One of the earliest recorded pre-Islamic Arab civilizations was the Sabaean culture, which flourished in what is now Yemen and southwestern Saudi Arabia during the 1st millennium BC. The wealth of the kingdom of Saba (or Sheba) was based on the incense and spice trade and on agriculture. Beginning in about 115 BC, the Himyarites gradually absorbed Saba and Hadhramaut (to the east) to claim control of all of the southwest Arabian peninsula by the 4th century AD. Himyarite dominance came to an end in the 6th century as Abyssinian (Ethiopian) forces invaded in AD 525. Abyssinian rule was overthrown in 575 by Persian military intervention, and Persian control then endured until the advent of Islam in 628.
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