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City (pop., 2004: 4,087,152), capital of Saudi Arabia. Located in the east-central part of the country, it was chosen as the capital of the Sa'ud dynasty in 1824. It remained the centre of Sa'udi rule until 1881, when the Rashid family took control of the region. In 1902 Ibn Sa'ud regained control, and it became the centre for his conquest of the Arabian Peninsula. When the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was proclaimed in 1932, Riyadh became the capital. Discovery of immense petroleum deposits in the kingdom in the 1930s transformed the old provincial town into a showplace of sophisticated technology, modern architecture, and highways. In addition to its administrative role, Riyadh is the kingdom's commercial, education, and transportation centre.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Riyadh, visit Britannica.com.