Rahul Sharma (Editor)

Eastern Arabia

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Eastern Arabia

Eastern arabia

Eastern Arabia was historically known as Bahrain (Arabic: البحرين‎‎) until the 18th century. This region stretched from the south of Basra along the Persian Gulf coast and included the regions of Bahrain, Kuwait, Al-Hasa, Qatif, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Southern Iraq, and Northern Oman. The entire coastal strip of Eastern Arabia was known as “Bahrain” for ten centuries.


Until very recently, the whole of Eastern Arabia, from southern Iraq to the mountains of Oman, was a place where people moved around, settled and married unconcerned by national borders. The people of Eastern Arabia shared a culture based on the sea; they are seafaring peoples.

The Arab states of the Persian Gulf are solely Eastern Arabia, the borders of the Arabic-speaking Gulf do not extend beyond Eastern Arabia. The modern-day states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and UAE are the archetypal Gulf Arab states. Saudi Arabia is often considered a Gulf Arab state although most Saudis do not live in Eastern Arabia.

Culture of eastern arabia


In Arabic, Bahrayn is the dual form of bahr (“sea”), so al-Bahrayn means "the Two Seas". However, which two seas were originally intended remains in dispute. The term appears five times in the Qur'an, but does not refer to the modern island—originally known to the Arabs as “Awal”—but rather to the oases of al-Katif and Hadjar (modern al-Hasa). It is unclear when the term began to refer exclusively to the Awal islands, but it was probably after the 15th century. Today, Bahrain's “two seas” are instead generally taken to be the bay east and west of the coast, the seas north and south of the island, or the salt and fresh water present above and below the ground. In addition to wells, there are places in the sea north of Bahrain where fresh water bubbles up in the middle of the salt water, noted by visitors since antiquity.

An alternate theory offered by Al-Hasa was that the two seas were the Great Green Ocean and a peaceful lake on the mainland; still another provided by al-Jawahari is that the more formal name Bahri (lit. “belonging to the sea”) would have been misunderstood and so was opted against. The term "Gulf Arab" solely refers, geographically, to inhabitants of eastern Arabia. The term "Khaleejis" is often misused to identify all the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula.


The inhabitants of Eastern Arabia's Gulf coast share similar cultures and music styles such as fijiri, sawt and liwa. The most noticeable cultural trait of Eastern Arabia's Gulf Arabs is their orientation and focus towards the sea. Maritime-focused life in the small Gulf Arab states has resulted in a sea-oriented society where livelihoods have traditionally been earned in marine industries.

The Arabs of Eastern Arabia speak a dialect known as Gulf Arabic. Most Saudis do not speak Gulf Arabic because most Saudis do not live in Eastern Arabia. There are approximately 2 million Gulf Arabic speakers in Saudi Arabia, mostly in the coastal eastern region. Before the GCC was formed in 1981, the term “Khaleeji” was solely used to refer to the inhabitants of Eastern Arabia.


In pre-Islamic times, the population of Eastern Arabia consisted of partially Christianized Arabs, Arab Zoroastrians, Jews and Aramaic-speaking agriculturalists. Some sedentary dialects of Eastern Arabia exhibit Akkadian, Aramaic and Syriac features. The sedentary people of pre-Islamic Bahrain were Aramaic speakers and to some degree Persian speakers, while Syriac functioned as a liturgical language.


Dilmun appears first in Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets dated to the end of fourth millennium BC, found in the temple of goddess Inanna, in the city of Uruk. The adjective Dilmun is used to describe a type of axe and one specific official; in addition there are lists of rations of wool issued to people connected with Dilmun.

Dilmun was mentioned in two letters dated to the reign of Burna-Buriash II (c. 1370 BC) recovered from Nippur, during the Kassite dynasty of Babylon. These letters were from a provincial official, Ilī-ippašra, in Dilmun to his friend Enlil-kidinni in Mesopotamia. The names referred to are Akkadian. These letters and other documents, hint at an administrative relationship between Dilmun and Babylon at that time. Following the collapse of the Kassite dynasty, Mesopotamian documents make no mention of Dilmun with the exception of Assyrian inscriptions dated to 1250 BC which proclaimed the Assyrian king to be king of Dilmun and Meluhha. Assyrian inscriptions recorded tribute from Dilmun. There are other Assyrian inscriptions during the first millennium BC indicating Assyrian sovereignty over Dilmun. Dilmun was also later on controlled by the Kassite dynasty in Mesopotamia.

One of the early sites discovered in Bahrain indicate that Sennacherib, king of Assyria (707–681 BC), attacked northeast Persian Gulf and captured Bahrain. The most recent reference to Dilmun came during the Neo-Babylonian dynasty. Neo-Babylonian administrative records, dated 567 BC, stated that Dilmun was controlled by the king of Babylon. The name of Dilmun fell from use after the collapse of Neo-Babylon in 538 BC.

There is both literary and archaeological evidence of extensive trade between Ancient Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley civilization (probably correctly identified with the land called Meluhha in Akkadian). Impressions of clay seals from the Indus Valley city of Harappa were evidently used to seal bundles of merchandise, as clay seal impressions with cord or sack marks on the reverse side testify. A number of these Indus Valley seals have turned up at Ur and other Mesopotamian sites.

The “Persian Gulf” types of circular, stamped (rather than rolled) seals known from Dilmun, that appear at Lothal in Gujarat, India, and Failaka, as well as in Mesopotamia, are convincing corroboration of the long-distance sea trade. What the commerce consisted of is less known: timber and precious woods, ivory, lapis lazuli, gold, and luxury goods such as carnelian and glazed stone beads, pearls from the Persian Gulf, shell and bone inlays, were among the goods sent to Mesopotamia in exchange for silver, tin, woolen textiles, olive oil and grains. Copper ingots from Oman and bitumen which occurred naturally in Mesopotamia may have been exchanged for cotton textiles and domestic fowl, major products of the Indus region that are not native to Mesopotamia. Instances of all of these trade goods have been found. The importance of this trade is shown by the fact that the weights and measures used at Dilmun were in fact identical to those used by the Indus, and were not those used in Southern Mesopotamia.

the ships of Dilmun, from the foreign land, brought him wood as a tribute”.

Mesopotamian trade documents, lists of goods, and official inscriptions mentioning Meluhha supplement Harappan seals and archaeological finds. Literary references to Meluhhan trade date from the Akkadian, the Third Dynasty of Ur, and Isin-Larsa Periods (c. 2350 – 1800 BC), but the trade probably started in the Early Dynastic Period (c. 2600 BC). Some Meluhhan vessels may have sailed directly to Mesopotamian ports, but by the Isin-Larsa Period, Dilmun monopolized the trade. The Bahrain National Museum assesses that its "Golden Age" lasted from c. 2200 BC to 1600 BC. Discoveries of ruins under the Persian Gulf maybe of Dilmun.

In the Mesopotamian epic poem Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh had to pass through Mount Mashu to reach Dilmun, Mount Mashu is usually identified with the whole of the parallel Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon ranges, with the narrow gap between these mountains constituting the tunnel.

Dilmun, sometimes described as “the place where the sun rises” and “the Land of the Living”, is the scene of some versions of the Sumerian creation myth, and the place where the deified Sumerian hero of the flood, Utnapishtim (Ziusudra), was taken by the gods to live forever. Thorkild Jacobsen's translation of the Eridu Genesis calls it "Mount Dilmun" which he locates as a “faraway, half-mythical place”.

Dilmun is also described in the epic story of Enki and Ninhursag as the site at which the Creation occurred. The promise of Enki to Ninhursag, the Earth Mother:

For Dilmun, the land of my lady's heart, I will create long waterways, rivers and canals, whereby water will flow to quench the thirst of all beings and bring abundance to all that lives.

Ninlil, the Sumerian goddess of air and south wind had her home in Dilmun. It is also featured in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

However, in the early epic “Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta”, the main events, which center on Enmerkar's construction of the ziggurats in Uruk and Eridu, are described as taking place in a world "before Dilmun had yet been settled".


Gerrha (Arabic: جرهاء‎‎), was an ancient city of Eastern Arabia, on the west side of the Persian Gulf. More accurately, the ancient city of Gerrha has been determined to have existed near or under the present fort of Uqair. This fort is 50 miles northeast of Al-Hasa in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. This site was first proposed by R E Cheesman in 1924.

Gerrha and Uqair are archaeological sites on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula only 60 miles from the ancient burial grounds of Dilmun on the island of Bahrain.

Prior to Gerrha, the area belonged to the Dilmun civilization, which was conquered by the Assyrian Empire in 709 BC. Gerrha was the center of an Arab kingdom from approximately 650 BC to circa 300 AD. The kingdom was attacked by Antiochus III the Great in 205-204 BC, though it seems to have survived. It is currently unknown exactly when Gerrha fell, but the area was under Sassanid Persian control after 300 AD.

Gerrha was described by Strabo as inhabited by Chaldean exiles from Babylon, who built their houses of salt and repaired them by the application of salt water. Pliny the Elder (lust. Nat. vi. 32) says it was 5 miles in circumference with towers built of square blocks of salt.

Gerrha was destroyed by the Qarmatians in the end of the 9th century where all inhabitants were massacred (300,000). It was 2 miles from the Persian Gulf near current day Hofuf. The researcher Abdulkhaliq Al Janbi argued in his book that Gerrha was most likely the ancient city of Hajar, located in modern-day Al Ahsa, Saudi Arabia. Al Janbi's theory is the most widely accepted one by modern scholars, although there are some difficulties with this argument given that Al Ahsa is 60 km inland and thus less likely to be the starting point for a trader's route, making the location within the archipelago of islands comprising the modern Kingdom of Bahrain, particularly the main island of Bahrain itself, another possibility.

Various other identifications of the site have been attempted, Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville choosing Qatif, Carsten Niebuhr preferring Kuwait and C Forster suggesting the ruins at the head of the bay behind the islands of Bahrain.


Bahrain was referred to by the Greeks as Tylos, the centre of pearl trading, when Nearchus came to discover it serving under Alexander the Great. From the 6th to 3rd century BC Bahrain was included in Persian Empire by Achaemenians, an Iranian dynasty. The Greek admiral Nearchus is believed to have been the first of Alexander's commanders to visit this islands, and he found a verdant land that was part of a wide trading network; he recorded: “That in the island of Tylos, situated in the Persian Gulf, are large plantations of cotton tree, from which are manufactured clothes called sindones, a very different degrees of value, some being costly, others less expensive. The use of these is mostly confined to India, but extends also to Arabia.” The Greek historian, Theophrastus, states that much of the islands were covered in these cotton trees as their major economic activity and that Tylos was famous for exporting walking canes engraved with emblems that were customarily carried in Babylon. Ares was also worshipped by the Greek discoverers.

It is not known whether Bahrain was part of the Seleucid Empire, although the archaeological site at Qalat Al Bahrain has been proposed as a Seleucid base in the Persian Gulf. Alexander had planned to settle the eastern shores of the Persian Gulf with Greek colonists, and although it is not clear that this happened on the scale he envisaged, Tylos was very much part of the Hellenised world: the language of the upper classes was Greek (although Aramaic was in everyday use), while Zeus was worshipped in the form of the Arabian sun-god Shams. Tylos even became the site of Greek athletic contests.

The name Tylos is thought to be a Hellenisation of the Semitic, Tilmun (from Dilmun). The term Tylos was commonly used for the islands until Ptolemy’s Geographia when the inhabitants are referred to as ‘Thilouanoi’. Some place names in Bahrain go back to the Tylos era, for instance, the residential suburb of Arad in Muharraq, is believed to originate from “Arados”, the ancient Greek name for Muharraq island.

Herodotus's account (written c. 440 BC) refers to the Io and Europa myths. (History, I:1).

According to the Persians who are best informed in history, the Phoenicians began the quarrel. These people, who had formerly dwelt on the far East and then to the shores of the Erythraean Sea (the eastern part of the Arabia peninsula), having migrated to the Mediterranean and settled in the parts which they now inhabit, began at once, they say, to adventure on long voyages, freighting their vessels with the wares of Egypt and Assyria...

The Greek historian Strabo believed the Phoenicians originated from Bahrain. Herodotus also believed that the homeland of the Phoenicians was Bahrain. This theory was accepted by the 19th-century German classicist Arnold Heeren who said that: "In the Greek geographers, for instance, we read of two islands, named Tyrus or Tylos, and Arad, Bahrain, which boasted that they were the mother country of the Phoenicians, and exhibited relics of Phoenician temples." The people of Tyre in particular have long maintained Persian Gulf origins, and the similarity in the words "Tylos" and "Tyre" has been commented upon.

With the waning of Seleucid Greek power, Tylos was incorporated into Characene or Mesenian, the state founded in what today is Kuwait by Hyspaosines in 127 BC. A building inscriptions found in Bahrain indicate that Hyspoasines occupied the islands, (and it also mention his wife, Thalassia).

Parthian and Sassanid

From the 3rd century BC to arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD, Eastern Arabia was controlled by two other Iranian dynasties of Parthians and Sassanids.

By about 250 BC, Seleucids lost their tritories to Parthians, an Iranian tribe from Central Asia. Parthian dynasty brought the Persian Gulf under their control and extended their influence as far as Oman. Because they needed to control the Persian Gulf trade route, the Parthians established garrisons in the southern coast of Persian Gulf.

In the 3rd century AD, the Sasanids succeeded the Parthians and held area until the rise of Islam four centuries later. Ardashir, the first ruler of Iranian Sassanians dynasty marched forward Oman and Bahrain and defeat Sanatruq (or Satiran), probably the Parthian governor of Eastern Arabia. He appointed his son Shapur I as governor of Eastern Arabia. Shapur constructed a new city there and named it Batan Ardashir after his father. At this time, Eastern Arabia incorporated in the southern Sassanid province covering over the Persian Gulfs southern shore plus the archipelago of Bahrain. The southern province of the Sassanids was subdivided into three districts of Haggar (Hofuf, Saudi Arabia), Batan Ardashir (al-Qatif province, Saudi Arabia), and Mishmahig (Muharraq, Bahrain; also referred to as Samahij) (In Middle-Persian/Pahlavi means "ewe-fish".) included the Bahrain archipelago which earlier called Aval.

Beth Qatraye

The Christian name used for the region encompassing north-eastern Arabia was Beth Qatraye, or "the Isles". The name translates to 'region of the Qataris' in Syriac. Though it must be pointed out that Qatar is today expanded to include Bahrain just as India was supposed to include the land from Afghanistan till Philippines during those times It included Bahrain, Tarout Island, Al-Khatt, Al-Hasa, and Qatar.

By the 5th century, Beth Qatraye was a major centre for Nestorian Christianity, which had come to dominate the southern shores of the Persian Gulf. As a sect, the Nestorians were often persecuted as heretics by the Byzantine Empire, but eastern Arabia was outside the Empire's control offering some safety. Several notable Nestorian writers originated from Beth Qatraye, including Isaac of Nineveh, Dadisho Qatraya, Gabriel of Qatar and Ahob of Qatar. Christianity was blunted by the arrival of Islam in Eastern Arabia by 628. In 676, the bishops of Beth Qatraye stopped attending synods; although the practice of Christianity persisted in the region until the late 9th century.

The dioceses of Beth Qatraye did not form an ecclesiastical province, except for a short period during the mid-to-late 7th century. They were instead subject to the Metropolitan of Fars.

In 410, according to the Oriental Syriac Church synodal records, a bishop named Batai was excommunicated from the church in Bahrain. It was also the site eastern Arabia of worship of a Bull deity called Awal. Worshippers reputedly built a large statue to Awal in Muharraq, although it has now been lost, and for many centuries after Tylos, the islands of Bahrain were known as ‘Awal’.


From the time when Islam emerged in the 7th century until the early 16th century, the term Bahrain referred to the wider historical region of eastern Arabia stretching from Basrah to the Strait of Hormuz along the Persian Gulf coast.

Eastern Arabians were amongst the first to embrace Islam. The Prophet Mohammed ruled eastern Arabia through one of his representatives, Al-Ala'a Al-Hadhrami. Eastern Arabia embraced Islam in 629 (the seventh year of hijra). During the time of Umar I the famous companion of Mohammad, Abu Hurayrah, was the governor of eastern Arabia. Umar I also appointed Uthman bin Abi Al Aas as governor of the area. Al Khamis Mosque, founded in 692, was one of the earliest mosques built in eastern Arabia, in the era of Umayyad caliph Umar II.

The expansion of Islam did not affect eastern Arabia's reliance on trade, and its prosperity continued to be dependent on markets in India and Mesopotamia. After Baghdad emerged as the seat of the caliph in 750 and the main centre of Islamic civilization, eastern Arabia greatly benefited from the city's increased demand for foreign goods especially from China and South Asia.

Eastern Arabia, specifically Bahrain, became a principal centre of knowledge for hundreds of years stretching from the early days of Islam in the 6th century to the 18th century. Philosophers of eastern Arabia were highly esteemed, such as the 13th-century mystic, Sheikh Maitham Al Bahrani (died in 1299). (The mosque of Sheikh Maitham and his tomb can be visited in the outskirts of the capital, Manama, near the district of Mahooz.).

The Qarmatian Republic

In the end of the 3rd Hijri century, Abu Sa'id al-Hasan al-Janaby led the Revolution of al-Qaramita, a rebellion by a messianic Ismaili sect originating in Kufa in present-day Iraq. Al-Janaby took over the city of Hajr, Bahrain's capital at that time, and al-Hasa, which he made the capital of his republic. Once in control of the state he sought to create a utopian society.

The Qarmatians' goal was to build a society based on reason and equality. The state was governed by a council of six with a chief who was a first among equals. All property within the community was distributed evenly among all initiates. The Qarmatians were organized as an esoteric society but not as a secret one; their activities were public and openly propagated, but new members had to undergo an initiation ceremony involving seven stages. The Qarmatian world view was one where every phenomenon repeated itself in cycles, where every incident was replayed over and over again, a concept similar to the cycle of life and Karma.

For much of the 10th century the Qarmatians were the most powerful force in the Persian Gulf and Middle East, controlling the coast of Oman, and collecting tribute from the Abbasid caliph in Baghdad and from the rival Ismaili Fatimid caliph in Cairo, whom they did not recognize. The land they ruled over was extremely wealthy with a huge slave-based economy according to academic Yitzhak Nakash:

The Qarmatians were defeated in battle in 976 by the Abbasids, which encouraged them to look inward to build their utilitarian society. Around 1058, a revolt on the island of Bahrain led by two Shi'a members of the Abd al-Qays tribe, Abul-Bahlul al-'Awwam and Abu'l-Walid Muslim, precipitated the waning of Qarmatian power and eventually the ascendancy to power of the Uyunids, an Arab dynasty belonging to the Abdul Qays tribe.

Uyunid dynasty

The Al Uyuni, Uyunids (Arabic: العيوني و العيونيون‎‎), were an Arab dynasty that ruled eastern Arabia for 163 years, from the 11th to the 13th centuries. They were the remnants of Bani Abdul Qays tribe and seized the country from the Qarmatians with the military assistance of Great Seljuq Empire in the year 1077-1078 AD. It then fell to the Usfurids of Banu Uqayl in 651 AH (1253 AD). The famous poet Ali bin al Mugrab Al Uyuni is a descendant of the Uyunids.

Usfurids dynasty

The Usfurids were an Arab dynasty that in 1253 gained control of eastern Arabia, They were a branch of the Banu Uqayl tribe of the Banu Amir group, and are named after the dynasty's founder, Usfur ibn Rashid. They were initially allies of the Qarmatians and their successors, the Uyunids, but eventually overthrew the latter and seized power themselves. The Usfurids' takeover came after Uyunid power had been weakened by invasion in 1235 by the Salgharid Atabeg of Fars.

The Usfurids had an uneasy relationship with the main regional power at the time, the Persian princes in Hormuz, who took control of Bahrain and Qatif in 1320. However, the Hormuzi rulers did not seem to have firm control of the islands, and during the 14th century Bahrain was disputed as numerous neighbours sought tribute from the wealth accumulated from its pearl fisheries. In the 15th century another branch of the Banu Amir emerged, the Jabrids, who built a more stable polity in eastern Arabia.

Jarwanid dynasty

The Jarwanid Dynasty was a Shia dynasty that ruled eastern Arabia in the 14th century. It was founded by Jerwan I bin Nasser and was based in Qatif. The dynasty was a vassal of the Kingdom of Ormus.

The Jarwanids belonged to the clan of Bani Malik. It is disputed whether they belonged to the Banu Uqayl—the tribe of their predecessors the Usfurids and their successors the Jabrids—or to the Banu Abdul Qays, to whom the Uyunid dynasty (1076–1235) belonged. The Jarwanids came to power some time in the 14th century, after expelling the forces of Sa'eed ibn Mughamis, the chief of the Muntafiq tribe based in the Iraqi city of Basrah.

Contemporary sources such Ibn Battuta and Ibn Hajar describe the Jarwanids as being “extreme Rawafidh,” a term for Shi'ites who rejected the first three Caliphs, while a 15th-century Sunni scholar from Egypt describes them as being “remnants of the Qarmatians.” Historian Juan Cole concludes from this that they were Isma'ilis. However, the Twelver Shi'ite sect was promoted under their rule, and Twelver scholars held the judgeships and other important positions, including the chief of the hisba. Also, unlike under the Qarmatians, Islamic prayers were held in the mosques under Jarwanid rule, and prayer was called under the Shi'ite formula. A Twelver scholar of the 14th century, Jamaluddeen Al-Mutawwa', belonged to the house of Jarwan. According to Al-Humaydan, who specialized in the history of eastern Arabia, the Jarwanids were Twelvers, and the term "Qaramita" was used simply as an epithet for "Shi'ite."


The Jabrids (Arabic: الجبريون ,الدولة الجبرية, or الجبور‎‎) were a dynasty that dominated eastern Arabia in the 15th and 16th centuries. They were descendants of the tribe of Uqayl, a branch of Bani 'Amir.

Their most prominent ruler was Ajwad ibn Zamil, who died in 1507. He was described by his contemporaries as having been “of Najdi origin.” Ajwad's elder brother had earlier established the dynasty in the early 15th century by deposing and killing the last Jarwanid ruler in Qatif. At their height, the Jabrids controlled the entire Arabian coast on the Persian Gulf, including the islands of Bahrain, and regularly led expeditions into central Arabia and Oman. One contemporary scholar described Ajwad ibn Zamil as “the king of al-Ahsa and Qatif and the leader of the people of Najd.” Following his death, his kingdom was divided among some of his descendants, with Migrin ibn Zamil (possibly his grandson) inheriting al-Hasa, Qatif, and Bahrain. Migrin fell in battle in Bahrain in a failed attempt to repel an invasion of Bahrain by the Portuguese in 1521.

The Jabrid kingdom collapsed soon afterwards on the mainland, after an invasion of al-Hasa by Muntafiq tribe of Basrah, and later by the Ottoman Turks. One branch of the Jabrids remained active in Oman, however, for nearly another three centuries. It is unknown for sure what became of the non-Omani Jabrids. Some believe they left to Iraq, while others believe they are identical with the Jubur section of the Bani Khalid confederation, who eventually took control of the region after the Jabrids.

First Khalidi Emirate

The main branches of the tribe are the Al Humaid, the Juboor, the Du'um, the Al Janah, the Grusha, the Al Musallam, the 'Amayer, the Al Subaih and the Mahashir. The chieftainship of the Bani Khalid has traditionally been held by the clan of Al Humaid. The Bani Khalid dominated the deserts surrounding the Al-Hasa and Al-Qatif oases during the 16th and 17th centuries. Under Barrak ibn Ghurayr of the Al Humaid, the Bani Khalid were able to expel Ottoman forces from the cities and towns in 1670 and proclaim their rule over the region. Ibn Ghurayr made his capital in Al-Mubarraz, where remnants of his castle stand today. According to Arabian folklore, one chief of the Bani Khalid attempted to protect the prized desert bustard (habari) from extinction by prohibiting the bedouin in his realm from poaching the bird's eggs, earning the tribe the appellation of "protectors of the eggs of the habari", an allusion to the chief's absolute supremacy over his realm. The first chieftain of the “Khawalid” was Haddori.


Like a vast majority of their subject people, in time the Khalidis adopted Shia Islam if they were not already so at the time of their ascendency. This led to a lasting animosity between them and the staunchly anti-Shia Wahhabis and the House of Saud, from the mid-18th century to the present.

Fall to the Saudis

The Bani Khalid of eastern Arabia maintained ties with members of their tribe who had settled in Nejd during their earlier migration eastwards, and also cultivated clients among the rulers of the Nejdi towns, such as the Al Mu'ammar of al-Uyayna. When the emir of Uyayna adopted the ideas of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the Khalidi chief ordered him to cease support for Ibn Abd al-Wahhab and expel him from his town. The emir agreed, and Ibn Abd al-Wahhab moved to neighboring Dir'iyyah, where he joined forces with the Al Saud. The Bani Khalid remained staunch enemies of the Saudis and their allies and attempted to invade Nejd and Diriyyah in an effort to stop Saudi expansion. Their efforts failed, however, and after conquering Nejd, the Saudis invaded the Bani Khalid's domain in al-Hasa and deposed the Al 'Ura'yir in 1793.

Return and fall from power

When the Ottomans invaded Arabia and deposed the Al Saud in 1818, they reoccupied al-Hasa and al-Qatif and reinstated members of the Al 'Uray'ir as governors of the region on their behalf. The Bani Khalid were no longer the potent military force they once were at this time, and tribes such as the Ajman, the Dawasir, Subay', and Mutayr began encroaching on the Bani Khalid's desert territories. They were also beset by internal quarrels over leadership. Though the Bani Khalid were able to forge an alliance with the 'Anizzah tribe in this period, they were eventually defeated by an alliance of several tribes along with the Al Saud, who had reestablished their rule in Riyadh in 1823. A battle with an alliance led by the Mutayr and 'Ajman tribes in 1823, and another battle with the Subay' and the Al Saud in 1830, brought the rule of the Bani Khalid to a close. The Ottomans appointed a governor from Bani Khalid over al-Hasa once more in 1874, but his rule also was short-lived.


Eastern Arabia Wikipedia