Chapter 8
'Abdullah II and Sa'ud III abna Sa'ud

T HE death of the Imam Faisal in December 1865 ushered in an era of dissension and strife, which culminated in the total eclipse of the sa'udi dynasty during the last decade of the nineteenth century. It was already evident at the time of the visit to Riyadh of Colonel Lewis Pelly, the British Resident in the Persian Gulf, in March 1865 that Faisal was failing. And in June of the same year he formally nominated his eldest son, ' Abdullah, as heir to the throne: in which capacity he virtually took over the active governance of the realm. He had already for some twenty years been his father's right- hand man in council and in war, while his younger brother, sa'ud, does not seem to have made much impression on the annalists of the period until after his father's death, when he lost little time in showing his jealousy of and his animosity towards his brother. The dull wit and solid virtues of the new ruler were to prove no match for the debonair irresponsibility of the pretender, and between them they brought their house crashing down in ruins.

' Abdullah's first act, on ascending the throne, was to build himself a new fortified palace, known as al Mismak, somewhat to the north-east of Turki's original castle, which Faisal had been content to occupy and expand to his needs, and from which the restoration of Wahhabi fortunes was to be directed in due course by the late king, until it in turn was demolished in recent years to make way for a palace more suitable to modern requirements. In the spring he sallied forth to raid the Dhafir tribe on the ' Iraq frontier, with little result but the capture of some camels and sheep. But his attention was soon diverted to more serious matters. sa'ud, evidently thinking it wiser to keep himself out of his brother's reach, had decamped to the ' Asir province in the mountain-chain of western Arabia, to seek the help of the local baron, Muhammad ibn 'Aïdh, in his contemplated bid for the throne. ' Abdullah immediately sent a deputation to Abha to warn its ruler against any flirting with rebel

-218-

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Saudi Arabia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Foreword xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Barony of Dar'iya 8
  • Chapter 2 - Muhammad ibn Sa'ud 33
  • Chapter 3 - 'Abdul-'Aziz I ibn Sa'ud 60
  • Chapter 4 - Sa'ud II ibn Sa'ud 101
  • Chapter 5 - 'Abdullah I ibn Sa'ud 128
  • Chapter 6 - Turki ibn Sa'ud 147
  • Chapter 7 - Faisal ibn Sa'ud 169
  • Chapter 8 - 'Abdullah II and Sa'ud III abna Sa'ud 218
  • Chapter 9 - 'Abdul-'Aziz II ibn Sa'ud 237
  • Chapter 10 - Expansion and Consolidation 265
  • Chapter 11 - Arabia Felix 292
  • Index 361
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