Saudi Arabia / Geography /
Other spellings:al-Ahsa, Hassa
In Saudi Arabia, the region of the east-northeast of the country. It is named after the al-Hasa oasis, which rests in its centre. The region stretches north to Kuwait, out to the Persian Gulf, ending in the south with the Rub al-Khali, the Empty Quarter, and the ad-Dahna desert in the west. The region has an estimated 3.4 million inhabitants, which represent more than 95% of the total population of the Eastern Province.
The Al-Hasa Oasis, Saudi Arabia.
Oil production and agriculture are the two main economic activities of the al-Hasa region. Al-Hasa is the home of some of the richest oil fields in the world.
The region is dominated by rocky desert, while there is a wide belt of sandy desert along the coast.
The main cities of al-Hasa region are Dammam (690,000), Hofuf (320,000) and Mubarraz (310,000). Mubarraz lies north of al-Hasa Oasis, while Dammam, out on the coast, is a new, modern urban area thriving from the oil industry.
The region has an excellent infrastructure, with highways connecting the main urban centres, and a railway between the cities and the country's capital Riyadh.
A small percentage of the population are still nomads, although they belong to specific urban centres.
The al-Hasa Oasis has been inhabited since prehistoric times, due to its abundance of water.
899: Al-Hasa comes under control of the Qarmatian leader, al-Jannabi, and is declared independent from the Abbasids of Baghdad. The capital is al-Mu'miniya (near modern Hofuf).
1077: The Qarmatian state of al-Hasa is overthrown, while the Qarmantians retain control of Bahrain.
Late 18th century: Conquered by Wahhabi troops.
1818: Comes under Ottoman control.
1913: Ibn Saud conquers al-Hasa Oasis, annexing it into his principality of Najd.
1930's: Huge petroleum deposits are discovered near Dammam, resulting in rapid modernization for the region.
Early 1960's: The oil fields in al-Hasa reach the production level of 1 million barrels per day.