5th-4th century BC: tribes from what is now known as Iraq settled in Arabia.
Until the 1st century BC: Arabia formed part of the Nabataean Kingdom, which extended to Damascus in the north (in what is currently Syria).
18th century AD: the Al-Saud sheikhs (the ancestors of today's royal family) adopted the Wahhabism founded by Abdul Wahhab, following the teachings of two Sunni theologians.
19th century: the Ottoman empire conquered Arabia.
1932: King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud founded the modern Saudi Arabia. He had 45 sons, who on his death succeeded to the throne respecting the law of primogeniture.
1938: oil became commercially exploited, causing a rapid rise in the country's revenue over 20 years.
August 2005: following the death of King Fahdn, his half-brother Abdallah ben Abdel Aziz became the reigning monarch. He is also the Prime Minister of the Saudi government.