Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...

Western Asia
. It is situated in the northern edge of
Eastern Arabia Eastern Arabia was historically known as ''Al-Bahrain'' ( ar, اَلْبَحْرَيْنِ) until the 18th century. This region stretched from the south of Basra along the Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=Xa ...
at the tip of the
Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of , ) is a in . The body of water is an extension of the () through the and lies between to the northeast and the to the southwest.United Nations Group of Exper ...
, bordering
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

the north North is a cardinal direction or compass point. North or The North may also refer to: Places * North, South Carolina, a town in the United States * North (London sub region), a sub-region of the London Plan * Northern Canada or the North, northe ...
Saudi Arabia (''Shahada'') , national_anthem = "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia, " "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia" , image_map = Saudi Arabia (orthographic projection).svg , capital = Riyadh , coordinates ...

Saudi Arabia
the south
the south
. Kuwait also shares
maritime border A maritime boundary is a conceptual division of the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continent A continent is ...
s with
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

. Kuwait has a coastal length of approximately . Most of the country's population reside in the
urban agglomeration An urban area, or built-up area, is a human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number o ...
of the capital city
Kuwait City Kuwait City ( ar, مدينة الكويت) is the capital and largest city of Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West A ...

Kuwait City
. , Kuwait has a population of 4.67 million people of which 1.45 million are Kuwaiti citizens while the remaining 3.2 million are foreign nationals from over 100 countries. Historically, Kuwait was a strategic trade port between
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

, Persia and India. Oil reserves were discovered in commercial quantities in 1938. In 1946, crude oil was exported for the first time. From 1946 to 1982, the country underwent large-scale modernization, largely based on income from oil production. In the 1980s, Kuwait experienced a period of geopolitical instability and an economic crisis following the
stock market crash A stock market crash is a sudden dramatic decline of stock In finance, stock (also capital stock) consists of all of the shares In financial markets A financial market is a market in which people trade financial securities and deri ...
. In 1990, Kuwait was
invaded An invasion is a Offensive (military), military offensive in which large numbers of combatants of one geopolitics, geopolitical Legal entity, entity aggressively enter territory (country subdivision), territory owned by another such entity, gene ...
, and later
annexed upCivilians and coalition military forces wave Kuwaiti and Saudi Arabian flags as they celebrate the reversal of the annexation of Kuwait by Iraq (28 February 1991). Annexation (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging t ...
into one of Iraq's
governorates A governorate is an administrative division of a country. It is headed by a governor. As English-speaking nations tend to call regions administered by governors either State (administrative division), states or provinces, the term ''governorate'' i ...
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Saddam Hussein Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti (; Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a lis ...

Saddam Hussein
. The Iraqi occupation of Kuwait came to an end in 1991 after
military intervention An invasion is a military offensive in which large numbers of combatants of one geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek γῆ ''gê'' "earth, land" and πολιτική ''politikḗ'' "politics") is the study of the effects of Earth's geography ...
by a
military coalition The term "coalition" is the denotation for a group formed when two or more people, factions, states, political parties, militaries etc. agree to work together temporarily in a partnership to achieve a common goal. The word coalition connotes a co ...
led by the United States and various other countries. Kuwait is an
emirate An emirate is a territory ruled by an emir Emir (; ar, أمير ' ), sometimes Romanization of Arabic, transliterated amir, amier, or ameer, is a word of Arabic language, Arabic origin that can refer to a male monarch, aristocratic, aristoc ...
. The
Emir Emir (; ar, أمير ' ), sometimes Romanization of Arabic, transliterated amir, amier, or ameer, is a word of Arabic language, Arabic origin that can refer to a male monarch, aristocratic, aristocrat, holder of high-ranking military or politic ...

is the head of state and the
Al Sabah The House of Al Sabah ( ar, آل صباح ''Āl Ṣubāḥ'') is the ruling family of Kuwait. History Prior to settling in Kuwait, the Al Sabah family were expelled from Umm Qasr in Iraq by the Ottoman Empire, Ottomans due to their predatory h ...
is the ruling family which dominates the country's political system. Kuwait's official state religion is
Maliki The ( ar, مَالِكِي) school is one of the four major madhhab A ' ( ar, مذهب ', , "way to act") is a school of thought within '' fiqh'' (Islamic jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of law. Sc ...
Sunni Islam. Kuwait is a
developed country A developed country (or industrialized country, high-income country, more economically developed country (MEDC), advanced country) is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized governm ...
with a high-income economy backed by the world's . The
Kuwaiti dinar The Kuwaiti dinar ( ar, دينار كويتي, code In communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entities or Organization, groups ...
is the highest valued currency in the world. Kuwait is the fifth richest country in the world by gross national income per capita. In 2009, Kuwait had the highest
Human Development Index The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, its current age, and ot ...
in the Arab world. Kuwait has the largest number of
stateless people In international law, a stateless person is someone who is "not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law". Some stateless people are also refugees. However, not all refugees are stateless, and many people who are stat ...
in the entire region. Kuwait is a founding member of the and a
major non-NATO ally Major non-NATO ally (MNNA) is a designation given by the United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national government of the United States The United States of America ...
to the United States. Kuwait also has strong economic ties to China and
ASEAN ASEAN; ( , ) officially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is an economic union comprising 10 member states in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southe ...

. In 2020, the Kuwaiti government experienced its first fiscal deficit since 1995. Under the
Belt and Road Initiative The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, or B&R), known in Chinese and formerly in English as One Belt One Road ( zh, link=no, 一带一路) or OBOR for short, is a global infrastructure development Development or developing may refer to: Art ...

Belt and Road Initiative
, Kuwait and China have many important cooperation projects including South al-Mutlaa and
Mubarak Al Kabeer Port Mubarak Al Kabeer Port is a port in Bubiyan Island, Kuwait. The port is part of China's Belt and Road Initiative. Mubarak Al Kabeer Port is currently under construction. In April 2021, the port's first phase was completed (4 Berth (moorings), berths ...
. Kuwait currently has the largest US military presence in the Middle East.



Following the post-glacial flooding of the Persian Gulf basin, debris from the Tigris–Euphrates river formed a substantial delta, creating most of the land in present-day Kuwait and establishing the present coastlines. Historically, northern Kuwait was part of ancient
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

. One of the earliest evidence of human habitation in southern Kuwait dates back 8000 B.C. where
Mesolithic The Mesolithic (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

tools were found in Burgan. The Neolithic inhabitants of Kuwait were among the world's earliest maritime traders. During the
Ubaid period The Ubaid period (c. 6500–3800 BC) is a prehistory, prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The name derives from Tell al-'Ubaid where the earliest large excavation of Ubaid period material was conducted initially by Henry Hall (Egyptologist), Henry H ...
(6500 BC), Kuwait was the central site of interaction between the peoples of
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

and Neolithic
Eastern Arabia Eastern Arabia was historically known as ''Al-Bahrain'' ( ar, اَلْبَحْرَيْنِ) until the 18th century. This region stretched from the south of Basra along the Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=Xa ...
, including
Bahra 1 Bahra 1 is an archaeological site in the Subiya, Kuwait, Subiya region on the coast of Kuwait Bay (Kuwait) associated with the Ubaid period, Ubaid culture. It is one of the earliest Ubaid culture settlements in the Persian Gulf region, about 5500 ...
and site H3 in Subiya. One of the world's earliest reed-boats was discovered at site H3 dating back to the Ubaid period. Other Neolithic sites in Kuwait are located in Khiran and Sulaibikhat.
Mesopotamian Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a of situated within the , in the northern part of the . Mesopotamia occupies most of presen ...

s first settled in the Kuwaiti island of
Failaka Failaka Island ( ar, فيلكا '' / ''; Kuwaiti Arabic: فيلچا ) is a Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated in the north ...

in 2000 B.C. Traders from the
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

ian city of inhabited Failaka and ran a mercantile business. The island had many Mesopotamian-style buildings typical of those found in
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

dating from around 2000 B.C. In 4000 BC until 2000 BC, the bay of Kuwait was home to the
Dilmun civilization Dilmun, or Telmun, (Sumerian: , later 𒉌𒌇(𒆠), ni.tukki = DILMUNki; ar, دلمون) was an ancient East Semitic The East Semitic languages are one of three divisions Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematic ...
. Dilmun's control of the bay of Kuwait included mainland Akkaz, Umm an Namil Island, and
Failaka Island Failaka Island ( ar, فيلكا '' / ''; Kuwaiti Arabic: فيلچا ) is a Kuwaiti Island in the Persian Gulf. The island is 20 km off the coast of Kuwait City in the Persian Gulf. The name "Failaka" is thought to be derived from the ancient ...

Failaka Island
. At its peak in 2000 BC, the Dilmun empire controlled the trade routes from Mesopotamia to India and the
Indus Valley civilization The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), also known as the Indus Civilisation, was a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is ...

Indus Valley civilization
. Dilmun's commercial power began to decline after 1800 BC. Piracy flourished throughout the region during Dilmun's decline. After 600 BC, the Babylonians added Dilmun to their empire. During the Dilmun era (from ca. 3000 BC), Failaka was known as "
Agarum Agarum (also transliterated as Agaru or Akarum, cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early B ...
", the land of
Enzak Inzak was a god worshipped by the people of Dilmun Dilmun, or Telmun, (Sumerian: , later 𒉌𒌇(𒆠), ni.tukki = DILMUNki; ar, دلمون) was an ancient East Semitic-speaking civilization in Eastern Arabia mentioned from the 3rd millennium BC ...
, a great god in the Dilmun civilization according to Sumerian cuneiform texts found on the island. As part of Dilmun, Failaka became a hub for the civilization from the end of the 3rd to the middle of the 1st millennium BC. Failaka was settled following 2000 BC after a drop in sea level. After the Dilmun civilization, Failaka was inhabited by the
Kassites The Kassites () were people of the ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratificati ...
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

, and was formally under the control of the Kassite dynasty of Babylon. Studies indicate traces of human settlement can be found on Failaka dating back to as early as the end of the 3rd millennium BC, and extending until the 20th century AD. Many of the artifacts found in Falaika are linked to Mesopotamian civilizations and seem to show that Failaka was gradually drawn toward the civilization based in
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
. Under
Nebuchadnezzar II Nebuchadnezzar II (Babylonian cuneiform: ''Nabû-kudurri-uṣur'', meaning "Nabu, watch over my heir"; Biblical Hebrew: ''Nəḇūḵaḏneʾṣṣar''), also spelled Nebuchadrezzar II, was the second king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, ruling f ...
, Failaka was under
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
n control. Cuneiform documents found in Failaka indicate the presence of Babylonians in the island's population.
Babylonian Kings The king of Babylon (Akkadian language, Akkadian: ''šar Bābili'') was the ruler of the ancient Mesopotamia, Mesopotamian city of Babylon and its kingdom, Babylonia, which existed as an independent realm from the 19th century BC to its fall in the ...
were present in Failaka during the
Neo-Babylonian Empire The Neo-Babylonian Empire, also known as the Second Babylonian Empire and historically known as the Chaldean Empire, was the last of the Mesopotamian empires to be ruled by monarchs native to Mesopotamia. Beginning with Nabopolassar's coronation as ...

Neo-Babylonian Empire
Nabonidus Nabonidus (Babylonian cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the begi ...

had a governor in Failaka and Nebuchadnezzar II had a palace and temple in Falaika. Failaka also contained temples dedicated to the worship of
Shamash Utu, later worshipped by the East Semitic Akkadian language, Akkadian-speaking Babylonians as Shamash, ''šmš'', syc, ܫܡܫܐ ''šemša'', he, שֶׁמֶשׁ ''šemeš'', ar, شمس ''šams'', Ashurian Aramaic: 𐣴𐣬𐣴 ''š'meš(ā)'' ...

, the Mesopotamian sun god in the Babylonian pantheon. During the
Achaemenid period The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian peoples, Iranian empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great ...
(c. 550‒330 BC), the bay of Kuwait was repopulated after seven centuries of abandonment. In 4th century BC, the
ancient Greeks Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era was ...
colonized the bay of Kuwait under
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
. The ancient Greeks named mainland Kuwait ''Larissa'' and Failaka was named ''
Ikaros IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun) is a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA The is the Japanese national aerospace and space agency. Through the merger of three previously independent organizations ...
''. The bay of Kuwait was named ''Hieros Kolpos''. According to
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. The eye that is focused on an object can alternate. The condition may be pre ...

Arrian Arrian of Nicomedia (; Ancient Greek, Greek: ''Arrianos''; la, Lucius Flavius Arrianus; ) was a Greek people, Greek historian, public servant, military commander and philosopher of the Roman Greece, Roman period. ''The Anabasis of Alex ...

, Alexander the Great named Failaka ''Ikaros'' because it resembled the Aegean island of that name in size and shape. Some elements of
Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psyc ...
were mixed with the local cults in Failaka. "Ikaros" was also the name of a prominent city situated in Failaka. Remains of Greek colonization were also discovered in Akkaz and Umm an Namil. Large
Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31  ...

fort A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, g ...
s and
Greek temple Greek temples ( grc, ναός, naós, dwelling, semantically distinct from Latin language, Latin , "temple") were structures built to house deity statues within Greek sanctuaries in ancient Greek religion. The temple interiors did not serve as m ...

Greek temple
s were uncovered. In 127 BC, Kuwait was part of the
Parthian Empire The Parthian Empire (), also known as the Arsacid Empire (), was a major political and cultural power in from 247 BC to 224 AD. Its latter name comes from its founder, , who led the tribe in conquering the region of in 's northeast, ...

Parthian Empire
and the kingdom of
Characene Characene (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycena ...
was established around Teredon in present-day Kuwait. Characene was centered in the region encompassing southern Mesopotamia, Characene coins were discovered in Akkaz, Umm an Namil, and Failaka. A busy Parthian commercial station was situated in Kuwait. In 224 AD, Kuwait became part of the
Sassanid Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ''Ērānshahr The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its ...
. At the time of the Sassanid Empire, Kuwait was known as ''Meshan'', which was an alternative name of the kingdom of Characene. Akkaz was a -
Sassanian The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians ( Middle Persian: 𐭠𐭩𐭥𐭠𐭭𐭱𐭲𐭥𐭩 '' Ērānshahr''), and called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last Persian imperial dynasty bef ...
site; the Sassanid religion's
tower of silence A tower is a tall structure, taller than it is wide, often by a significant factor. Towers are distinguished from masts by their lack of guy-wires and are therefore, along with tall buildings, self-supporting structures. Towers are specific ...

tower of silence
was discovered in northern Akkaz. In addition to -Sasanian settlements, Akkaz also contained Christian settlements. The earliest recorded mention of Kuwait was in 150 AD in the geographical treatise ''
Geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and Solar System, planets. The first person t ...
'' by Greek scholar
Ptolemy Claudius Ptolemy (; grc-koi, Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος, , ; la, Claudius Ptolemaeus; AD) was a mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes ...
. Ptolemy mentioned the Bay of Kuwait as ''Hieros Kolpos'' (''Sacer Sinus'' in the Latin versions).
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koi ...

Nestorian Nestorianism is a polysemic Polysemy ( or ; from grc-gre, πολύ-, , "many" and , , "sign") is the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple meanings, usually related by contiguity of meaning within a semantic field. Polysemy is thus ...
settlements flourished in Akkaz and Failaka from the 5th century until the 9th century. Excavations have revealed several farms, villages and two large churches dating from the 5th and 6th century. Archaeologists are currently excavating nearby sites to understand the extent of the settlements that flourished in the eighth and ninth centuries A.D. An old island tradition is that a community grew up around a Christian mystic and hermit. The small farms and villages were eventually abandoned. Remains of
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
era Nestorian churches were found at Al-Qusur in Failaka. Pottery at the site can be dated from as early as the first half of the 7th century through the 9th century. In 636 AD, the
Battle of Chains The Battle of Sallasil ( ar, معركة ذات السلاسل ''Dhat al-Salasil'') or the Battle of Chains was the first battle fought between the Rashidun Caliphate and the Sasanian Empire, Sasanian Persian Empire. The battle was fought in Kazim ...
between the Sassanid Empire and
Rashidun Caliphate The Rashidun Caliphate ( ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلرَّاشِدَةُ, al-Khilāfah ar-Rāšidah) was the first of the four major caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an ...
was fought in Kuwait near the town of . At the time, Kuwait was under the control of the Sassanid Empire. The Battle of Chains was the first battle of the Rashidun Caliphate in which the Muslim army sought to extend its frontiers. As a result of Rashidun victory in 636 AD, the bay of Kuwait was home to the city of (also known as "Kadhima" or "Kāzimah") in the early Islamic era. Medieval Arabic sources contain multiple references to the bay of Kuwait in the early Islamic period. According to medieval sources, the city functioned as a trade port and resting place for pilgrims on their way from Iraq to Hejaz. The city was controlled by the kingdom of
Al-Hirah Al-Hirah ( ar, الحيرة ''al-Ḥīrah'', syr, ܚܝܪܬܐ ''Ḥīrtā'', Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian la ...
in Iraq. In the early Islamic period, the bay of Kuwait was known for being a fertile area. The was also a stop for caravans coming from
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Tu ...

and Mesopotamia en route to the Arabian Peninsula. The poet Al-Farazdaq was born in the Kuwaiti city of Kazma. Al-Farazdaq is recognized as one of the greatest classical poets of the Arabs.

1521–1918: Founding

In 1521, Kuwait was under
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

control. In the late 16th century, the Portuguese built a defensive settlement in Kuwait. In 1613,
Kuwait City Kuwait City ( ar, مدينة الكويت) is the capital and largest city of Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West A ...

Kuwait City
was founded as a
fishing village A fishing village is a village, usually located near a , with an based on catching and harvesting . The continents and islands around the world have coastlines totalling around 356,000 kilometres (221,000 mi). From times, these coastline ...
predominantly populated by fishermen. Administratively, it was a sheikhdom, ruled by local
sheikh Sheikh ( , ; ar, شيخ ' , mostly pronounced , plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of le ...

s from
Bani Khalid Bani Khalid ( ar, بني خالد) is an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the t ...
clan. In 1682 or 1716, the
Bani Utbah ) , type = , image = , alt = , caption = , nisba = al-Utbah , location = Arabia , descended = , branches = Al Sabah , religion = Sunni Islam Sunni Islam () is by far the largest Islamic schools ...
settled in Kuwait City, which at this time was still inhabited by
fishermen A fisher or fisherman is someone who captures fish Fish are Aquatic animal, aquatic, craniate, gill-bearing animals that lack Limb (anatomy), limbs with Digit (anatomy), digits. They form a sister group to the tunicates, together forming t ...

and primarily functioned as a fishing village under Bani Khalid control. Sometime after the death of the Bani Khalid's leader Barrak Bin Urair and the fall of the Bani Khalid Emirate, the Utub were able to wrest control of Kuwait as a result of successive matrimonial alliances. In the early eighteenth century, Kuwait prospered as a maritime
port city A port is a maritime Maritime may refer to: Geography * Maritime Alps, a mountain range in the southwestern part of the Alps * Maritime Region, a region in Togo * Maritime Southeast Asia * The Maritimes, the Canadian provinces of ...
and rapidly became the principal commercial center for the transit of goods between
Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد ) is the capital of Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, ...

, India,
Muscat Muscat ( ar, مَسْقَط, ) is the Capital (political), capital city and is the most populated city in Oman. It is the seat of the Muscat (governorate), Governorate of Muscat. According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information ( ...

, and
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...
. By the mid 1700s, Kuwait had established itself as the major trading route from the Persian Gulf to
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. During the Persian siege of Basra in 1775–79, Iraqi merchants took refuge in Kuwait and were partly instrumental in the expansion of Kuwait's boat-building and trading activities. As a result, Kuwait's maritime commerce boomed, as the Indian trade routes with Baghdad, Aleppo, Smyrna and Constantinople were diverted to Kuwait during this time. The East India Company was diverted to Kuwait in 1792. The East India Company secured the sea routes between Kuwait, India and the east coasts of Africa. After the Persians withdrew from Basra in 1779, Kuwait continued to attract trade away from Basra. The flight of many of Basra's leading merchants to Kuwait continued to play a significant role in Basra's commercial stagnation well into the 1850s. Instability in Basra helped foster economic prosperity in Kuwait. In the late 18th century, Kuwait was a haven for Basra merchants fleeing Ottoman government, Ottoman persecution. Kuwait was the center of boat building in the Persian Gulf, its ships renowned throughout the Indian Ocean. Kuwaitis also developed a reputation as the best sailors in the Persian Gulf. In the 19th century, Kuwait became significant in the horse trading, horse trade, with regular shipments in sailing vessels. In the mid 19th century, it was estimated that Kuwait exported an average of 800 horses to India annually. In the 1890s, threatened by the Ottoman Empire, ruler Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, Mubarak Al Sabah signed an agreement with the Presidencies and provinces of British India, British government in India (subsequently known as the Anglo-Kuwaiti Agreement of 1899) making Kuwait a British protectorate. This gave Britain exclusive access and trade with Kuwait, while denying Ottoman provinces to the north a port on the Persian Gulf. The Sheikhdom of Kuwait remained a British protectorate until 1961. During the Mubarak Al-Sabah, reign of Mubarak, Kuwait was dubbed the "Marseilles of the Persian Gulf" because its economic vitality attracted a large variety of people. The population was cosmopolitan and ethnically diverse, including Arabs, Persians, Africans, History of the Jews in Kuwait, Jews and Armenians in Kuwait#History, Armenians. Kuwait was known for its religious tolerance. In the first decades of the twentieth century, Kuwait had a well-established elite: wealthy trading families linked by marriage and shared economic interests, long-settled and urban, most claiming descent from the original 30 Bani Utubi families. The wealthiest were merchants who acquired their wealth from long-distance commerce, shipbuilding and pearling. They were a cosmopolitan elite who traveled extensively to India, Africa and Europe, and educated their sons abroad more than other Gulf Arab elite. Western visitors noted the Kuwaiti elite used European office systems, typewriters, and followed European culture with curiosity. The richest were involved in general trade. The Kuwaiti merchant families of Al-Ghanim and Al-Hamad were estimated to be worth Millionaire, millions before the 1940s. In the early 20th century, Kuwait immensely declined in regional economic importance, mainly due to many trade blockades and the world economic depression. Before Mary Bruins Allison visited Kuwait in 1934, Kuwait lost its prominence in long-distance trade. During World War I, the British Empire imposed a trade blockade against Kuwait because Kuwait's ruler at the time, Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, supported the Ottoman Empire. The British economic blockade heavily damaged Kuwait's economy.

1919–1945: After World War I

In 1919, Sheikh Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah intended to build a commercial city in the south of Kuwait. This caused a diplomatic crisis with Najd, but Britain intervened, discouraging Sheikh Salim. In 1920, an attempt by the Ikhwan to build a stronghold in southern Kuwait led to the Battle of Hamdh. The Battle of Hamdh involved 2,000 Ikhwan fighters against 100 Kuwaiti cavalrymen and 200 Kuwaiti infantrymen. The battle lasted for six days and resulted in heavy but unknown casualties on both sides resulting in the victory of the Ikhwan forces and leading to the battle of Jahra around the Kuwait Red Fort. The Battle of Jahra happened as the result of the Battle of Hamdh. A force of three to four thousand Ikhwan, led by Faisal Al-Dawish, attacked the Kuwait Red Fort, Red Fort at Al-Jahra, defended by fifteen hundred men. The fort was besieged and the Kuwaiti position precarious; had the fort fallen, Kuwait would likely have been incorporated into Ibn Saud's empire. The Ikhwan attack repulsed for the while, negotiations began between Salim and Al-Dawish; the latter threatened another attack if the Kuwaiti forces did not surrender. The local merchant class convinced Salim to call in help from British troops, who showed up with airplanes and three warships, ending the attacks. After the Battle of Jahra, Ibn Saud's warriors, the Ikhwan, demanded that Kuwait follows five rules: evict all the Shias, adopt the Wahhabism, Ikhwan doctrine, label the Turks "heretics", abolish smoking, Munkar (disambiguation), munkar and prostitution, and destroy the American missionary hospital. The Kuwait–Najd War of 1919–20 erupted in the aftermath of World War I. The war occurred because Ibn Saud of Najd wanted to annex Kuwait. The sharpened conflict between Kuwait and Najd led to the death of hundreds of Kuwaitis. The war resulted in sporadic border clashes throughout 1919–1920. When Percy Cox was informed of the border clashes in Kuwait, he sent a letter to the Emirate of Arabistan, Ruler of Arabistan Sheikh Khazʽal Ibn Jabir offering the Kuwaiti throne to either him or one of his heirs, knowing that Khaz'al would be a wiser ruler than the Al Sabah family. Khaz'al, who considered the Al Sabah as his own family, replied "Do you expect me to allow the stepping down of Al Mubarak from the throne of Kuwait? Do you think I can accept this?" He then asked: Following the Kuwait–Najd War in 1919–20, Ibn Saud imposed a trade blockade against Kuwait from the years 1923 until 1937. The goal of the Saudi economic and military attacks on Kuwait was to annex as much of Kuwait's territory as possible. At the Uqair Protocol of 1922, Uqair conference in 1922, the boundaries of Kuwait and Najd were set; as a result of British interference, Kuwait had no representative at the Uqair Protocol of 1922, Uqair conference. After the Uqair conference, Kuwait was still subjected to a Saudi economic blockade and intermittent Saudi Raid (military), raiding. The Great Depression harmed Kuwait's economy, starting in the late 1920s. International trading was one of Kuwait's main sources of income before oil. Kuwaiti merchants were mostly intermediary merchants. As a result of the decline of European demand for goods from India and Africa, Kuwait's economy suffered. The decline in international trade resulted in an increase in gold smuggling by Kuwaiti ships to India. Some Kuwaiti merchant families became rich from this smuggling. Kuwait's pearl industry also collapsed as a result of the worldwide economic depression. At its height, Kuwait's pearl industry had led the world's luxury market, regularly sending out between 750 and 800 ships to meet the European elite's desire for pearls. During the economic depression, luxuries like pearls were in little demand. The Japanese invention of cultured pearls also contributed to the collapse of Kuwait's pearl industry. In 1937, Freya Stark wrote about the extent of poverty in Kuwait at the time: Attempts by Faisal king of Iraq to build a railway to Kuwait and port facilities on the Gulf were rejected by Britain. These and other similar British colonial policies made Kuwait a focus of the Arab national movement in Iraq, and a symbol of Iraqi humiliation at the hands of the British. Throughout the 1930s, Kuwaiti people opposed the British imposed separation of Kuwait from Iraq. In 1938, the "Free Kuwaiti Movement" was established by Kuwaiti youth who opposed British rule and submitted a petition requesting the Iraqi government reunifies Kuwait and Iraq. Due to fears of armed uprising in Kuwait, the Al Sabah agreed to the establishment of a legislative council to represent the "Free Kuwaiti Movement" demanding the reunification of Iraq and Kuwait. The council's first meeting in 1938 resulted in unanimous resolutions demanding the reunification of Kuwait and Iraq. In March 1939, a popular armed uprising erupted within Kuwait to reunify with Iraq. The Al Sabah family, along with British military support, violently put down the uprising, and killed and imprisoned its participants. King Ghazi of Iraq publicly demanded the release of the Kuwaiti prisoners and warned the Al Sabah family to end the repression of the "Free Kuwaiti Movement".Batatu, Hanna 1978. "The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq: A Study of Iraq’s Old Landed and Commercial Classes and of its Communists, Ba’athists and Free Officers" Princeton p. 189

1946–1982: State-building

Between 1946 and 1982, Kuwait experienced a period of prosperity driven by oil and its liberal atmosphere. In popular discourse, the years between 1946 and 1982 are referred to as the "Golden Era of Kuwait". In 1950, a major public-work programme began to enable Kuwaitis to enjoy a modern standard of living. By 1952, the country became the largest oil exporter in the Persian Gulf region. This massive growth attracted many foreign workers, especially from Palestine, India, and Egypt – with the latter being particularly political within the context of the Arab Cold War. In June 1961, Kuwait became independent with the end of the Sheikhdom of Kuwait#History as a Protected State of Britain, British protectorate and the Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah became Emir of Kuwait. Kuwait's Public holidays in Kuwait, national day, however, is celebrated on 25 February, the anniversary of the coronation of Sheikh Abdullah (it was originally celebrated on 19 June, the date of independence, but concerns over the summer heat caused the government to move it). Under the terms of the newly drafted Constitution of Kuwait, Constitution, Kuwait held its first Kuwaiti parliamentary election, 1963, parliamentary elections in 1963. Kuwait was the first of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf to establish a constitution and parliament. Although Kuwait formally gained independence in 1961, Iraq initially refused to recognize the country's independence by maintaining that Kuwait is part of Iraq, albeit Iraq later briefly backed down following a show of force by Britain and Arab League support of Kuwait's independence. The short-lived Operation Vantage crisis evolved in July 1961, as the Iraqi government threatened to invade Kuwait and the invasion was finally averted following plans by the Arab League to form an international Arab force against the potential Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. As a result of Operation Vantage, the Arab League took over the border security of Kuwait and the British had withdrawn their forces by 19 October. Iraqi prime minister Abd al-Karim Qasim was killed in a coup in 1963 but, although Iraq recognised Kuwaiti independence and the military threat was perceived to be reduced, Britain continued to monitor the situation and kept forces available to protect Kuwait until 1971. There had been no Iraqi military action against Kuwait at the time: this was attributed to the political and military situation within Iraq which continued to be unstable. A treaty of friendship between Iraq and Kuwait was signed in 1963 by which Iraq recognised the 1932 border of Kuwait. The Kuwait-Iraq 1973 Sanita border skirmish evolved on 20 March 1973, when Iraqi army units occupied El-Samitah near the Kuwaiti border, which evoked an international crisis. On 6 February 1974, 1974 attack on the Japanese Embassy in Kuwait, Palestinian militants occupied the Japanese embassy in Kuwait, taking the ambassador and ten others hostage. The militants' motive was to support the Japanese Red Army members and Palestinian militants who were holding hostages on a Singaporean ferry in what is known as the Laju incident, ''Laju'' incident. Ultimately, the hostages were released, and the guerrillas allowed to fly to Aden. This was the first time Palestinian guerrillas struck in Kuwait as the Al Sabah ruling family, headed by Sheikh Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, funded the Palestinian resistance movement. Kuwait had been a regular endpoint for Palestinian aircraft hijacking, plane hijacking in the past and had considered itself safe. In the 1960s and 1970s, Kuwait was considered the most developed country in the region. Kuwait was the pioneer in the Middle East in diversifying its earnings away from oil exports. The Kuwait Investment Authority is the world's first sovereign wealth fund. From the 1970s onward, Kuwait scored highest of all Arab countries on the
Human Development Index The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, its current age, and ot ...
. Kuwait University was established in 1966. Kuwait's #Television and theatre, theatre industry was well known throughout the Arab world. In the 1960s and 1970s, Kuwait's press was described as one of the Freedom of the press, freest in the world. Kuwait was the pioneer in the literary renaissance in the Arab region. In 1958, ''Al-Arabi (magazine), Al-Arabi'' magazine was first published. The magazine went on to become the most popular magazine in the Arab world. Many Arab writers moved to Kuwait because they enjoyed greater freedom of expression than elsewhere in the Arab world. The Iraqi poet Ahmed Matar left Iraq in the 1970s to take refuge in the more liberal environment of Kuwait. Kuwaiti society embraced liberal and non-traditional attitudes throughout the 1960s and 1970s. For example, most Kuwaiti women did not wear the hijab in the 1960s and 70s.

1982–present: Modern era

In the early 1980s, Kuwait experienced a major economic crisis after the Souk Al-Manakh stock market crash and 1980s oil glut, decrease in oil price. During the Iran–Iraq War, Kuwait supported Iraq. Throughout the 1980s, there were several Terrorism in Kuwait, terror attacks in Kuwait, including the 1983 Kuwait bombings, hijacking of 1983 Kuwait bombings#Aircraft hijackings (1984–1988), several Kuwait Airways planes and the attempted assassination of Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Emir Jaber in 1985. Kuwait was a regional hub of science and technology in the 1960s and 1970s up until the early 1980s; the scientific research sector significantly suffered due to the terror attacks. After the Iran–Iraq War ended, Kuwait declined an Iraqi request to forgive its US$65 billion debt. An economic rivalry between the two countries ensued after Kuwait increased its oil production by 40 percent. Tensions between the two countries increased further in July 1990, after Iraq complained to OPEC claiming that Kuwait was stealing its oil from a field near the border by slant drilling of the Rumaila field. In August 1990, Iraqi forces Invasion of Kuwait, invaded and annexed Kuwait without any warning. After a series of failed diplomatic negotiations, the United States led a coalition to remove the Iraqi forces from Kuwait, in what became known as the Gulf War. On 26 February 1991, the coalition succeeded in driving out the Iraqi forces. As they retreated, Iraqi forces carried out a Kuwaiti oil fires, scorched earth policy by setting oil wells on fire. During the Iraqi occupation, more than 1,000 Kuwaiti civilians were killed. In addition, more than 600 Kuwaitis went missing during Iraq's occupation; remains of approximately 375 were found in mass graves in Iraq. In the early 1990s, Kuwait Palestinian exodus from Kuwait (Gulf War), expelled approximately 400,000 Palestinian expats. Kuwait's policy was a response to alignment of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and the PLO with Saddam Hussein. Kuwait also deported thousands of Iraqis and Yemenis after the Gulf War. In addition, hundreds of thousands of Bedoon, stateless Bedoon were expelled from Kuwait in the early-to-mid 1990s. At the House of Commons of the United Kingdom in 1995, it was announced that the Al Sabah ruling family deported 150,000 stateless Bedoon to refugee camps in the Kuwaiti desert near the Iraqi border with minimal water, insufficient food, and no basic shelter. The Kuwaiti authorities also threatened to murder the stateless Bedoon. As a result, many of the stateless Bedoon fled to Iraq where they still remain stateless people even today. At the time, Human Rights Watch reported the following:
"The totality of the treatment of the Bedoons amounts to a policy of denationalization of native residents, relegating them to an apartheid-like existence in their own country. The Kuwaiti government policy of harassment and intimidation of the Bedoons and of denying them the right to lawful residence, employment, travel and movement, contravene basic principles of human rights . . . Denial of citizenship to the Bedoons clearly violates international law . . ."
In March 2003, Kuwait became the springboard for the US-led invasion of Iraq. In 2005, women won the right to vote and run in elections. Upon the death of the Emir Jaber in January 2006, Sheikh Saad Al-Sabah succeeded him but was removed nine days later due to his ailing health. As a result, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was sworn in as Emir. From 2006 onwards, Kuwait suffered from chronic political deadlock between the government and parliament which resulted in multiple cabinet reshuffles and dissolutions. This significantly hampered investment and economic reforms in Kuwait, making the country's economy much more dependent on oil. From 2006 to 2009, Kuwait had the highest
Human Development Index The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, its current age, and ot ...
ranking in the Arab world. China awarded Kuwait Investment Authority an additional $700 million quota on top of $300 million awarded in March 2012. The quota is the highest to be granted by China to foreign investment entities. In 2014 and 2015, Kuwait was ranked first among Arab countries in the Global Gender Gap Report. In March 2014, David S. Cohen (attorney), David S. Cohen, then Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, accused Kuwait of funding terrorism. Since the end of the Gulf War in 1991, accusations of Kuwait and state-sponsored terrorism, Kuwait funding terrorism have been very common and come from a wide variety of sources including intelligence reports, Western government officials, scholarly research, and renowned journalists.William Mauldin
"U.S. Calls Qatar, Kuwait Lax Over Terror Financing"
''The Wall Street Journal'', 23 October 2014
From 2014 to 2015, Kuwait was frequently described as the world's Kuwait and state-sponsored terrorism, biggest source of terrorism funding, particularly for ISIS and Al-Qaeda. On 26 June 2015, a 2015 Kuwait mosque bombing, suicide bombing took place at a Shia Muslim mosque in Kuwait. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for the attack. Twenty-seven people were killed and 227 people were wounded. It was the largest terror attack in Kuwait's history. In the aftermath, a lawsuit was filed accusing the Kuwaiti government of negligence and direct responsibility for the terror attack. Due to declining oil prices since the late 2010s, Kuwait has been facing one of the worst economic crunches in the entire region. Historically, Kuwait's infrastructure projects market has underperformed its potential due to political deadlock between the government and parliament. Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City was inaugurated in mid-2016. In recent years, Kuwait has invested significantly in its economic relations with China. China has been Kuwait's largest trade partner since 2016. Under the
Belt and Road Initiative The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, or B&R), known in Chinese and formerly in English as One Belt One Road ( zh, link=no, 一带一路) or OBOR for short, is a global infrastructure development Development or developing may refer to: Art ...

Belt and Road Initiative
, Kuwait and China have various cooperation projects including South al-Mutlaa which is currently under construction in northern Kuwait. The Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Causeway is part of the first phase of the Madinat al-Hareer, Silk City project. The causeway was inaugurated in May 2019 as part of Kuwait Vision 2035, it connects Kuwait City to northern Kuwait. The Kuwait National Cultural District comprises the Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Cultural Centre, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre, Al Shaheed Park, and Al Salam Palace (Kuwait), Al Salam Palace.Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre
New Kuwait.
In 2020, Kuwait's domestic travel and tourism spending was $6.1 billion. The COVID-19 pandemic in Kuwait, COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated Kuwait's economic crisis. Kuwait's economy faced a budget deficit of $46 billion in 2020. In September 2020, Kuwait's Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah became the 16th Emir of Kuwait and the successor to Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who died at the age of 91. In October 2020, Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was appointed as the Crown Prince. Kuwait currently has the largest US military presence in the Middle East region. There are over 14,000 US military personnel stationed in the country. Camp Arifjan is the largest US military base in Kuwait.


Located in the north-east corner of the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...
, Kuwait is one of the smallest countries in the world in terms of land area. Kuwait lies between latitudes 28th parallel north, 28° and 31st parallel north, 31° N, and longitudes 46th meridian east, 46° and 49th meridian east, 49° E. Kuwait is generally low-lying, with the highest point being above sea level. Mutla Ridge is the highest point in Kuwait. Kuwait has List of islands of Kuwait, ten islands. With an area of , the Bubiyan Island, Bubiyan is the largest island in Kuwait and is connected to the rest of the country by a bridge. 0.6% of Kuwaiti land area is considered arable with sparse vegetation found along its coastline.
Kuwait City Kuwait City ( ar, مدينة الكويت) is the capital and largest city of Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West A ...

Kuwait City
is located on Kuwait Bay, a natural deep-water harbor. Kuwait's Burgan field has a total capacity of approximately of proven oil reserves. During the 1991 Kuwaiti oil fires, more than 500 oil lakes were created covering a combined surface area of about . The resulting soil contamination due to oil and soot accumulation had made eastern and south-eastern parts of Kuwait uninhabitable. Sand and oil residue had reduced large parts of the Kuwaiti desert to semi-asphalt surfaces. The oil spills during the Gulf War also drastically affected Kuwait's marine resources.


Due to Kuwait's proximity to Iraq and Iran, the winter season in Kuwait is colder than other coastal countries in the Arabian Peninsula (especially UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain). Kuwait is also less humid than other coastal regions in the Arabian Peninsula. The spring season in March is warm with occasional thunderstorms. The frequent winds from the northwest are cold in winter and hot in summer. Southeasterly damp winds spring up between July and October. Hot and dry south winds prevail in spring and early summer. The shamal, a northwesterly wind common during June and July, causes dramatic sandstorms. Summers in Kuwait are some of the hottest on earth. The highest recorded temperature was at Mitribah on 21 July 2016, which is the highest temperature recorded in Asia. Kuwait List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions per capita, emits a lot of carbon dioxide per person compared to most other countries. In 2014, Kuwait was the fourth highest country in the world in term of List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions per capita, CO2 per capita emissions after Qatar, Curaçao and Trinidad and Tobago according to the World Bank.CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita)
according to the World Bank
Access to biocapacity in Kuwait is lower than world average. In 2016, Kuwait had 0.59 global hectares of biocapacity per person within its territory, much less than the world average of 1.6 global hectares per person. In 2016 Kuwait used 8.6 global hectares of biocapacity per person - their ecological footprint of consumption. This means they use about 14.5 times as much biocapacity as Kuwait contains. As a result, Kuwait is running a biocapacity deficit.

National parks

At present, there are five protected areas in Kuwait recognized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN. In response to Kuwait becoming the List of parties to the Ramsar Convention, 169th signatory of the Ramsar Convention, Bubiyan Island's Mubarak al-Kabeer reserve was designated as the country's first Wetland of International Importance. The 50,948 ha reserve consists of small lagoons and shallow Saltmarsh, salt marshes and is important as a stop-over for migrating birds on two migration routes. The reserve is home to the world's largest breeding colony of crab-plover.


Currently, List of birds of Kuwait, 444 species of birds have been recorded in Kuwait, 18 species of which breed in the country. Kuwait is situated at the crossroads of several major bird migration routes and between two and three million birds pass each year. The marshes in northern Kuwait and Jahra have become increasingly important as a refuge for passage migrants. Kuwaiti islands are important breeding areas for four species of tern and the socotra cormorant. Kuwait's marine and littoral ecosystems contain the bulk of the country's biodiversity heritage. Twenty eight species of mammal are found in Kuwait; animals such as gerboa, desert rabbits and hedgehogs are common in the desert. Large carnivores, such as the wolf, caracal and jackal, are not found. Among the endangered mammalian species are the red fox and wild cat. Causes for wildlife extinction are habitat destruction and extensive unregulated hunting. Forty reptile species have been recorded although none are endemic to Kuwait.

Water and sanitation

Kuwait is part of the Tigris–Euphrates river system basin. Several Tigris–Euphrates confluences form parts of the Kuwait–Iraq border. Kuwait does not currently have any permanent rivers within its territory. However, Kuwait does have several List of wadis of Kuwait, wadis, the most notable of which is Wadi Al-Batin which forms the border between Kuwait and Iraq. Kuwait also has several river-like marine channels around Bubiyan Island, most notably Khawr Abd Allah which is now an estuary, but once was the point where the Shatt al-Arab emptied into the Persian Gulf. Khawr Abd Allah is located in southern Iraq and northern Kuwait, the Iraq-Kuwait border divides the lower portion of the estuary, but adjacent to the port of Umm Qasr the estuary becomes wholly Iraqi. It forms the northeast coastline of Bubiyan Island and the north coastline of Warbah Island. Kuwait relies on water desalination as a primary source of fresh water for drinking and domestic purposes. There are currently more than six desalination plants. Kuwait was the first country in the world to use desalination to supply water for large-scale domestic use. The history of desalination in Kuwait dates back to 1951 when the first distillation plant was commissioned. In 1965, the Kuwaiti government commissioned the Swedish engineering company of VBB (Sweco) to develop and implement a plan for a modern water-supply system for Kuwait City. The company built Kuwait Water Towers, five groups of water towers, thirty-one towers total, designed by its chief architect Sune Lindström, called "the mushroom towers". For a sixth site, the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, Jaber Al-Ahmed, wanted a more spectacular design. This last group, known as Kuwait Towers, consists of three towers, two of which also serve as water towers. Water from the desalination facility is pumped up to the tower. The thirty-three towers have a standard capacity of 102,000 cubic meters of water. "The Water Towers" (Kuwait Tower and the Kuwait Water Towers) were awarded the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (1980 Cycle). Kuwait's fresh water resources are limited to groundwater, desalinated seawater, and treated wastewater effluents. There are three major municipal wastewater treatment plants. Most water demand is currently satisfied through seawater desalination plants. Sewage disposal is handled by a national sewage network that covers 98% of facilities in the country.


Political system

Kuwait is a semi-constitutional
emirate An emirate is a territory ruled by an emir Emir (; ar, أمير ' ), sometimes Romanization of Arabic, transliterated amir, amier, or ameer, is a word of Arabic language, Arabic origin that can refer to a male monarch, aristocratic, aristoc ...
, which is sometimes described as "Anocracy, anocratic". The Polity data series and The Economist, Economist Democracy Index both categorize Kuwait as an autocracy (dictatorship). Freedom House rates the country as "Partly Free" in the Freedom in the World survey. The
Emir Emir (; ar, أمير ' ), sometimes Romanization of Arabic, transliterated amir, amier, or ameer, is a word of Arabic language, Arabic origin that can refer to a male monarch, aristocratic, aristocrat, holder of high-ranking military or politic ...

is the head of state. The political system consists of an Cabinet of Kuwait, appointed government (dominated by the House of Sabah, Al Sabah ruling family), Legal system of Kuwait, appointed judiciary, and National Assembly (Kuwait), elected legislature. The Constitution of Kuwait was promulgated in 1962. The Emir has suspended the constitution twice: in 1976 under Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, Sheikh Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah and 1986 under Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah. Forced disappearances are common in Kuwait especially among members of the Shia sect. Kuwait is regularly characterized as being a "rentier state" in which the ruling family uses oil revenues to buy the political acquiescence of the citizenry; more than 70% of government spending consists of public sector salaries and subsidies. Kuwait has the highest public sector wage bill in the GCC region as public sector wages account for 12.4% of GDP. Although Kuwaiti women outnumber men in the workforce, the political participation of Women in Kuwait, Kuwaiti women has been limited. Kuwaiti women are considered among the most emancipated women in the Middle East. In 2014 and 2015, Kuwait was ranked first among Arab countries in the Global Gender Gap Report. In 2013, 53% of Kuwaiti women participated in the labor force. Kuwait has higher female citizen participation in the workforce than other GCC countries. According to the Social Progress Index, Kuwait ranks first in Social Progress Index, social progress in the Arab world and Muslim world and second highest in the Middle East after Israel. Kuwait ranks among the world's top countries by List of countries by life expectancy, life expectancy, Women in the workforce, women's workforce participation, Global Food Security Index, global food security, and school security, school order and safety. Executive power is executed by the government. The Emir appoints the prime minister, who in turn chooses the Cabinet of Kuwait, cabinet of ministers comprising the government. In recent decades, numerous policies of the Kuwaiti government have been characterized as "demographic engineering", especially in relation to Kuwait's Bedoon#Kuwait, stateless Bedoon crisis and the Kuwaiti nationality law#History of naturalization in Kuwait, history of naturalization in Kuwait. The Emir appoints all the judges and many judges are foreign nationals from Egypt. The Constitutional Court is charged with ruling on the conformity of laws and decrees with the constitution. Kuwait has an active public sphere and civil society with political and social organizations that are parties in all but name. Professional groups like the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chamber of Commerce maintain their autonomy from the government. The legislative branch consists of the National Assembly (Kuwait), National Assembly, which has nominal oversight authority. As per article 107 of the Constitution of Kuwait, Kuwait constitution, the Emir can dissolve the parliament so long as an election for a new assembly are held within two months of the dissolution. Kuwait's lack of political stability has impacted the country's economic development and infrastructure.

Ruling family

Article 4 of the Constitution of Kuwait, Kuwait constitution stipulates that Kuwait is a hereditary emirate whose emir must be an heir of Mubarak Al-Sabah. Mubarak had four sons, but an informal pattern of alternation between the descendants of his sons Jaber II Al-Sabah, Jabir and Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, Salem emerged since his death in 1915. This pattern of succession had one exception before 2006, when Sheikh Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, Sabah Al-Salim, a son of Salem, was named crown prince to succeed his half-brother Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, Abdullah Al-Salem as a consequence of infighting and lack of consensus within the ruling family council. The alternating system was resumed when Sheikh Sabah Al-Salim named Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Jaber Al-Ahmed of the Jabir branch as his crown prince, eventually ruling as Emir for 29 years from 1977 to 2006. On January 15 2006, Emir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed died and his crown prince, Sheikh Saad Al-Salim Al-Sabah, Saad Al-Abdullah of the Salem branch was named Emir. On January 23 2006, the National Assembly unanimously voted in favor of Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah abdicating in favor of Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Sabah Al-Ahmed, citing his illness with a form of dementia. Instead of naming a successor from the Salem branch as per convention, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed named his half-brother Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Nawaf Al-Ahmed as crown prince and his nephew Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, Nasser Al-Mohammed as prime minister. Article 4 of the Kuwait constitution stipulates that the incoming Emir's choice of crown prince needs to be approved by an absolute majority of the National Assembly (Kuwait), National Assembly. If this approval is not achieved, the emir is theoretically required to submit three alternative candidates for crown prince to the National Assembly. This process has caused contenders for power to engage in alliance-building in the political scene, which has taken historically private feuding within the ruling family to the "public arena and the political realm."

Public feuds

Kuwaiti political scientist Mohammed Alwuhaib has argued that "members of the Al Sabah [have] interfered in and manipulated political and economic factions as a tool to weaken each other, with allegations of corruption a particularly common tactic." In August 2011, supporters of Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah "discovered" documents that incriminated up to one-third of Kuwaiti politicians in what quickly became the largest political corruption scandal in Kuwaiti history. By October 2011, 16 Kuwaiti politicians were alleged to have received payments of $350m in return for their support of government policy. In December 2013, allies of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad claimed to possess tapes purportedly showing that Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah and Jassem Al-Kharafi were discussing plans to topple the Kuwaiti government. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad appeared on local channel Al-Watan (Kuwait), Al-Watan TV describing his claims. In April 2014 the Kuwaiti government imposed a total media blackout to ban any reporting or discussion on the issue. In March 2015, Kuwait's public prosecutor dropped all investigations into the alleged coup plot and Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad read a public apology on Kuwait state television renouncing the coup allegations. Since then, "numerous associates of his have been targeted and detained by the Kuwaiti authorities on various charges," most notably members of the so-called "Fintas Group" that had allegedly been the original circulators of the fake coup video. In December 2015, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad was convicted of "disrespect to the public prosecutor and attributing a remark to the country’s ruler without a special permission from the emir’s court," issuing a suspended six-month prison sentence and a fine of 1,000 Kuwaiti Dinar. In January 2016, the Kuwaiti appeals court overturned the prior ruling and cleared Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad of all charges. In November 2018, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad, along with four other defendants, were charged in Switzerland with forgery related to the fake coup video. Shortly thereafter, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad temporarily stepped aside from his role at the International Olympic Committee, pending an ethics committee hearing into the allegations. In August 2021, Sheikh Ahmed attended court alongside three of the other four defendants. In September 2021, Sheikh Ahmed was convicted of forgery along with the four other defendants. He denied wrongdoing and plans to appeal. In November 2019, former deputy prime minister and minister of interior Khaled Al Jarrah Al Sabah, Sheikh Khaled Al Jarrah Al Sabah was dismissed from office after minister of defense Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah filed a complaint with the Kuwaiti Attorney General alleging embezzlement of 240 million Kuwaiti dinars ($794.5 million) of Kuwait government funds had taken place during Khaled's tenure as minister of defense. In July 2020, the United States Department of Justice, US Department of Justice filed an asset forfeiture claim against The Mountain Beverly Hills and other real property in the United States, alleging a group of three Kuwaiti officials, including Sheikh Khaled Al Jarrah, set up unauthorized accounts in the name of the country's Military Attache Office in London, known as the 'Army Fund.' They allegedly funded the accounts with over $100m of Kuwaiti public money and used it for their own purposes. In March 2021, the Kuwaiti ministerial court ordered the detention of Khaled Al Jarrah, who was arrested and imprisoned. On April 13 2021, a Kuwaiti court ordered the detention of former prime minister Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah on corruption charges related to the 'Army Fund.' He is the first former Kuwaiti prime minister to face pre-trial detention over Graft (politics), graft charges. The crimes allegedly took place during Jaber Al-Sabah's 2001–11 term as defense minister.

Foreign relations

The foreign affairs of Kuwait are handled at the level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Kuwait), Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The first foreign affairs department bureau was established in 1961. Kuwait became the 111th member state of the United Nations in May 1963. It is a long-standing member of the Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council. Before the Gulf War, Kuwait was the only "pro-Soviet" state in the Persian Gulf region. Kuwait acted as a conduit for the Soviets to the other Arab states of the Persian Gulf, and Kuwait was used to demonstrate the benefits of a pro-Soviet stance. In July 1987, Kuwait refused to allow U.S. military bases in its territory. As a result of the Gulf War, Kuwait's relations with the U.S. have improved (
major non-NATO ally Major non-NATO ally (MNNA) is a designation given by the United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national government of the United States The United States of America ...
). Kuwait is also a major ally of
ASEAN ASEAN; ( , ) officially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is an economic union comprising 10 member states in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southe ...

and enjoys a close economic relationship with China while working to establish a model of cooperation in numerous fields. According to Kuwaiti officials, Kuwait is the largest Arab investor in Germany, particularly with regard to the Mercedes-Benz company. Kuwait currently has the largest US military presence in the entire Middle East region. The United States government utilizes Kuwait-based military bases as staging hubs, training ranges, and logistical support for regional and international military operations. The bases include Camp Arifjan, Camp Buehring, Ali Al Salem Air Field, and the naval base Camp Patriot.


The Military of Kuwait traces its original roots to the Kuwaiti cavalrymen and infantrymen that used to protect Kuwait and its wall since the early 1900s. These cavalrymen and infantrymen formed the defense and security forces in metropolitan areas and were charged with protecting outposts outside the wall of Kuwait. The Military of Kuwait consists of several joint defense forces. The governing bodies are the Ministry of Defense (Kuwait), Kuwait Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Interior (Kuwait), Kuwait Ministry of Interior, the Kuwait National Guard, and the Kuwait Fire Service Directorate. The Emir of Kuwait is the commander-in-chief of all defense forces by default.

Legal system

Kuwait follows the "Civil law (legal system), civil law system" modeled after the French legal system, Kuwait's legal system is largely secular. Sharia law governs only family law for Muslim residents, while non-Muslims in Kuwait have a secular family law. For the application of family law, there are three separate court sections: Sunni Islam, Sunni (
Maliki The ( ar, مَالِكِي) school is one of the four major madhhab A ' ( ar, مذهب ', , "way to act") is a school of thought within '' fiqh'' (Islamic jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of law. Sc ...
), Shia Islam, Shia, and Dhimmi, non-Muslim. According to the United Nations, Kuwait's legal system is a mix of English law#Common law, English common law, Law of France, French civil law, Egyptian Civil Code, Egyptian civil law and Islamic law. The Judiciary, court system in Kuwait is secular. Unlike other Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Kuwait does not have Sharia courts. Sections of the civil court system administer family law. Kuwait has the most secular commercial law in the Arab States of the Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf region. The parliament criminalized alcohol consumption in 1983. Kuwait's Code of Personal Status (Kuwait), Code of Personal Status was promulgated in 1984.

Administrative divisions

Kuwait is divided into Governorates of Kuwait, six governorates: Al Asimah Governorate (Kuwait), Al Asimah Governorate (or Capital Governorate); Hawalli Governorate; Farwaniya Governorate; Mubarak Al-Kabeer Governorate; Ahmadi Governorate; and Jahra Governorate. The governorates are further Areas of Kuwait, subdivided into areas.

Human rights and corruption

Human rights in Kuwait has been the subject of significant criticism, particularly regarding the Bedoon (stateless people). The Kuwaiti government's handling of the stateless Bedoon crisis has come under criticism from many human rights organisations and even the United Nations. According to Human Rights Watch in 1995, Kuwait has produced 300,000 stateless Bedoon. Kuwait has the largest number of stateless people in the entire region. Since 1986, the Kuwaiti government has refused to grant any form of documentation to the Bedoon including birth certificates, death certificates, identity cards, marriage certificates, and driving licences. The Kuwaiti Bedoon crisis resembles the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar (Burma). According to several human rights organizations, Kuwait is committing ethnic cleansing and genocide against the stateless Bedoon. On the other hand, human rights organizations have criticized Kuwait for the human rights abuses toward foreign nationals. Foreign nationals account for 70% of Kuwait's total population. The kafala system leaves foreign nationals prone to exploitation. Administrative deportation is very common in Kuwait for minor offenses, including minor traffic violations. Kuwait is one of the world's worst offenders in Trafficking in human beings, human trafficking. Hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals are subjected to numerous human rights abuses including involuntary servitude. They are subjected to physical and sexual abuse, non-payment of wages, poor work conditions, threats, confinement to the home, and withholding of passports to restrict their freedom of movement. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kuwait , COVID-19 pandemic vaccination rollout, Kuwait has been regularly accused of implementing a xenophobic vaccine policy toward foreign nationals. Kuwait's mistreatment of foreign workers has resulted in various high-profile diplomatic crises. In 2018, there was a 2018 Kuwait–Philippines diplomatic crisis, diplomatic crisis between Kuwait and the Philippines due to the mistreatment of Filipino workers in Kuwait. Approximately 60% of Filipinos in Kuwait are employed as domestic workers. In July 2018, Kuwaiti fashionista Sondos Alqattan released a controversial video criticizing domestic workers from the Philippines. In 2020, there was a diplomatic crisis between Kuwait and Egypt due to the mistreatment of Egyptian workers in Kuwait. Various Kuwaitis have been jailed after they criticized the Al Sabah ruling family. In 2010, the U.S. State Department said it had concerns about the case of Kuwaiti blogger and journalist Mohammad Abdul-Kader al-Jassem who was on trial for allegedly criticizing the ruling al-Sabah family, and faced up to 18 years in prison if convicted. He was detained after a complaint against him was issued by the office of Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah. Extensive corruption among Kuwait's high-level government officials is a serious problem resulting in tensions between the government and the public. In the Corruption Perceptions Index 2007, Kuwait was ranked 60th out of 179 countries for corruption (least corrupt countries are at the top of the list). On a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 the most corrupt and 10 the most transparent, Transparency International rated Kuwait 4.3. In 2009, 20% of the youth in juvenile centres had dyslexia, as compared to the 6% of the general population. Data from a 1993 study found that there is a higher rate of psychiatric morbidity in Kuwaiti prisons than in the general population.


Kuwait has a wealthy petroleum-based economy. Kuwait is one of the richest countries in the world."GDP per capita, PPP (current international $)", World Development Indicators database
, World Bank. Database updated on 14 April 2015.
Kuwaiti dinar The Kuwaiti dinar ( ar, دينار كويتي, code In communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entities or Organization, groups ...
is the highest-valued unit of currency in the world. According to the World Bank, Kuwait is the fifth richest country in the world by gross national income per capita, and one of five nations with a GNI per capita above $70,000. As a result of various diversification policies, petroleum now accounts for 43% of total GDP and 70% of export earnings. The biggest non-oil industry is steel manufacturing. In the past five years, there has been a significant rise in entrepreneurship and small business start-ups in Kuwait. The informal sector is also on the rise, mainly due to the popularity of Instagram businesses. In 2020, Kuwait ranked fourth in the MENA region in startup funding after the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In 2019, Iraq was Kuwait's leading export market and food/agricultural products accounted for 94.2% of total export commodities. Globally, Kuwait's main export products were mineral fuels including oil (89.1% of total exports), aircraft and spacecraft (4.3%), organic chemicals (3.2%), plastics (1.2%), iron and steel (0.2%), gems and precious metals (0.1%), machinery including computers (0.1%), aluminum (0.1%), copper (0.1%), and salt, sulphur, stone and cement (0.1%). Kuwait was the world's biggest exporter of sulfonated, nitrated and nitrosated hydrocarbons in 2019. Kuwait was ranked 63rd out of 157 countries in the 2019 Economic Complexity Index (ECI). In recent years, Kuwait has enacted certain measures to regulate foreign labor due to security concerns. For instance, workers from Georgia (country), Georgia are subject to heightened scrutiny when applying for entry visas, and an outright ban was imposed on the entry of domestic workers from Guinea-Bissau and Vietnam. Workers from Bangladesh are also banned. In April 2019, Kuwait added Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Bhutan, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the list of banned countries bringing the total to 20. According to Migrant Rights, the bans are put in place mainly due to the fact that these countries lack embassies and labour corporations in Kuwait. Kuwait is currently considered the region's most oil-dependent country with the lowest share of economic diversification.

Petroleum and natural gas

Despite its relatively small territory, Kuwait has proven crude List of countries by proven oil reserves#Countries, oil reserves of 104 billion barrels, estimated to be 10% of the world's reserves. Kuwait also has substantial List of countries by natural gas proven reserves, natural gas reserves. All natural resources in the country are state property. As part of Kuwait Vision 2035, Kuwait aims to position itself as a global hub for the petrochemical industry. Al Zour Refinery is the largest refinery in the Middle East. It is Kuwait's largest environmental friendly oil refinery. Al Zour Refinery is a Kuwait-China cooperation project under the
Belt and Road Initiative The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, or B&R), known in Chinese and formerly in English as One Belt One Road ( zh, link=no, 一带一路) or OBOR for short, is a global infrastructure development Development or developing may refer to: Art ...

Belt and Road Initiative
. Al Zour LNG Terminal is the Middle East's largest import terminal for liquefied natural gas. It is the world's largest capacity LNG storage and regasification green field project. The project has attracted investments worth US$3 billion. Other megaprojects include biofuel and clean fuels.

Steel manufacturing

Steel manufacturing is Kuwait's second biggest industry. United Steel Industrial Company (KWT Steel) is Kuwait's main steel manufacturing company, the company caters to all of Kuwait's domestic market demands (particularly construction). Kuwait is self-sufficient in steel.


In 2016, Kuwait's food self-sufficiency ratio was 49.5% in vegetables, 38.7% in meat, 12.4% in diary, 24.9% in fruits, and 0.4% in cereals. 8.5% of Kuwait's entire territory consists of agricultural land, although arable land constitutes 0.6% of Kuwait's entire territory. Historically, Jahra was a predominantly agricultural area. There are currently various farms in Jahra.


The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) is Kuwait's largest sovereign wealth fund specializing in foreign investment. The KIA is the world's oldest sovereign wealth fund. Since 1953, the Kuwaiti government has directed investments into Europe, United States and Asia Pacific. In 2021, the holdings were valued at around $700 billion in assets. It is the Sovereign wealth fund#Largest sovereign wealth funds, 3rd largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. Kuwait has a leading position in the financial industry in the GCC. The Emir has promoted the idea that Kuwait should focus its energies, in terms of economic development, on the financial industry. The historical preeminence of Kuwait (among the GCC monarchies) in finance dates back to the founding of the National Bank of Kuwait in 1952. The bank was the first local publicly traded corporation in the GCC region. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, an alternative stock market, trading in shares of GCC companies, emerged in Kuwait, the Souk Al-Manakh stock market crash, Souk Al-Manakh. At its peak, its market capitalization was the third highest in the world, behind only the United States and Japan, and ahead of the United Kingdom and France. Kuwait has a large wealth-management industry that stands out in the region. Kuwaiti investment companies administer more assets than those of any other GCC country, save the much larger Saudi Arabia. The Kuwait Financial Centre, in a rough calculation, estimated that Kuwaiti firms accounted for over one-third of the total assets under management in the GCC. The relative strength of Kuwait in the financial industry extends to its stock market. For many years, the total valuation of List of companies of Kuwait, all companies listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange far exceeded the value of those on any other GCC bourse, except Saudi Arabia. In 2011, financial and banking companies made up more than half of the market capitalization of the Kuwaiti bourse; among all the GCC states, the market capitalization of Kuwaiti financial-sector firms was, in total, behind only that of Saudi Arabia. In recent years, Kuwaiti investment companies have invested large percentages of their assets abroad, and their foreign assets have become substantially larger than their domestic assets. Kuwait is a major source of foreign economic assistance to other states through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, an autonomous state institution created in 1961 on the pattern of international development agencies. In 1974, the fund's lending mandate was expanded to include all developing countries in the world.


Kuwait has a state-funded Healthcare in Kuwait, healthcare system, which provides treatment without charge to Kuwaiti nationals. There are outpatient clinics in every residential area in Kuwait. A public insurance scheme exists to provide reduced cost healthcare to expatriates. Private healthcare providers also run medical facilities in the country, available to members of their insurance schemes. As part of Kuwait Vision 2035, many new hospitals recently opened. In the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kuwait invested in its health care system at a rate that was proportionally higher than most other GCC countries. Under the Kuwait Vision 2035 healthcare strategy, the public hospital sector significantly increased its capacity. Many new hospitals recently opened, Kuwait currently has 20 public hospitals. The new Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Hospital is the largest hospital in the Middle East. Kuwait also has 16 private hospitals.

Science and technology

Kuwait has a growing scientific research sector. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Kuwait has registered 448 patents as of 31 December 2015, Kuwait is the second largest patent producer in the Arab world. In the early 2010s, Kuwait produced the largest number of scientific publications and patents per capita in the Arab world and OIC. The Kuwaiti government has implemented various programs to foster innovation resulting in patent rights. Between 2010 and 2014, Kuwait registered the highest growth in patents in the Arab world. The WIPO Global Innovation Index found that Kuwait ranks relatively high for its innovation efficiency ratio (which shows how much innovation output a country is getting for its inputs). Kuwait was ranked 78th in the Global Innovation Index in 2020, down from 60th in 2019. Kuwait was the first country in the region to implement 5G technology. Kuwait is among the world's leading markets in 5G penetration.

Space and satellite programmes

Kuwait has an emerging space industry which is largely driven by private sector initiatives. ;Um Alaish 4 Seven years after the launch of the world's first communications satellite, Telstar 1, Kuwait in October 1969 inaugurated the first satellite ground station in the Middle East, "Um Alaish". The Um Alaish satellite station complex housed several satellite ground stations including Um Alaish 1 (1969), Um Alaish 2 (1977), and Um Alaish 3 (1981). It provided satellite communication services in Kuwait until 1990 when it was destroyed by the Iraqi armed forces during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. In 2019, Kuwait's Orbital Space established an amateur satellite ground station to provide free access to signals from satellites in orbit passing over Kuwait. The station was named Um Alaish 4 to continue the legacy of "Um Alaish" satellite station. Um Alaish 4 is member of FUNcube distributed ground station network and the Satellite Networked Open Ground Station project (SatNOGS). ;Kuwait's first satellite Kuwait's Orbital Space in collaboration with the Space Challenges Program and EnduroSat introduced an international initiative called "Code in Space". The initiative allows students from around the world to send and execute their own code in space. The code is transmitted from a satellite ground station to a CubeSat, cubesat (Small satellite, nanosatellite) orbiting earth above sea level. The code is then executed by the satellite's onboard computer and tested under real space environment conditions. The nanosatellite is called "QMR-KWT" (Arabic: قمر الكويت) which means "Moon of Kuwait", translated from Arabic. QMR-KWT launched to space on 30 June 2021 on SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket and was part of the payload of a satellite carrier called ION SCV Dauntless David by D-Orbit. It was deployed into its final orbit (Sun-synchronous orbit) on 16 July 2021. QMR-KWT is Kuwait's first satellite. ;Kuwait Space Rocket The Kuwait Space Rocket (KSR) is a Kuwaiti project to build and launch the first suborbital spaceflight, suborbital Liquid-propellant rocket, liquid bi-propellant rocket in Arabia. The project is divided into two phases with two separate vehicles: an initial testing phase with KSR-1 as a test article (aerospace), test vehicle capable of reaching an altitude of and a more expansive suborbital test phase with the KSR-2 planned to fly to an altitude of . ;TSCK experiment in space Kuwait's Orbital Space in collaboration with the Kuwait Scientific Center (TSCK) introduced for the first time in Kuwait the opportunity for students to send a science experiment to space. The objectives of this initiative was to allow students to learn about (a) how science space missions are done; (b) Micro-g environment, microgravity (weightlessness) environment; (c) how to do science like a real scientist. This opportunity was made possible through Orbital Space agreement with DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks, Nanoracks LLC, which are collaborating with NASA under a Space Act Agreement. The students' experiment was named "Kuwait’s Experiment: E.coli Consuming Carbon Dioxide to Combat Climate Change". The experiment was launched on SpaceX CRS-21 (SpX-21) spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS) on 6 December 2020. Astronaut Shannon Walker (member of the ISS Expedition 64) conducted the experiment on behalf of the students. ;National satellite project In July 2021, Kuwait University announced that it is launching a national satellite project as part of state-led efforts to pioneer the country's sustainable space sector.


Kuwait had the highest literacy rate in the Arab world in 2010. The general education system consists of four levels: kindergarten (lasting for 2 years), primary education, primary (lasting for 5 years), Middle school, intermediate (lasting for 4 years) and secondary education, secondary (lasting for 3 years). Schooling at primary and intermediate level is compulsory for all students aged 6 – 14. All the levels of state education, including higher education, are free. The public education system is undergoing a revamp due to a project in conjunction with the World Bank.


In 2020, Kuwait's domestic travel and tourism spending reached $6.1 billion (up from $1.6 billion in 2019) with family tourism a rapidly growing segment. The World Travel and Tourism Council, WTTC named Kuwait as one of the world's fastest-growing countries in travel and tourism GDP in 2019, with 11.6% year-on-year growth. In 2016, the tourism industry generated nearly $500 million in revenue. In 2015, tourism accounted for 1.5 percent of the GDP. Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City is one of Kuwait's biggest attractions. The Amiri Diwan of Kuwait, Amiri Diwan recently inaugurated the new Kuwait National Cultural District (KNCD), which comprises Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre, Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre, Al Shaheed Park, and Al Salam Palace (Kuwait), Al Salam Palace. With a capital cost of more than US$1 billion, the project is one of the largest cultural investments in the world. The Kuwait National Cultural District is a member of the Global Cultural Districts Network. Al Shaheed Park is the largest green roof project ever undertaken in the Arab world. The annual "Hala Febrayer" festival attracts many tourists from neighboring GCC countries, and includes a variety of events including music concerts, parades, and carnivals. The festival is a month-long commemoration of the liberation of Kuwait, and runs from 1 to 28 February. Liberation Day itself is celebrated on 26 February.


Kuwait has an extensive and modern network of highways. Roads in Kuwait, Roadways extended , of which is paved. There are more than two million passenger cars, and 500,000 commercial taxis, buses, and trucks in use. On major highways the maximum speed is . Since there is no railway system in the country, most people travel by automobiles. The country's public transportation network consists almost entirely of bus routes. The state owned Kuwait Public Transportation Company was established in 1962. It runs local bus routes across Kuwait as well as longer distance services to other Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Gulf states. The main private bus company is CityBus, which operates about 20 routes across the country. Another private bus company, Kuwait Gulf Link Public Transport Services, was started in 2006. It runs local bus routes across Kuwait and longer distance services to neighbouring Arab countries. There are two airports in Kuwait. Kuwait International Airport serves as the principal hub for international air travel. State-owned Kuwait Airways is the largest airline in the country. A portion of the airport complex is designated as Al Mubarak Air Base, which contains the headquarters of the Kuwait Air Force, as well as the Kuwait Air Force Museum. In 2004, the first private airline of Kuwait, Jazeera Airways, was launched. In 2005, the second private airline, Wataniya Airways was founded. Kuwait has one of the largest shipping industries in the region. The Kuwait Ports Public Authority manages and operates ports across Kuwait. The country's principal commercial seaports are Shuwaikh and Shuaiba, which handled combined cargo of 753,334 TEU in 2006. Mina Al-Ahmadi, the largest port in the country, handles most of Kuwait's oil exports.
Mubarak Al Kabeer Port Mubarak Al Kabeer Port is a port in Bubiyan Island, Kuwait. The port is part of China's Belt and Road Initiative. Mubarak Al Kabeer Port is currently under construction. In April 2021, the port's first phase was completed (4 Berth (moorings), berths ...
in Bubiyan Island is currently under construction. The port is expected to handle 2 million Twenty-foot equivalent unit, TEU when operations start.


Kuwait's 2018 population was 4.6 million people, of which 1.4 million were Kuwaitis, 1.2 million are other Arabs, 1.8 million Asian expatriates, and 47,227 Africans.

Ethnic groups

Expatriates in Kuwait account for around 70% of Kuwait's total population. At the end of December 2018, 57.65% of Kuwait's total population were Arabs (including Arab expats). Indian people, Indians and Egyptians are the largest expat communities respectively.


Kuwait's official state religion is
Maliki The ( ar, مَالِكِي) school is one of the four major madhhab A ' ( ar, مذهب ', , "way to act") is a school of thought within '' fiqh'' (Islamic jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of law. Sc ...
Sunni Islam. The
Al Sabah The House of Al Sabah ( ar, آل صباح ''Āl Ṣubāḥ'') is the ruling family of Kuwait. History Prior to settling in Kuwait, the Al Sabah family were expelled from Umm Qasr in Iraq by the Ottoman Empire, Ottomans due to their predatory h ...
ruling family including the Emir, adhere to the Maliki, Maliki madhhab of Sunni Islam. Most Kuwaiti citizens are Muslim; there is no official national census but it is estimated that 60%–70% are Sunni and 30%–40% are Shia. The country includes a Christianity in Kuwait#Kuwaiti Christians, native Christian community, estimated to be composed of between 259 and 400 Christian Kuwaiti citizens. Kuwait is the only Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, GCC country besides Bahrain to have a local Christian population who hold citizenship. There is also a small number of Kuwaiti citizens who follow the Baháʼí Faith. Kuwait also has a large community of expatriate Christians, Hinduism, Hindus, Buddhism, Buddhists, and Sikhism, Sikhs.


Kuwait's official language is Modern Standard Arabic, but its everyday usage is limited to journalism and education. Kuwaiti Arabic is the variant of Arabic used in everyday life. English is widely understood and often used as a business language. Besides English, French is taught as a third language for the students of the humanities at schools, but for two years only. Kuwaiti Arabic is a variant of Gulf Arabic, sharing similarities with the dialects of neighboring coastal areas in Eastern Arabia. Due to immigration during its pre-oil history as well as trade, Kuwaiti Arabic borrowed a lot of words from Persian language, Persian, Languages of India, Indian languages, Balochi language, Turkish, English and Italian. Due to historical immigration, Kuwaiti Persian is used among 'Ajam of Kuwait, Ajam Kuwaitis. The Iranian languages, Iranian sub-dialects of Larestani, Khonji, Bastaki and Gerashi also influenced the vocabulary of Kuwaiti Arabic. Most Shia Kuwaiti citizens are of Iranian ancestry.


Kuwaiti popular culture, in the form of theatre, radio, music, and television soap opera, flourishes and is even exported to neighboring states. Within the Gulf Arab states, the culture of Kuwait is the closest to the culture of Bahrain; this is evident in the close association between the two states in theatrical productions and soap operas.

Performing arts

Kuwait has the oldest performing arts industry in the Arabian Peninsula. Kuwait's television drama industry is the largest and most active Gulf Arab drama industry and annually produces a minimum of fifteen serials. Kuwait is the main production centre of the Gulf television drama and comedy scene. Most Gulf television drama and comedy productions are filmed in Kuwait. Kuwaiti soap operas are the most-watched soap operas from the Gulf region. Soap operas are most popular during the time of Ramadan, when families gather to break their fast. Although usually performed in the Kuwaiti Arabic, Kuwaiti dialect, they have been shown with success as far away as Tunisia. Kuwait is frequently dubbed the "Hollywood of the Gulf" due to the popularity of its television soap operas and theatre. Kuwait is known for its home-grown tradition of theatre. Kuwait is the only country in the Gulf Arab region with a theatrical tradition. The theatrical movement in Kuwait constitutes a major part of the country's cultural life. Theatrical activities in Kuwait date back to the 1920s when the first spoken dramas were released. Theatre activities are still popular today. Theatre in Kuwait is subsidized by the government, previously by the Ministry of Social Affairs and now by the National Council for Culture, Arts, and Letters (NCCAL). Every urban district has a public theatre. The public theatre in Salmiya is named after the late actor Abdulhussain Abdulredha. The annual Kuwait Theater Festival is the largest theatrical arts festival in Kuwait. Kuwait is the main centre of scenography, scenographic and performing arts education in the GCC region. Many actors from Oman and Bahrain regularly immigrate to Kuwait due to job opportunities in theatrical and television productions. The Higher Institute of Theatrical Arts (HIDA) provides higher education in theatrical arts. The institute has several divisions and attracts theatrical students from all over the GCC region. Many actors have graduated from the institute, such as Souad Abdullah, Mohammed Khalifa, Mansour Al-Mansour, along with a number of prominent critics such as Ismail Fahd Ismail. Kuwait is the birthplace of various popular musical genres, such as Sawt (music), sawt and fijiri. Traditional Kuwaiti music is a reflection of the country's seafaring heritage, which was influenced by many diverse cultures. Kuwait is widely considered the centre of folk music, traditional music in the GCC region. Kuwaiti music has considerably influenced the music culture in other GCC countries. Kuwait pioneered Khaliji (music), contemporary Khaliji music. Kuwaitis were the first commercial recording artists in the Gulf region. The first known Kuwaiti recordings were made between 1912 and 1915. Saleh and Daoud Al-Kuwaity pioneered the Kuwaiti sawt music genre and wrote over 650 songs, many of which are considered traditional and still played daily on radio stations both in Kuwait and the rest of the Arab world. Kuwait is home to various music festivals, including the International Music Festival hosted by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL). The Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre contains the largest opera house in the Middle East. Kuwait has several academic institutions specializing in university-level music education. The Higher Institute of Musical Arts was established by the government to provide bachelor's degrees in music. In addition, the College of Basic Education offers bachelor's degrees in music education. The Institute of Musical Studies offers music education qualifications equivalent to secondary school. Kuwait has a reputation for being the central music influence of the GCC countries. Over the last decade of satellite television stations, many Kuwaiti musicians have become household names in other Arab countries. For example, Bashar Al Shatty became famous due to ''Star Academy (Arabia), Star Academy''. Contemporary Kuwaiti music is popular throughout the Arab world. Nawal El Kuwaiti, Nabeel Shoail and Abdallah Al Rowaished are the most popular contemporary performers.Badley, Bill. "Sounds of the Arabian Peninsula". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), ''World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East'', pp 351-354. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books.

Visual arts

Kuwait has the oldest modern arts movement in the Arabian Peninsula. Beginning in 1936, Kuwait was the first Gulf Arab country to grant scholarships in the arts. The Kuwaiti artist Mojeb al-Dousari was the earliest recognized visual artist in the Gulf Arab region. He is regarded as the founder of portrait art in the region. The Sultan Gallery was the first professional Arab art gallery in the Gulf. Kuwait is home to more than Art of Kuwait#Art galleries, 30 art galleries. In recent years, Kuwait's contemporary art scene has boomed. Khalifa Al-Qattan was the first artist to hold a solo exhibition in Kuwait. He founded a new art theory in the early 1960s known as "circulism". Other notable Kuwaiti artists include Sami Mohammad, Thuraya Al-Baqsami and Suzan Bushnaq. The government organizes various arts festivals, including the Al Qurain Cultural Festival and Formative Arts Festival. The Kuwait International Biennial was inaugurated in 1967, more than 20 Arab and foreign countries have participated in the biennial. Prominent participants include Layla Al-Attar. In 2004, the Al Kharafi Biennial for Contemporary Arab Art was inaugurated.


Kuwaiti cuisine is a fusion of Arabian cuisine, Arabian, Iranian cuisine, Iranian, and Mesopotamian cuisine, Mesopotamian cuisines. Kuwaiti cuisine is part of the Eastern Arabian cuisine. A prominent dish in Kuwaiti cuisine is ''machboos'', a rice-based dish usually prepared with basmati rice seasoned with spices, and chicken or mutton. Seafood is a significant part of the Kuwaiti diet, especially fish. Mutabbaq samak is a national dish in Kuwait. Other local favourites are ''hamour'' (grouper), which is typically served grilled, fried, or with biryani rice because of its texture and taste; ''safi'' (rabbitfish); ''maid'' (mulletfish); and ''sobaity'' (sea bream). Kuwait's traditional flatbread is called Iranian ''khubz''. It is a large flatbread baked in a special oven and it is often topped with sesame seeds. Numerous local bakeries dot the country; the bakers are mainly Iranians (hence the name of the bread, "Iranian ''khubuz''"). Bread is often served with mahyawa fish sauce.


The new Kuwait National Cultural District (KNCD) consists of various cultural venues including Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre, Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre, Al Shaheed Park, and Al Salam Palace (Kuwait), Al Salam Palace. With a capital cost of more than US$1 billion, it is one of the largest cultural districts in the world. The Abdullah Salem Cultural Centre is the largest museum complex in the Middle East. The Kuwait National Cultural District is a member of the Global Cultural Districts Network. Sadu House is among Kuwait's most important cultural institutions. Bait Al-Othman Museum, Bait Al-Othman is the largest museum specializing in Kuwait's history. Kuwait Scientific Center, The Scientific Center is one of the largest science museums in the Middle East. The Museum of Modern Art (Kuwait), Museum of Modern Art showcases the history of modern art in Kuwait and the region. The Kuwait National Museum, National Museum, established in 1983, has been described as "underused and overlooked". Several Kuwaiti museums are devoted to Islamic art, most notably the Tareq Rajab Museums and Dar al Athar al Islamiyyah cultural centres. The Dar al Athar al Islamiyyah cultural centres include education wings, conservation labs, and research libraries. There are several libraries, art libraries in Kuwait. Khalifa Al-Qattan's Mirror House is the most popular art museum in Kuwait. Many museums in Kuwait are private enterprises. In contrast to the top-down approach in other Gulf states, museum development in Kuwait reflects a greater sense of civic identity and demonstrates the strength of civil society in Kuwait, which has produced many independent cultural enterprises.


Kuwaiti society is markedly more open society, open than other Gulf Arab societies. Kuwaiti citizens are ethnically diverse, consisting of both Arabs and 'Ajam of Kuwait, Persians ('Ajam). Kuwait stands out in the region as the most liberal in empowering women in the public sphere. Women in Kuwait, Kuwaiti women outnumber men in the workforce. Kuwaiti political scientist Ghanim Alnajjar sees these qualities as a manifestation of Kuwaiti society as a whole, whereby in the Gulf Arab region it is "the least strict about traditions".


Kuwait produces more List of newspapers in Kuwait, newspapers and magazines per capita than its neighbors. The state-owned Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) is the largest media house in the country. The Ministry of Information regulates the media industry in Kuwait. Kuwait's media is annually classified as "partly free" in the Freedom of Press survey by Freedom House. Since 2005, Kuwait has frequently earned the highest ranking of all Arab countries in the annual Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders. In 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014, Kuwait surpassed Israel as the country with the greatest press freedom in the Middle East. Kuwait is also frequently ranked as the Arab country with the greatest press freedom in Freedom House's annual Freedom of Press survey. Kuwait has 15 satellite television channels, of which four are controlled by the Ministry of Information. State-owned Kuwait Television (KTV) offered first colored broadcast in 1974 and operates five television channels. Government-funded Radio Kuwait also offers daily informative programming in several languages including Arabic language, Arabic, Persian language, Persian, Urdu, and English on the AM broadcasting, AM and Shortwave, SW.


Kuwait has in recent years produced several prominent contemporary writers such as Ismail Fahd Ismail, author of over twenty novels and numerous short story collections. There is also evidence that Kuwaiti literature has long been interactive with English literature, English and French literature.


Association football, Football is the most popular sport in Kuwait. The Kuwait Football Association (KFA) is the governing body of football in Kuwait. The KFA organises the Kuwait national football team, men's, Kuwait women's national football team, women's, and futsal national teams. The Kuwaiti Premier League is the top league of Kuwaiti football, featuring eighteen teams. The Kuwait national football team have been the champions of the 1980 AFC Asian Cup, runners-up of the 1976 AFC Asian Cup, and have taken third place of the 1984 AFC Asian Cup. Kuwait has also been to one FIFA World Cup, in 1982 FIFA World Cup, 1982; they drew 1–1 with Czechoslovakia national football team, Czechoslovakia before losing to France national football team, France and England national football team, England, failing to advance from the first round. Kuwait is home to many football clubs including Al-Arabi SC (Kuwait), Al-Arabi, Fahaheel (football club), Al-Fahaheel, Al Jahra (football club), Al-Jahra, Al Kuwait Kaifan, Al-Kuwait, Al Naser Sporting Club, Al-Naser, Al Salmiya Club, Al-Salmiya, Al-Shabab (Kuwait), Al-Shabab, Al Qadsia Kuwait, Al Qadsia, Al Yarmouk (football club), Al-Yarmouk, Al Kazma Kuwait, Kazma, Khaitan, Sulaibikhat, Sahel (Kuwaiti football club), Sahel, and Tadamon, Kuwait, Tadamon. The biggest football rivalry in Kuwait is between Al-Arabi SC (Kuwait), Al-Arabi and Al Qadsia Kuwait, Al Qadsia. Basketball is one of the country's most popular sports. The Kuwait national basketball team is governed by the Kuwait Basketball Association (KBA). Kuwait made its international debut in 1959. The national team has been to the FIBA Asian Championship in basketball eleven times. The Kuwaiti Division I Basketball League is the highest professional basketball league in Kuwait. Kuwait national cricket team, Cricket in Kuwait is governed by the Kuwait Cricket Association. Other growing sports include Rugby union in Kuwait, rugby union. Kuwait men's national handball team, Handball is widely considered to be the national icon of Kuwait, although football is more popular among the overall population. Kuwait national ice hockey team, Ice hockey in Kuwait is governed by the Kuwait Ice Hockey Association. Kuwait first joined the International Ice Hockey Federation in 1985, but was expelled in 1992 due to a lack of ice hockey activity. Kuwait was re-admitted into the IIHF in May 2009. In 2015, Kuwait won the IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia. In February 2020, Kuwait held for the first time a leg of the Aquabike World Championship (powerboating), UIM Aquabike World Championship in front of Marina Beach City.


For many years, Kuwait was suspended from participating in international sports due to undue government interference and corruption. Since 2007, Kuwait has been suspended by FIFA three times for "political interference" and were allowed to participate in the 2011 Asian Cup qualifying campaign and other international competitions on a provisional basis. Contrary to the road map established by FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation, AFC, the Al Sabah ruling family continued to interfere in sport elections. Elections were held on 9 October 2007 in direct violation of the FIFA Executive Committee's May 2007 decision to the contrary. As a consequence, the committee recommended to the FIFA Executive Committee that the Kuwait Football Association be unsuspended. Kuwait's football federation board resigned days after world governing body FIFA unsuspended Kuwait. The suspension was lifted after the federation said it will ratify new statutes to prevent government interference in the sport as demanded by FIFA. "Otherwise FIFA will immediately suspend the (federation) again," FIFA said in a statement. The suspension was conditionally lifted and extended by the FIFA Congress in June 2009. FIFA was closely monitoring the situation within Kuwait. The International Olympic Committee imposed a suspension on the Kuwait committee with effect from 1 January 2010 due to Kuwaiti government legislation that permits the state to interfere in elections of sporting organizations. The government had failed to meet the IOC's 31 December 2009 deadline for amending the legislation. As a result, Kuwait was barred from receiving IOC funding and Kuwaiti athletes and officials were banned from Olympic Games and Olympic meetings. At the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, the 2010 Asian Games, and the 2011 Asian Winter Games, Kuwaiti athletes competed as Independent Olympians at the Olympic Games, independent athletes in a team named "Athletes from Kuwait" (code: IOC) under the Olympic flag. On 14 July 2012 the suspension was lifted and Kuwait at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Kuwaiti athletes were allowed to participate in the 2012 Summer Olympics under their own flag. On 16 October 2015, FIFA suspended Kuwait and all remaining results from AFC Asian Cup and FIFA World Cup qualification were added as forfeits while all Kuwaiti teams that were participating in international competitions were withdrawn. Kuwait tried to get the suspension lifted at the FIFA Congress, 66th FIFA Congress but this was rejected and therefore from the earlier announcement on 27 April 2016, the hosting of the Gulf Cup of Nations tournament was moved to Qatar. The suspension was eventually lifted on 6 December 2017 after Kuwait's adoption of a new sports law. The Kuwait Olympic Committee was again suspended on 27 October 2015 by the IOC to protect the Olympic movement in Kuwait from undue Kuwaiti government interference and corruption. As a result of this suspension, participation by athletes from Kuwait at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro was allowed by the IOC in a special team named "Independent Olympic Athletes at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Independent Olympic Athletes" (code: IOA) under the Olympic flag. In response to the Olympics suspension, Kuwait filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the IOC. The Kuwaiti government responded to the Olympics suspension in an official press release:
It's totally unacceptable that Kuwait is treated in this unfair way and barred from international sports activities without any appropriate probe being conducted. From the very beginning Kuwait did it its utmost to prevent the IOC suspension and showed a sincere desire to co-operate, but all to no avail. We sent a UN-sponsored delegation to Geneva to explain to the sports body that the Kuwaiti government by no means intervenes in sports activities. Kuwait has been left in an embarrassing position in sports circles where it is viewed as an outlaw.

See also

* Outline of Kuwait * Index of Kuwait-related articles


Further reading

* * * Bianco, C. (2020a). The GCC monarchies: Perceptions of the Iranian threat amid shifting geopolitics. The International Spectator, 55(2), 92–107. * Bianco, C. (2020b). A Gulf apart: How Europe can gain influence with the Gulf Cooperation Council. European Council on Foreign Relations, February 2020. Available at https://ecfr.eu/archive/page/-/a_gulf_apart_how_europe_can_gain_influence_with_gulf_cooperation_council.pdf. * Bianco, C. (2021). Can Europe Choreograph a Saudi-Iranian Détente? European University Institute, Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies, Middle East Directions. Available at: https://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/70351/PB_2021_10-MED.pdf?sequence=1. * Bianco, C., & Stansfield, G. (2018). The intra-GCC crises: Mapping GCC fragmentation after 2011. International Affairs, 94(3), 613–635. * Miniaoui, Héla, ed. Economic Development in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries: From Rentier States to Diversified Economies. Vol. 1. Springer Nature, 2020. * Guzansky, Y., & Even, S. (2020). The economic crisis in the Gulf States: A challenge to the “contract” between rulers and ruled. INSS Insight No. 1327, June 1, 2020. Available at https://www.INSS.org.il/publication/gulf-states-economy/?offset=7&posts=201&outher=Yoel%20Guzansky. * Guzansky, Y., & Marshall, Z. A. (2020). The Abraham accords: Immediate significance and long-term implications. Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, 1–11. * Guzansky, Y., & Segal, E. (2020). All in the family: Leadership changes in the Gulf. INSS Insight No. 1378, August 30, 2020. Available at: https://www.INSS.org.il/publication/gulf-royal-families/?offset=1&posts=201&outher=Yoel%20Guzansky * Guzansky, Y., & Winter, O. (2020). Apolitical Normalization: A New Approach to Jews in Arab States. INSS Insight No. 1332, June 8, 2020. Available at: https://www.INSS.org.il/publication/judaism-in-the-arab-world/?offset=5&posts=201&outher=Yoel%20Guzansky. * Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/290349218_The_political_algebra_of_global_value_change_General_models_and_implications_for_the_Muslim_world * * Woertz, Eckart. "Wither the self-sufficiency illusion? Food security in Arab Gulf States and the impact of COVID-19." Food Security 12.4 (2020): 757-760. * Zweiri, Mahjoob, Md Mizanur Rahman, and Arwa Kamal, eds. The 2017 Gulf Crisis: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Vol. 3. Springer Nature, 2020.

External links

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