1. Shaikha (born 1922)
    2. Majed (I) (1934–1940)
    3. Abdul-Saleem (1941–1942)
    4. Jiluwi (I) (1942–1944)
    5. Jiluwi (II) (1952–1952) Was the youngest son of Ibn Saud but died as an infant.


  1. ^ His birthday has been a source of debate. It is generally accepted as 1876, although a few sources give it as 1880. According to British author Robert Lacey's book The Kingdom, a leading Saudi historian found records that show Abdul-Aziz in 1891 greeting an important tribal delegation. The historian reasoned that a nine or ten-year-old child (as given by the 1880 birth date) would have been too young to be allowed to greet such a delegation, while an adolescent of 14 or 15 (as given by the 1876 date) would likely have been allowed. When Lacey interviewed one of Abdul-Aziz's sons[which?] prior to writing the book, the son recalled that his father often laughed at records showing his birth date to be 1880. Abdul-Aziz's response to such records was reportedly that "I swallowed four years of my life."[page needed]
  2. ^ Current Biography 1943, pp330–34
  3. ^ Ibn Saud, meaning son of Saud (see Arabic name), was a sort of title borne by previous heads of the House of Saud, similar to a Scottish clan chief's title of "the MacGregor" or "the MacDougall". When used without comment it refers solely to Abdul-Aziz, although prior to the capture of Riyadh in 1902 it referred to his father, Abdul Rahman (Lacey 1982, pp. 15, 65). Al Saud has a similar meaning (family of Saud) and may be used at the end of the full name, while Ibn Saud should sometimes be used alone.[citation needed]
  4. ^ Wilson, Robert, and Zahra Freeth. The Arab of the Desert. London: Allen & Unwin, 1983. 312–13. Print.
  5. ^ Wilkinson, John C. Arabia's Frontiers: the Story of Britain's Boundary Drawing in the Desert. London [u.a.: Tauris, 1993. 133–39. Print
  6. ^ http://www.almoarekhsaudi.com/?p=76#
  7. ^ a b http://www.almoarekhsaudi.com/?p=174
  8. ^ a b المجلة المصرية نون. "المجلة المصرية نون – سيرة حياة الأمير المناضل راشد الخزاعي". Noonptm.com. http://www.noonptm.com//modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=951. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "موقع الثورة الإخباري". Althawra1965.com. http://althawra1965.com/index.php?open=detail&id=3259. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "File:A historical document that was issued at 28th of March 28, 1938 which proved the political asylum of Prince Rashed Al-Khuzai, and followers at 1937 to King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and shows the start of Ajloun revolution.JPEG – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". En.wikipedia.org. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:A_historical_document_that_was_issued_at_28th_of_March_28,_1938_which_proved_the_political_asylum_of_Prince_Rashed_Al-Khuzai,_and_followers_at_1937_to_King_Abdul-Aziz_Al_Saud_and_shows_the_start_of_Ajloun_revolution.JPEG#filelinks. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "الشيخ عز الدين القسام أمير المجاهدين الفلسطينيين – (ANN)". Anntv.tv. 19 November 1935. http://anntv.tv/new/showsubject.aspx?id=17145. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  12. ^ "جريدة الرأي | راشد الخزاعي.. من رجالات الوطن ومناضلي الأمة". Alrai.com. http://alrai.com/pages.php?news_id=284850. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  13. ^ "مركز الشرق العربي ـ برق الشرق". Asharqalarabi.org.uk. http://www.asharqalarabi.org.uk/ruiah/b-sharq-115.htm. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  14. ^ a b A Country Study: Saudi Arabia. Library of Congress Call Number DS204 .S3115 1993. Chapter 5. World War II and Its Aftermath
  15. ^ Time Magazine, 26 May 1941
  16. ^ Time Magazine, 3 July 1939
  17. ^ http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=2526
  18. ^ "Princess Al-Bandari passes away in Riyadh". Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington D.C.. 8 March 2008. http://www.saudiembassy.net/2008News/News/NewsDetail.asp?cIndex=7725. Retrieved 7 April 2008. [dead link]
  19. ^ "Princess Luluwah bint Abdulaziz passed away". http://www.spa.gov.sa/English/details.php?id=591029. Retrieved 2008. 
  20. ^ a b c d Sabri, Sharaf. The House of Saud in Commerce: a Study of Royal Entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia. New Delhi: I.S. Publications, 2001. Print.
  21. ^ "Death of Princess Sultanah". http://www.spa.gov.sa/English/details.php?id=571861. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  22. ^ . http://www.spa.gov.sa/English/details.php?id=715354. Retrieved 8 November 2009. 


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  • Michael Oren, "Power, Faith and Fantasy: The United States in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present" (Norton, 2007).
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  • [2] The Saudi Historian Net – The historical strong ties between King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, founder of the Kingdom and Prince Rashed Al-Khuzai, ruler of Ajloun Emirate.
  • [3] The Egyptian Magazine "Noon", Cairo- Egypt – History of Prince Rashed Al-Khuzai with King Abdul Aziz Al Saud, an article that was published by the American Writer Mr. Muneer Husainy & the Saudi Historian Mr. Khalid Al-Sudairy.This article was published at 27 November 2009.
  • [4] Arab News Network, London – United Kingdom – The political relationship between Prince Rashed Al-Khuzai, Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, and Saudi Arabia.
  • [5] The Arab Orient Center for Strategic and civilization studies London, United Kingdom- The political relationship between Prince Rashed Al-Khuzai and Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam.
  • DeGaury, Gerald.
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External links

Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia
House of Saud
Born: 1876 Died: 1953
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ali bin Hussein
King of Hejaz
Succeeded by
Himself as King of Saudi Arabia
Preceded by
Himself as King of Hejaz and sultan of Najd
King of Saudi Arabia
Succeeded by
Saud bin Abdul-Aziz
Preceded by
Abdul Rahman bin Faisal Al Saud
Head of the House of Saud

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