Arabia (ərā'bēə), peninsula (1991 est. pop. 35M), SW Asia.
The name Arabia was first applied to the desert region on the northern coast of the Arabian peninsula that lies east of the Nile delta and merges with Syria. Later it was extended to the whole peninsula. The Greeks and Romans were familiar with this area and with the eastern shore of the Arabian Gulf, and their knowledge was increased after the exploratory voyages of Alexander's admirals in the later part of the fourth century BC. The interior however always remained unknown. Arabia was regarded by the ancients as the land of spices and proverbially rich.
Politically, Arabia consists of Saudi Arabia (the largest and most populous state), Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait. Principal cities include Jidda, Mecca, and Medina (Saudi Arabia); Sana, Aden, and Mukalla (Yemen); Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates); Muscat (Oman); Al Manamah (Bahrain); and Kuwait City (Kuwait).