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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
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.
• Many of the countries in this region are very young. They majority
of them gained their independence from Britain in the last
• 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.
• 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.