Out of the chaos that followed the razing of Dir‘iyya, the deportation, torture and mutilation of many Saud family members and sons of Sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, and the in-fighting of claimants to the rule, Imam Turki ibn Abdullah al- Saud finally emerged as leader. Imam Turki expelled Ottoman occupying forces. In 1824, choosing Riyad as the capital, he went on to revive the spirit of the Reform Movement, unifying Najd and al-Ahsa once again.
Between 1820 and 1824, Riyad emerged as the chief garrison town. When in 1823 Imam Turki ibn Abdullah emerged from hiding, he benefited from the long-standing Saud roots in the area and the people’s loyalty to the Saud family, which was supportive of the Reform Movement and establishing security, stability and unity of the people. By 1824 Imam Turki ibn Abdullah was able to force out the Ottoman forces, first from southern Najd, and then from the al-Qassim region. Because of the devastation in Dir‘iyya, the well-maintained garrison town of Riyad made the obvious choice as the capital of the Second Saudi State.
In 1889, Prince ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Faisal, became the legitimate Imam of the Saudi State after the death of his brother, Imam Abdallah. With the tide turning against him, in 1891, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman decided to retreat into temporary exile and take his family, including his young son, the future King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, with him.