Battle of Riyadh (1902)

Battle of Riyadh
Part of the Unification of Saudi Arabia
Masmak castle.jpg
Masmak Fort
Date13 January 1902
Flag of the Emirate of Ha'il.svg Emirate of Ha'il Flag of Al Saud dynasty.svg House of Saud
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Emirate of Ha'il.svg Ibn Ajlan Flag of Al Saud dynasty.svg Abdulaziz Ibn Saud
80 68
Casualties and losses
30 dead 7 dead
1,200 dead[1]

The Battle of Riyadh was a minor battle of the Unification War between Rashidi and Saudi forces. It occurred on 13 January 1902, in Masmak Fort in Riyadh, the capital of present-day Saudi Arabia.

In late 1901, following the end of the Second Saudi State the Al Saud clan was forced to move to Kuwait after Riyadh had fallen to the Al Rashid family. Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud head of the clan requested supplies and men from the Kuwaiti Emir to retake his home town. The Kuwaiti prince, who was also involved in several wars with Rashidis, acceded to Ibn Saud's request and gave him horses and arms.

In January 1902, Ibn Saud and his men returned to Riyadh and successfully assaulted the castle. He captured and killed Ibn Ajlan (Chief of Riyadh) after morning prayers, and Abdul Aziz held Ibn Ajlan's head and threw it to the people of Riyadh.[2]

Abdul Aziz's victory marked the start of three decades of fighting that would ultimately see him unite nearly all of central Arabia under his rule. It also marked the beginning of the Third Saudi State, which evolved into present-day Saudi Arabia.

See also


  1. ^ Aburish, Said K. (1995). The Rise, Corruption and the Coming Fall of the House of Saud. New York: St. Martin’s Press. p. 14. ISBN 9780312125417.
  2. ^ "Dictator of the Month: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia".

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