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Fast Facts
Official Name: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Population: 26,2 million (UN)
Capital: Riyadh
Government: Monarchy
Leaders: King Abdullah Bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud
Religion: Muslim 100%
Languages: Arabic
GDP: $622 billion (CIA 2010 est.)
GDP/Capita: $24,200 (CIA 2010 est.)
Main exports: Petroleum and petroleum products 90%
Time zone: GMT + 3
International dialing code: +966
Currency: 1 Saudi Riyal (SAR) = USD 0.2666
Country briefing
Saudi Arabia flag
A vast, mainly desert country, Saudi Arabia has a long history. Named after the Al Saud family that began its rule in the 18th century, it is the birthplace of Islam. The founder of Saudi Arabia, Ibn Saud, expelled the Hashemite family from the Hijaz region in the early 20thcentury and subsequently established his own country in 1932. The Saudis now ruled over the most holy places in Islam – Mecca and Medina. With that comes a great deal of responsibility, and Saudi Arabia has been eager to portray itself as a bearer of religious righteousness. The Al Saud dynasty adheres to a strict interpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism.
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