Hejaz & Nejd 1926-1932 1953-1964

Saudi Arabia 1932-1953

Administration . In 1932 the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd was renamed Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. King Abd al Aziz Ibn Saud ruled until 1953. The capital was Riyadh; foreign embassies were located in Jedda.

Foreign Policy . The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia maintained close relations with the United Kingdom.
In a 1934 treaty with Yemen, the common border was defined.
The Italian expansion into Ethiopia caused concern on the side of Saudi Arabia; a defensive alliance was signed with Iraq in 1935. (NIYB 1935 p.36). In a 1938 treaty, the United Kingdom and Italy agreed to respect the sovereignty of both Saudi Arabia and Yemen (NIYB 1938 p.44).
In 1940 the U.S. established diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia by co-accrediting the U.S. envoy to Egypt to Saudi Arabia. In 1941, Italian and German refugees from Italian East Africa were interned in Saudi Arabia. During the Iraqi-British conflict in 1941, Saudi Arabia refused an Iraqi request for military aid (NIYB 1941 p.29); the German and Italian legations in Riyadh were closed in 1941 (NIYB 1942 p.35). Saudi Arabia pressed Britain (Transjordan) for the return of Aqaba (which Hejaz had ceded in 1925). In 1943, Lend-Lease was extended to Saudi Arabia (NIYB 1943 p.36)
In Nov. 1944 Ibn Saud met U.S. President Roosevelt in Egypt, and appealed to him to "prevent the Jews from going ahead in any new matter which may be considered a threat to the Arabs" (NIYB 1945 p.40). Early in 1945 Saudi Arabia declared war on Germany and Japan.
In 1945 Saudi Arabia was among the founder members of the Arab League and of the United Nations. In 1947 Saudi Arabia, in the UN General Assembly, voted against the partition of Palestine. Saudi troops participated in the First Arab-Israeli War of 1948.

The Economy . Saudi Arabia maintained a monetary system which made use of British sovereigns (gold coins) and Austrian Maria Theresia Talers (silver coins), while minting their own Ghirsh coins. In relation to the sovereign, the Ghirsh lost value; in 1928, 11 Ghirsh made one sovereign, in 1931 110 Ghirsh, in 1952 440 Ghirsh (B. Taylor).
By 1930, the Hejaz and Nejd exported mainly animal hides, wool, horses, camels. The country produced dates, wheat, barley, meat, coffee, tobacco, mainly for domestic consumption. The only modern transportation available was the Hejaz railroad.
During the reign of Abd al Aziz, a network of roads was established. In 1933 Saudi Arabia granted an oil concession to Aramco; oil production began in 1937. Oil production was 0.539 million metric tons in 1939, 2.87 million in 1945, 40.5 million in 1952 (IHS p.363).
Saudi Arabian Airlines was established in 1946.
Oil pipelines connecting, a.o., the Saudi oil fields, with the port of Haifa (Palestine), constructed in 1944-1945, were shut down in 1948 on the occasion of the Arab-Israeli War.
In 1952 a currency reform was implemented, the Saudi Riyal declared single currency, pegged to the British sovereign.

Social History . Jan Lahmeyer stimates the population of Saudi Arabia in 1932 as 2.439 million, that of 1953 as 4.141 million.

Wars of Saudi Arabia, 1800-1999, from ACED
Global Currency History : Saudi Arabia (B. Taylor)
Articles 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Ibn Saud, Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabian Airlines, from Wikipedia
History, from Saudi Arabia Information Resource
Regions of Saudi Arabia, from www.statoids.com
Saudi Arabia and the United States, 1931-2002, by Josh Pollack
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Hejaz, by Ben Cahoon; Rulers : Saudi Arabia, by B. Schemmel
Historical Statistical data : Saudi Arabia, from Population Statistics (J. Lahmeyer)
Historic Picture Postcards, from Postcardman, commercial site
British Intelligence Reports on the Creation of Saudi Arabia, published by IDC Publishers
REFERENCE IHS : International Historical Statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, edited by B.R. Mitchell, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan 4th ed. 2003
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Macropaedia, Vol.13, pp.833-841 Article Arabia : Saudi Arabia KMLA Lib.Sign. R 032 B862h v.13
J.E. Peterson, Historical Dictionary of Saudi Arabia, Metuchen N.J. : Scarecrow 1993 [G]
Article : Arabia, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1944 pp.68-69, 1945 p.58, 1946 pp.58-59, 1947 p.62, 1948 p.58, 1949 pp.50-51, 1950 pp.53-54, 1951 p.53, 1952 p.50 [G]
Article Arabia, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1932 pp.649-655, 1937 pp.680-688, 1943 pp.691-693 [G]
Article : Arabia, in : Americana Annual 1933 pp.40-41, 1934 pp.48-49, 1935 pp.52-53, 1936 pp.50-51, 1937 pp.42-43, 1938 pp.44-45, 1939 pp.41-42, 1940 pp.38-39, 1943 pp.48-49, 1944 pp.51-52, 1945 pp.50-53, 1946 pp.56-58, 1947 pp.34-36 [G]
Article : Arabia, in : New International Year Book 1933 pp.41-42, 1934 pp.38-39, 1935 pp.35-37, 1938 pp.41-44, 1939 pp.32-34, Events of 1940 pp.29-30, 1941 pp.27-29, 1942 pp.34-35, 1943 pp.35-36, 1944 pp.35-37 [G]
Article : Arabia, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1932 pp.57-58, 1933 pp.45-46, 1934 pp.46-47, 1935 pp.43-44, 1936 pp.38-39, 1937 pp.29-31, 1938 pp.29-31, 1939 pp.31-32, 1940 pp.32-33, 1941 p.31, 1942 pp.37-38, 1943 p.45, 1944 pp.34-35, 1946 pp.36-38, 1952 p.38, Saudi Arabia pp.360-361 [G]
Kings of the Middle East pp.554-572 in : John Gunther, Inside Asia, 1942 War Edition, NY : Harper & Brothers (1938) 1942

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 15th 2007, last revised on August 25th 2007

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