Books By Jean Sasson

Chronology of Saudi Arabia

A.D. 570   The birth of Prophet Mohammed in Makkah.

610  Islam is born when Prophet Mohammed sees a vision from God.

622  Prophet Mohammed flees Makkah and travels to Madinah. The Flight is known  as”the Hejirah.” The Muslim calendar begins on that date.

632  The death of Prophet Mohammed.

650  The Koran is written, based on the word of God as told to Mohammed.

1446  The first of Sultana’s ancestors settles in Dar’iyah (old Riyadh).

1744  The warrior, Mohammed Al Sa’ud, and the teacher, Mohammed Al Wahhab, join forces.

1806  After years of desert fighting, most of Arabia is united under the authority of the Al Sa’ud and Al Wahhab families.

1876  The founder of the modern state of Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz ibn Sa’ud, is born.

1887  Rivals of the Al Sa’ud clan, the Rasheeds, capture the city of Riyadh.

1891-1901  The Al Sa’ud clan wander in the desert and finally go into exile into Kuwait.

1902  Abdul Aziz ibn Sa’ud and his men capture Riyadh from the Rasheed clan.

1932    The famed warrior Abdul Aziz ibn Sa’ud successfully unites most of Arabia. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia becomes the twelfth largest country in the world.

1933  The United States wins the concession to search for oil in the deserts of Saudi Arabia.

1938  Oil is discovered in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

1946  Oil production soars to 60 million barrels a year.

1948  Prince Faisal leads the Arabic delegation against the Jewish delegation in their efforts to declare Israel a state. The State of Israel is established. An embittered Arab delegation vows to defeat the Jews in war.

1948  The first Arab-Israeli war begins. The Israelis defeat the Arabs.

1953  King Abdul Aziz ibn Sa’ud dies, his eldest son, Sa’ud, becomes king. Faisal is named crown prince.

1962  Slavery is officially abolished in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but unofficially still exists.

1963  Despite religious protests, the first school for girls opens in Saudi Arabia.

1964  King Sa’ud abdicates and leaves the kingdom. Crown Prince Faisal becomes the third king of Saudi Arabia. Khalid is declared the new crown prince.

1967  The Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors begins. The Arabs are defeated.

1969  Deposed ex-King Sa’ud dies in Greece.

1973  The October 1973 war begins. Israel comes close to defeat, but rallies at the end and expels the Arab armies.

1973 Due to the latest of the Arab-Israeli wars, King Faisal calls for an oil embargo against Western countries.

1975 King Faisal is assassinated by a nephew.

1975 At Faisal's death, King Khalid is declared king. Fahd is named the new crown prince.

1977 King Khalid issues a government decree that forbids women to travel outside their homes unless escorted by a male member of her immediate family. A second decree forbids women to travel abroad to study unless accompanied by a male member of her immediate family.

1982 King Khalid dies of a heart attack. Fahd is declared king. Abdullah is named crown prince.

1990 Iraq invades Kuwait. Saudi Arabia allows foreign troops inside the kingdom.

1991 Saudi Arabia joins with Western and Arab allies to fight Iraq. The war is won and foreign troops depart the kingdom.

1992 Religious authorities impose harsh restrictions on the female population of Saudi Arabia.

1993 Groups spring up in Saudi Arabia to protest violations of human rights. The government forcefully disbands the groups, arresting some members.

1993 The Israelis and Palestinians sign a long-awaited peace accord. The Saudi Government speaks of peace with Israel.

1994: Tension between Osama bin Laden and the Saudi royal family mounts. The Saudi government is unsuccessful in stopping bin Laden from speaking out against them and the Kingdom. Although he is living in The Sudan, bin Laden is stripped of his Saudi nationality.

1995: King Fahd suffers a serious stroke. The day-to-day running of the country is entrusted to Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, King Fahd's half brother. Reports claim that there is tension between King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah.

1996: The Sudanese government is pressured by the al-Saud government to force bin Laden to leave the country. The militant Saudi seeks refuge in Afghanistan. From there he issues a declaration of jihad against the United States. When a truck bomb explodes at the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, nineteen US servicemen are killed. Bin Laden's Al-Qaida organization is suspected.

1998: On August 7 massive car bombs detonate outside the US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Tanzania. Two hundred and thirty-four people are killed (including twelve Americans) and more than 5,000 people are injured. Al-Qaida terrorists are connected to the bombings.

1999: For the first time in Saudi Arabia history, twenty Saudi women are allowed to attend the session of the Consultative Council. Despite this, there is little change for women in the kingdom.

2000: International criticism of the kingdom increases. The London-based human rights group Amnesty International describes Saudi Arabia's treatment of women as "untenable" by any legal or moral standard. The Saudi government reacts angrily at the criticism.

2000: On October 5, suicide bombers attack the USS Cole. Seventeen American soldiers are killed and thirty-eight are wounded. Al-Qaida is suspected.

2001: America is attacked. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers involved are Saudi nationals, which creates enormous tensions between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Western media begins to focus on Saudi Arabia and their archaic system of repression against women. The Saudi government becomes enraged at the criticism and launches a wide-spread propaganda program praising the al Saud and Saudi Arabia in the western media. When the media uncovers the fact that the Saudi government has been spending millions of dollars annually to foster the Wahhabi message of hate and violence, a sect repugnant to most of the worlds Muslims, a number of western governments and media outlets call for the Saudi royal family to end its exclusive alliance with the fanatical Wahhabi sect. Once again, the Saudi government reacts with denial and anger.

2001: In December the Saudi government takes the unprecedented step of issuing identity cards to women.

2002: Saudi investors withdraw funds from the United States in angry protest at a lawsuit filed by relatives of the 9/11 victims that claim the Saudi government conspired with Al-Qaida.

2003: The United States announces that it will pull out almost all its troops from the kingdom, ending American's military presence since 1991.

2003: Domestic criticism of the Saudi government spreads across the kingdom. In September, more than 300 Saudi intellectuals (women as well as men) sign a petition calling for political reforms. In October, Saudi Arabia hosts its first-ever human rights conference. The government announces that it will hold the first elections ever within a year. In November, King Fahd grants greater power to the Consultative Council, enabling the Council to initiate legislation without first seeking permission from the king.

2004: In January Saudi female business professionals shed their veils and storm the stage at the international gathering of 1,000 men at the Jeddah Economic Forum, demanding reforms for women. Saudi Arabia's highest religious authority issued a thunderous condemnation of the women, saying that the mixing of men and women without the women wearing the Islamic hijab ordered by God was forbidden. Members of the royal family said that the liberals were moving too fast.

2005: On August 1, King Fahd dies. His half-brother, Crown Prince Abdullah becomes King of Saudi Arabia.

2006: In January 363 Haj pilgrims are killed in a crush during a stone-throwing ritual in Mecca. In a separate incident, more than 70 pilgrims are killed when a hotel in the city of Mecca collapses.

2006: In June there is a major shoot-out in the capital city of Riyadh between the Saudi security and Islamic militants.

2006: In October, the royal family moves to formalize the royal succession in an apparent bid to prevent infighting among the next generation of princes.

2007: In February four French nationals are killed in a suspected terror attack near the north-western ruins of Madain Saleh, a popular tourist attraction.

2007: In April Saudi police say they have arrested 12 terrorists who were training as pilots for suicide missions.

2007: In July religious police are banned from detaining suspects after a number of detainees died while in custody.

2007: In October there is a royal decree ordering the overhaul of the judicial system.

2007: In December authorities announce the arrest of a gang suspected of planning attacks on holy sites during the Haj pilgrimage.

2008: When world oil prices increase to record levels, President George Bush asks King Abdullah to increase oil supplies. The King refuses.

2008: Despite the many calls for women's freedoms to increase, little changes in the kingdom when it comes to women's rights.