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Essay on Saudi Arabia's Population and Historical Importance
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In area, population, and historical importance, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia dominates the Arabian Peninsula. It covers over 860,000 sq. miles (2,240,000 sq. km) of territory and contains over 18 million inhabitants. The country has the world's largest petroleum reserves (nearly a quarter of the world's total) and after the Soviet Union and the United States is the third leading oil producer. Oil and natural gas dominate the economic scene, although some other minerals such as high-grade iron ore, gold, copper, zinc, platinum, and lead are also produced in small quantities. The production of natural gas amounts to about 4 percent of the world's total output. Most of the country is a vast, barren desert and plateau area, an eastern section of which is known as Rub-al-Khali (the Empty Quarter). It is fringed on the west by a mountain range, where nomadism has been the traditional economic activity. Less than two percent of the land is given to permanent cultivation, and the contribution of agriculture to the national economy is about 6.5 percent of the gross domestic product. Under the Five Year Plans that started in 1970, the administration is trying to diversify economic activity and encourage the agricultural sector by affording subsidies and introducing dry-farming technologies to the farmers. About 10 percent of the labor force was engaged in agriculture in 1990, a significantly higher proportion from two decades ago when the Five Year Plans were initiated. Water is scarce, but where it is present, principally at the several oases, the desert blooms, and irrigated crops in great variety are intensively grown. Except for dates, which may be exported in some years, the production of crops is for local consumption only. The classic plant of the oases is the date palm. Its high-energy fruit, which dries well and tends to resist spoilage admirably, was the ideal "portable" food for the nomads, and trees were cultivated as a virtual mono-culture. But with the decline in recent times of the caravan and nomadic herding as a dominant lifestyle, demand for dates has diminished and many groves have been replaced by more profitable crops. In 1991 wheat replaced dates as the leading crop. Other cereals and crops include barley, rice, corn, millets, sorghum, and vegetables. Sheep, goats, and cattle are raised on pastureland's (nearly one-half of the land is classified as pastureland) on which some vegetation can be obtained, but the camel, perfectly adapted to be the beast of burden across the arid landscapes, retains its dominant position as a draft animal of the desert and a good part of its historic importance. The critical role of water in the future planning has led to several interesting ideas, some as far-fetched as towing giant icebergs from Antarctica into the Gulf or collecting melting fresh water from the mountains and piping it to desired locations for cultivation of crops or for drinking have been seriously considered by the Saudi administration! While some of these ideas remain at the consideration stage, improvements in agricultural productivity have been significant during the last few decades, and a near sufficiency in several food items (wheat, eggs, milk, barley, and millets) has been reached and food is no longer one of the principal import items. Oil has undoubtedly fueled all of the economic development and infrastructure improvements. Saudi Arabia is, by far, the leading oil exporter in the world. Over ninety percent of the country's export income is derived from oil and this represents 73 percent of the government's total revenues. While the oil lasts (estimates run from 20 to 50 years) the Saudi administration is trying to ensure the country's long-term well-being by recycling oil income into overseas investments and domestic growth. The manufacturing sector has been substan-tially diversified and widened to include the production of rolled steel, petrochemi-cals, fertilizers, aluminum goods, truck assembly, refrigerators, plastic materials, metals, cement, furniture, and printing presses. The country has invested heavily in the industrial cities such as Jubail on the Gulf and Yanbu on the Red Sea, where a pipeline delivers oil from the eastern fields. Material progress includes new highways, dams, port facilities, factories, modern universities, and advanced desalinization plants that convert sea water into fresh water for the growing population. Riyadh and the chief port Jiddah have been modernized and serve as growing centers for manufacturing and commerce. Larger towns are becoming increasingly cosmopolitan in character. Daharan on the Gulf coast and the center of the Aramco, is like an American city transplanted into the Arabian desert. This well-planned town contains modern, air conditioned buildings, schools, hospitals, supermarkets, and a variety of recreational facilities.
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Essay on Saudi Arabia's Population and Historical Importance
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Essay On Saudi Arabia's Population And Historical Importance

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              In area, population, and historical importance, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia dominates the Arabian Peninsula. It covers over 860,000 sq. miles (2,240,000 sq. km) of territory and contains over 18 million inhabitants. The country has the world's largest petroleum reserves (nearly a quarter of the world's total) and after the Soviet Union and the United States is the third leading oil producer.
             
              Oil and natural gas dominate the economic scene, although some other minerals such as high-grade iron ore, gold, copper, zinc, platinum, and lead are also produced in small quantities. The production of natural gas amounts to about 4 percent of the world's total output.
             
              Most of the country is a vast, barren desert and plateau area, an eastern section of which is known as Rub-al-Khali (the Empty Quarter). It is fringed on the west by a mountain range, where nomadism has been the traditional economic activity. Less than two percent of the land is given to permanent cultivation, and the contribution of agriculture to the national economy is about 6. 5 percent of the gross domestic product.
             
              Under the Five Year Plans that started in 1970, the administration is trying to diversify economic activity and encourage the agricultural sector by affording subsidies and introducing dry-farming technologies to the farmers. About 10 percent of the labor force was engaged in agriculture in 1990, a significantly higher proportion from two decades ago when the Five Year Plans were initiated.
             
              Water is scarce, but where it is present, principally at the several oases, the desert blooms, and irrigated crops in great variety are intensively grown. Except for dates, which may be exported in some years, the production of crops is for local consumption only.
             
              The classic plant of the oases is the date palm. Its high-energy fruit, which dries well and tends to resist spoilage admirably, was the ideal "portable" food for the nomads, and trees were cultivated as a virtual mono-culture. But with the decline in recent times of the caravan and nomadic herding as a dominant lifestyle, demand for dates has diminished and many groves have been replaced by more profitable crops. In 1991 wheat replaced dates as the leading crop. Other cereals and crops include barley, rice, corn, millets, sorghum, and vegetables.
             
              Sheep, goats, and cattle are raised on pastureland's (nearly one-half of the land is classified as pastureland) on which some vegetation can be obtained, but the camel, perfectly adapted to be the beast of burden across the arid landscapes, retains its dominant position as a draft animal of the desert and a good part of its historic importance.
             
              The critical role of water in the future planning has led to several interesting ideas, some as far-fetched as towing giant icebergs from Antarctica into the Gulf or collecting melting fresh water from the mountains and piping it to desired locations for cultivation of crops or for drinking have been seriously considered by the Saudi administration!
             
              While some of these ideas remain at the consideration stage, improvements in agricultural productivity have been significant during the last few decades, and a near sufficiency in several food items (wheat, eggs, milk, barley, and millets) has been reached and food is no longer one of the principal import items.
             
              Oil has undoubtedly fueled all of the economic development and infrastructure improvements. Saudi Arabia is, by far, the leading oil exporter in the world. Over ninety percent of the country's export income is derived from oil and this represents 73 percent of the government's total revenues.
             
              While the oil lasts (estimates run from 20 to 50 years) the Saudi administration is trying to ensure the country's long-term well-being by recycling oil income into overseas investments and domestic growth. The manufacturing sector has been substan-tially diversified and widened to include the production of rolled steel, petrochemi-cals, fertilizers, aluminum goods, truck assembly, refrigerators, plastic materials, metals, cement, furniture, and printing presses.
             
              The country has invested heavily in the industrial cities such as Jubail on the Gulf and Yanbu on the Red Sea, where a pipeline delivers oil from the eastern fields. Material progress includes new highways, dams, port facilities, factories, modern universities, and advanced desalinization plants that convert sea water into fresh water for the growing population.
             
              Riyadh and the chief port Jiddah have been modernized and serve as growing centers for manufacturing and commerce. Larger towns are becoming increasingly cosmopolitan in character. Daharan on the Gulf coast and the center of the Aramco, is like an American city transplanted into the Arabian desert. This well-planned town contains modern, air conditioned buildings, schools, hospitals, supermarkets, and a variety of recreational facilities.
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