The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, commonly known as Saudi Arabia is the third-largest country in the Middle East by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the third-largest Arab country. It is bordered by Jordan and Iraq on the north and northeast, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates on the east, Oman on the southeast, and Yemen on the south. It is also connected to Bahrain by the King Fahd Causeway. The Persian Gulf lies to the northeast and the Red Sea to its west. Saudi Arabia has an estimated population of 25.7 million of which 5.5 million are non-citizens, and its size is approximately 2,149,690 square kilometres (830,000 sq mi).
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded by Abdul-Aziz bin Saud (known in the West as Ibn Saud) in 1932, although the conquests which eventually led to the creation of the Kingdom began in 1902 when he captured Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud, referred to in Arabic as the Al Saud. Saudi Arabia’s government takes the form of an Islamic absolute monarchy. The kingdom is sometimes called “The Land of the Two Holy Mosques” in reference to Mecca and Medina, the two holiest places in Islam. The two mosques are Masjid al-Haram (in Mecca), and Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (in Medina).
Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest oil reserves and is the world’s largest oil exporter. Oil accounts for more than 90% of exports and nearly 75% of government revenues, facilitating the creation of a welfare state. However, human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly expressed concern about the state of human rights in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia’s Country Profile at the CIA World Fact Book
Saudi Arabia’s page on the U.S. Department of Sate Web Site