General Country Information
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has its origins in the 18th century when the house of al-Saud joined forces with a cleric and founder of Wahhabism, Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab. The modern state was created in 1932. The 1993 Basic Law of Government declares that Saudi Arabia is ruled by the sons and grandsons of the first king, Abd al-Aziz al-Saud. The Qur’an is claimed to be the constitution of the country. The current ruler, King Abduallah formally assumed the throne in 2005, but acted as de facto regent since 1995 due to illness of King Fahd. Saudi Arabia’s population is estimated at about 27 million, including 5.5 million foreign residents. A large majority of the population is Sunni Muslim. The Shi’a community is estimated at 15%. It is estimated that 78.8 % of the population is literate.
More general information is available at BBC Country Profile and at Wikipedia in both English and Arabic.
Official information can be found at the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Arabic, English, and French.