Nedjed, Or Nejd, a country of central Arabia, the dominion of the sultan of the Wahabees, between lat. 19° 20' and 29° W N., and Ion. 40° 10' and 50° 20' E., bounded N. by Shomer, E. by the Persian gulf, W. by Hedjaz, and S. by the Dahna or great sandy desert; pop. in 1862, according to Palgrave, 1,219,000. The country is divided into 11 provinces, and the population is distributed in 316 towns or villages. Nedjed is traversed from N. E. to S. W. by a range of mountains called Jebel Toweik, whose general form is that of a crescent. It is a wide and flat chain, or rather plateau, with an elevation of from 1,000 to 2,000 ft, above the surrounding country, or about 3,000 ft. above the sea. The extreme verge is generally abrupt, the chalky cliffs rising from the plain 500 or 600 ft. Then succeeds a table land, nearly level; then another steppe of 300 or 400 ft., followed by a second table land; and occasionally a third and loftier one crowns the whole. The entire plateau is intersected by numerous valleys of various breadth and length, but nearly all of which are bordered with steep and sometimes precipitous banks.
The plateaus are for the most part clothed with fine pasture, which lasts throughout the year; but the greater the elevation, the less is the fertility and the drier the soil. Trees, solitary or in groups, are common. Little water is to be found, the torrents that pour down the cliffs in winter being soon absorbed. In the valleys the underground supply is constant and copious. Jebel Toweik is of calcareous formation, and not granitic like the mountains of Shomer, although in the southeast peaks of granite are intermixed sometimes with the limestone rock. Iron ore is found in the W. part of the range. The soil of the valleys is light, a combination of marl, sand, and little pebbles washed down from the heights. In these valleys are concentrated the fertility and the population of central Nedjed. The climate of the N. part of the range, where the mountains are the highest, particularly in the province of Sedeyr, is as healthy as any in the world, and the inhabitants are remarkable for their ruddy complexions and well developed forms. The principal towns of this province are Atalah and Toweym, the latter having 12,-000 inhabitants.
West of Sedeyr lies Woshem, the chief town of which is Shakra; and S. of it are Aared and Yemamah, in the former of which is Riyad, the capital of Nedjed. Throughout this central region there is abundant pasture, and the sheep, camels, horses, and cattle excel those in other parts of Arabia. There is a broad-tailed breed of sheep, yielding good mutton and remarkably fine wool. Camels abound, and dromedaries are more frequently seen than in Shomer. Cows and oxen are common, of a prevailing dun color, small-limbed, and having a hump like the cattle of India. The horses are the perfection of the Arab breed, but are not common, for none but chiefs or men of wealth and rank possess them. They are small, but of exquisite shape, and generally of chestnut or gray color. Wild boars and pigs are sometimes seen in the mountains, and gazelles are numerous. Game is abundant, especially of the feathered kind, such as partridges, quails, and pigeons, but is seldom hunted. There are no venomous insects, and flies are almost unknown. - On the N. boundary of Nedjed, on the borders of Shomer, is the province of Kasim, separated from central Nedjed by a nefood or sand pass, stretching from 1ST. E. to S. W., and almost impassable in the hot months.
Kasim is a large plain, about 60 m. in width and twice as much or more in length, studded with towns and villages, towers and groves. Besides four or five large towns and more than 50 villages, its surface is strewn with smaller hamlets and isolated wells and gardens, connected with each other by a maze of paths and tracks. From here to Jebel Toweik extends a series of high watch towers, that afford the means of discerning the approach of invasion. The soil, a red or yellow sand, gives little promise to the eye, but wherever irrigated produces a rich vegetation. Water is abundant. The date palm is the staple article of cultivation, but the peach, apricot, fig, and grape are also raised. Cotton grows well, but none is raised for export. An important commerce was once carried on between Kasim and Damascus, but it has ceased to exist under Wa-habee rule. The principal walled towns of Kasim are Bereydah (pop. 25,000), and Oneysa (30,000). Hasa, another province of Nedjed, lies on the Persian gulf. Its N. part constitutes the province of Katif, but the two are considered as one district by the government. The chief town is Hofhuf. Katif, the principal seaport of Nedjed, about 80 m.
N. by E. of Hofhuf, was once a place of considerable commerce, but the neighboring island of Bahrein, in the dominions of the sultan of Oman, has absorbed most of its trade. The vegetation of Hasa differs in many respects from that of central Nedjed. The date palm still predominates, but the nabak, a mere bush inland, becomes here a stately tree. Indigo is cultivated, and cotton is more widely grown than in Yemamah or Kasim; rice fields abound, and the sugar cane is raised. Almost all the leguminous plants and the cereals, barley excepted, grow to perfection, and under a different government could be raised with profit; but heavy taxes and arbitrary contributions have ruined agriculture. Hasa was once noted for its manufactures. Its cloths of silk and wool mixture, of a delicacy of work and elegance of pattern unknown elsewhere save in Cashmere, and its embroidered cloaks of brilliant colors, bordered with gold and silver threads, were famed in the eastern world. Its artisans in the precious metals, copper, and brass were unrivalled. But Wahabee fanaticism and proscription of all luxuries has cut off these branches of labor, which once supplied an important commerce.
The climate of the coast is not so healthy as that inland, and the people are more sallow in complexion, and have less physical activity. A large part of the remainder of Nedjed is a desert interspersed with occasional oases. The great pilgrim routes from Persia to the holy cities He across Nedjed; the more northerly one. to Medina, through the province of Ka-sira, that to Mecca along the X. base of Jebel Toweik. The caravans are made to pay exorbitant tribute, for the Persians and all others who are not strict Wahabees are regarded as heretics whom it is right to despoil. - Nedjed contains two diverse elements in its population, those who are strict Wahabees in faith and those who are Wahabees by subjection only. The former class predominates in the provinces of Aared, Woshem, Sedeyr, Aflaj, Dowasir, and Yemamah. In the other provinces there is not much attachment to the reigning dynasty, and the people are unsettled in their opin-ions., Hasa, Katif, and Kasim are subject to Nedjed only because they are unable to free themselves, the majority of the people being Mohammedans, but not Wahabees. The government is a pure despotism. The military muster of the sultanate is about 50.000 men. Two or three miserable vessels at Katif constitute the navy.
The annual revenue is estimated by Palgrave at about £100,000, with a nearly equal income from extraordinary contributions tines, spoils of war, etc. - For the earlier history of Nedjed see Wahabees. In 1834 Turky, the sultan of Nedjed, who was actively engaged in reconstructing his kingdom, ruined by the Egyptian invasion, was assassinated by hi-; cousin Mashary, who usurped the throne. Faisul, Turky's son, returned at once from Hasa, where he had been besieging Hof-huf, slew Mashary, and assumed the sovereignty. The Egyptians again overran Nedjed in 1838, and Faisul surrendered to their commander; but in 1843 he returned to Riyad and reestablished himself as the legitimate head of the Wahabees. He died in 1865, and was succeeded by his son Abdallah. against whom his younger brother Turky successfully revolted. Abdallah, expelled, sought aid from the Sublime Porte, which sent an armed force and in 1874 took possession of Hasa on the east, while on the west another body of troops occupied Lahe, but with what result so far as Nedjed is concerned is not now (February, 1875) known. - See Palgrave's "Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia" (London, 1865), and Pelly's "Visit to the Wahabee Capital," in the "Journal of the London Geographical Society" (1805).