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Abdullah bin Saud [1814-1818]

The success of the Saudi State under Emir Abdulaziz and his successors, Saud bin Abdulaziz and Abdullah bin Saud, aroused the suspicions of the Ottoman Empire, the dominant power in the Middle East and North Africa at the time. Fearing an independent Arabia, the Turks sent their governor of Egypt, Muhammad Ali, to destroy the fledgling Saudi state.

Abd al Aziz died in 1814, shortly before the capture of Mecca. The movement had continued, however, to recognize the leadership of the Al Saud and so followed Abd al Aziz's son, Saud, until 1814; after Saud died in 1814, his son, Abd Allah, ruled. Accordingly, it was Abd Allah ibn Saud ibn Abd al Aziz who faced the invading Egyptian army.

Abdullah bin Saud -- the great-grandson of Muhammad bin Saud who ruled until 1818 (1234 AH) -- was unable to halt the Egyptian advance. Tursun's forces took Mecca and Medina almost immediately. Abd Allah chose this time to retreat to the family's strongholds in Najd. Muhammad Ali decided to pursue him there, sending out another army under the command of his other son, Ibrahim. The Wahhabis made their stand at the traditional Al Saud capital of Ad Diriyah, where they managed to hold out for two years against superior Egyptian forces and weaponry.

In the end, however, the Wahhabis proved no match for a modern army. In 1818, an Ottoman expeditionary force commanded by Muhammad Ali was sent to the peninsula, and armed with modern artillery and vast manpower, it advanced to the heart of Najd and laid waste to the Saudi capital of Dariyah. Ad Diriyah -- and Abd Allah with it -- fell. His son Ad-Dar'iyah was taken and Abdullah bin Saud removed to Istanbul where he was publicly beheaded. Other members of the family were forced to leave the country. A few prominent members of the Al Saud found their way to Egypt.

The Egyptians turned next to the material monument of the Al Saud rule, the city of Ad Diriyah. They razed its walls and buildings and destroyed its palm groves so that the area could not support any agricultural settlement for some time. The Egyptians then sent troops to strategic parts of the peninsula to tighten their grip on it. They garrisoned Al Qatif, a port on the Persian Gulf that supplied some of the important centers in eastern Arabia and maintained various forces along the Red Sea coast in the west Riyadh was captured in 1818 (1234 AH). From 1818 to 1824 (1234 to 1240 AH), the Ottoman Empire maintained a few garrisons in Nejd, as a gesture of their dominance.

Thus, the first temporary decline in the House of Saud occurred. After the downfall of the First Saudi State, Arabia once again regressed into tribal warfare.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:39:25 ZULU