Region of western Saudi Arabia. It occupies an extensive area along the Red Sea coast of the Arabian Peninsula, from Jordan to the 'Asir region. Its northern portion was inhabited by the 6th century BC. In the 7th century AD two of its cities, Mecca and Medina, were the birthplace of Islam; they remain Islam's holiest cities. In 1258 the region came under the control of the Mamluk dynasty, and in 1517 control passed to the Ottomans. In 1916 Sharif Husayn ibn 'Ali revolted and proclaimed himself king of the Hejaz. Ibn Sa'ud, the ruler of Nejd, assumed the title in 1926, and in 1932 he united Hejaz, Nejd, and other districts to form the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.