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This article refers to the traditional region of Al-Hasa. For the current Saudi Arabian administrative unit sometimes called Al-Hasa, see: Al-Ahsa marker. For other uses see Al-Ahsa.

Al-Ahsa or Al-Hasa ( , locally ; ) is a traditional oasis region in eastern Saudi Arabiamarker that gives its name to the Al-Ahsa Governoratemarker, which comprises much of that country's Eastern Provincemarker. The oasis is located about 60 km inland from the Persian Gulfmarker.

Al-Ahsa is part of the region known historically as Al-Bahrayn, which included the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula down to the borders of Omanmarker, and also included the island of Awal (modern-day Bahrainmarker).


Al-Ahsa has been inhabited since prehistoric times, due to its abundance of water in an otherwise arid region. Natural fresh-water springs have surfaced at oases in the region for millennia, encouraging human habitation and agricultural efforts (date palm cultivation especially) since prehistoric times.

Its early history is similar to that of eastern Arabian historical region of Bahrain. In AD 899, the region came under control of the Qarmatian leader, al-Jannabi, and was declared independent from the Abbasid caliphate of Baghdadmarker. Its capital was at al-Mu'miniya near modern Hofufmarker. In 1077, the Qarmatian state of Al-Ahsa was overthrown by the Uyunids. Al-Ahsa subsequently fell under the rule of the bedouin dynasty of the Usfurids, followed by their relatives, the Jabrids, who became one of the most formidable powers in the region, retaking the islands of Bahrainmarker from the princes of Hormuz. The last Jabrid ruler of Bahrain was Muqrin ibn Zamil.

In 1521, the Portuguese Empire conquered the Awal Islands (the islands that comprise present day Bahrain) from the Jabrid ruler Migrin ibn Zamil, who fell in battle. The Jabrids struggled to maintain their position on the mainland in the face of the Ottomans and their tribal allies, the Muntafiq . In 1550, Al-Ahsa and nearby Qatifmarker came under suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire of Suleiman I. Al-Ahsa was nominally the eyalet of Lahsa in the Ottoman administrative system but in reality was usually only a vassal of the Porte and Qatif was later lost to the Portuguese.

The Ottomans were expelled from Al-Ahsa in 1670, and the region came under the rule of the chiefs of bedouin Banu Khalid tribe.

Al-Ahsa, along with Qatif, was incorporated into the Wahhabist First Saudi Statemarker in 1795 but returned to nominal Ottoman control in 1818 with an invasion ordered by Muhammad Ali of Egypt. The Banu Khalid were again installed as rulers of the region but, in 1830, the Second Saudi State re-took the region.

Direct Ottoman rule was restored in 1871 and Al-Ahsa was placed first under Baghdad Vilayet and, with Baghdad's subdivision in 1875, Basra Vilayet. In 1913, Ibn Saud, the founder of modern Saudi Arabiamarker, annexed Al-Ahsa and Qatif to his domain of Najd.

On December 2, 1922, Percy Zachariah Cox officially notified Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Ahmad Al Sabah that Kuwait's borders have been modified. Earlier that year Major John More [the British representative in Kuwait) had met with Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia to settle the border issue between Kuwait and Najd. The meeting result was Uqair Protocol of 1922, which gave away lands of Kuwait to Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia.

In 1938, petroleum deposits were discovered near Dammammarker, resulting in rapid modernization of the region. By the early 1960s, production levels reached one million barrels per day.

Princes of Al-Ahsa:

1- Saud bin abdullah bin Jalawi Al Saud from 1935 to 1966

2- Abdulmohsen bin abdullah bin Jalawi Al Saud from 1966 to 1985

3- Mohammed bin Fahed bin abdullah bin Jalawi Al Saud from 1985 to 1996

4- Bader bin Mohammed bin abdullah bin Jalawi Al Saud from 1997 to now


The British colonial sources, such as J.G. Lorimer (Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, 1915, vol. 8, Oman and Central Arabia, pp. 642–679), record extremely detailed statistics for ethnic and religious affiliation of the inhabitants at the city and village level taken at the time that the area was still an Ottoman district (until 1912-1914) and free of religious suppression of the Shias that followed with the Saudi takeover.

See also


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