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The Eastern Province (Arabic: المنطقة الشرقية al-Mintaqah ash-Sharqīyah), also known as the Eastern Region, and officially the Emirate of the Eastern Province, is the easternmost of the 13 provinces of Saudi Arabia. It is the largest province by area and the third most populous after the Riyadh Province and the Makkah Province. In 2017, the population was 4,900,325. Of these, 3,140,362 were Saudi citizens and 1,759,963 were foreign nationals The province accounts for 15.05% of the entire population of Saudi Arabia and is named for its geographical location relative to the rest of the kingdom.
More than a third of the population is concentrated in the Dammam metropolitan area. With an estimated population of 1.25 million as of 2019, Dammam, the capital of the province, is the sixth most populous city in the kingdom. The incumbent governor of the province is Prince Saud bin Nayef Al Saud. Other populous cities in the province include Hofuf, Mubarraz, Hafr al-Batin, Jubail and Khobar. The region is extremely popular among tourists for its beaches on the Persian Gulf and proximity to the other countries of the eastern Arab world, such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, with the latter being linked to the province via the 25 km (15 mi) long King Fahd Causeway. The region also shares a border with Oman. The province is bordered to the west, from north to south, by the provinces of the Northern Borders, Ha'il, Qassim, Riyadh and Najran.
The Eastern Province encompasses the entire east coast of Saudi Arabia and acts as a major platform for most of the kingdom's oil production and exports. Oil was first found in the country in the Eastern Province, at the Prosperity Well site (formerly known as Dammam No.7). The Ghawar oil field, located in the Ahsa Governorate, measuring 8400 sq.km. (3240 sq.mi.) is the largest oil field in the world, and accounts for roughly a third of the kingdom's oil production. The Safaniya oil field, located off the coast of the province, is the largest offshore oil field in the world. The Jubail Industrial City, part of the city of Jubail, the fifth most populous in the province, is the largest industrial city in the world.The area was largely uninhabited until the Iron Age, when a few people migrated over from the Achaemenid and Macedonian empires. For most of the early medieval period, the region was under Persian and Sasanian rule until the advent of Islam under Muhammad, and subsequently, the Islamic empires during the Islamic Golden Age. After a brief period of British rule during the early modern period, the Unification of Saudi Arabia led to the consolidation of the region into the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd, which in 1932, was united into the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.