History of Tunisia

Oman - Early times

The earliest settlements in Oman, as in the Arabian peninsula generally, date from some time in the 3rd millennium BC. Though at that time and for some hundreds of years more, Oman was on the edge of the trade routes (pictured) linking ancient...

Oman - The coming of Islam

The tribes in the northern part of Oman were converted to Islam during the first generation of the Islamic era -- the middle of the 7th century AD and shortly after, came under the rule of the Ummayyads whose centre was in Damascus. About a century...

Oman - Towards independence

A constant presence in the history of Oman is the division between the country's inland and coastal areas. Since the tenth century, however, the coastal areas have almost always maintained their preeminence in both politics and economics. In 1506...

The Omani empire

By the end of the 18th century, the Omanis were in control of an extensive empire. At its height in the 19th century, the empire ruled both Mombassa and Zanzibar and had trading posts much further down the African coast. (Oman's last colonial...

Oman - The 20th century

Muscat's control depended very much upon the opinion of the Sultan held by the tribes of the interior. In the early 20th century, the sultan's power to control the interior of the country was felt to have decreased. In February 1932 Sultan Said bin...

Oman - Sultan Qaboos bin Said

Sultan Qaboos bin Said was born in Salalah in Dhofar on the 18th of November 1940. He is the only son of the late Sultan Said bin Taimur and is eighth in the direct line of the Al Busaidi dynasty by imam Ahmed bin Said in 1744. Sultan Qaboos spent...

Oman History - Summary

Oman has been Islamic since the 7th century. In about 1507, the city of Muscat and its hinterland came under Portuguese control. The Portuguese maintained their control until 1650 when the Omanis revolted and extended their influence as far south as...

Bahrain History - The pre-Islamic period

The main island of Bahrain (there are a total of 33 islands) is thought to have been torn from the Arabian peninsula around 6000BC. It has almost certainly been inhabited since prehistoric times. The islands of Bahrain first stepped onto the stage...

Bahrain History - The discovery of oil

In June 1932 oil was discovered in commercial quantities in Bahrain. It was important for two reasons: first, it was the initial discovery of oil on the Arab side of the Gulf and second, it more or less coincided with the collapse of the world pearl...

Bahrain History - Islam's arrival and after

The people of Bahrain are very proud of the fact that they were one of the first territories outside mainland Arabia to accept Islam. And to do so peacefully. About the year 640A.D., the Prophet Mohammed sent a letter to the ruler of Bahrain...

Modern-day Bahrain

Bahrain remained a protectorate of Great Britain until 1968, when the agreement between the two countries was cancelled by mutual consent. In 1971, Bahrain achieved total independence under the rule of the late sheik Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa who...

Pre-dynastic history of Egypt

Archaeological evidence suggests that Egypt was inhabited by hunters over 250,000 years ago when the region was a green grassland. The Palaeolithic period around 25,000BC brought climatic changes which turned Egypt into a desert. The inhabitants...

Egypt - The Early Dynastic or Archaeic Period (3100-2686BC)

This period is shrouded in mythology. Little is known of Menes and his descendants outside of their divine ancestry and that they developed a complex social system, patronized the arts and constructed temples and many public buildings. The...

History of Egypt - The Old Kingdom (2686-2181BC)

Pharaonic burial practices continued to develop during the Third Dynasty, lasting from 2686-2613BC, which marked the beginnings of the Old Kingdom. The first of Egypt's pyramids were constructed during the 27th century BC. The Step Pyramid of...

History of Egypt - The First Intermediate Period (2181-2050BC)

The demise of the Old Kingdom brought a period of chaos and anarchy which characterized the Seventh Dynasty (2181-2173BC). During this brief period over 70 rulers were said to have laid claim to the throne. The Eighth Dynasty (2173-2160BC) followed...

History of Egypt - The Middle Kingdom (2050-1786BC)

Mentuhope II reigned over Egypt for fifty years and re-established political and social order which in turn revived the economic and artistic development that characterized the glory of the Pharaohs. Trading was resumed and mines were reopened....

History of Egypt - The Second Intermediate Period (1786-1567BC)

The Thirteenth and Fourteenth Dynasties were powerless to put down the Hyskos, tribal warlords with foreign support who seized control of the Delta, establishing the capital of Avaris and moving south. Despite their alien origins (Hyskos means "...

History of Egypt - The New Kingdom (1567-1085BC)

Ahmosis founded the Eighteenth Dynasty (1567-1320BC) which reigned over the first part of a prosperous and stable imperial period during which Pharaonic culture flowered and Egypt became a world power. During the Eighteenth Dynasty Nubia was...

History of Egypt - The Late Period (1085-322BC)

The Twenty-First Dynasty was established by successors of Herihor and Smendes who continued to rule Upper and Lower Egypt separately from Thebes and Tanis. But by this period external threats from Libyan invaders and others were eroding Egypt's...

History of Egypt - Greek Rule (332-30 BC)

After centuries of upheaval and foreign incursions, Egypt was in disarray when Alexander established his own Pharaonic rule, reorganizing the country's government, founding a new capital city of Alexandria and validating the religion of the pharaohs...

History of Egypt - Roman and Byzantine Rule (30BC-AD638)

Octavian Caesar became the first Roman ruler of Egypt, reigning as the Emperor Augustus. Egypt became the granary of the Roman Empire and remained stable for about 30 years. The Romans, like their Greek predecessors, synthesized many Egyptian...

History of Egypt - The Early Islamic Period (640-969)

Under the first Khalif of Islam Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, Prophet Muhammad's closest companion, the Muslim armies vanquished the Byzantines in 636 AD. They advanced toward Egypt under the command of Amr Ibn Al-'aas, one of the companions of the Prophet....

History of Egypt - The Fatimid Period (969-1171)

The Fatimid Dynasty traced their lineage from the Prophet's daughter Fatima Zahra and her husband Ali Ibn Abi Talib. They embraced Shi'a doctrines which rejected the legitimacy of the first three Caliphs of Islam, Abu Bakr, Omar and Othman, who they...

History of Egypt - Ayyubid Rule (1171-1250)

Salah al-Din Al-Ayyubi (Saladin) assumed control of Egypt upon the death of the last Fatimid Khalif in 1171. When the Crusaders attacked Egypt, burning part of Cairo, Salah al-Din fortified the city and built the Citadel. His reign was a golden age...

History of Egypt - The Mamluke Period (1250-1517)

Baybars, one of the great Ayyubid commanders, seized power in the aftermath of Shajarat Ad-Durr's murder but his heirs were murdered by Qalawun, another Mamluke who established the Bahri Mamluke dynasty, named after the Mamluke garrison along the...

History of Egypt - Ottoman Rule (1517-1798)

Although the Ottoman Turks were brilliant military strategists and developed a rich Islamic civilization, they were poor colonial administrators. They ruled Egypt from Istanbul through Pashawat (plural of Pasha) who were trained in Istanbul. Their...

History of Egypt - European conquest (1798-1802)

The armies of Napoleon crushed the Mamlukes at Imbaba and occupied Cairo. Napoleon's aim was to block British trade routes to India and to establish a Francophonic society in Egypt. He imposed a French administrative system and implemented public...

The Dynasty of Mohammed Ali Pasha (1802-1892)

The French occupation destabilized Egypt; their defeat and withdrawal left the country vulnerable to an internal political struggle which was won by Mohammed Ali, an Albanian lieutenant in the Ottoman army who, with Mamluke help, drove the British (...

History of Egypt - British Occupation (1882-1952)

Ismail's son Tewfiq Pasha reformed the Egyptian economy and relinquished financial control to the British who began to run the government of the country. Egyptian nationalists, horrified at Tewfiq's submission to the British, forced him to appoint...

History of Egypt - Nasserist rule (1956-1970)

Gamal Abd-Al Nasser was a charismatic and brilliant political leader who achieved unprecedented popularity both in Egypt and throughout the Arab world. He was admired for his rousing support of Arab Nationalism; his domestic social programmes (which...

History of Egypt - The rule of Sadat (1970-1981)

Anwar Sadat had been one of the original "Free Officers Group" and served as Nasser's vice-president and chosen successor, but he had never been taken seriously until he assumed control of the government. Sadat began to systematically reverse the...

History of Egypt - The rule of Mubarak (1981-present)

Vice-President Hosni Mubarak became President on October 14 following the assassination of late Anwar As-Sadat in October 1981.There were some improvements in Egyptian foreign affairs during 1984; Egyptian diplomacy managed to overcome the...

Early History of Algeria

The earliest known inhabitants of certain areas of Algeria were cattleherds and hunters living in the Al Hajjar region between 8,000 and 2,000BC. These may have been tribal Berbers. Phoenicians settled some of the coastal areas of Algeria from their...

History of Algeria - French Colonisation (1830-1962)

Algeria was annexed to France despite intense popular resistance. Resettlement programmes were implemented by the French government using land-owning incentives to draw French citizens to the new colony. The French introduced a wide variety of...

History of Algeria: The Rise and Fall of Piracy (1400-1830)

The demise of the Almohad empire created a power vacuum which led to the rise of piracy along what became known as the Barbary Coast. Coastal cities hired corsairs to seize merchant vessels and gain an advantage in the fierce competition for trade...

History of Algeria - After Independence (1962-1999)

The Evian Accords which were signed in 1962 giving Algeria immediate independence and French aid to help reconstruct the country. The French Sahara with its oil resources was also handed over to Algeria. In return the FLN guaranteed protection and...

Early History of Comoros

The Comoros Islands were very likely inhabited by Malayo-Polynesian sailors as early as the sixth century AD. Arabs and Africans were later arrivals. For hundreds of years, the islands were a centre for traffic in slaves and spices. Between the...

History of Comoros: French Rule

The present culture of the Comoros is very similar to that of the Swahili people on the African coast from Somalia to Mozambique. Because of rival sultanates on the islands, in the nineteenth century France was able to exploit the situation and...

History of Comoros: Rise of Nationalism

In 1968 there was a students' strike and in the atmosphere following it, concessions were made by the French government and the first political parties were formed in the country. Some parties urged immediate independence from France; others were...

Independence of Comoros

From 1971 to 1973 there was great political unrest in the islands. In December 1972 a union of pro-independence parties won 34 seats, while the MPM won only five. The French government submitted a document to the Comorian ministers endorsed by them...

History of Comoros: Post-Independence

The independence of the Comoros was proclaimed in July 1975 by Ahmed Abdallah, the archipelago’s main rice exporter and Prime Minister of the semi-autonomous local government. The declaration of the Comoros independence came before the French...

History of Comoros: The Mercenary Coup

Opposition to Ahmed Abdallah's rule was considerable both within his party and outside it. As all party politics were banned, the opposition was necessarily low-key. After a generally unpopular tenure as leader of the country, on 27 November 1989...

History of Comoros: The Military Coup

In 1997 Anjouan seceded from the Comoros. Two opposing factions took control of the island and although both factions agreed to secede from Comoros, they disagreed as to whether they should join France or declare independence. Fierce fighting broke...

History of Djibouti: Nomadism

From very early times, the area including the present republic of Djibouti was a grazing land for a number nomadic tribes. The principal tribes were the Afars and the Issas; the former were aligned with Ethiopia and the latter with the Somalis....

History of Djibouti: From the arrival of the French to independence

Tadjoura, one of the Sultanates on the Somali coast, sold the port of Obock and adjoining lands In 1862 to the French for 52,000 francs and in 1888 French Somaliland was established. Djibouti became the official capital of this French territory in...

History of Djibouti: Rise of Nationalism

In 1949 the first anti-colonial demonstration was held in the territory and from 1951, there was a deputy from Djibouti in Paris. The first territorial assembly was established in 1957. Hostility to French rule on the part of Issas and Somalis was...

History of Djibouti: First Elections

In the first elections since independence in June 1981, Hassan Gouled was re-elected; it must be said that he was the only candidate. On 21 May 1982, 65 unopposed candidates were elected to the legislature. Multi-party elections for the...

History of Iraq: The Cradle of Civilization

The territory of present-day Iraq is approximately equivalent to that of ancient Mesopotamia, which fostered a series of early civilizations. Â The earliest of these was known as civilization of Sumer, which arose probably in the 4th millennium BC...

History of Iraq: Age of Empires

Various invaders conquered the land after Nebuchadnezzar's death, including Cyrus the Great in 539BC and Alexander the Great in 331BC. In the second century BC, it became part of the Persian Empire, remaining thus until the 7th century AD, when it...

History of Iraq: British Influence

During the First World War, Turkey became a German ally and its empire collapsed when British forces invaded Mesopotamia in 1917 and occupied Baghdad. At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, the group of the of the victorious nations in World War I (...

History of Iraq: The Growing State

In 1936 King Ghazi I formed an alliance with other Arab nations, known as the Pan-Arab movement. This was, in effect, a non-aggression treaty, and promising kinship between Arab countries. Three years later, Ghazi was killed in a road accident and...

History of Iraq: Coups, Wars & Instability

War with Israel followed in 1948, in which Iraqi forces were allied with those of Transjordan, in accordance with a treaty signed by the two countries during the previous year. Fighting continued until the signing of a cease-fire agreement in May...

History of Iraq: Saddam Hussein & the invasion of Kuwait

In 1979 the president, Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr, was replaced by Saddam Hussein, and once more the political situation flared into hostilities with Iran. The Iran-Iraq War, which began in 1980, lasted for eight years and had a crippling effect on the...

History of Jordan: Before World War I

The Kingdom of Jordan is steeped in history and had been a major site for civilization since the Paleolithic Period. Archaeological evidence is constantly bringing to light signs of habitation from the dawn of history to the present day. In 331BC,...

History of Jordan: The 20th Century

Jordan's modern history dates from 1921, when Emir Abdullah, the second son of Sherif Hussein, established the Emirate of Trans-Jordan as a self-governing territory under British mandate. In May 1946, Emir Abdullah was proclaimed King of the...

Kuwait History: From Al-Sabah to oil

The present Al-Sabah dynasty was established in Kuwait in the mid-eighteenth century -- about 1760. Kuwait was nominally a province of the Ottoman Empire, ruled from Constantinople. This was observed on paper but seldom in fact. When the Turks...

Kuwait History: The Gulf War

After a series of disputes over oil, money and boundaries, Iraq invaded its much smaller neighbour on the 2nd of August 1990. The invasion received immediate international condemnation and on 16 January 1991, after the failure of international...

Kuwait Social History

The state that became modern Kuwait began in the middle of the eighteenth century when members of the Utub clan from what is now Saudi Arabia settled in the area. Since those long-ago days, many other Arabs have also settled in Kuwait but in...

Rulers of Kuwait

Around the middle of the eighteenth century a group of Arabs known as the Utub settled in Kuwait. This group was a part of the Anizah tribe from modern-day Saudi Arabia. It is believed the Utub came to Kuwait to escape a terrible drought that was...

Lebanon History: Early times

Lebanon's long and often turbulent history reaches back to the dawn of civilization. Its earliest settlers were the Phoenicians who came from the Arabian Peninsula around 3,500 BC. They established cities at Beirut, Byblos, Tyre, Sidon, and Baalbek...

History of Lebanon: Under the Ottoman Empire

In 1516 when the Ottoman Turks conquered the entire eastern Mediterranean coast, Lebanon became part of the Ottoman Empire. For three centuries the Ottomans granted local leaders relative autonomy; two powerful chieftains emerged, one Druze and one...

History of Lebanon: Modern times

For a while after the independence of 1943, independent Lebanon was a model ecumenical society. Its strategic Middle Eastern location and relatively stable government made it a major trade and financial centre. But two fatal flaws marred the country...

History of Libya: Early Colonization

The area corresponding to modern-day Libya was first colonized in the 12th century BC by the Phoenicians, who established trading posts in Tripolitania and at several other points along the North African coast. The Carthaginians took over these...

History of Libya: Rise and Fall of Italian Occupation

At the beginning of the 18th century, the region began to break free of its Turkish rulers and enjoy greater autonomy. Its huge prosperity throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries was based almost entirely on revenue from piracy, which...

History of Libya: Independence for the Kingdom

By 1947 Italy had relinquished all claims to Libya and two years later a UN General Assembly resolution was approved, which granted Libyan independence. This became effective in 1951 and the country became known as the United Kingdom of Libya. The...

History of Libya: Instability and The Rise of Qaddafi

In the late 1960s anti-western feeling gradually spread from Egypt into Libya, and the country became politically unstable once more. The path of Libya's history was radically altered in 1969 by a military coup which successfully overthrew the...

History of Modern Libya

A new era in the history of Libya began on September 1, 1969, when a group of young army officers overthrew the royal government and established a republic under the name Libyan Arab Republic. The revolutionary government of Colonel Muammar al-...

History of Mauritania: The Bafours and The Berbers

During the Neolithic Age, the area of the Sahara, which now covers the north of Mauritania, was much more fertile than at present. The original ancestors of the Soininke tribe, the Bafours, practiced agriculture and were largely stationary. As the...

History of Mauritania: The Almoravids

Had camels not been introduced into the area, the process of desertification that turned fertile plains into the Sahara desert would have separated southern Berbers from the Mediterranean coast. The groups that migrated southward in search of...

History of Mauritania: The Arab Wars

By the 13th century, the Sanhadja faced another threat, this time from the Maqil Arabs. The Arabs seized many of the caravan routes and a few hundred years of skirmishes led to the more serious Thirty Years War with the Arabs lasting from 1644-74....

History of Mauritania: European Rule

Traders from Europe arrived in Mauritania in the 15th century when the Portuguese set up a trading post on the island of Arguin. The Dutch followed and traded in gum arabic from the Sahel. The French and English were the next colonizers in the 17th...

History of Mauritania: Rise of Nationalism

During the colonial period, Mauritania remained little more than an administrative appendage to Senegal. The first nationalist party, the Entente Mauritanienne, was set up by Ould Babana, Mauritania's first representative in the French senate. This...

History of Mauritania: Ould Daddah

When Ould Daddah became president he established a one party state. Uniting the state meant dealing with the dangers of the Moroccan claims and the racial tensions between Moors and Africans. For instance, in 1966, there were racial riots to oppose...

History of Mauritania: Ould Salek

A coup staged on 10 July 1978 by Ould Salek with his Comite Militaire de Redressement National (CMRN) meant a cease-fire from the Polisario. However, Morocco warned that the CMRN was not to hand over the Tigris Al Gharbia part of the Sahara to the...

History of Mauritania: The Polisario Problem

Negotiations with the Polisario reopened in July 1979, with Mauritania announcing that it had no claim on Tigris Al-Gharbia. On 3 August, in Algiers, the Comite Militaire de Salut National (CMSN) formally renounced territorial rights to the Western...

History of Mauritania: Taya's Coup

A coup took place on 12 December 1984, led by Lt. Col. Maouya Ould Sid Ahmed Ould Taya, who assumed control. He immediately gave amnesty to political prisoners and pledged greater social welfare programs. Taya was known for his ingenious...

History of Morocco: European Domination

Portuguese and Spanish power had been growing in the Mediterranean region since the beginning of the 15th century, and in 1415 the Moroccan port of Ceuta was captured by Portugal. Moroccan forces defeated the Portuguese in 1578, and by 1700 had...

History of Morocco: Foreign Invaders

The native people of Morocco are the Berbers, an ancient race who, throughout history, have seen their country invaded by a succession of foreign powers. In the 12th century BC the first of these foreign invaders were the Phoenicians, who...

History of Morocco: World War II and Self-Government

During the Second World War Morocco supported the Vichy government which ruled France after its capitulation to the Nazis in 1940. By 1942, American troops had landed and occupied Morocco, which was used as a supply base for the Allies during the...

History of Morocco: Control of the Sahara

In the 1970s, rumours of corruption in high places within the Moroccan government were becoming impossible to ignore, and King Hassan made a bid to rally support for the monarchy by putting pressure on Spain to relinquish its interests in the Sahara...

History of Morocco: End of an Era

On Friday 23 July 1999, King Hassan II of Morocco was pronounced dead of a heart failure at the age of 70. The death of King Hassan II marks an end of an era not only for Morocco, but for the whole Arabic and Islamic world, as he was one of the...

History of Palestinian: Canaanites

Even before the Palestinians or the Jews were in Palestine, a group of people known as Canaanites had established themselves there. Around 4000 BC, the Canaanites, who were a Semitic people from the inner Arabian peninsula, settled in the land which...

History of Palestine: The Philistines and Israelites

A confederation of Hebrew tribes known as Israelites decisively defeated the Canaanites in about 1125BC. The Philistines, however, who had established an independent state along the southern coast, were another story. Because of their superior...

History of Palestine: King David

King David took advantage of the weakness of adjacent states and the unity of his own people to establish a large independent country, with Jerusalem as its capital. Peace and prosperity continued under David's son and successor, Solomon, but at...

History of Palestine: Babylonian Captivity

During their exile in Babylon and the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews were allowed to maintain their national and religious identity. They did not allow themselves to forget the land of Israel and when the Persians under Cyrus the Great conquered...

History of Palestine: Persian Rule

The exiled Jews were permitted to retain their national and religious identity. Some of their  theological writings and many historical books of the Old Testament were written during their exile period. When Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered...

History of Palestine: Roman Rule

After Pompey the Great conquered Palestine and it fell under Roman rule, two additional Jewish revolts also occurred -- one from AD66 to 73 and the other from AD132 to 135. At the conclusion of the second revolt, many Jews were executed. A large...

History of Muslim Palestine

Palestine was invaded by Muslim Arab armies which captured Jerusalem in AD638. Thus began 1300 years of Muslim presence in what became known as Filastin. The land was holy to Muslims because the prophet Mohammed had first designated that his...

History of Palestine: The Ottomans

In 1517 the Mamelukes were defeated by the Ottomans, who ruled Palestine for the next four hundred years -- until the winter of 1917-18. Under Ottoman rule, the country was divided into districts which were administered by native Palestinians. The...

History of Palestine: Zionism

With the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe in the 1880s, European Jews began to migrate to their so-called "promised land", Palestine. In 1897 the World Zionist Organization was founded to solve Europe's "Jewish problem" through Zionism -- the return...

History of Palestine: The British Mandate

With Arab help, the British took Palestine from the Ottomans at the end of World War I in 1917-18. The Arabs willingly helped the British because they had been promised independence after the war. Unfortunately, Britain had also made promises to...

History of Palestine: Jewish-Arab Conflict

Following the defeat of Turkey in World War I, Britain strengthened its power in Palestine. Massive immigrations of Jews from many countries raised the Jewish population in Palestine from about 50,000 buy the beginning of 1900 to approximately 300,...

History of Palestine: The State of Israel

The state of Israel was established as of 14 May 1948. At once, five Arab armies, in support of the Palestinians, attacked the new state but were ultimately defeated. At the end of what is known as the first Arab-Israeli War, Israel's victory gave...

History of Palestine: The PLO

Functioning as a Palestinian government, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964 as a political body representing the Palestinians in their efforts to reclaim their country from the Israelis. Originally an umbrella...

History: The state of Palestine

All territorial claims to the Israeli-held West Bank were ceded to the PLO by King Hussein in 1988. In November of the same year at a meeting of the Palestinian National Council in Algiers, Arafat announced the establishment of an independent...

History of Palestine: The Gulf War

When tensions started between Iraq and Kuwait in the second half of 1990, Arafat unsuccessfully  tried to mediate between the tow countries. After the invasion, the Palestinian position seemed to strengthen when a parallel could be drawn between...

History of Palestine: 1993 Peace Accord

Following the Israeli elections of June 1992, the new prime minister and Labour leader Yitzak Rabin froze the construction of new settlement colonies in the Gaza strip and the West Bank. The resuming of negotiation with Palestenians was, however,...

History of Palestine: Israeli Withdrawal

Pursuant to the January 1993 agreement, Israeli forces withdrew from Jericho and the Gaza Strip in May 1994. The Palestinian National Authority under Arafat's leadership, assumed control of the areas. Elections were promised for the West Bank but...

History of Palestine: Netanyahu- the Peace Sabotage

As Israel prepared for elections in May 1996, most Arab leaders felt that the incumbent, Prime Minister Shimon Peres, would lead to new peace agreements such as those already concluded between the PLO and Jordan. In fact, Peres was a strong...

History of Palestine: Wye Accord

The peace process suffered many setbacks in the first few years of Netanyahu's administration, a breakthrough was needed to keep the peace process alive. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat...

History of Qatar

Early and pre-Islamic history There is evidence of human habitation in Qatar as early as the 5th or 6th centuries B.C. The Greek historian, Herodotus, refers to the seafaring Canaanites as the original inhabitants of Qatar. And the ancient...

History of Qatar: Turkey & Britain

Like all the countries of the Arabian Gulf, Qatar eventually came under Turkish rule and control for several centuries. Ottoman sovereignty in the area, however, was mostly nominal as real power was in the hands of local sheikhs and tribal leaders...

History of Qatar: The Discovery of Oil

Petroleum was discovered in commercial quantities in Qatar in 1939 and was first exported in 1949. Oil revenues have given Qatar a substantial income and a high standard of living. Exploratory drilling in Qatar began in 1938 and Oil was discovered...

Rulers of Qatar

The name of the ruling family of Qatar is Al-Thani. It was part of a tribal group which was long settled around the Jibrin oasis in what is now Saudi Arabia. The oasis, a well-known one, is south of the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The Al-Thani are a...

History of Saudi Arabia: Nomads & The Birth of Islam

The Arabian Peninsula -- including Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, Yemen and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia -- had been practicing agricultural, herding and hunting cultures for thousands of years. Because they lived on...

History of Saudi Arabia: King Abdul Aziz

When King Abdul Aziz and Sixty men headed for Riuadh in June 1901, his sole motive was to restore the purity and primacy of Islam rather than any worldly gain. He was inspired by the history of his ancestors and spared no efforts I his stgruggle to...

History of Saudi Arabia: The Growing State

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...

History of Saudi Arabia: Boom & Dissent

It was during the late King Khalid's reign that Saudi Arabia enjoyed the prosperity and enormous wealth of the so-called 'boom years'. The physical growth of the Kingdom's cities during those years was amazing. It was also during King Khalid's...

History of Saudi Arabia: King Fahad and the Gulf War

King Khalid died in June 1982 and was succeeded by Crown Prince Fahad bin Abdul Aziz. King Fahad was well-versed in the arts of government as he had served as the country's first Minister of Education and as King Khalid had been in poor health for...

History of Saudi Arabia: Jeddah - Growth of the Glittering City

Jeddah, the largest city in Saudi Arabia's Western Province, once nestled sleepily on the shores of the Red Sea, with no premonition of its prestigious future. Today it hums, glitters and resounds with industry, technology and cosmopolitan human...

History of Sudan: Egyptian Influence

Little is known about the history of Sudan's southern region, known as Nilotic Sudan, before the beginning of the 19th century. Northern Sudan, however, has a richly varied and well-chronicled history, stretching back into the third millennium BC....

History of Sudan: Romans & Christians

By the 8th century BC, Nubia's power had grown and a revolt freed the Land of Cush from Egyptian dominance. A succession of rulers followed and various independent kingdoms were established. In 23BC, Nubia was invaded by the Romans, under Gaius...

History of Sudan: The Ottomans & Islam

From the 16th century AD onwards, Turkish influence grew stronger under the Ottomans, and Islam gained a firm hold as the most popular religion. At about the same time, a black Muslim people known as the Fung or Funj (sources vary) established...

History of Sudan: European Dominance & The Mahdist Movement

Egypt's power over the Sudan held fast for more than half a century. With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, however, European interest in the region was growing, particularly from Britain and France. The canal project had proved very expensive...

History of Sudan: Anglo-Egyptian Sovereignty & The Republic

In 1899 the Egyptian and British governments signed an agreement, making provision for their joint sovereignty in Sudan. This was known as the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Agreement. British control of the Sudan remained in place until 1950, despite...

History of Sudan: Civil Wars

Problems began for the new republic almost immediately, in the shape of conflict between north and south. Carefully isolated from one another under British rule, the vast cultural differences between these two regions now escalated rapidly, and...

Somalia History: Antiquity

The ancient Egyptians knew the region which now includes Somalia as Punt, and the inhabitants were referred to as the Black Berbers. For five centuries (second to seventh century AD) much of the area came under the rule of the Ethiopian kingdom of...

Somalia History: Arab Conquerors

The region of Somalia, called Punt, was an Egyptian trading partner. This ancient commercial tradition started to develop from the eighth century on, when Arab refugees founded a series of commercial settlements on the coastal area. A series of...

Somalia History: British Colonization

Britain was the first European power in the region to take possession of Aden (now in the Republic of Yemen) on the Arabian coast in 1839, in order to protect British trade routes and provide safe passage and anchorage for ships. In the mid-1870's...

Somalia History: Italian Colonization

Italian interest in the Somali coast developed in the late 19th century. Italy got a foothold along the Indian Ocean coastline by making treaties with local Somali chieftains, Great Britain, Zanzibar and Ethiopia. By the beginning of the 20th...

Somalia History: Post World War II

The 1947 Italian peace treaty forced Italy to give up its possessions in Africa. The Big Four (the United States, Great Britain, France and the USSR) took over responsibility for these colonies. They failed to reach agreement and so, in 1948,...

Somalia History: Ethiopia and Somalia

The "Somali Youth League", a social and political movement established in Mogadishu in 1942, quickly gained popularity and spread throughout the region. It called for the complete restoration of cultural and political freedom. The government of...

Independence of Somalia

On 1 July 1960, by agreement with the UN Trusteeship Council, Somalia was granted independence, merging with the former British protectorate of Somaliland. The country's first president, Aden Abdullah Osman Daar, elected in 1960, was defeated in...

History of Somalia: Self-Determination for Ogaden

In mid-1977 ethnic Somalis living in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, started a war to win self-determination. Somalia armed the rebels and even contributed troops to the effort. By late 1977 the Somalis had captured most of the Ogaden. Ethiopia,...

History of Somalia: Armed Opposition

Armed domestic opposition to Siad Barre began in the north in 1988 with the Isaaq-based Somali National Movement (SNM) and was brutally suppressed. Other clan-backed groups, most notably the United Somali Congress (USC) and the Ogadeni Somali...

History of Somalia: Operation Restore Hope

In December 1992, a UN peacekeeping force led by about 2,000 United States Marines was sent to restore order, while international agencies attempted the difficult task of resuming food distribution and other humanitarian aid. This intervention was...

History of Somalia: General Aideed

Somali warlord Mohammad Farrah Aideed, best known for his exploits against United Nations and United States troops, led a successful attack on the Somali town of Baidoa on 17 September 1995. Baidoa is about 250km from Mogadishu. News reports said...

History of Somalia: War and Famine

Hussein Farah Aideed, succeeded his late father Mohamed Farah Aideed as leader of the Somali National Alliance. Fighting in Somalia continued, while aid workers left the country in fear of their lives. Natural disasters in the form of flooding and...

History: Ancient Syria

The modern state of Syria was not established until 1946, after the Second World War, but it is a land which has been inhabited since ancient times. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of habitation dating back to about 5000B.C. and Damascus is...

History of Syria: The Islamic & Ottoman Empires

In 636A.D. Syria was again conquered, this time by the Arabs, and became part of the fast-growing Islamic Empire. Damascus became the capital of the Umayyad dynastic empire, when it was the seat of several powerful Umayyad caliphs. Rule by another...

History of Syria: The Republic

The postwar period was characterized for serious political instability. In 1944 a “Greater Syria” movement had been launched to establish a "Syrian Arab" state that would include Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine. Many Syrian opponents of the...

History of United Arab Emirates: British Influence

In the early 19th century, the area that is now the UAE was known as the "Pirate Coast" because of the occupation of its inhabitants. Beginning in 1820, Great Britain entered into treaties with various leaders in the area out of a desire to protect...

History of United Arab Emirates: Independence

The United Arab Emirates became fully independent on 2 December 1971, although Ras al-Khaimah did not join until 1972. From that time, it has attracted attention -- first because of its oil reserves and its strategic location but now in addition to...

History of Yemen: Ancient Civilisations

The history of Yemen stretches back over 3,000 years, and its unique culture is still in evidence today in the architecture of its towns and villages. From about 1000 BC this region of the Southern Arabian Peninsula was ruled by three successive...

History of Yemen: Islam, Christianity, Judaism and The Dynasties

While Yemen was under the rule of the Roans on the shores of the Mediterranean, Christianity was fast establishing itself and ritual fragrances became less popular, causing a considerable decline in the spice trade. Both Christianity and Judaism...

History of Yemen: British and Turkish Domination

The British conquered Aden in 1839 and it was then known as the Aden Protectorate. The British also made a series of treaties with local tribal rulers, in a move to colonise the entire area of southern Yemen. British influence extended to Hadhramawt...

History of Yemen: Civil war

Imam Yayha ruled the Yemen until his assassination in 1948, and was succeeded by his son Ahmad (1896-1962). Clashes with the British over Aden were characteristic of Ahmad's rule, and he sought protection from Cairo, resulting in a short-lived pact...

History of Yemen: Separate States and Unification

In the late 1960s, British presence in southern Yemen was minimal outside Aden itself. Intense guerrilla fighting throughout the mid-sixties resulted in a British withdrawal from Aden in 1967. With the closure of the Suez Canal, the Yemen's economy...