By training and temperament he was better qualified to appreciate and describe the social life of the people than their physical surroundings, and if the results of his great journey are disappointing to the geographer, his account of the society of the oasis towns, and of the remarkable men who were then ruling in Hail and Riad, must always possess an absorbing interest as a portrait of Arab life in its freest development.
At Riad, Fesal, who had been in power since the Egyptian retirement, was still reigning; and the religious tyranny of Wahhabism prevailed, in marked contrast to the liberal regime of Talal in Jebel Shammar.
Aeaving Riad, they passed through Yemama, and across a strip of sandy desert to El Hasa where Palgrave found himself in more congenial surroundings.
Nolde - who arrived there in 1893, not long after the amir had by his victory over the combined forces of Riad and Kasim brought the whole of Nejd under his dominion.
Hanifa is its principal watercourse; its course is marked by an almost continuous series of palm groves and settlements, among which Deraiya the former, and Riad the present, capital of the Ibn Saud kingdom are the most extensive.
Other important routes leading to Nejd are those from Kuwet to Hail, and from El Hasa to Riad respectively.
In 1824 Turki, son of the unfortunate Abdallah, headed a rising which resulted in the re-establishment of the Wahhabi state with Riad as its new capital; and during the next ten years he consolidated his power, paying tribute to and under the nominal suzerainty of Egypt till his murder in 1834.
The few remaining Egyptian troops were ejected from Riad, and with them all semblance of Egyptian or Turkish rule disappeared from central Arabia.
Driven into exile owing to a feud between his family and the Ibn Ali, the leading family of the Shammar, Abdallah came to Riad in 1830, and was favourably received by the amir Turki.
By Abdallah's advice the expedition was abandoned; Fesal hastened back with all his forces to Riad, and invested the citadel where Masharah had taken refuge, but failed to gain possession of it, until Abdallah with two companions found his way into the palace, killed Masharah, and placed Fesal on the throne of his father.
During the exile of the latter he steadily consolidated his power, extending his influence more especially over the desert tribes, till on Fesal's return in 1842 he had created a state subject only in name to that of which Riad was the capital.
In that year Abdallah, who had succeeded Fesal in Riad in 1867, was deposed, but with the assistance of Mahommed was reinstated; two years later, however, he was again deposed and forced to seek refuge at Hail, from which place he appealed for assistance to the Turkish authorities at Bagdad.
Owing to the dissensions among the ruling family of Riad, the towns of eastern Nejd gradually reverted to their former condition of independence, but menaced in turn by the growing power of Hail, they formed a coalition under the leadership of Zamil, sheik of Aneza, and in the spring of 1891, Aneza, Bureda, Shakra, Ras and Riad assembled their contingents to contest with Ibn Rashid the supremacy in Nejd.
Aneza and Bureda surrendered the same day, and shortly after Ras, Shakra and Riad tendered their submission.
In the meantime Sheik Mubarak had found useful allies in the Muntafik Arabs from the lower Euphrates, and the Wahhabis of Riad; the latter under the amir Ibn Saud marched against Ibn Rashid, who at the instigation of the Porte had again threatened Kuwet (Koweit), compelled him to retire to his own territory and took possession of the towns of Bureda and Aneza.