Medieval Islamic History
Modern humans first came to the Arabian Peninsula from Africa, following the coastline in small boats, probably about 60,000 BC, in the Old Stone Age. They were hunters and gatherers. By 2000 BC (or possibly earlier) Semitic-speaking people had moved into the Arabian Peninsula, this time coming from the north. They were nomads when they arrived, who travelled around with their sheep and goats pasturing them in different pastures at different times of year. And they stayed nomads: many of them are nomads today.
By the time of Alexander the Great, we start to know a little more about the Arabs, because the Greeks were trading with them. The Romans also traded with the Arabs, who got spices and other things from India and sold them to the Romans for gold.
The Prophet Mohammed was born in the northern Arabian trading city of Mecca between 570 and 580 AD. When he was forty years old, he heard the angel Gabriel speaking to him and telling Mohammed that he was a prophet in the line of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, who would continue the faith those prophets had started. Mohammed's faith was called Islam (iz-LAMM). After a slow start, Mohammed made a lot of converts to his religion, and after he won some military battles, most of the other Arabic tribes also converted to Islam. After they had done that, Mohammed's successors attacked first the Romans and then the Sassanids to convert them. By 640 (after the death of Mohammed) the Arabs controlled most of West Asia, and soon after that, under the rule of the Umayyad caliphs, they conquered Egypt. By 711, the Umayyads controlled all of Western Asia except Turkey (which was still part of the Roman Empire), and all of the southern Mediterranean: Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and most of Spain.