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Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect the cancellation of Alice in Arabia. The war in Arabia afforded Lawrence two advantages unavailable to his peers on the Western Front: distinction and mobility.
He was contented to leave Elam to itself for the moment, as he was disquieted at the turn affairs were taking in Arabia.
The tribes of Arabia had become as base idolaters as the Canaanites. There are strange sounds heard proceeding from a hill in Arabia , and various travellers set themselves to describe them.
The story of mission work in Arabia is not very long, but it is full of interest. About 1,, sq. The most prominent feature of the peninsula is 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.
The island country of Bahrain lies just off the east coast of the Peninsula. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia covers the greater part of the Peninsula.
The majority of the population of the Peninsula live 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 , a small peninsula in the Persian Gulf on the larger peninsula, is home to the Arabic-language television station Al Jazeera and its English-language subsidiary Al Jazeera English.
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 -led invasion of Iraq.
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 , the estimated population of the Arabian Peninsula was 77,, including expatriates. Geologically, this region is perhaps more appropriately called the Arabian subcontinent because it lies on a tectonic plate of its own, the Arabian Plate , which has been moving incrementally away from the rest of Africa forming the Red Sea and north, toward Asia, into the Eurasian Plate forming the Zagros Mountains.
The rocks exposed vary systematically across Arabia, with the oldest rocks exposed in the Arabian-Nubian Shield near the Red Sea, overlain by earlier sediments that become younger towards the Persian Gulf.
Arabia has few lakes or permanent rivers. Most areas are drained by ephemeral watercourses called wadis , which are dry except during the rainy season.
Plentiful ancient aquifers exist beneath much of the peninsula, however, and where this water surfaces, oases form e.
Al-Hasa and Qatif , two of the world's largest oases and permit agriculture, especially palm trees , which allowed the peninsula to produce more dates than any other region in the world.
In general, the climate is extremely hot and 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. 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 deserts lies to the east.
There are mountains at the eastern, southern and northwestern borders of the peninsula. Broadly, the ranges can be grouped as follows:. From the 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.
Not all mountains in the peninsula are visibly within ranges. It can be considered an outlier of Al Hajar Mountains. The Dhofar mountainous region in southeastern Oman, where the city of Salalah is located, is a tourist destination known for its annual khareef season.
Most of the Arabian Peninsula is unsuited to agriculture, making irrigation and land reclamation projects essential. Goat, sheep, and camel husbandry is widespread elsewhere throughout the rest of the Peninsula.
Some areas have a summer humid tropical monsoon climate , in particular the Dhofar and Al Mahrah areas of Oman and Yemen. These areas allow for large scale coconut plantations.
Much of Yemen has a tropical monsoon rain influenced mountain climate. The plains usually have either a tropical or subtropical arid desert climate or arid steppe climate.
The sea surrounding the Arabian Peninsula is generally tropical sea 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 with the Red Sea coral, the protozoa and 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 and resultant increase in algae growth as well as oil pollution from ships and pipeline leakage.
In the higher reaches, elaborate terraces have been constructed to facilitate grain, fruit, coffee, ginger and khat cultivation. The Arabian peninsula is known for its rich oil, i.
The Romans named three regions with the prefix "Arabia", encompassing a larger area than the current term "Arabian Peninsula":.
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 history of the Arabian Peninsula goes back to the beginnings of human habitation in Arabia up to , years ago.
There is evidence that human habitation in the Arabian Peninsula dates back to about , to , years ago. Archaeology has revealed the existence of many civilizations in pre-Islamic Arabia such as the Thamud , especially in South Arabia.
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.
The seventh century saw the rise of Islam as the peninsula's dominant religion. The Islamic prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca in about and first began preaching in the city in , but migrated to Medina in 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 AD, disagreement broke out over who would succeed him as leader of the Muslim community. Umar ibn al-Khattab , a prominent 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".
Under the Rashidun Caliphs, and, from , their 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 army and destroyed the Persian Empire , 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 month of Dhu al-Hijjah at least once in his or her lifetime.
Despite its spiritual importance, in political terms Arabia soon became a peripheral region of the Islamic world , in which the most important 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.
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.
Although, the Sharifs exercised at most times independent authority in the Hejaz , they were usually subject to the suzerainty of one of the major Islamic empires of the time.
The provincial Ottoman Army for Arabia Arabistan Ordusu was headquartered in Syria , which included Palestine, the Transjordan region in addition to Lebanon Mount Lebanon was, however, a semi-autonomous mutasarrifate.
The Damascus Protocol of provides an illustration of the regional relationships. Arabs living in one of the existing districts of the Arabian peninsula, the Emirate of 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.
Despite the political disunity of the past and the considerable variety of national experiences in the present, the Arabian Peninsula continues to share an underlying unity of environment, society, culture, and faith.
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