The Tekkiye Mosque or Sultan Selim Mosque is a mosque complex in Damascus, located on the banks of the Barada River. The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Selim II, built the Sultan Selim Mosque in the then-suburb of Damascus by expanding his father's urban complex; the complex is composed of a large mosque on the southwest side of a courtyard, flanked by a single line of arcaded cells, a soup kitchen across the courtyard to the northwest, flanked by hospice buildings. The mosque has two walls with alternating light and dark stripes, it has been described as "The finest example of Ottoman architecture in Damascus". The cemetery next to the mosque is the burial place of the last Ottoman Sultan, Mehmet VI, dethroned and forced into exile when the Ottoman sultanate was abolished in 1922, he died on May 16, 1926 in Sanremo and was buried at the cemetery of the Sultan Selim Mosque. The mosque was chosen because it was located in the closest Muslim-majority country to Turkey and was built by his ancestors.
There are thirty other graves of the Ottoman dynasty who died in exile and were not allowed to be buried in the Republic of Turkey at the time. Dumper, Michael. Cities of the Middle East and North Africa: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781576079195. Takiyya al-Sulaymaniyya, Archnet
The Times of India
The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world according to Audit Bureau of Circulations. It is the oldest English-language newspaper in India still in circulation, albeit under different names since its first edition published in 1838, it is the second-oldest Indian newspaper still in circulation after the Bombay Samachar. Near the beginning of the 20th century, Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, called The Times of India "the leading paper in Asia". In 1991, the BBC ranked The Times of India among the world's six best newspapers, it is owned and published by Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd., owned by the Sahu Jain family. In the Brand Trust Report 2012, The Times of India was ranked 88th among India's most-trusted brands. In 2017, the newspaper was ranked 355th; the Times of India issued its first edition on 3 November 1838 as The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce.
The paper published Wednesdays and Saturdays under the direction of Raobahadur Narayan Dinanath Velkar, a Maharashtrian Reformist, contained news from Britain and the world, as well as the Indian Subcontinent. J. E. Brennan was its first editor. In 1850, it began to publish daily editions. In 1860, editor Robert Knight bought the Indian shareholders' interests, merged with rival Bombay Standard, started India's first news agency, it wired Times dispatches to papers across the country and became the Indian agent for Reuters news service. In 1861, he changed the name from the Bombay Times and Standard to The Times of India. Knight fought for a press free of prior restraint or intimidation resisting the attempts by governments, business interests, cultural spokesmen and led the paper to national prominence. In the 19th century, this newspaper company employed more than 800 people and had a sizeable circulation in India and Europe. Subsequently, The Times of India saw its ownership change several times until 1892 when an English journalist named Thomas Jewell Bennett along with Frank Morris Coleman acquired the newspaper through their new joint stock company, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
Sir Stanley Reed edited The Times of India from 1907 until 1924 and received correspondence from the major figures of India such as Mahatma Gandhi. In all he lived in India for fifty years, he was respected in the United Kingdom as an expert on Indian current affairs. He christened Jaipur as "the Pink City of India". Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd was sold to sugar magnate Ramkrishna Dalmia of the then-famous industrial family, the Dalmiyas, for Rs 20 million in 1946, as India was becoming independent and the British owners were leaving. In 1955 the Vivian Bose Commission of Inquiry found that Ramkrishna Dalmia, in 1947, had engineered the acquisition of the media giant Bennett Coleman & Co. by transferring money from a bank and an insurance company of which he was the Chairman. In the court case that followed, Ramkrishna Dalmia was sentenced to two years in Tihar Jail after having been convicted of embezzlement and fraud, but for most of the jail term he managed to spend in hospital. Upon his release, his son-in-law, Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain, to whom he had entrusted the running of Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. rebuffed his efforts to resume command of the company.
In the early 1960s, Shanti Prasad Jain was imprisoned on charges of selling newsprint on the black market. And based on the Vivian Bose Commission's earlier report which found wrongdoings of the Dalmia – Jain group, that included specific charges against Shanti Prasad Jain, the Government of India filed a petition to restrain and remove the management of Bennett and Company. Based on the pleading, Justice directed the Government to assume control of the newspaper which resulted in replacing half of the directors and appointing a Bombay High Court judge as the Chairman. Following the Vivian Bose Commission report indicating serious wrongdoings of the Dalmia–Jain group, on 28 August 1969, the Bombay High Court, under Justice J. L. Nain, passed an interim order to disband the existing board of Bennett Coleman and to constitute a new board under the Government; the bench ruled that "Under these circumstances, the best thing would be to pass such orders on the assumption that the allegations made by the petitioners that the affairs of the company were being conducted in a manner prejudicial to public interest and to the interests of the Company are correct".
Following that order, Shanti Prasad Jain ceased to be a director and the company ran with new directors on board, appointed by the Government of India, with the exception of a lone stenographer of the Jains. Curiously, the court appointed D K Kunte as Chairman of the Board. Kunte had no prior business experience and was an opposition member of the Lok Sabha. In 1976, during the Emergency in India, the Government transferred ownership of the newspaper back to Ashok Kumar Jain; the Jains too landed themselves in various money laundering scams and Ashok Kumar Jain had to flee the country when the Enforcement Directorate pursued his case in 1998 for alleged violations of illegal transfer of funds to an overseas account in Switzerland. On 26 June 1975, the day after India declared a state of emergency, the Bombay edition of The Times of India carried an entry in its obituary column that read "D. E. M. O'Cracy, beloved husband of T. Ruth, father of L. I. Bertie, brother of Faith and Justice expired on 25 June".
The move was a critique of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's 21-month st
Charles Montagu Doughty
Charles Montagu Doughty was an English poet, explorer and traveller born in Theberton Hall near Saxmundham and educated at private schools in Laleham and Elstree, at a school for the Royal Navy, Portsmouth. He was a student at King's College London graduating from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge in 1864, he was the father of Dorothy Doughty. He is best known for his 1888 travel book Travels in Arabia Deserta, a work in two volumes that, although it had little immediate influence upon its publication became a kind of touchstone of ambitious travel writing, one valued as much for its language as for its content. T. E. Lawrence rediscovered the book and caused it to be republished in the 1920s, contributing an admiring introduction of his own. Since the book has gone in and out of print; the book is a vast recounting of Doughty's treks through the Arabian deserts, his discoveries there. It is written in an extravagant and mannered style based on the King James Bible but surprising with verbal turns and odd inventiveness.
Among authors who have praised the book are the British novelist Henry Green, whose essay on Doughty, "Apologia," is reprinted in his collection Surviving. Green's novels arguably show some direct stylistic influence of Doughty's book, as noted by John Updike in his introduction to the collection of Green's novels Loving. Doughty's epic poem The Dawn in Britain published 1906 in six volumes, provides a preparatory basis and ideal for Laura Jackson and Schuyler B. Jackson's project of establishing an access to what they argue is an inherent meaning of words in their Rational Meaning: a New Foundation for the Definition of Words and Supplementary Essays; the Jacksons hail Doughty's work as being exemplary of this access to meaning through the linguistic understanding he demonstrates in his diction, in the care he takes with his choice of words, which prefers pre-Shakespearean English for reasons "fundamentally linguistic, rather than literary." Whole sections of the Jacksons' book examine thinking.
He was awarded the 1912 Royal Geographical Society's Founder's Gold Medal for his travels and writings. Doughty was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium on 25 January 1926 and his ashes placed in Bay 1 of the Cloisters. Travels in Arabia Deserta The Dawn in Britain Adam Cast Forth The Cliffs The Clouds The Titans Mansoul or The Riddle of the World Cousin, John W. A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. 1910. Taylor, Andrew. God's Fugitive: The Life of Charles Montagu Doughty. Hammersmith. ISBN 978-0-00-255815-0. Hogarth, D. G; the Life Of Charles M. Doughty. 1928 Kirk, John Foster A Supplement to Allibone's Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American authors 1891 Wanderings In Arabia arranged & introduced by Edward Garnett. Duckworth & Co 1908. Passages From Arabia Deserta selected by Edward Garnett. Jonathan Cape 1931. Nature - International Weekly Journal of Science Charles Montagu Doughty at Find a Grave The Penetration of Arabia: A Record of the Development of Western Knowledge Concerning the Arabian Peninsula from 1904 features Charles Montagu Doughty
Nabonidus was the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, reigning from 556–539 BC. He seized power in a coup, he angered the priests and commoners of Babylon by neglecting the city’s chief god and elevating the moon god, Sin, to the highest status. In fact, Nabonidus left the capital for ten years to build and restore temples – to Sin – leaving his son, Belshazzar, in charge. While leading excavations for the restoration effort, he initiated the world’s first archaeological work. Meanwhile, the Persian Achaemenid Empire to the east, led by Cyrus the Great, had been gaining strength. King Cyrus had become popular among the residents of Babylon by posing as the one who would restore Marduk to his rightful place in the city; as the Persians advanced to Babylon, Nabonidus returned. He was captured by the Persians in 539 BC and Babylon was occupied, thus ending the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Cyrus was welcomed into the city. Nabonidus’ fate is uncertain, though it is believed he was exiled to Iran and allowed to occupy a government post.
Modern perceptions of Nabonidus' reign have been colored by accounts written well after his reign as king of Babylon, most notably by the Persians and the Greeks. As a result, Nabonidus has been described in negative terms in both modern and contemporaneous scholarship. However, an accumulation of evidence and a reassessment of existing material has caused opinions on Nabonidus and the events that happened during his reign to alter in recent decades. Nabonidus' background is not clear, he said in his inscriptions. His mother Addagoppe, who lived to an old age and may have been connected to the temple of the moon-god Sîn in Harran, does not mention her family background in her inscriptions. There are two arguments for an Assyrian background: repeated references in Nabonidus' royal propaganda and imagery to Ashurbanipal, the last great Neo-Assyrian king. A few inscriptions name Nabonidus’ father, Nabu-balatsu-iqbi, satrap of Harran and descendant of Esarhaddon, though one brick inscription from Harran lists his name as “Naksu” in place of “Nabu”.
Inscriptions title him as The Wise Prince and The Devotee of the Great Gods and Goddesses, however his family is never mentioned, leading to the assumption he died as a young man. However, it has been pointed out that Nabonidus' royal propaganda was hardly different from his predecessors, while his Persian successor, Cyrus the Great referred to Ashurbanipal in the Cyrus cylinder, he did not belong to the previous ruling dynasty, the Chaldeans, of whom Nebuchadnezzar II was the most famous member. He came to the throne in 556 BC by overthrowing the young king Labashi-Marduk. Nabonidus took an interest in Babylon's past, excavating ancient buildings and displaying his archeological discoveries in a museum. In most ancient accounts, he is depicted as a royal anomaly. Nabonidus is supposed to have worshipped the moon-god Sîn beyond all the other gods, to have paid special devotion to Sîn's temple in Harran, where his mother was a priestess, to have neglected the Babylonian primary god, Marduk, he left the capital and travelled to the desert city of Tayma in Arabia early in his reign, from which he only returned after many years.
In the meantime, his son Belshazzar ruled from Babylon. Nabonidus is known as the first archaeologist. Not only did he lead the first excavations which were to find the foundation deposits of the temples of Šamaš the sun god, the warrior goddess Anunitu, the sanctuary that Naram-Sin built to the moon god, located in Harran, but he had them restored to their former glory, he was the first to date an archaeological artifact in his attempt to date Naram-Sin's temple during his search for it. Though his estimate was inaccurate by about 1,500 years, it was still a good one considering the lack of accurate dating technology at the time. Although Nabonidus' personal preference for Sîn is clear, the strength of this preference divides scholars. While some claim that it is obvious from his inscriptions that he became henotheistic, others consider Nabonidus to have been similar to other Babylonian rulers, in that he respected the other cults and religions in his kingdom, his negative image could be blamed on the Marduk priesthood, that resented Nabonidus' long absence from Babylon during his stay in Tayma, during which the important, Marduk-related New Year Festival could not take place, his emphasis on Sîn.
In any case, there is no sign of the civil unrest during his reign that would have been indicative of trouble. Part of the propaganda issued by both the Marduk priesthood and Cyrus is the story of Nabonidus taking the most important cultic statues from southern Mesopotamia hostage in Babylon; this seems to be correct: a great number of contemporary inscriptions shows that these statues and their cultic personnel were indeed brought to Babylon just before the Persian attack: "In the month of Lugal-Marada and the other gods of the town Marad and the other gods of Kish, the goddess Ninlil and the other gods of Hursagkalama visited Babylon. Till the end of the month Ulûlu all the gods of Akkad -those from above and those from below- entered Babylon; the gods of Borsippa and Sippar did not enter." However, modern scholarship has provided an explanation for this action. In Mesopotamia, gods were supposed to be housed inside their statues, from where they took care of their cities, but this only hap
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome; the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and Ravenna, an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Roman Senate sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople; the fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages. The previous Republic, which had replaced Rome's monarchy in the 6th century BC, became destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict.
In the mid-1st century BC Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and proscriptions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC; the following year Octavian conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, ending the Hellenistic period that had begun with the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon in the 4th century BC. Octavian's power was unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus making him the first emperor; the first two centuries of the Empire were a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana. It reached its greatest territorial expanse during the reign of Trajan. A period of increasing trouble and decline began with the reign of Commodus. In the 3rd century, the Empire underwent a crisis that threatened its existence, but was reunified under Aurelian. In an effort to stabilize the Empire, Diocletian set up two different imperial courts in the Greek East and Latin West.
Christians rose to power in the 4th century following the Edict of Milan in 313 and the Edict of Thessalonica in 380. Shortly after, the Migration Period involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and the Huns of Attila led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire. With the fall of Ravenna to the Germanic Herulians and the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD by Odoacer, the Western Roman Empire collapsed and it was formally abolished by emperor Zeno in 480 AD; the Eastern Roman Empire, known in the post-Roman West as the Byzantine Empire, collapsed when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks of Mehmed II in 1453. Due to the Roman Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, architecture, philosophy and forms of government in the territory it governed Europe; the Latin language of the Romans evolved into the Romance languages of the medieval and modern world, while Medieval Greek became the language of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Its adoption of Christianity led to the formation of Christendom during the Middle Ages. Greek and Roman art had a profound impact on the late medieval Italian Renaissance, while Rome's republican institutions influenced the political development of republics such as the United States and France; the corpus of Roman law has its descendants in many legal systems of the world today, such as the Napoleonic Code. Rome's architectural tradition served as the basis for Neoclassical architecture. Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian peninsula until the 3rd century BC, it was an "empire" long before it had an emperor. The Roman Republic was not a nation-state in the modern sense, but a network of towns left to rule themselves and provinces administered by military commanders, it was ruled, not by annually elected magistrates in conjunction with the senate. For various reasons, the 1st century BC was a time of political and military upheaval, which led to rule by emperors.
The consuls' military power rested in the Roman legal concept of imperium, which means "command". Successful consuls were given the honorary title imperator, this is the origin of the word emperor since this title was always bestowed to the early emperors upon their accession. Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts and civil wars from the late second century BC onward, while extending its power beyond Italy; this was the period of the Crisis of the Roman Republic. Towards the end of this era, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was perpetual dictator before being assassinated; the faction of his assassins was driven from Rome and defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC by an army led by Mark Antony and Caesar's adopted son Octavian. Antony and Octavian's division of the Roman world between themselves did not last and Octavian's forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, ending the Final War of the Roman Republic. In 27 BC the Senate and People of Rome made Octavian princeps ("first citi
The Hejaz railway was a narrow-gauge railway that ran from Damascus to Medina, through the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia, with a branch line to Haifa on the Mediterranean Sea. It was a part of the Ottoman railway network and the original goal was to extend the line from the Haydarpaşa Terminal in Kadikoy beyond Damascus to the holy city of Mecca. However, construction was interrupted due to the outbreak of World War I, it reached no further than Medina, 400 kilometres short of Mecca; the completed Damascus to Medina section was 1,300 kilometres. The main purpose of the railway was to establish a connection between Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire and the seat of the Islamic Caliphate, Hejaz in Arabia, the site of the holiest shrines of Islam and the holy city of Mecca, the destination of the Hajj annual pilgrimage. Another important reason was to improve the economic and political integration of the distant Arabian provinces into the Ottoman state, to facilitate the transportation of military forces.
Railways were experiencing a building boom in the late 1860’s, the Hejaz region was one of the many areas up for speculation. The first such proposal involved a railway stretching from Damascus to the Red Sea; this plan was soon dashed, however, as the Amir of Mecca raised objections regarding the sustainability of his own camel transportation project should the line be constructed. Ottoman involvement in the creation of a railway began with Colonel Ahmed Reshid Pasha, after surveying the region on an expedition to Yemen in 1871-1873, concluded that the only feasible means of transport for Ottoman soldiers traveling there was by rail. Other Ottoman officers, such as Osman Nuri Pasha offered up proposals for a railway in the Hejaz, arguing its necessity if security in the Arabian region were to be maintained. Many around the world did not believe that the Ottoman Empire would be able to fund such a project: it was estimated the railway would cost around 4 million Turkish lira, a sizeable portion of the budget.
The Ziraat Bankasi, a state bank which served agricultural interests in the Ottoman Empire, provided an initial loan of 100,000 lira in 1900. This initial loan allowed the project to commence the same year. Abdulhamid II called on all Muslims in the world to make donations to the construction of the Hejaz Railway; the project had taken on a new significance. Not only was the railway to be considered an important military feature for the region, it was a religious symbol. Hajis, pilgrims on their way to the holy city of Mecca didn’t reach their destination when travelling along the Hejaz route. Unable to contend with the tough, mountainous conditions, up to 20% of hajis died on the way. Abdulhamid was adamant that the railway stand as a symbol for Muslim power and solidarity: this rail line would make the religious pilgrimage easier not only for Ottomans, but all Muslims; as a result, no foreign investment in the project was to be accepted. The Donation Commission was established to organize the funds and medallions were given out to donors.
Despite propaganda efforts such as railway greeting cards, only about 1 in 10 donations came from Muslims outside of the Ottoman Empire. One of these donors, was Muhammad Inshaullah, a wealthy newspaper editor based out of India, he helped to establish the Hejaz Railway Central Committee. Access to resources was a significant stumbling block during construction of the Hejaz Railway. Water and labor were difficult to find in the more remote reaches of the Hejaz. In the uninhabited areas, camel transportation was employed not only for water, but food and building materials. Fuel in the form of coal, was brought in from surrounding countries and stored in Haifa and Damascus. Labor was the largest obstacle in the construction of the railway. In the more populated areas, much of the labor was fulfilled by local settlers as well as Muslims in the area, who were obliged to lend their hands to the construction; this forced labor was employed in the treacherous excavation efforts involved in railway construction.
In the more remote areas the railway would be reaching, a more novel solution was put to use. Much of this work was completed by railway troops of soldiers, who in exchange for their railway work, were exempt from one third of their military service; as the rail line traversed treacherous terrain many bridges and overpasses had to be built. Since access to concrete was limited, many of these overpasses were made of carved stone and stand to this day, it was decided by Abdulhamid that the railway would only go so far as Medina. Under the supervision of chief engineer Mouktar Bey, the railway reached Medina on 1 September 1908, the anniversary of the Sultan's accession. However, many compromises had to be made in order to finish by this date, with some sections of track being laid on temporary embankments across wadis. In 1913 the Hejaz Railway Station was opened in central Damascus as the starting point of the line; the Emir Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca viewed the railway as a threat to Arab suzerainty, since it provided the Ottomans with easy access to their garrisons in Hejaz and Yemen.
From its outset, the railway was the target of attacks by local Arab tribes. These were never successful, but neither were the Turks able to control areas more than a mile or so either side of the line. Due to the locals' habit of pulling up wooden sleepers to fuel their camp-fires, some sections of the track were laid on iron sleepers. In September 1907,As crowds celebrated the rail reaching Al-Ula station, a rebellion organized by the tribe of Harb threatened to halt progress; the rebels
Saudi Arabia the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is a country in Western Asia constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula. With a land area of 2,150,000 km2, Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest sovereign state in the Middle East, the second-largest in the Arab world, the fifth-largest in Asia, the 12th-largest in the world. Saudi Arabia is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast and Yemen to the south, it is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, most of its terrain consists of arid desert and mountains. As of October 2018, the Saudi economy was the largest in the Middle East and the 18th largest in the world. Saudi Arabia enjoys one of the world's youngest populations; the territory that now constitutes Saudi Arabia was the site of several ancient cultures and civilizations. The prehistory of Saudi Arabia shows some of the earliest traces of human activity in the world.
The world's second-largest religion, emerged in modern-day Saudi Arabia. In the early 7th century, the Islamic prophet Muhammad united the population of Arabia and created a single Islamic religious polity. Following his death in 632, his followers expanded the territory under Muslim rule beyond Arabia, conquering huge and unprecedented swathes of territory in a matter of decades. Arab dynasties originating from modern-day Saudi Arabia founded the Rashidun, Umayyad and Fatimid caliphates as well as numerous other dynasties in Asia and Europe; the area of modern-day Saudi Arabia consisted of four distinct regions: Hejaz and parts of Eastern Arabia and Southern Arabia. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 by Ibn Saud, he united the four regions into a single state through a series of conquests beginning in 1902 with the capture of Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud. Saudi Arabia has since been a totalitarian absolute monarchy a hereditary dictatorship governed along Islamist lines.
The ultraconservative Wahhabi religious movement within Sunni Islam has been called "the predominant feature of Saudi culture", with its global spread financed by the oil and gas trade. Saudi Arabia is sometimes called "the Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Al-Masjid al-Haram and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, the two holiest places in Islam; the state's official language is Arabic. Petroleum was discovered on 3 March 1938 and followed up by several other finds in the Eastern Province. Saudi Arabia has since become the world's second largest oil producer and the world's largest largest oil exporter, controlling the world's second largest oil reserves and the sixth largest gas reserves; the kingdom is categorized as a World Bank high-income economy with a high Human Development Index and is the only Arab country to be part of the G-20 major economies. The state has attracted criticism for a multitude of reasons including but not limited to: its archaic treatment of women, its excessive and extrajudicial use of capital punishment, state-sponsored discrimination against religious minorities and atheists, its role in the Yemeni Civil War, sponsorship of Islamic terrorists, its strict interpretation of Sharia Law.
An autocratic monarchy, the kingdom has the world's third-highest military expenditure and, according to SIPRI, was the world's second largest arms importer from 2010 to 2014. Saudi Arabia is considered a middle power. In addition to the GCC, it is an active member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and OPEC. Following the unification of the Hejaz and Nejd kingdoms, the new state was named al-Mamlakah al-ʻArabīyah as-Suʻūdīyah by royal decree on 23 September 1932 by its founder, Abdulaziz Al Saud. Although this is translated as "the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" in English, it means "the Saudi Arab kingdom", or "the Arab Saudi Kingdom"; the word "Saudi" is derived from the element as-Suʻūdīyah in the Arabic name of the country, a type of adjective known as a nisba, formed from the dynastic name of the Saudi royal family, the Al Saud. Its inclusion expresses the view. Al Saud is an Arabic name formed by adding the word Al, meaning "family of" or "House of", to the personal name of an ancestor.
In the case of the Al Saud, this is the father of the dynasty's 18th-century founder, Muhammad bin Saud. There is evidence that human habitation in the Arabian Peninsula dates back to about 125,000 years ago, it is now believed that the first modern humans to spread east across Asia left Africa about 75,000 years ago across the Bab-el-Mandeb connecting the Horn of Africa and Arabia. The Arabian peninsula is regarded as a central figure in our understanding of hominin evolution and dispersals. Arabia underwent an extreme environmental fluctuation in the Quaternary that led to profound evolutionary and demographic changes. Arabia has a rich Lower Paleolithic record, the quantity of Oldwan-like sites in the region indicate a significant role that Arabia had played in the early hominin colonization of Eurasia. In the Neolithic period, prominent cultures such as al-Magar whose epicenter lay in mod