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Following the unification of the Hejaz and Nejd kingdoms, the new state was named al-Mamlakah al-ʻArabīyah as-Suʻūdīyah (a transliteration of المملكة العربية السعودية in Arabic) by royal decree on 23 September 1932 by its founder, Abdulaziz Al Saud (Ibn Saud).Although this is normally translated as "the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" in English, The word "Saudi" is derived from the element as-Suʻūdīyah in the Arabic name of the country, which is a type of adjective known as a nisba, formed from the dynastic name of the Saudi royal family, the Al Saud (آل سعود).One reason was to thwart Portuguese attempts to attack the Red Sea (hence the Hejaz) and the Indian Ocean.The emergence of what was to become the Saudi royal family, known as the Al Saud, began in Nejd in central Arabia in 1744, when Muhammad bin Saud, founder of the dynasty, joined forces with the religious leader Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, A much smaller second "Saudi state", located mainly in Nejd, was established in 1824.Following his death in 632, his followers rapidly expanded the territory under Muslim rule beyond Arabia, conquering huge and unprecedented swathes of territory (from the Iberian Peninsula in west to modern day Pakistan in east) in a matter of decades.Arabia soon became a more politically peripheral region of the Muslim world as the focus shifted to the vast and newly conquered lands.The kingdom of Lihyan (Arabic: لحيان) or Dedan is an Ancient North Arabian kingdom.It was located in northwestern of the now-day Saudi Arabia, and is known for its Ancient North Arabian inscriptions dating to ca. Kindah was a tribal kingdom that was established in the Najd in central Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has since been an absolute monarchy, effectively a hereditary dictatorship governed along Islamic lines.
The area of modern-day Saudi Arabia formerly consisted of four distinct regions: Hejaz, Najd and parts of Eastern Arabia (Al-Ahsa) and Southern Arabia ('Asir).