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The Arabian Peninsula Chapter 18 Section 4 The People • Arabs are by far the largest ethnic group on the Arabian Peninsula, and the majority of the Arabs that we’ve learned about so far came from this sub-region, the Arabian Peninsula. • Most are descended from ancient groups such as the ancient Egyptian, Phoenicians, and Berber’s. • Many Muslims from all over the world come to this region in search of jobs. There are large numbers of Indians, Pakistanis, and Iranians in this region. Density & Distribution • Much like most of this region the major urban centers will be near the coastal regions. Much of the climate within the Arabian Peninsula is dessert. • The older Bedouin civilizations that lived in the dessert, moving from oasis to oasis, have now settled in modern coastal cities. • In Saudi Arabia 95% of the Bedouin population now reside in major cities. History & Government • Early civilization have existed in this region for thousands of years. Due to the Harsh Desert climate, these civilizations also settled along the coast. • The ethnic Arabs in this region have for years fought off rule from the Ottoman Empire (ethnic Turks). Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar signed treaties with the United Kingdom (UK) seeking protection from encroaching Turks. • The Ancient Greeks also had a presence in this region using an island off the coast of Kuwait as a trading center for 2,000 years. Independence • Many of the countries in this region are very young. They majority of them gained their independence from Britain in the last century. • Governments in this area are very different than what is common in the West. -Monarchies – Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain -Constitutional Emirates – Qatar, Kuwait *ruled by Emir * Laws in Saudi Arabia are based on the Quran, this is known as Shari’ah Law. It is not considered a secular government. Religion & Language • Although Shia & Sunni Islam are the most common branches of the religion, there are other sects. Ibadhism is another sect of Islam. They choose their leader by communal consensus. • Oman is the only country in this region where neither Shia or Sunni’s make up the large part of the population. Ibadhism is the main branch practiced. • Hajj, is a religious pilgrimage were Muslims are required to travel to Makkah (Mecca) at least once in their lifetime. Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Culture • Most people in this region are very educated. All of these countries have high literacy rates, and many children go on to attend college or university abroad. • In Islam, they are not allowed to depict any religious figures. The majority of the Art that comes from this part of the world is mostly architecture. Many mosques, or Islamic houses of worship, are built in a distinctly Arabic fashion.