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Situated between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to two of its holiest cities, Mecca (Makkah) and Medina. Deriving its name from the regnant Al-Sa'ud family, Saudi Arabia was founded in September 1932, but the ruling family's legitimacy dates back to an alliance brokered in 1744 with the Sunnī theologian Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792). al-Wahhab's sociomoral revivalist form of Islam continues to inform governance, culture, and commerce in the predominantly Sunnī Muslim kingdom.

Conjoining temporal and religious authority, the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia represents the third state formed by the Sa'ud family. The first state (1744–1818) cemented the Sa'ud's partnership with al-Wahhab and his adherents, the Muwahhidun. ...

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