The period covered in this book saw Saudi Arabia emerge as the state we know today. With British backing, the Saudi state expanded from its Najdi origins eastweard, westward, northward and southward, embracing at the end of the period, the greater part of the Arabian peninsula. Kostiner focuses in particular on the development of the political role of the chieftaincy into a more centralized political structure. Ibn Saud emerged as the most prominent of the tribal leaders, shrewdly exploiting the revolts of religious zealots to gain supremacy over his rivals. Drawing on an impressive range of materials, The Making of Saudi Arabia is the most complete study of the creation of the Saudi state to date.