Following the fall (1258) of the caliphate of Baghdad, Hejaz came under Egyptian control. In 1517 it came under Turkish suzerainty, although nominal rule remained in the hands of the Hashemite sherifs of Mecca. In the early 19th cent. Hejaz was raided by the Wahhabis; peace was restored in 1817 by the governor of Egypt. After 1845, Hejaz came again under direct Turkish control. To improve communications, the Turks built the Hejaz railway (completed 1908) from Damascus to Medina; it was severely damaged during World War I and later abandoned. The Hejaz was in 1916 proclaimed independent by Husayn ibn Ali, the sherif of Mecca, who with the aid of T. E. Lawrence destroyed Turkish authority. Husayn was himself defeated in 1924 by Ibn Saud, ruler of Nejd and founder of Saudi Arabia, who annexed his domain. The formal union of Hejaz and Nejd into Saudi Arabia was proclaimed in 1932.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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