History of Saudi Arabia: The Growing State

History of Saudi Arabia: The Growing State Last updated on Saturday 24th April 2010

King Abdul Aziz died in November 1953 after more than half a century as leader and king. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Saud bin Abdul Aziz, who devoted a great deal of time to fostering the Kingdom's relations with its neighbours.

His reign saw solid achievements in the field of education, social services as well as the expansion of the Holy Places in Makkah and Madinah. There were, however, some financial difficulties during Saud's kingship which resulted in the Crown Prince, Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, introducing austerity measures which were aimed at putting the Kingdom on a solid financial base.

King Saud abdicated after 11 years in favour of his brother the Crown Prince. King Faisal continued the programmes of reorganisation and reform, following the policy of 'change -- but slowly'. This of course created a firm basis upon which the central government and administration rested.

The main objective of King Faisal's reign was development of the Kingdom's resources. The First Development Plan was introduced during his reign, in 1969/70. Although there were constraints within the plan, it did clearly indicate the Kingdom's importance as a leading financial power in the Islamic world and also in the international economy as a major oil producer.

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