Hejaz

/hee jaz"/; Arab. /he zhahz"/, n.
Hijaz.
Also, Hedjaz.

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Arabic Al-Ḥijāz

Region of western Saudi Arabia.

It occupies an area of 134,600 sq mi (348,600 sq km) along the Red Sea coast of the Arabian Peninsula, from Jordan to ʽAsīr province. Its northern portion was inhabited by the 6th century BC. In the 7th century AD two of its cities, Mecca and Medina, were the birthplace of Islam; they remain Islam's holiest cities. In 1258 the region fell to the Mamlūk dynasty and in 1517 to the Ottomans. In 1916 Sharif Husayn ibn Alī revolted and proclaimed himself king of the Hejaz. Ibn Saūd, the ruler of Nejd, assumed the title in 1926, and in 1932 he united Hejaz, Nejd, and other districts to form the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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also spelled  Hedjaz , Arabic  Al-Ḥijāz 
 region of western Saudi Arabia, along the mountainous Red Sea coast of the Arabian Peninsula from Jordan on the north to Asir region on the south. The northern part of the province was occupied as early as the 6th century BC, when the Chaldean kings of Babylon maintained Taymāʾ as a summer capital. Later the Hejaz became a part of the Nabataean kingdom (100 BC–AD 200), the centre of which was Madāʾin Ṣāliḥ. The province was again under control of Baghdad until 1258, when it fell to the Egyptians. In 1517 it was occupied by the Turks. Nominal rule, however, remained in the hands of the sharīfs (“nobles”) of Mecca until the religious upheavals at the beginning of the 19th century, when the holy cities were raided by the fundamentalist Wahhābī Muslims. The Ottomans directly controlled the Hejaz after 1845 and built (1900–08) the Damascus–Medina railroad to unify their domain. In 1916, during World War I, Sharīf Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī, who claimed lineal descent from the Prophet Muḥammad, revolted against Turkish rule, destroyed the railroad, and proclaimed himself the king of Hejaz. Ḥusayn's reign ended in 1924, when he abdicated in the face of a Wahhābī invasion, and in 1925 his son and successor, ʿAlī, also abdicated and left the country.

      Ibn Saʿūd, the sultan of Najd, assumed the title king of Hejaz in 1926, and in 1932 Hejaz, Najd, and other districts under his control were united to form the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

      The economy of the region, once dependent on gold mining, is now based on pilgrimage spending, light industries (particularly at Jidda), commerce, a limited agricultural production of dates and cereals, and the wealth generated from the oil deposits of eastern Arabia. In addition to the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the principal centres are Jidda, the largest Red Sea port, aṭ-Ṭāʾif (a summer resort), and Yanbuʿ (Medina's port).

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Universalium. 2010.

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