Emirate of Dir'iyah
إِمَارَةُ الدِّرْعِيَّةِ (Arabic)
Flag of Diriyah
Expansion of the Emirate of Diriyah from 1744 to 1814
Expansion of the Emirate of Diriyah from 1744 to 1814
Common languagesArabic
Sunni Islam
• 1727–1765
Muhammad I
• 1765–1803
Abdulaziz I
• 1803–1814
Saud II
• 1814–1818
Abdullah I
• Diriyah Established
CurrencyDiriyah Riyal
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Sheikhdom of Diriyah
Hejaz Eyalet
Bani Khalid Emirate
Omani Empire
Yemeni Zaidi State
Egypt Eyalet
Emirate of Nejd
Mu'ammarid Imamate

The Emirate of Diriyah (Arabic: إِمَارَةُ الدِّرْعِيَّةِ), also known as the First Saudi State,[1] was established in February 1727 (1139 AH).[2][3] In 1744, the emir of a Najdi town called Diriyah, Muhammad bin Saud, and the religious leader Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab signed a pact to found a socio-religious reform movement to unify the many states of the Arabian Peninsula.[4]


Early establishment

The House of Saud and its allies quickly rose to become the dominant power in Arabia by first conquering Najd, and then expanding their influence over the eastern coast from Kuwait down to the northern borders of Oman. Furthermore, Saud's forces brought the highlands of 'Asir under their suzerainty, while Muhammad ibn Abd Al Wahhab wrote letters to people and scholars to enter the field of jihad. After many military campaigns, Muhammad bin Saud died in 1765, leaving the leadership to his son, Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad. Saud's forces went so far as to gain command of the Shi'a holy city of Karbala in 1801. Here they destroyed the shrine of the saints and monuments and killed over 5000 civilians.[5] In retribution, Abdulaziz was assassinated by a young Shia in 1803, having followed him back to Najd.

Muhammad bin Abd Al Wahhab died in 1792. In 1803, eleven years after his death, the son of Abdulaziz bin Muhammad, Saud bin Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad bin Saud, sent out forces to bring the region of Hejaz under his rule.[6] Ta'if was the first city to be captured, and later the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina. This was seen as a major challenge to the authority of the Ottoman Empire, which had exercised its rule over the holy cities since 1517.

Decline of sovereignty

The task of weakening the grip of the House of Saud was given to the powerful viceroy of Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha, by the Ottomans. This initiated the Ottoman–Saudi War, in which Muhammad Ali sent his troops to the Hejaz region by sea. His son, Ibrahim Pasha, then led Ottoman forces into the heart of Nejd, capturing town after town. Saud's successor, his son Abdullah bin Saud, was unable to prevent the recapture of the region.[7] Finally, Ibrahim reached the Saudi capital at Diriyah and placed it under siege for several months until it surrendered in the winter of 1818. Ibrahim then shipped off many members of the clans of Al Saud to Egypt and the Ottoman capital, Istanbul. Abdullah bin Saud was later executed in the Ottoman capital Istanbul with his severed head later thrown into the waters of the Bosphorus, marking the end of what was known as the First Saudi State.[8] However, both the Wahhabi sect and the remaining members of the Al Saud clan stayed committed. They founded a Second Saudi State that lasted until 1891, and later a third state, Saudi Arabia, which the Al Saud continue to rule up to the present day.[9]

List of rulers

Main article: List of rulers of Saudi Arabia

Image of Abdullah bin Saud

See also


  1. ^ James Norman Dalrymple Anderson. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Stacey International, 1983. p. 77.
  2. ^ "Saudi Arabia to commemorate 'Founding Day' on Feb. 22 annually: Royal order". Al Arabiya English. 27 January 2022. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  3. ^ "History of the Kingdom | kingdom of Saudi Arabia – Ministry of Foreign Affairs". www.mofa.gov.sa. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  4. ^ Madawi Al Rasheed (2010). A History of Saudi Arabia. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-74754-7.
  5. ^ "Karbala". iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  6. ^ Sauds's campaign for Hejaz and the two holy cities Archived 14 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Islam Life online magazine
  7. ^ Abdullah bin Saud's capture Archived 6 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine, King Abdullah Ibn Saud Information Resource
  8. ^ Abdullah bin Saud's execution Archived 6 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine, King Abdullah Ibn Saud Information Resource
  9. ^ House of Saud Revivals Archived 7 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine, King Abdullah Ibn Saud Information Resource

Further reading

24°44′N 46°34′E / 24.733°N 46.567°E / 24.733; 46.567