Al Rashid Family

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Rulers based in Haʾil, north central Arabia, from 1836 to 1921.

Although Abdullah ibn Rashid, the first of the Rashidi dynasty, was for a time allied with the Al Saud family, the two families were the principal political rivals in the region for a century. Abdullah came to power in 1836 by obtaining the support of Egyptian occupation forces. After the Egyptians left Arabia, Abdullah and his successors were able to consolidate their rule by winning the loyalty of the powerful Shammar tribal confederation and the residents of the important market town of Haʾil.

Talal ibn Abdullah ibn Rashid (r. 18481868) was responsible for increasing trade and commerce in Haʾil. In addition to treating Shiʿite merchants from Iraq with tolerance, he oversaw the construction of commercial buildings in his capital and the development of agriculture and rural settlement in the hinterland. The apogee of Rashidi rule in Arabia came under Muhammad ibn Rashid, who ruled the longest (18691897) and conquered the most territory. Rashidi influence extended across northern Arabia to northern Hijaz and the outskirts of Basra, Damascus, and Aleppo, and down as far as Oman. In 1891 the Rashidi capture of Riyadh forced the Al Saʿud into exile in Kuwait. Rashidi rule ended in 1921 with the Saudi capture of Haʾil.

see also saudi arabia.


Al Rasheed, Madawi. A History of Saudi Arabia. New York; Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Al Rasheed, Madawi. Politics in an Arabian Oasis: The Rashidi Tribal Dynasty. New York; London: I. B. Tauris, 1991.

Vassiliev, Alexei. The History of Saudi Arabia. New York: New York University Press, 2000.

Malcolm C. Peck

Updated by Anthony B. Toth