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HISTORY]
269
ARABIA

consolidated his power, extending his influence more especially over the desert tribes, till on Fēsal’s return in 1842 he had created a state subject only in name to that of which Riad was the capital.

On the death of Ābdallah in 1843, his son Talāl succeeded. He set himself to work to establish law and order throughout the state, to arrange its finances, and to encourage the settlement in Hail of artificers and merchants from abroad; the building of the citadel and palace commenced by Mehemet Ali, and continued by Ābdallah Ibn Rashid, was completed by Talāl. The town walls were strengthened, new wells dug, gardens planted, mosques and schools built. His uncle Obed, to whom equally with Ābdallah is due the foundation of the Ibn Rashid dynasty, laboured to extend the Shammar boundaries. Khaibar, Tema and Jauf became tributary to Hail.

Though tolerant in religion Talāl was careful to avoid the suspicion of lukewarmness towards the Wahhābi formulas. Luxury in clothing and the use of tobacco were prohibited; attendance at the mosque was enforced: any doubt as to his orthodoxy was silenced by the amount and regularity of the tribute sent by him to Riad. Equally guarded was his attitude to the Turkish authorities; it is not improbable that Talāl had also entered into relations with the viceroy of Egypt to ensure his position in case of a collision with the Porte. During his twenty years’ reign Jebel Shammar became a model state, where justice and security ruled in a manner before unheard of. Fēsal may well have watched with jealous anxiety the growing strength of his neighbour’s state as compared with his own, where all progress was arrested by the deadening tyranny of religious fanaticism.

On the 11th of March 1868 Talāl, smitten with an incurable malady, fell by his own hand and was succeeded by his brother Matāb; after a brief reign he was murdered by his nephews, the elder of whom, Bandar, became amir. The amir Mahommed. Mahommed, the third son of the amir Ābdallah, was at the time absent; with a view of getting his uncle into his power, Bandar invited him to return to Hail, and on his arrival went out to meet him accompanied by Hamud, son of Obed, and a small following. Warned by a hurried sign by Hamud that his life was in danger, Mahommed at once attacked Bandar, stabbed him and took possession of the citadel; a general massacre of all members of the house of Ibn Rashid followed, and next day Mahommed appeared with his cousin Hamud in the market-place of Hail, and announced his assumption of the amirship. A strong and capable ruler, he soon established his authority over all northern and western Nejd, and in 1872 the opportunity arrived for his intervention in the east. In that year Ābdallah, who had succeeded Fēsal in Riad in 1867, was deposed, but with the assistance of Mahommed was reinstated; two years later, however, he was again deposed and forced to seek refuge at Hail, from which place he appealed for assistance to the Turkish authorities at Bagdad. Midhat Pasha, then governor-general, seized the occasion of asserting Turkish dominion on the Persian Gulf coast, and in 1875, in spite of British protests, occupied El Hasa and established a new province under the title of Nejd, with its headquarters at Hofuf, of which Ābdallah was appointed governor. This was an event of some importance, as it constituted the first Turkish claim to the sovereignty over Nejd abandoned by Egypt thirty-three years earlier. The Turks did not support their client by advancing into Nejd itself, and he and his rivals were left to fight out their battles among themselves. Turkey was indeed too much occupied by the war with Russia to pay much attention to Arab affairs, though a few years later she attempted to occupy Bahrein by a coup de main, which was only frustrated by the action of a British gunboat.

Owing to the dissensions among the ruling family of Riad, the towns of eastern Nejd gradually reverted to their former condition of independence, but menaced in turn by the growing power of Hail, they formed a coalition under the leadership of Zāmil, sheik of Aneza, and in the spring of 1891, Aneza, Bureda, Shakra, Ras and Riad assembled their contingents to contest with Ibn Rashid the supremacy in Nejd. The latter had besides 20,000 of his own south Shammar tribesmen, the whole strength of the Harb Bedouins, some 10,000 men, and an additional support of 1000 mounted men from his kinsmen, the northern Shammar from the Euphrates, while the Muter and Āteba tribes took part with the allies. The total strength of each side amounted to about 30,000 men. Zāmil’s forces held a strong position between Aneza and Bureda, and for over a month desultory fighting went on; finally an attack was made against the defenders’ centre, covered by 20,000 camel riders; the men of Aneza broke and the whole allied forces fled in disorder; Zamil and his eldest son were killed, as were also two of the Ibn Saūd family, while the remainder were taken prisoners. Aneza and Bureda surrendered the same day, and shortly after Ras, Shakra and Riad tendered their submission.

This victory placed the whole of northern and central Arabia under the supremacy of Mahommed Ibn Rashid, which he held undisputed during the rest of his life.

On his death in 1897 his nephew Abdul-Aziz, son of the murdered amir Matāb, succeeded; during his reign a new element has been introduced into Nejd politics by the rising importance of Kuwet (Koweit) and the attempts Recent history. of Turkey to obtain possession of its important harbour. In 1901 a quarrel arose between Sheik Mubārak of Kuwet and the amir of Hail whose cause was supported by Turkey. A force was equipped at Basra under Ahmad Feizi Pasha with the intention of occupying Kuwet; Mubārak thereupon appealed to Great Britain and action was taken which prevented the Turkish designs from being carried out. Kuwet was not formally placed under British protection, but it was officially announced by the government on the 5th of May 1903 “that the establishment of a naval base or fortified port in the Persian Gulf by any other power would be regarded as a very grave menace to British interests which would certainly be resisted with all the means at its disposal.”

In the meantime Sheik Mubārak had found useful allies in the Muntafik Arabs from the lower Euphrates, and the Wahhābis of Riad; the latter under the amir Ibn Saūd marched against Ibn Rashid, who at the instigation of the Porte had again threatened Kuwet (Koweit), compelled him to retire to his own territory and took possession of the towns of Bureda and Aneza. Sheik Mubārak and his allies continued their advance, defeated Ibn Rashid in two engagements on the 22nd of July and the 26th of September 1904, and drove him back on his capital, Hail. The Porte now made another effort to assist its protégé; two columns were despatched from Medina and Basra respectively, to relieve Hail, and drive out the Wahhābis. Ahmad Feizi Pasha, in command of the Basra column, 4200 strong, crossed the desert and reached the wells of Lina, 200 m. from Hail, on the 5th of March 1905; here, however, he received orders to halt and negotiate before proceeding farther. The Turkish government realized by this time the strength of the hostile combination, and in view of the serious state of affairs in Yemen, hesitated to undertake another campaign in the deserts of Nejd. Arrangements were accordingly made with the Wahhābis, and on the 10th of April Ahmad Feizi Pasha left Lina, ostensibly with the object of protecting the pilgrim road, and joined the Medina column by the end of the month. Bureda and Aneza were occupied without opposition, the rebellious sheiks amnestied by the sultan and loaded with gifts, and formal peace was made between the rival factions.

European influence was not felt in Arabia until the arrival of the Portuguese in the eastern seas, following on the discovery of the Cape route. In 1506 Hormuz was taken by Albuquerque, and Muscat and the coast of Oman (q.v.) History of European influence. were occupied by the Portuguese till 1650. In 1516 their fleets appeared in the Red Sea and an unsuccessful attempt was made against Jidda; but the effective occupation of Yemen by the Turks in the next few years frustrated any designs the Portuguese may have had in S.W. Arabia. Even in Oman their hold on the country was limited to Muscat and the adjacent ports, while the interior was ruled by the old Yāriba