Abdul Aziz ibn Saud
(b. 24 Nov. 1880, d. 9 Nov. 1953).
King of Saudi Arabia 1932–53 Born in Riyadh of the Wahabi dynasty, he was forced into exile in Kuwait in 1902. From there, he organized and led a successful Bedouin revolt which enabled him to recapture Riyadh. He then conquered the Turkish province of Al Hasa, and was recognized by the British as Emir of Nejd and Hasa in 1915. He then challenged Hussein ibn Ali, whom he eventually defeated, annexing Azir in 1923, and taking the Holy City of Mecca in 1925. He proclaimed himself King of Hejaz and Nejd in Mecca on 8 January 1926, a country which covered most of the Arabian peninsula. In 1932, he renamed his kingdom Saudi Arabia. A devout Muslim, he laid the foundations of the country's subsequent development (and the royal household's fortune) by granting the first concession to oil exploration in 1933, and by creating the Arabia-American Oil Company (ARAMCO) in 1944. He maintained a good relationship with the USA and the UK, which he supported in World War II.