Nomadic tribes have existed across the Arabian peninsula for thousands of years. The pre-Islamic period saw the development of civilizations based on trade in frankincense and spices, notably the Minaeans from about the 12th century BC in the southwest of what is now Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The Sabaean and Himyarite kingdoms fourished from around 650 BC and 115 BC respectively, their loose federations of city states lasting until the 6th century AD. Although increased involvement in trade brought these civilizations into contact with the Roman and Persian empires—the two great regional powers before the advent of Islam—they remained politically independent for the most part. The Nabataeans, an Aramaic people whose capital was at Petra, modern-day Jordan, spread their infuence into northern Arabia over a period covering the 1st century BC and the 1st AD before annexation of their territory by Rome. Persian infuence was meanwhile prevalent along Arabia’s eastern coast, centred on Dilmun which covered parts of the mainland and the island of Bahrain.
KeywordsSaudi Arabia Arabian Peninsula Gulf Cooperation Council Islamic Banking National Guard
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