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Efforts to unify the Arabian Peninsula began in 1902 under the ancestors of the current ruling family of Saudi Arabia. Eventually covering 80 percent of the peninsula, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was formally established in 1932. The population of Saudi Arabia rapidly expanded in 1990 when 400,000 Kuwaitis sought refuge after the Iraqi invasion of their homeland. The following year, Saudi Arabia proved the strongest ally when Western troops liberated Kuwait. By 2003, virtually all American forces had relocated to Qatar, easing tensions between the royal family and the Saudi people. The current population figure of 26,417,599 includes approximately 5,576,076 non-nationals.

Bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, the Saudi coastline runs for 1,637 miles (2,640 kilometers). Saudi Arabia shares borders with seven other ...

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