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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 ...
. It is situated in the northern edge of
Eastern Arabia Eastern Arabia, historically known as al-Baḥrayn ( ar, البحرين) until the 18th century, is a region stretched from Basra to Khasab along the Persian Gulf coast and included parts of modern-day Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ; ar, البح ...
at the tip of the
Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of Persis, Fars, ), sometimes called the ( ar, اَلْخَلِيْجُ ٱلْعَرَبِيُّ, Al-Khalīj al-ˁArabī), is a Mediterranean sea (oceanography), me ...
, bordering
Iraq Iraq,; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq officially the Republic of Iraq, '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Turkey to Iraq–Turkey border, the north, Iran to Iran–Iraq ...
to the north and
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia, officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), is a country in Western Asia. It covers the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and has a land area of about , making it the List of Asian countries by area, fifth-largest country in Asia ...
to the south. Kuwait also shares
maritime border A maritime boundary is a conceptual division of the Earth's water surface areas using physical geography, physiographic or human geography, geopolitical criteria. As such, it usually bounds areas of exclusive sovereignty, national rights over min ...
s with
Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
. Kuwait has a coastal length of approximately . Most of the country's population reside in the
urban agglomeration An urban area, built-up area or urban agglomeration is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of built environment. Urban areas are created through urbanization and are categorized by urban morphology as city, cit ...
of the capital city
Kuwait City Kuwait City ( ar, مدينة الكويت) is the capital and largest city of Kuwait. Located at the heart of the country on the south shore of Kuwait Bay on the Persian Gulf, it is the political, cultural and economical centre of the emirate, ...
. , Kuwait has a population of 4.45 million people of which 1.45 million are Kuwaiti citizens while the remaining 3.00 million are foreign nationals from over 100 countries. Historically, most of present-day Kuwait was part of ancient
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
. Pre-oil Kuwait was a strategic trade port between Mesopotamia, 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. In 1990, after oil production disputes with neighbouring Iraq, Kuwait was invaded, and later
annexed Annexation (Latin ''ad'', to, and ''nexus'', joining), in international law, is the forcible acquisition of one state's territory by another state, usually following military occupation of the territory. It is generally held to be an illegal act ...
into one of Iraq's governorates by
Iraq Iraq,; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq officially the Republic of Iraq, '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Turkey to Iraq–Turkey border, the north, Iran to Iran–Iraq ...
under
Saddam Hussein Saddam Hussein ( ; ar, صدام حسين, Ṣaddām Ḥusayn; 28 April 1937 – 30 December 2006) was an Iraqi politician who served as the fifth president of Iraq from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003. A leading member of the revolution ...
."OPEC pressures Kuwait to moderate quota demand", ''New Straits Times'', 7 June 1989 The Iraqi occupation of Kuwait came to an end on February 26, 1991, after
military intervention Interventionism refers to a political practice of intervention, particularly to the practice of governments to interfere in political affairs of other countries, staging Intervention (international law), military or trade interventions. Economic ...
by a military coalition led by the United States and various other countries. Kuwait is an
emirate An emirate is a territory ruled by an emir, a title used by monarchs or high officeholders in the Muslim world. From a historical point of view, an emirate is a political-religious unit smaller than a caliphate. It can be considered equivalen ...
. 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 politi ...
is the head of state and the
Al Sabah The House of Sabah ( ar, آل صباح ''Āl Ṣubāḥ'') is the ruling family of Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated in ...
is the ruling family which dominates the country's political system. Kuwait's official state religion is Islam. Kuwait is a
developing country A developing country is a sovereign state with a lesser developed industrial base and a lower Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, this definition is not universally agreed upon. There is also no clear agre ...
with a high-income economy, backed by the world's sixth largest oil reserves. The
Kuwaiti dinar The Kuwaiti dinar ( ar, دينار كويتي, ISO 4217, code: KWD) is the currency of Kuwait. It is sub-divided into 1,000 Fils (currency), fils. As of 2022, the Kuwaiti dinar is the currency with the highest value per base unit, with KD  ...
is the highest valued currency in the world. In 2009, Kuwait had the highest
Human Development Index The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy, Education Index, education (mean years of schooling completed and expected years of schooling upon entering the Educational system, education system), ...
in the Arab world. Kuwait has the largest number of
stateless people In international law International law (also known as public international law and the law of nations) is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between State (polity), states. It establishes normative guidel ...
in the entire region. Kuwait is a founding member of the GCC and is also a member of the UN, AL,
OPEC The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC, ) is a cartel of countries. Founded on 14 September 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela), it has, since 1965, been headquart ...
and the OIC. Kuwait named the emir's son as the country's new prime minister on July 24, 2022 to replace caretaker premier Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid, who faced a combative parliament as head of cabinet in a feud hindering fiscal reform.


Etymology

The country's name is from the
Arabic Arabic (, ' ; , ' or ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C ...
diminutive form of ( or ), meaning "fortress built near water". Since 1961, the official name of the state is the "State of Kuwait".


History


Antiquity

Following the post-glacial flooding of the
Persian Gulf basin The Persian Gulf Basin (Persian language, Persian: آبخیز خلیج فارس, Arabic language, Arabic: حوض الخليج العربي) is found between the Eurasian and the Arabian Plate. The Persian Gulf is described as a shallow marginal sea ...
, debris from the Tigris–Euphrates river formed a substantial delta, creating most of the land in present-day Kuwait and establishing the present coastlines. One of the earliest evidence of human habitation in Kuwait dates back to 8000 BC where
Mesolithic The Mesolithic ( Greek: μέσος, ''mesos'' 'middle' + λίθος, ''lithos'' 'stone') or Middle Stone Age is the Old World archaeological period between the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic. The term Epipaleolithic is often used synony ...
tools were found in Burgan. Historically, most of present-day Kuwait was part of ancient
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
. During the
Ubaid period The Ubaid period (c. 6500–3700 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 in 1919 by Henry Hall (Egyptologist) ...
(6500 BC), Kuwait was the central site of interaction between the peoples of
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
and Neolithic
Eastern Arabia Eastern Arabia, historically known as al-Baḥrayn ( ar, البحرين) until the 18th century, is a region stretched from Basra to Khasab along the Persian Gulf coast and included parts of modern-day Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ; ar, البح ...
, including Bahra 1 and site H3 in Subiya. The Neolithic inhabitants of Kuwait were among the world's earliest maritime traders. 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 ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
s first settled in the Kuwaiti island of Failaka in 2000 B.C. Traders from the
Sumer Sumer () is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (south-central Iraq), emerging during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is one of ...
ian city of Ur inhabited Failaka and ran a mercantile business. The island had many Mesopotamian-style buildings typical of those found in
Iraq Iraq,; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq officially the Republic of Iraq, '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Turkey to Iraq–Turkey border, the north, Iran to Iran–Iraq ...
dating from around 2000 B.C. In 4000 BC until 2000 BC, Kuwait was home to the
Dilmun civilization Dilmun, or Telmun, (Sumerian language, 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 onwards. Based on contextual ...
. Dilmun included Al-Shadadiya, Akkaz, Umm an Namil, and Failaka. At its peak in 2000 BC, Dilmun controlled the
Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of Persis, Fars, ), sometimes called the ( ar, اَلْخَلِيْجُ ٱلْعَرَبِيُّ, Al-Khalīj al-ˁArabī), is a Mediterranean sea (oceanography), me ...
trading routes. During the Dilmun era (from ca. 3000 BC), Failaka was known as "
Agarum Agarum (also transliterated as Agaru or Akarum, cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo- syllabic script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Middle East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age The Bronz ...
", the land of Enzak, 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. After the Dilmun civilization, Failaka was inhabited by the
Kassites The Kassites () were people of the ancient Near East, who controlled Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire c. 1531 BC and until c. 1155 BC (Chronology_of_the_ancient_Near_East#Variant_Middle_Bronze_Age_chronologies, short chron ...
of
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
, 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-gre, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou'', Koine Greek phonology#Learned pronunciation, 4th century BC until early Roman period, Learned ; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi ...
. 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 ...
, the bay of Kuwait was under
Babylonia Babylonia (; Akkadian: , ''māt Akkadī'') was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in the city of Babylon in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and parts of Syria). It emerged as an Amorites, Amorite-ruled ...
n control. Cuneiform documents found in Failaka indicate the presence of Babylonians in the island's population. Babylonian Kings were present in Failaka during the
Neo-Babylonian Empire The Neo-Babylonian Empire or Second Babylonian Empire, historically known as the Chaldean Empire, was the last polity ruled by monarchs native to Mesopotamia. Beginning with the coronation of Nabopolassar as the List of kings of Babylon, King of B ...
period,
Nabonidus Nabonidus (Babylonian cuneiform: ''Nabû-naʾid'', meaning "May Nabu be exalted" or "Nabu is praised") was the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, ruling from 556 BC to the fall of Babylon to the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great in 539 ...
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 (dUD "Sun"), also known under the Akkadian language, Akkadian name Shamash, ''šmš'', syc, ܫܡܫܐ ''šemša'', he, שֶׁמֶשׁ ''šemeš'', ar, شمس ''šams'', Ashurian Aramaic: 𐣴𐣬𐣴 ''š'meš(ā)'' was the List of Mesop ...
, the Mesopotamian sun god in the Babylonian pantheon. Following the
Fall of Babylon The Fall of Babylon denotes the end of the Neo-Babylonian Empire after it was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire in 539 BCE. Nabonidus (Nabû-na'id, 556–539 BCE), son of the Assyrian priestess Addagoppe of Harran, Adda-Guppi, came to the thr ...
, the bay of Kuwait came under the control of the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...
(c. 550‒330 BC) as the bay was repopulated after seven centuries of abandonment. Failaka was under the control of the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...
as evidenced by the archaeological discovery of Achaemenid strata. There are
Aramaic Aramaic ( syc, ܐܪܡܝܐ, Arāmāyā; oar, 𐤀𐤓𐤌𐤉𐤀; arc, 𐡀𐡓𐡌𐡉𐡀; tmr, אֲרָמִית) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic languages, Semitic language that originated in the ancient Syria (regio ...
inscriptions that testify Achaemenid presence. In 4th century BC, the
ancient Greeks Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, classical antiquity ( AD 600), th ...
colonized the bay of Kuwait under
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc, wikt:Ἀλέξανδρος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Alexandros; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the Ancient Greece, ancient Greek kingdom of Maced ...
. The ancient Greeks named mainland Kuwait ''Larissa'' and Failaka was named '' Ikaros''. The bay of Kuwait was named ''Hieros Kolpos''. According to
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus) was a term employed by the Romans for anyone whose eyes were distorted or deformed. The father of Pompey was called "Pompeius Strabo". A native of Sicily so clear-sighted that he could see ...
and
Arrian Arrian of Nicomedia (; Greek: ''Arrianos''; la, Lucius Flavius Arrianus; ) was a Greek historian, public servant, military commander and philosopher of the Roman period. '' The Anabasis of Alexander'' by Arrian is considered the be ...
, Alexander the Great named Failaka ''Ikaros'' because it resembled the Aegean island of that name in size and shape. Some elements of
Greek mythology A major branch of classical mythology, Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical co ...
were mixed with the local cults. "Ikaros" was also the name of a prominent city situated in Failaka. Large
Hellenistic In Classical antiquity, the Hellenistic period covers the time in History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history after Classical Greece, between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as sig ...
fort A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to establish rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from Latin ''fortis'' ("strong") and ''facere'' ...
s and
Greek temple Greek temples ( grc, ναός, naós, dwelling, semantically distinct from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoke ...
s were uncovered. Archaeological remains of Greek colonization were also discovered in Akkaz, Umm an Namil, and Subiya. At the time of Alexander the Great, the mouth of the
Euphrates River The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia ( ''the land between the rivers'') ...
was located in northern Kuwait. The Euphrates river flowed directly into the Persian Gulf via Khor Subiya which was a river channel at the time. Failaka was located 15 kilometers from the mouth of the Euphrates river. By the first century BC, the Khor Subiya river channel dried out completely. In 127 BC, Kuwait was part of the
Parthian Empire The Parthian Empire (), also known as the Arsacid Empire (), was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran from 247 BC to 224 AD. Its latter name comes from its founder, Arsaces I, who led the Parni tribe in conq ...
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: Myce ...
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. The earliest recorded mention of Kuwait was in 150 AD in the geographical treatise ''
Geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia''. Combination of Greek words ‘Geo’ (The Earth) and ‘Graphien’ (to describe), literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, i ...
'' by Greek scholar
Ptolemy Claudius Ptolemy (; grc-gre, wikt:Πτολεμαῖος, Πτολεμαῖος, ; la, Claudius Ptolemaeus; AD) was a mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, geographer, and music theorist, who wrote about a dozen scientific Treatise, treatis ...
. Ptolemy mentioned the Bay of Kuwait as ''Hieros Kolpos'' (''Sacer Sinus'' in the Latin versions). In 224 AD, Kuwait became part of the
Sassanid Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ) and also referred to by historians as the Neo-Persian Empire, was the History of Iran, last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests of the 7th-8th cen ...
. 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 Partho-
Sassanian The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ) and also referred to by historians as the Neo-Persian Empire, was the History of Iran, last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests of the 7th-8th cen ...
site; the Sassanid religion's
tower of silence A ''dakhma'' ( fa, دخمه), also known as a Tower of Silence, is a circular, raised structure built by Zoroastrians for excarnation (that is, the exposure of human corpses to the elements for decomposition), in order to avert contamina ...
was discovered in northern Akkaz. Late Sassanian settlements were discovered in Failaka. In Bubiyan, there is archaeological evidence of Sassanian to early Islamic periods of human presence as evidenced by the recent discovery of torpedo-jar pottery shards on several prominent beach ridges. Most of present-day Kuwait is still archaeologically unexplored. According to several famous archaeologists and geologists, Kuwait was likely the original location of the Pishon River which watered the mythical
Garden of Eden In Abrahamic religions, the Garden of Eden ( he, גַּן־עֵדֶן, ) or Garden of God (, and גַן־אֱלֹהִים ''gan-Elohim''), also called the Terrestrial Paradise, is the Bible, biblical paradise described in Book of Genesis, Genes ...
.The Pishon River - Found
/ref>James K. Hoffmeier, ''The Archaeology of the Bible'', Lion Hudson: Oxford, England, 34-35
Juris Zarins Juris Zarins (Zariņš) (born 1945, in Germany) is an American-Latvian archaeologist and professor at Missouri State University, who specializes in the Middle East. Biography Zarins is ethnically Latvian, but was born in Germany at the end of t ...
argued that the Garden of Eden was situated at the head of the Persian Gulf (present-day Kuwait), where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers run into the sea, from his research on this area using information from many different sources, including
LANDSAT The Landsat program is the longest-running enterprise for acquisition of satellite imagery of Earth. It is a joint NASA / United States Geological Survey, USGS program. On 23 July 1972, the Landsat 1, Earth Resources Technology Satellite was l ...
images from space. His suggestion about the Pishon River was supported by James A. Sauer of the American Center of Oriental Research. Sauer made an argument from geology and history that Pishon River was the now-defunct Kuwait River. With the aid of satellite photos, Farouk El-Baz traced the dry channel from Kuwait up the Wadi Al-Batin. 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 in April 629. The battle was fo ...
between the Sassanid Empire and
Rashidun Caliphate The Rashidun Caliphate ( ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلرَّاشِدَةُ, al-Khilāfah ar-Rāšidah) was the first caliphate A caliphate or khilāfah ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an institution or public office under the leadersh ...
was fought in Kuwait. 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 Kazma (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, translit=al-Ḥīra Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg () in its later form, is a Western Iranian languages#Middle Iranian, Middle Iranian language which bec ...
in Iraq. In the early Islamic period, the bay of Kuwait was known for being a fertile area. The Kuwaiti city of Kazma was also a stop for caravans coming from
Persia Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Armenia to the northwest, by the Caspian Sea and Turkmeni ...
and Mesopotamia en route to the Arabian Peninsula. The poet Al-Farazdaq, recognized as one of the greatest classical poets of the Arabs, was born in the Kuwaiti city of Kazma.
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of ...
Nestorian Nestorianism is a term used in Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practice. Such study concentrates primarily upon the texts of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, as well as ...
settlements flourished across the bay of Kuwait 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 in Akkaz and Al-Qusur. Pottery at the site can be dated from as early as the first half of the 7th century through the 9th century.


1521–1918: Founding

In 1521, Kuwait was under Portuguese 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. Located at the heart of the country on the south shore of Kuwait Bay on the Persian Gulf, it is the political, cultural and economical centre of the emirate, ...
was founded as a
fishing village A fishing village is a village, usually located near a fishing ground, with an economy based on catching fish and harvesting seafood. The continents and islands around the world have coastlines totalling around 356,000 kilometres (221,000 m ...
. Administratively, it was a sheikhdom, ruled by local
sheikh Sheikh (pronounced or ; ar, شيخ ' , mostly pronounced , plural ' )—also transliteration of Arabic, transliterated sheekh, sheyikh, shaykh, shayk, shekh, shaik and Shaikh, shak—is an honorific title in the Arabic language. It commonl ...
s from
Bani Khalid Bani Khalid ( ar, بني خالد) is an Arab The Arabs (singular: Arab; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, DIN 31635: , , plural ar, عَرَب, DIN 31635: , Arabic pronunciation: ), also known as the Arab people, are an ethnic grou ...
clan. In 1682 or 1716, the Bani Utbah settled in Kuwait City, which at this time was still inhabited by
fishermen A fisher or fisherman is someone who captures fish and other animals from a body of water, or gathers shellfish. Worldwide, there are about 38 million Commercial fishing, commercial and Artisan fishing, subsistence fishers and Fish farming, fi ...
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 law, maritime facility comprising one or more Wharf, wharves or loading areas, where ships load and discharge Affreightment, cargo and passengers. Although usually situated on a sea coast or estuary, ports can a ...
and rapidly became the principal commercial center for the transit of goods between
Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد , ) is the capital of Iraq and the list of largest cities in the Arab world, second-largest city in the Arab world after Cairo. It is located on the Tigris near the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon and the ...
, India,
Muscat Muscat ( ar, مَسْقَط, ) is the Capital (political), capital and 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 (NCSI), the t ...
, and
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula, (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") or Arabia, is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa Africa is t ...
. By the mid-1700s, Kuwait had established itself as the major trading route from the Persian Gulf to
Aleppo )), is an adjective which means "white-colored mixed with black". , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = , map_caption = , image_map1 = ...
. 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 Smyrna ( ; grc, Σμύρνη, Smýrnē, or , ) was a Ancient Greece, Greek city located at a strategic point on the Aegean Sea, Aegean coast of Anatolia. Due to its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defence, and its good inland connec ...
and
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse), Tsargrad (Slavs, Slavic), Qustantiniya (Arabic), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopo ...
were diverted to Kuwait during this time. The
East India Company The East India Company (EIC) was an English, and later British, joint-stock company founded in 1600 and dissolved in 1874. It was formed to Indian Ocean trade, trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with the East Indies (the Indian subco ...
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 Basra ( ar, ٱلْبَصْرَة, al-Baṣrah) is an Iraqi city located on the Shatt al-Arab. It had an estimated population of 1.4 million in 2018. Basra is also Iraq's main port, although it does not have deep water access, which is han ...
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. According to Kuwaiti authors, the instability in Basra helped foster economic prosperity in Kuwait. In the late 18th century, Kuwait was a haven for Basra merchants fleeing Ottoman persecution. Kuwait was the center of
boat building Boat building is the design and construction of boats and their systems. This includes at a minimum a hull (watercraft), hull, with propulsion, mechanical, navigation, safety and other systems as a craft requires. Construction materials and met ...
in the Persian Gulf, its ships renowned throughout the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five oceanic divisions, covering or ~19.8% of the water on Earth's surface. It is bounded by Asia to the north, Africa to the west and Australia (continent), Australia to the east. To the so ...
. Kuwaitis also developed a reputation as the best
sailor A sailor, seaman, mariner, or seafarer is a person who works aboard a watercraft as part of its crew, and may work in any one of a number of different fields that are related to the operation and maintenance of a ship. The profession of the s ...
s in the Persian Gulf. In the 19th century, Kuwait became significant in the 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 signed an agreement with the British government in India (subsequently known as the
Anglo-Kuwaiti Agreement of 1899 The Anglo-Kuwaiti Agreement of 1899 was a secret treaty signed between the British Empire and the Sheikhdom of Kuwait on 23 January 1899. Under its provisions Britain pledged to protect the territorial integrity of Kuwait in return for restricting ...
) 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 ) , image_map = kuwait in its region 1913-1922.jpg , image_map_caption = , capital = Kuwait City , latd = , latm = , latNS = , longd = ...
remained a British protectorate until 1961. During the reign of Mubarak, Kuwait was dubbed the "
Marseilles Marseille ( , , ; also spelled in English as Marseilles; oc, Marselha ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the France, French Departments of France, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Regio ...
of the Persian Gulf" because its economic vitality attracted a large variety of people. The population was cosmopolitan, ethnically and religiously diverse, including Arabs, Persians, Africans,
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is the age of the Israelites""The ...
and
Armenians Armenians ( hy, հայեր, ''Romanization of Armenian, hayer'' ) are an ethnic group native to the Armenian highlands of Western Asia. Armenians constitute the main population of Armenia and the ''de facto'' independent Republic of Artsakh ...
. Kuwait was known for its
religious tolerance Religious toleration may signify "no more than forbearance and the permission given by the adherents of a dominant religion for other religions to exist, even though the latter are looked on with disapproval as inferior, mistaken, or harmful". ...
. After the
Anglo-Ottoman Convention of 1913 The Anglo-Ottoman Convention of 1913, also known as the "Blue Line", was an agreement between the Sublime Porte of the Ottoman Empire and the Government of the United Kingdom, Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Unite ...
, Kuwait was established as an autonomous ''
kaza A kaza (, , , plural: , , ; ota, قضا, script=Arab, (; meaning 'borough') * bg, околия (; meaning 'district'); also Кааза * el, υποδιοίκησις () or (, which means 'borough' or 'municipality'); also () * lad, kaza , ...
,'' or district, of the Ottoman Empire and a ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, whether or not they are officially recognized by laws or other formal norms. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with '' de jure'' ("by l ...
'' protectorate of
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island and the List of is ...
. 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 A typewriter is a machine, mechanical or electromechanical machine for typing characters. Typically, a typewriter has an array of Button (control), keys, and each one causes a different single character to be produced on paper by striking ...
, and followed
European culture The culture of Europe is rooted in its art, architecture, film, different types of music, economics, literature, and philosophy. European culture is largely rooted in what is often referred to as its "common cultural heritage". Definition T ...
with curiosity. The richest were involved in general trade. The Kuwaiti merchant families of Al-Ghanim and Al-Hamad were estimated to be worth 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 Mary Bruins Allison (March 19, 1903 – September 15, 1994) was one of the first American women to be trained in medicine in the United States to worked as a missionary physician in Arabia. While attending medical college in Philadelphia, she lea ...
visited Kuwait in 1934, Kuwait lost its prominence in long-distance trade. During
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
, the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. I ...
imposed a trade blockade against Kuwait because Kuwait's ruler at the time,
Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah (; born 1864 – 23 February 1921) was the ninth ruler of the Sheikhdom of Kuwait. He was the second son of Mubarak Al-Sabah, Mubarak I and is the ancestor of the Al-Salim branch of the Al-Sabah family. He ruled from 5 ...
, supported the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire, * ; is an archaic version. The definite article forms and were synonymous * and el, Оθωμανική Αυτοκρατορία, Othōmanikē Avtokratoria, label=none * info page on book at Martin Luther University) ...
. The British economic blockade heavily damaged Kuwait's economy.


1919–1945: After World War I

In 1919, Sheikh
Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah (; born 1864 – 23 February 1921) was the ninth ruler of the Sheikhdom of Kuwait. He was the second son of Mubarak Al-Sabah, Mubarak I and is the ancestor of the Al-Salim branch of the Al-Sabah family. He ruled from 5 ...
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 The Ikhwan ( ar, الإخوان, al-ʾIkhwān, The Brethren), commonly known as Ikhwan min ta'a Allah ( ar, إخوان من أطاع الله), was a traditionalist religious militia made up of traditionally nomadic tribesmen which formed a signif ...
to build a stronghold in southern Kuwait led to the Battle of Hamdh. The Battle of Hamdh involved 2,000
Ikhwan The Ikhwan ( ar, الإخوان, al-ʾIkhwān, The Brethren), commonly known as Ikhwan min ta'a Allah ( ar, إخوان من أطاع الله), was a traditionalist religious militia made up of traditionally nomadic tribesmen which formed a signif ...
fighters against 100 Kuwaiti
cavalrymen Historically, cavalry (from the French word ''cavalerie'', itself derived from "cheval" meaning "horse") are soldiers or warriors who Horses in warfare, fight mounted on horseback. Cavalry were the most mobile of the combat arms, operating a ...
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 The Ikhwan ( ar, الإخوان, al-ʾIkhwān, The Brethren), commonly known as Ikhwan min ta'a Allah ( ar, إخوان من أطاع الله), was a traditionalist religious militia made up of traditionally nomadic tribesmen which formed a signif ...
, led by Faisal Al-Dawish, attacked the
Red Fort The Red Fort or Lal Qila () is a historic fort in Old Delhi, Delhi in India that served as the main residence of the Mughal Emperors. Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned construction of the Red Fort on 12 May 1638, when he decided to shift hi ...
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 The Ikhwan ( ar, الإخوان, al-ʾIkhwān, The Brethren), commonly known as Ikhwan min ta'a Allah ( ar, إخوان من أطاع الله), was a traditionalist religious militia made up of traditionally nomadic tribesmen which formed a signif ...
, demanded that Kuwait follows five rules: evict all the
Shias Shīʿa Islam or Shīʿīsm is the second-largest branch of Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the ...
, adopt the Ikhwan doctrine, label the Turks "
heretics Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. The term is usually used in reference to violations of important religi ...
", abolish smoking, 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 aftermath of World War I saw drastic political, cultural, economic, and social change across Eurasia, Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 milli ...
. The war occurred because
Ibn Saud Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud ( ar, عبد العزيز بن عبد الرحمن آل سعود, ʿAbd al ʿAzīz bin ʿAbd ar Raḥman Āl Suʿūd; 15 January 1875Ibn Saud's birth year has been a source of debate. It is generally accepted ...
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 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 conference in 1922, the boundaries of Kuwait and Najd were set; as a result of British interference, Kuwait had no representative at the Uqair conference. After the Uqair conference, Kuwait was still subjected to a Saudi economic blockade and intermittent Saudi raiding. The
Great Depression The Great Depression (19291939) was an economic shock that impacted most countries across the world. It was a period of economic depression that became evident after a major fall in stock prices in the United States. The Financial contagion, ...
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 A pearl is a hard, glistening object produced within the soft tissue (specifically the mantle (mollusc), mantle) of a living animal shell, shelled mollusk or another animal, such as fossil conulariids. Just like the shell of a mollusk, a pea ...
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 pearl Cultured pearls are formed within a cultured pearl sac with human intervention in the interior of productive living molluscs in a variety of conditions depending upon the mollusc and the goals. Just as the same as natural pearls, cultured pearls ...
s also contributed to the collapse of Kuwait's pearl industry. In 1937,
Freya Stark Dame Freya Madeline Stark (31 January 18939 May 1993), was a British-Italian explorer and travel writer. She wrote more than two dozen books on her travels in the Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233: ...
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. On 22 February 1938,
oil An oil is any nonpolar In chemistry, polarity is a separation of electric charge leading to a molecule or its chemical groups having an electric dipole moment, with a negatively charged end and a positively charged end. Polar molecules m ...
was first discovered in the Burgan field. 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 The Arab Cold War ( ar, الحرب العربية الباردة ''al-Harb al-`Arabiyyah al-bāridah'') was a period of political rivalry in the Arab world from the early 1950s to the late 1970s as part of the broader Cold War. The generally a ...
. In June 1961, Kuwait became independent with the end of the British protectorate and the Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah became
Emir of Kuwait The Emir of the State of Kuwait is the monarch and head of state of Kuwait, the country's most powerful office. The emirs of Kuwait are members of the House of Al Sabah, Al Sabah dynasty. Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah became the emir o ...
. Kuwait's 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 A constitution is the aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity A polity is an identifiable Politics, political entity – a group of people with a collective identity, who ...
, Kuwait held its first parliamentary elections in 1963. Kuwait was the first of the
Arab states of the Persian Gulf The Arab states of the Persian Gulf refers to a group of Arab states which border the Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of Persis, Fars, ), sometimes called the ( ar, اَلْخَ ...
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 The Arab League ( ar, الجامعة العربية, ' ), formally the League of Arab States ( ar, جامعة الدول العربية, '), is a regional organization in the Arab world The Arab world ( ar, اَلْعَالَمُ ال ...
support of Kuwait's independence. The short-lived
Operation Vantage Operation Vantage was a British military operation in 1961 to support the newly independent state of Kuwait against territorial claims by its neighbour, Iraq. The UK reacted to a call for protection from Sheikh Abdullah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah of Kuw ...
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 Abd al-Karim Qasim Muhammad Bakr al-Fadhli al-Zubaidi ( ar, عبد الكريم قاسم ' ) (21 November 1914 – 9 February 1963) was an Iraqi Army brigadier and nationalist who came to power when the Kingdom of Iraq, Iraqi monarchy ...
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. After the 1967
Six Day War The Six-Day War (, ; ar, النكسة, , or ) or June War, also known as the 1967 Arab–Israeli War or Third Arab–Israeli War, was fought between Israel and a coalition of Arab world, Arab states (primarily United Arab Republic, Egypt, S ...
Kuwait along with other Arab speaking countries voted the three no's of the Khartoum Resolution: no peace with Israel, no Recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel. The
Kuwait-Iraq 1973 Sanita border skirmish Following the deterring effect of Operation Vantage Operation Vantage was a British military operation in 1961 to support the newly independent state of Kuwait against territorial claims by its neighbour, Iraq. The UK reacted to a call for prote ...
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, 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. Ultimately, the hostages were released, and the guerrillas allowed to fly to
Aden Aden ( , ; ar, عدن ' Yemeni Arabic, Yemeni: ) is a city, and since 2015, the temporary capital of Yemen, near the eastern approach to the Red Sea (the Gulf of Aden), some east of the strait Bab-el-Mandeb. Its population is approximately ...
. 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 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 The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) is Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the ...
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, Education Index, education (mean years of schooling completed and expected years of schooling upon entering the Educational system, education system), ...
.
Kuwait University Kuwait University ( ar, جامعة الكويت, abbreviated as Kuniv) is a public university A public university or public college is a university or college that is in state ownership, owned by the state or receives significant government ...
was established in 1966. Kuwait's theatre industry was well known throughout the Arab world. In the 1960s and 1970s, Kuwait's press was described as one of the freest in the world. Kuwait was the pioneer in the literary renaissance in the Arab region. In 1958, '' 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 Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. The rights, right to freedom of expression has been ...
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 modern usage, hijab ( ar, حجاب, translit=ḥijāb, ) generally refers to headcoverings worn by Muslim women. Many Muslims believe it is obligatory for every female Muslim who has reached the age of puberty to wear a head covering. While s ...
in the 1960s and 70s.


1982–1990: Gulf War

In the early 1980s, Kuwait experienced a major
economic crisis An economy is an area of the Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution and trade, as well as Consumption (economics), consumption of Goods (economics), goods and Service (economics), services. In general, it is ...
after the Souk Al-Manakh stock market crash and decrease in oil price. During the
Iran–Iraq War The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between Iran and Ba'athist Iraq, Iraq that lasted from September 1980 to August 1988. It began with the Iraqi invasion of Iran and lasted for almost eight years, until the acceptance of United Nations Secu ...
, Kuwait supported Iraq. Throughout the 1980s, there were several terror attacks in Kuwait, including the
1983 Kuwait bombings The 1983 Kuwait bombings were attacks on six key foreign and Kuwaiti installations on 12 December 1983, two months after the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing. The 90-minute coordinated attack on two embassies, the country's Kuwait International Airpo ...
, hijacking of several Kuwait Airways planes and the attempted assassination of 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 The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC, ) is a cartel of countries. Founded on 14 September 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela), it has, since 1965, been headquart ...
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 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 The Gulf War was a 1990–1991 armed campaign waged by a Coalition of the Gulf War, 35-country military coalition in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Spearheaded by the United States, the coalition's efforts against Ba'athist Iraq, ...
. On 26 February 1991, in phase of code-named
Operation Desert Storm Operation or Operations may refer to: Arts, entertainment and media * ''Operation'' (game), a battery-operated board game that challenges dexterity * Operation (music), a term used in musical set theory * ''Operations'' (magazine), Multi-Ma ...
, the coalition succeeded in driving out the Iraqi forces. As they retreated, Iraqi forces carried out a
scorched earth A scorched-earth policy is a military strategy that aims to destroy anything that might be useful to the enemy. Any assets that could be used by the enemy may be targeted, which usually includes obvious weapons, military vehicles, transport v ...
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. Kuwait celebrates February 26 as Liberation Day. The event marked the country as the centre of the last major war in the 20th century.


1991–Present: Present era

In the early 1990s, Kuwait expelled approximately 400,000 Palestinian expats. Kuwait's policy was a response to alignment of Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat Mohammed Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf al-Qudwa al-Husseini (4 / 24 August 1929 – 11 November 2004), popularly known as Yasser Arafat ( , ; ar, محمد ياسر عبد الرحمن عبد الرؤوف عرفات القدوة الحسيني, Mu ...
and the PLO with Saddam Hussein. Kuwait also deported thousands of Iraqis and Yemenis after the Gulf War. In addition, hundreds of thousands of stateless Bedoon were expelled from Kuwait in the early-to-mid 1990s. At the
House of Commons of the United Kingdom The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster in London, England. The House of Commons is an elected body consisting of 650 mem ...
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. In March 2003, Kuwait became the springboard for the US-led
invasion of Iraq The 2003 invasion of Iraq was a United States-led invasion of the Ba'athist Iraq, Republic of Iraq and the first stage of the Iraq War. The invasion phase began on 19 March 2003 (air) and 20 March 2003 (ground) and lasted just over one mont ...
. 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 failing health. As a result, Sheikh
Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah ( ar, الشيخ صباح الأحمد الجابر الصباح, translit=ash-Shaykh Sabāh al-ʾAḥmad al-Jābir aṣ-Ṣabāḥ; 16 June 192929 September 2020) was the Emir of Kuwait The Emir of the State o ...
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, Education Index, education (mean years of schooling completed and expected years of schooling upon entering the Educational system, education system), ...
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 The Global Gender Gap Report is an index (statistics), index designed to Measures of gender equality, measure gender equality. It was first published in 2006 by the World Economic Forum. It "assesses countries on how well they are dividing their ...
. In March 2014, David S. Cohen, who was then 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 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 biggest source of terrorism funding, particularly for
ISIS Isis (; ''Ēse''; ; Meroitic language, Meroitic: ''Wos'' 'a''or ''Wusa''; Phoenician language, Phoenician: 𐤀𐤎, romanized: ʾs) was a major ancient Egyptian deities, goddess in ancient Egyptian religion whose worship spread throughou ...
and
Al-Qaeda Al-Qaeda (; , ) is an Islamic extremism, Islamic extremist organization composed of Salafist jihadists. Its members are mostly composed of Arab, Arabs, but also include other peoples. Al-Qaeda has mounted attacks on civilian and military ta ...
. On 26 June 2015, a suicide bombing took place at a Shia Muslim mosque in Kuwait. The
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant An Islamic state is a State (polity), state that has a form of government based on sharia, Islamic law (sharia). As a term, it has been used to describe various historical Polity, polities and theories of governance in the Islamic world. As a t ...
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 2020, the Kuwaiti government experienced its first fiscal deficit since 1995. In recent years, Kuwait has invested significantly in its economic relations with
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population exceeding 1.4 billion, slig ...
. 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), formerly known as One Belt One Road ( zh, link=no, 一带一路) or OBOR for short, is a global infrastructure economic development, development strategy adopted by the Government of China, Chinese ...
, 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 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.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 The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identif ...
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 Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah ( ar, نواف الأحمد الجابر الصباح, translit=Nawwāf al-Ahmad al-Jābir as-Sabāh; born 25 June 1937) is the emir of Kuwait and the commander of the Kuwait Military Forces. On 29 September 2020 ...
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 Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah ( ar, الشيخ مشعل الأحمد الجابر الصباح, translit=ash-Shaykh Misha`al al-ʾAḥmad al-Jābir aṣ-Ṣabāḥ; also spelled Meshal, Mishaal or Meshaal; born 27 September 1940) is the Cro ...
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.


Geography

Located in the north-east corner of the
Arabian Peninsula The Arabian Peninsula, (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") or Arabia, is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa Africa is t ...
, Kuwait is one of the smallest countries in the world in terms of land area. Kuwait lies between latitudes 28° and 31° N, and longitudes 46° and 49° E. Kuwait is generally low-lying, with the highest point being
above sea level Height above mean sea level is a measure of the Vertical position, vertical distance (height, elevation or altitude) of a location in reference to a historic mean sea level taken as a vertical datum. In geodesy, it is formalized as ''orthometric h ...
. Mutla Ridge is the highest point in Kuwait. Kuwait has ten islands. With an area of , the 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. Located at the heart of the country on the south shore of Kuwait Bay on the Persian Gulf, it is the political, cultural and economical centre of the emirate, ...
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 The Kuwaiti oil fires were caused by the Iraqi Armed Forces, Iraqi military setting fire to a reported 605 to 732 oil wells along with an unspecified number of oil filled low-lying areas, such as oil lakes and fire trenches, as part of a scorched ...
, 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 The Gulf War was a 1990–1991 armed campaign waged by a Coalition of the Gulf War, 35-country military coalition in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Spearheaded by the United States, the coalition's efforts against Ba'athist Iraq, ...
also drastically affected Kuwait's marine resources.


Climate

Due to Kuwait's proximity to Iraq and Iran, the winter season in Kuwait is colder than other coastal countries in the region (especially UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain). Kuwait is also less humid than other coastal countries in the region. 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 emits a lot of carbon dioxide per person compared to most other countries. In recent years, Kuwait has been regularly ranked among the world's highest countries in term of CO2 per capita emissions.CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita)
according to the World Bank.


Nature reserves

At present, there are five
protected areas Protected areas or conservation areas are locations which receive protection because of their recognized natural, ecological or cultural values. There are several kinds of protected areas, which vary by level of protection depending on the ena ...
in Kuwait recognized by the
IUCN The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; officially International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natura ...
. In response to Kuwait becoming the 169th signatory of the
Ramsar Convention The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of Ramsar site, Ramsar sites (wetlands). It is also known as the Convention on W ...
, 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
salt marshes A salt marsh or saltmarsh, also known as a coastal salt marsh or a tidal marsh, is a coastal ecosystem in the upper coastal intertidal zone between land and open Seawater, saltwater or brackish water that is regularly flooded by the tides. It is ...
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.


Biodiversity

Currently, 444 species of birds have been recorded in Kuwait, 18 species of which breed in the country. Due to its location at the head of the Persian Gulf near the mouth of the Tigris–Euphrates river, Kuwait is situated at the crossroads of many major bird migration routes and between two and three million birds pass each year. Kuwait's marine and littoral ecosystems contain the bulk of the country's biodiversity heritage. The marshes in northern Kuwait and Jahra have become increasingly important as a refuge for passage migrants. Twenty eight species of mammal are found in Kuwait; animals such as gerboa, desert rabbits and
hedgehog A hedgehog is a spiny mammal of the subfamily Erinaceinae, in the eulipotyphlan family (biology), family Erinaceidae. There are seventeen species of hedgehog in five genus, genera found throughout parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in Ne ...
s are common in the desert. Large carnivores, such as the
wolf The wolf (''Canis lupus''; plural, : wolves), also known as the gray wolf or grey wolf, is a large Canis, canine native to Eurasia and North America. More than thirty subspecies of Canis lupus, subspecies of ''Canis lupus'' have been reco ...
,
caracal The caracal (''Caracal caracal'') () is a medium-sized wild Felidae, cat native to Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and arid areas of Pakistan and northwestern India. It is characterised by a robust build, long legs, a short face, long ...
and
jackal Jackals are medium-sized Canidae, canids native to Africa and Eurasia. While the word "jackal" has historically been used for many canines of the subtribe Canina (subtribe), canina, in modern use it most commonly refers to three species: the cl ...
, are longer present. Among the endangered mammalian species are the
red fox The red fox (''Vulpes vulpes'') is the largest of the true foxes and one of the most widely distributed members of the Order (biology), order Carnivora, being present across the entire Northern Hemisphere including most of North America, Europe ...
and wild cat. Forty reptile species have been recorded although none are endemic to Kuwait. Kuwait, Oman and Yemen are the only locations where the endangered smoothtooth blacktip shark is confirmed as occurring. Kuwaiti islands are important breeding areas for four species of
tern Terns are seabirds in the family (biology), family Laridae that have a worldwide distribution and are normally found near the sea, rivers, or wetlands. Terns are treated as a subgroup of the family Laridae which includes gulls and Skimmer ( ...
and the socotra cormorant. Kubbar Island has been recognised an
Important Bird Area An Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) is an area identified using an internationally agreed set of criteria as being globally important for the conservation of birds, bird populations. IBA was developed and sites are identified by BirdLi ...
(IBA) by
BirdLife International BirdLife International is a global partnership of non-governmental organizations that strives to conserve birds and their habitat In ecology, the term habitat summarises the array of resources, physical and biotic factors that are pre ...
because it supports a breeding colony of white-cheeked terns.


Water and sanitation

Kuwait is part of the
Tigris–Euphrates river system The Tigris–Euphrates river system is a large river system in Western Asia which discharges into the Persian Gulf. Its principal rivers are the Tigris and Euphrates along with smaller tributary, tributaries. From their sources and upper courses ...
basin. Several Tigris–Euphrates
confluence In geography, a confluence (also: ''conflux'') occurs where two or more flowing bodies of water join to form a single channel. A confluence can occur in several configurations: at the point where a tributary joins a larger river (main stem); o ...
s form parts of the Kuwait–Iraq border. Bubiyan Island is part of the
Shatt al-Arab The Shatt al-Arab ( ar, شط العرب, lit=River of the Arabs; fa, اروندرود, Arvand Rud, lit=Swift River) is a river of some in length that is formed at the confluence of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, Euphrates and Tigris riv ...
delta. Kuwait is partially part of the
Mesopotamian Marshes The Mesopotamian Marshes, also known as the Iraqi Marshes, are a wetland area located in Southern Iraq and in southwestern Iran. The marshes are primarily located on the floodplains of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers bound by the cities of Basra, ...
. Kuwait does not currently have any permanent rivers within its territory. However, Kuwait does have several
wadi Wadi ( ar, وَادِي, wādī), alternatively ''wād'' ( ar, وَاد), North African Arabic Oued, is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some instances, it may refer to a wet ( ephemeral) riverbed that contains water ...
s, 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 An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a transition zone between river environments and maritime environment ...
, but once was the point where the
Shatt al-Arab The Shatt al-Arab ( ar, شط العرب, lit=River of the Arabs; fa, اروندرود, Arvand Rud, lit=Swift River) is a river of some in length that is formed at the confluence of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, Euphrates and Tigris riv ...
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 Umm Qasr ( ar, أم قصر, also transliterated as ''Um-qasir'', ''Um-qasser, Um Qasr'') is a port city in southern Iraq. It stands on the canalised Khawr az-Zubayr, part of the Khawr Abd Allah estuary which leads to the Persian Gulf. It is separ ...
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 Desalination is a process that takes away mineral components from saline water. More generally, desalination refers to the removal of salts and minerals from a target substance, as in Soil salinity control, soil desalination, which is an issue f ...
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 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-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 The Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) is an architectural prize established by Aga Khan IV in 1977. It aims to identify and reward architectural concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of Muslim societies in the fiel ...
(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.


Government and politics


Political system

Kuwait is a semi-constitutional
emirate An emirate is a territory ruled by an emir, a title used by monarchs or high officeholders in the Muslim world. From a historical point of view, an emirate is a political-religious unit smaller than a caliphate. It can be considered equivalen ...
, which is sometimes described as " anocratic". The
Polity data series The Polity data series is a data set, data series in political science research. Along with the Varieties of Democracy project and Freedom House, Polity is among prominent datasets that measure democracy and autocracy. The Polity study was in ...
and
Economist An economist is a professional and practitioner in the social sciences, social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy. Within this ...
Democracy Index The ''Democracy Index'' is an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research division of the Economist Group, a UK-based private company which publishes the weekly newspaper ''The Economist''. Akin to a Human Development I ...
both categorize Kuwait as an
autocracy Autocracy is a system of government in which absolute power over a state is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject neither to external legal restraints nor to regularized mechanisms of popular control (except pe ...
(
dictatorship A dictatorship is a form of government which is characterized by a leader, or a group of leaders, which holds governmental powers with few to no Limited government, limitations on them. The leader of a dictatorship is called a dictator. Politics i ...
).
Freedom House Freedom House is a non-profit, majority U.S. government funded organization in Washington, D.C., that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, Freedom (political), political freedom, and human rights. Freedom House was founded in October 19 ...
rates the country as "partly free" in the
Freedom in the World ''Freedom in the World'' is a yearly survey and report by the U.S.-based non-governmental organization Freedom House that measures the degree of civil liberties and political rights in every nation and significant related and disputed territori ...
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 politi ...
is the head of state. The political system consists of an appointed government (dominated by the
Al Sabah The House of Sabah ( ar, آل صباح ''Āl Ṣubāḥ'') is the ruling family of Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated in ...
ruling family), appointed judiciary, and elected legislature. The
Constitution of Kuwait The Constitution of Kuwait ( ar, الدستور الكويتي, ad-distūr al-Kuwayti, ) was created by the 1961 Kuwaiti Constitutional Convention election, Constitutional Assembly in 1961–1962 and signed into law on 11 November 1962 by the Emi ...
was promulgated in 1962. Executive power is executed by the government. The Emir appoints the prime minister, who in turn chooses the 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 stateless Bedoon crisis and the history of naturalization in Kuwait. The Emir appoints all the judges and many judges are foreign nationals from
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مصر , ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast corner of Africa and Western Asia, southwest corner of Asia via a land bridg ...
. The Constitutional Court is charged with ruling on the conformity of laws and decrees with the constitution. Kuwait has an active
public sphere The public sphere (german: Öffentlichkeit) is an area in social relation, social life where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify societal problems, and through that discussion influence political action. A "Public" is "of ...
and
civil society Civil society can be understood as the "third sector" of society, distinct from government and business, and including the family and the private sphere. Hulme and Edwards suggested that it was now seen as "the magic bullet." By the end of th ...
with political and social organizations that are parties in all but name. Professional groups like the
Chamber of Commerce A chamber of commerce, or board of trade, is a form of business network. For example, a local organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of businesses. Business owners in towns and cities form these local societies to ad ...
maintain their autonomy from the government. The legislative branch consists of the
National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral legislature, the lower house of a bicameral legislature, or both houses of a bicameral legislature together. In the English language it generally means "an assembly composed of the repre ...
, which has nominal oversight authority. As per article 107 of the 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. Due to frequent cabinet resignations, Kuwait has a new government every eight months. The political instability has significantly hampered the country's economic development and infrastructure. The Emir has suspended the constitution twice: in 1976 under Sheikh Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah and 1986 under Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah. Kuwait is regularly characterized as being a "
rentier state In current political-science and international-relations theory, a rentier state is a state which derives all or a substantial portion of its national revenues from the rent paid by foreign individuals, concerns or governments.Mahdavy 1970, p ...
" 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 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 The Global Gender Gap Report is an index (statistics), index designed to Measures of gender equality, measure gender equality. It was first published in 2006 by the World Economic Forum. It "assesses countries on how well they are dividing their ...
. 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 The Social Progress Index (SPI) measures the extent to which countries provide for the social and environmental needs of their citizens. Fifty-four indicators in the areas of basic human needs, foundations of well-being, and opportunity to progre ...
, Kuwait ranks first in
social progress Progress is the movement towards a refined, improved, or otherwise desired state. In the context of progressivism Progressivism holds that it is possible to improve human societies through political action. As a political movement, prog ...
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
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, current age, and other demographic factors like sex. The most commonly used measure is life expectancy at birth ...
, women's workforce participation, global food security, and school order and safety.


Al Sabah dynasty

Article 4 of the Kuwait constitution stipulates that Kuwait is a hereditary emirate whose emir must be an heir of
Mubarak Al-Sabah Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah (1837 – 28 November 1915) ( ar, الشيخ مبارك بن صباح الصباح) "the Great" ( ar, مبارك الكبير) was the seventh ruler of the Sheikhdom of Kuwait from 18 May 1896 until his death on 18 Novemb ...
. Mubarak had four sons, but an informal pattern of alternation between the descendants of his sons Jabir and Salem emerged since his death in 1915. This pattern of succession had one exception before 2006, when Sheikh Sabah Al-Salim, a son of Salem, was named crown prince to succeed his half-brother Sheikh 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-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-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-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-Ahmed as crown prince and his nephew Sheikh 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 In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral legislature, the lower house of a bicameral legislature, or both houses of a bicameral legislature together. In the English language it generally means "an assembly composed of the repre ...
. If this approval is not achieved, the emir is constitutionally 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".


Foreign relations

The foreign affairs of Kuwait are handled at the level of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs In many countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the government department responsible for the state's diplomacy Diplomacy comprises spoken or written communication by representatives of states (such as leaders and diplomats) intended to ...
. The first foreign affairs department bureau was established in 1961. Kuwait became the 111th member state of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...
in May 1963. It is a long-standing member of the
Arab League The Arab League ( ar, الجامعة العربية, ' ), formally the League of Arab States ( ar, جامعة الدول العربية, '), is a regional organization in the Arab world The Arab world ( ar, اَلْعَالَمُ ال ...
and
Gulf Cooperation Council The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf ( ar, مجلس التعاون لدول العربية الخليج ), also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC; ar, مجلس التعاون الخليجي), is a regional, inter ...
. Before the
Gulf War The Gulf War was a 1990–1991 armed campaign waged by a Coalition of the Gulf War, 35-country military coalition in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Spearheaded by the United States, the coalition's efforts against Ba'athist Iraq, ...
, Kuwait was the only "pro-
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
" 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 The Gulf War was a 1990–1991 armed campaign waged by a Coalition of the Gulf War, 35-country military coalition in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Spearheaded by the United States, the coalition's efforts against Ba'athist Iraq, ...
, Kuwait's relations with the U.S. have improved ( major non-NATO ally). Kuwait is also a major ally of
ASEAN ASEAN ( , ), officially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is a Political union, political and economic union of 10 member Sovereign state, states in Southeast Asia, which promotes intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental coo ...
and enjoys a close economic relationship with China while working to establish a model of cooperation in numerous fields. Kuwait is a major non-NATO ally to the United States and 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. Kuwait also has strong economic ties to China and
ASEAN ASEAN ( , ), officially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is a Political union, political and economic union of 10 member Sovereign state, states in Southeast Asia, which promotes intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental coo ...
. Under the
Belt and Road Initiative The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, or B&R), formerly known as One Belt One Road ( zh, link=no, 一带一路) or OBOR for short, is a global infrastructure economic development, development strategy adopted by the Government of China, Chinese ...
, Kuwait and China have many important cooperation projects including South al-Mutlaa and Mubarak Al Kabeer Port.


Military

The
Military of Kuwait The Kuwait Military Forces ( ar, القوات المسلحة الكويتية, Al-Quwwat Al-Musallahah Al-Kuwaitiyah) are the military forces of the State of Kuwait. They consist of the Kuwait Air Force The Kuwait Air Force ( ar, القوا ...
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 Kuwait Ministry of Defense, the Kuwait Ministry of Interior, the Kuwait National Guard, and the Kuwait Fire Service Directorate. The
Emir of Kuwait The Emir of the State of Kuwait is the monarch and head of state of Kuwait, the country's most powerful office. The emirs of Kuwait are members of the House of Al Sabah, Al Sabah dynasty. Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah became the emir o ...
is the commander-in-chief of all defense forces by default.


Legal system

Kuwait follows the " civil law system" modeled after the French legal system, Kuwait's legal system is largely secular.
Sharia Sharia (; ar, شريعة, sharīʿa ) is a body of religious law that forms a part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the Five Pillars of Islam, religious precepts of Islam and is based on the Islamic holy books, sacred scriptures o ...
law governs only
family law Family law (also called matrimonial law or the law of domestic relations) is an area of the law that deals with family matters and domestic relations. Overview Subjects that commonly fall under a nation's body of family law include: * Marriage, ...
for Muslim residents, while non-Muslims in Kuwait have a secular family law. For the application of
family law Family law (also called matrimonial law or the law of domestic relations) is an area of the law that deals with family matters and domestic relations. Overview Subjects that commonly fall under a nation's body of family law include: * Marriage, ...
, there are three separate court sections:
Sunni Sunni Islam () is the largest Islamic schools and branches, branch of Islam, followed by 85–90% of the world's Muslims. Its name comes from the word ''Sunnah'', referring to the tradition of Muhammad. The differences between Sunni and Shia ...
(
Maliki The ( ar, مَالِكِي) school is one of the four major schools of Fiqh, Islamic jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. It was founded by Malik ibn Anas in the 8th century. The Maliki school of jurisprudence relies on the Quran and hadiths as pri ...
),
Shia Shīʿa Islam or Shīʿīsm is the second-largest Islamic schools and branches, branch of Islam. It holds that the Prophets and messengers in Islam, Islamic prophet Muhammad in Islam, Muhammad designated Ali, ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib as his S ...
, and non-Muslim. According to the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...
, Kuwait's legal system is a mix of
English common law English law is the common law list of national legal systems, legal system of England and Wales, comprising mainly English criminal law, criminal law and Civil law (common law), civil law, each branch having its own Courts of England and Wales, ...
,
French civil law The Law of France refers to the legal system in the French Republic France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of overseas regions and territories in the Americ ...
, Egyptian civil law and Islamic law. The court system in Kuwait is secular. Unlike other
Arab states of the Persian Gulf The Arab states of the Persian Gulf refers to a group of Arab states which border the Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of Persis, Fars, ), sometimes called the ( ar, اَلْخَ ...
, Kuwait does not have Sharia courts. Sections of the civil court system administer family law. Kuwait has the most secular
commercial law Commercial law, also known as mercantile law or trade law, is the body of law that applies to the rights, relations, and conduct of persons and business engaged in commerce Commerce is the large-scale organized system of activities, functio ...
in the Persian Gulf region. The parliament criminalized alcohol consumption in 1983. Kuwait's Code of Personal Status was promulgated in 1984.


Administrative divisions

Kuwait is divided into six governorates: Al Asimah Governorate (or Capital Governorate); Hawalli Governorate; Farwaniya Governorate; Mubarak Al-Kabeer Governorate; Ahmadi Governorate; and Jahra Governorate. The governorates are further 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 The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...
. According to
Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international non-governmental organization, headquartered in New York City, that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. The group pressures governments, policy makers, companies, and individual human ri ...
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 The Rohingya people () are a stateless Indo-Aryan ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from ...
crisis in
Myanmar Myanmar, ; UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English speakers pronounce r at the end of syllables. As John C. Wells, Joh ...
(Burma). According to several human rights organizations, Kuwait is committing
ethnic cleansing Ethnic cleansing is the systematic forced removal of ethnic, racial, and religious groups from a given area, with the intent of making a region ethnically homogeneous. Along with direct removal, extermination, deportation or population transfer ...
and
genocide Genocide is the intentional destruction of a people—usually defined as an Ethnic group, ethnic, nationality, national, race (classification of humans), racial, or Religion, religious group—in whole or in part. Raphael Lemkin coined the term ...
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 The kafala system (also spelled "kefala system"; ar, نظام الكفالة, niẓām al-kafāla; meaning "sponsorship system") is a system used to monitor migrant laborers, working primarily in the construction and domestic sectors in Gulf ...
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
human trafficking Human trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others. This may encompass providing a spouse in the context of forced marriage, or the extracti ...
. 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 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 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 The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is an index which ranks countries "by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys." The CPI generally defines corruption as an "abuse of entru ...
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 Transparency International e.V. (TI) is a German registered association founded in 1993 by former employees of the World Bank. Based in Berlin, its nonprofit and non-governmental purpose is to take action to combat global corruption with civi ...
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.


Economy

Kuwait has a wealthy
petroleum Petroleum, also known as crude oil, or simply oil, is a naturally occurring yellowish-black liquid mixture of mainly hydrocarbons, and is found in geological formations. The name ''petroleum'' covers both naturally occurring unprocessed crude ...
-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.
The
Kuwaiti dinar The Kuwaiti dinar ( ar, دينار كويتي, ISO 4217, code: KWD) is the currency of Kuwait. It is sub-divided into 1,000 Fils (currency), fils. As of 2022, the Kuwaiti dinar is the currency with the highest value per base unit, with KD  ...
is the highest-valued unit of currency in the world. According to the
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and Grant (money), grants to the governments of Least developed countries, low- and Developing country, middle-income countries for the purpose of pursuing capital pro ...
, 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. It is noteworthy in the study that Kuwait ranked first in the Arab world and 11th globally in the number of small and medium enterprises per 1,000 people, with a score of 67.3 points. sorces ( https://www.arabtimesonline.com/news/kuwait-billionaires-richest-worldwide/) In the past five years, there has been a significant rise in
entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship is the creation or extraction of economic value. With this definition, entrepreneurship is viewed as change, generally entailing risk beyond what is normally encountered in starting a business, which may include other values th ...
and small business start-ups in Kuwait. The
informal sector An informal economy (informal sector or grey economy) is the part of any economy An economy is an area of the Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution and trade, as well as Consumption (economics), consump ...
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 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 Guinea-Bissau ( ; pt, Guiné-Bissau; ff, italic=no, 𞤘𞤭𞤲𞤫 𞤄𞤭𞤧𞤢𞥄𞤱𞤮, Gine-Bisaawo, script=Adlm; Mandinka language, Mandinka: ''Gine-Bisawo''), officially the Republic of Guinea-Bissau ( pt, República da Guiné- ...
and
Vietnam Vietnam or Viet Nam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,., group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia, at the eastern edge of mainland Southeast Asia, with an area of and population of 96 million, making it ...
. Workers from
Bangladesh Bangladesh (}, ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, eighth-most populous country in the world, with a population exceeding 165 million pe ...
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
oil reserves An oil is any polarity (chemistry), nonpolar chemical substance that is composed primarily of Hydrocarbon, hydrocarbons and is hydrophobe, hydrophobic (does not mix with water) & lipophilicity, lipophilic (mixes with other oils). Oils are usu ...
of 104 billion barrels, estimated to be 10% of the world's reserves. Kuwait also has substantial 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 environmentally friendly oil refinery, where this refers to the effect on the local environment as opposed to the global environmental impact of burning the resulting oil. This Al Zour Refinery is a Kuwait-China cooperation project under the
Belt and Road Initiative The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, or B&R), formerly known as One Belt One Road ( zh, link=no, 一带一路) or OBOR for short, is a global infrastructure economic development, development strategy adopted by the Government of China, Chinese ...
. Al Zour LNG Terminal is the Middle East's largest import terminal for
liquefied natural gas Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas (predominantly methane, CH4, with some mixture of ethane, C2H6) that has been cooled down to liquid form for ease and safety of non-pressurized storage or transport. It takes up about 1/600th the volu ...
. 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.


Agriculture

In 2016, Kuwait's food self-sufficiency ratio was 49.5% in vegetables, 38.7% in meat, 12.4% in dairy, 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.


Finance

The
Kuwait Investment Authority The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) is Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the ...
(KIA) is Kuwait's largest
sovereign wealth fund A sovereign wealth fund (SWF), sovereign investment fund, or social wealth fund is a state-owned investment fund that invests in real and financial assets such as stocks, Bond (finance), bonds, real estate, precious metals, or in alternative inve ...
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 Asia-Pacific (APAC) is the part of the Earth, world near the western Pacific Ocean. The Asia-Pacific region varies in area depending on context, but it generally includes East Asia, Russian Far East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia and List ...
. In 2021, the holdings were valued at around $700 billion in assets. It is the 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. 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 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 A developing country is a sovereign state with a lesser developed Industrial sector, industrial base and a lower Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, this definition is not universally agreed upon. There is al ...
in the world.


Health

Kuwait has a state-funded 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 Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by a virus, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first known case was COVID-19 pandemic in Hubei, identified in Wuhan, China, in December ...
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. Private sector hospitals in Kuwait offer multiple specialities. This trend is likely to grow further, especially in tapping opportunities to reduce treatments performed overseas and develop inbound medical tourism market by developing high end speciality hospitals.


Science and technology

Kuwait has a growing scientific research sector. According to the
United States Patent and Trademark Office The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an List of federal agencies in the United States, agency in the United States Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce that serves as the national patent office and trademark ...
, Kuwait has registered 448
patents A patent is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of time in exchange for publishing an sufficiency of disclosure, enabling disclo ...
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 72nd in the Global Innovation Index in 2021, 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 a member of FUNcube distributed
ground station A ground station, Earth station, or Earth terminal is a terrestrial radio station designed for extraplanetary telecommunication with spacecraft (constituting part of the ground segment of the spacecraft system), or reception of radio waves fro ...
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 A CubeSat is a class of miniaturized satellite based around a form factor consisting of cubes. CubeSats have a mass of no more than per unit, and often use commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components for their electronics and structure. CubeSats ...
(
nanosatellite A small satellite, miniaturized satellite, or smallsat is a satellite A satellite or artificial satellite is an object intentionally placed into orbit in outer space. Except for passive satellites, most satellites have an electricity gen ...
) 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 Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) is an American Aerospace manufacturer, spacecraft manufacturer, space launch, launcher, and a Telecommunication, satellite communications corporation headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It wa ...
Falcon 9 Block 5 Falcon 9 Block 5 is a partially reusable two-stage-to-orbit medium-lift launch vehicle designed and manufactured in the United States by SpaceX Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) is an American Aerospace manufacturer, space ...
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 A Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO), also called a heliosynchronous orbit, is a nearly polar orbit around a planet, in which the satellite passes over any given point of the planet's surface at the same local mean solar time. More technically, it is ...
) 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 A sub-orbital spaceflight is a spaceflight Spaceflight (or space flight) is an application of astronautics to fly spacecraft A spacecraft is a vehicle or machine designed to spaceflight, fly in outer space. A type of artifici ...
liquid bi-propellant rocket in
Arabia The Arabian Peninsula, (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") or Arabia, is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. ...
. The project is divided into two phases with two separate vehicles: an initial testing phase with KSR-1 as a 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)
microgravity The term micro-g environment (also μg, often referred to by the term microgravity) is more or less synonymous with the terms ''weightlessness'' and ''zero-g'', but emphasising that g-forces are never exactly zero—just very small (on the In ...
(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 is a private spaceflight, private in-space services companywhich builds space hardware and in-space repurposing tools.The company also facilitates experiments and launches of CubeSat, CubeSats to Low Earth orbit, Low Earth Orbi ...
LLC, which are collaborating with
NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA ) is an independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the US federal government responsible for the civil List of government space agencies, space program ...
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 SpaceX CRS-21, also known as SpX-21, was a Commercial Resupply Services, Commercial Resupply Service mission to the International Space Station which launched on 6 December 2020. The mission was contracted by NASA and was flown by SpaceX using ...
(SpX-21) spaceflight to the
International Space Station The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest Modular design, modular space station currently in low Earth orbit. It is a multinational collaborative project involving five participating space agencies: NASA (United States), Roscosmos ( ...
(ISS) on 6 December 2020. Astronaut
Shannon Walker Shannon Walker (born June 4, 1965) is an American physicist and a NASA astronaut selected in 2004. She launched on her first mission into space on June 25, 2010, onboard Soyuz TMA-19 and spent over 163 days in space. She returned to space for ...
(member of the ISS
Expedition 64 Expedition 64 was the 64th long-duration expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), that began on 21 October 2020 with the undocking and departure of Soyuz MS-16. The Expedition started with the three crew members launched onboard Soy ...
) 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.


Education

Kuwait had the highest
literacy rate Literacy in its broadest sense describes "particular ways of thinking about and doing reading and writing" with the purpose of understanding or expressing thoughts or ideas in Writing, written form in some specific context of use. In other wo ...
in the Arab world in 2010. The general education system consists of four levels:
kindergarten Kindergarten is a preschool educational approach based on playing, singing, practical activities such as drawing, and social interaction as part of the transition from home to school. Such institutions were originally made in the late 18th cent ...
(lasting for 2 years),
primary Primary or primaries may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music Groups and labels * Primary (band), from Australia * Primary (musician), hip hop musician and record producer from South Korea * Primary Music, Israeli record label Works * ...
(lasting for 5 years), intermediate (lasting for 4 years) and
secondary Secondary may refer to: Science and nature * Secondary emission, of particles ** Secondary electrons, electrons generated as ionization products * The secondary winding, or the electrical or electronic circuit connected to the secondary winding i ...
(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 The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and Grant (money), grants to the governments of Least developed countries, low- and Developing country, middle-income countries for the purpose of pursuing capital pro ...
.


Tourism

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 WTTC named Kuwait as one of the world's fastest-growing countries in travel and tourism
GDP Gross domestic product (GDP) is a money, monetary Measurement in economics, measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced and sold (not resold) in a specific time period by countries. Due to its complex and subjec ...
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 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. 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.


Transport

Kuwait has an extensive and modern network of highways. 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 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 Kuwait International Airport ( ar, مطار الكويت الدولي, ) is an international airport located in the Farwaniya Governorate, Kuwait, south of the centre of Kuwait City, spread over an area of . It serves as the primary Airline hub, ...
serves as the principal hub for international air travel. State-owned
Kuwait Airways Kuwait Airways ( ar, الخطوط الجوية الكويتية, ) is the national carrier of Kuwait, with its head office on the grounds of Kuwait International Airport, Al Farwaniyah Governorate. It operates scheduled international services thr ...
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 The Kuwait Air Force ( ar, القوات الجوية الكويتية , al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Kuwaitiya) is the air arm of the Kuwait Military Forces, Armed Forces of Kuwait. The Air Force headquarters is located at Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Ba ...
, as well as the Kuwait Air Force Museum. In 2004, the first private airline of Kuwait,
Jazeera Airways Jazeera Airways K.S.C ( ar, طيران الجزيرة) is a Kuwaiti airline with its head office on the grounds of Kuwait International Airport in Al Farwaniyah Governorate, Kuwait. It operates scheduled services in the Middle East, Nepal, Pakist ...
, 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 in Bubiyan Island is currently under construction. The port is expected to handle 2 million TEU when operations start.


Demographics

Kuwait's 2018 population was 4.6 million people, of which 1.8 million were Kuwaitis, 800,000  are other Arabs, 1.6 million Asian expatriates, and 47,227 Africans.


Ethnic groups

Expatriates in Kuwait account for around 60% of Kuwait's total population. At the end of December 2018, 57.65% of Kuwait's total population were
Arabs The Arabs (singular: Arab; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, DIN 31635: , , plural ar, عَرَب, DIN 31635: , Arabic pronunciation: ), also known as the Arab people, are an ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping o ...
(including Arab expats).
Indians Indian or Indians may refer to: Peoples South Asia * Indian people Indians or Indian people are the Indian nationality law, citizens and nationals of India. In 2022, the population of India stood at over 1.4 billion people, making it ...
and
Egyptians Egyptians ( arz, المَصرِيُون, translit=al-Maṣriyyūn, ; arz, المَصرِيِين, translit=al-Maṣriyyīn, ; cop, ⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ, remenkhēmi) are an ethnic group native to the Nile Valley in Egypt. Egyptian ident ...
are the largest expat communities respectively.


Religion

Kuwait's official state religion is
Maliki The ( ar, مَالِكِي) school is one of the four major schools of Fiqh, Islamic jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. It was founded by Malik ibn Anas in the 8th century. The Maliki school of jurisprudence relies on the Quran and hadiths as pri ...
Sunni Islam. The
Al Sabah The House of Sabah ( ar, آل صباح ''Āl Ṣubāḥ'') is the ruling family of Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated in ...
ruling family including the Emir, adhere to the 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 native Christian community, estimated to be composed of between 259 and 400 Christian Kuwaiti citizens. Kuwait is the only 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 The Baháʼí Faith is a religion founded in the 19th century The 19th (nineteenth) century began on 1 January 1801 (Roman numerals, MDCCCI), and ended on 31 December 1900 (Roman numerals, MCM). The 19th century was the ninth century of th ...
. Kuwait also has a large community of expatriate
Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of ...
,
Hindus Hindus (; ) are people who religiously adhere to Hinduism.Jeffery D. Long (2007), A Vision for Hinduism, IB Tauris, , pages 35–37 Historically, the term has also been used as a geographical, cultural, and later religious identifier for ...
,
Buddhists Buddhism ( , ), also known as Buddha Dharma and Dharmavinaya (), is an Indian religions, Indian religion or Indian philosophy#Buddhist philosophy, philosophical tradition based on Pre-sectarian Buddhism, teachings attributed to the Buddha. ...
, and
Sikhs Sikhs ( or ; pa, ਸਿੱਖ, ' ) are people who adhere to Sikhism, Sikhism (Sikhi), a Monotheism, monotheistic religion that originated in the late 15th century in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, based on the revelation of Gu ...
.


Languages

Kuwait's official language is
Modern Standard Arabic Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) or Modern Written Arabic (MWA), terms used mostly by linguists, is the variety of Standard language, standardized, Literary language, literary Arabic that developed in the Arab world in the late 19th and early 20th ...
, but its everyday usage is limited to journalism and education.
Kuwaiti Arabic Kuwaiti (in Kuwaiti accent , ) is a Gulf Arabic dialect spoken in Kuwait. Kuwaiti Arabic shares many phonetic features unique to Gulf dialects spoken in the Arabian Peninsula. Due to Culture_of_Kuwait#Television_and_soap_operas, Kuwait's soap o ...
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 Humanities are List of academic disciplines, academic disciplines that study aspects of human society and culture. In the Renaissance, the term contrasted with Divinity (academic discipline), divinity and referred to what is now called classi ...
at schools, but for two years only. Kuwaiti Arabic is a variant of
Gulf Arabic Gulf Arabic ( ' local pronunciation: or ', local pronunciation: ) is a Varieties of Arabic, variety of the Arabic language spoken in Eastern Arabia around the coasts of the Persian Gulf in Kuwaiti Arabic, Kuwait, Bahrani Arabic, Bahrain, Qatar, ...
, 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 Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Arm ...
, Indian languages,
Balochi language Balochi or Baluchi () is an Iranian language spoken primarily in the Balochistan, Balochistan region of Balochistan, Pakistan, Pakistan, Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran and Balochistan, Afghanistan, Afghanistan. In addition, there are spe ...
, Turkish, English and Italian. Due to historical immigration,
Kuwaiti Persian Kuwaiti Persian, known in Kuwait as ʿīmi (sometimes spelled Eimi)Written in Arabic alphabet as "عيمي", and pronounced in Kuwaiti Arabic and in Kuwaiti Persian. Sometimes it is also referred to as ايراني "Iranian", but this could ref ...
is used among Ajam Kuwaitis. The
Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran, a sovereign state * Iranian peoples, the speakers of the Iranian languages. The term Iranic peoples is also used for this term to distinguish the pan ethnic term from Iranian, used for the people of Iran * Iranian lan ...
sub-dialects of Larestani, Khonji, Bastaki and Gerashi also influenced the vocabulary of Kuwaiti Arabic. Most Shia Kuwaiti citizens are of Iranian ancestry.


Culture

Kuwaiti
popular culture Popular culture (also called mass culture or pop culture) is generally recognized by members of a society as a set of cultural practice, practices, beliefs, artistic output (also known as, popular art or mass art) and cultural objects, objects ...
, in the form of theatre, radio, music, and television soap opera, flourishes and is even exported to neighboring states. Within the
Arab states of the Persian Gulf The Arab states of the Persian Gulf refers to a group of Arab states which border the Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of Persis, Fars, ), sometimes called the ( ar, اَلْخَ ...
, the culture of Kuwait is the closest to the culture of
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ; ar, البحرين, al-Bahrayn, locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, ' is an island country in Western Asia. It is situated on the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf, and comprises a small archipelago made u ...
; 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 The performing arts are The arts, arts such as music, dance, and drama which are performed for an audience. They are different from the visual arts, which are the use of paint, canvas or various materials to create physical or static art object ...
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 , type = islam , longtype = Islam, Religious , image = Ramadan montage.jpg , caption=From top, left to right: A crescent moon over Sarıçam, Turkey, marking the beginning of the Islamic month of Ramadan. Ramadan Quran reading in Bandar Torkaman, I ...
, when families gather to break their fast. Although usually performed in the Kuwaiti dialect, they have been shown with success as far away as
Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern Africa , image_map2 = , capital = Tunis , largest_city = capital , ...
. Kuwait is frequently dubbed the "
Hollywood Hollywood usually refers to: * Hollywood, Los Angeles, a neighborhood in California * Hollywood, a metonym for the cinema of the United States Hollywood may also refer to: Places United States * Hollywood District (disambiguation) * 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 Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The p ...
. 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 A subsidy or government incentive is a form of financial aid or support extended to an economic sector (business, or individual) generally with the aim of promoting economic and social policy. Although commonly extended from the government, the ter ...
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 actor Abdulhussain Abdulredha. The annual Kuwait Theater Festival is the largest theatrical arts festival in Kuwait. Kuwait is the main centre of scenographic and
performing arts education Education in the performing arts is a key part of many primary education, primary and secondary education curriculum, curricula and is also available as a specialisation at the tertiary education, tertiary level. The performing arts, which include, ...
in the GCC region. Many famous Arab actors and singers attribute their success to training in Kuwait. The Higher Institute of Theatrical Arts (HIDA) provides
higher education Higher education is tertiary education leading to award of an academic degree. Higher education, also called post-secondary education, third-level or tertiary education, is an optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completio ...
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 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
traditional music Folk music is a music genre that includes #Traditional folk music, traditional folk music and the Contemporary folk music, contemporary genre that evolved from the former during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be c ...
in the GCC region. Kuwaiti music has considerably influenced the music culture in other GCC countries. Kuwait pioneered 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 Music education is a field of practice in which educators are trained for careers as primary education, elementary or secondary education, secondary music teachers, school or music conservatory ensemble directors. Music education is also a res ...
. The Higher Institute of Musical Arts was established by the government to provide
bachelor's degrees A bachelor's degree (from Middle Latin ''baccalaureus'') or baccalaureate (from Modern Latin ''baccalaureatus'') is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study lasting three to si ...
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 A secondary school describes an institution that provides secondary education and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both '' secondary education, lower secondary education'' (ages 11 to 14) ...
. 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 ''Star Academy'', called ''Operación Triunfo'' ("Operation Triumph") in Spanish-speaking countries, is a highly successful television pop music talent contest with viewer voting and reality show elements. Format There are many versions of t ...
''. 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 The visual arts are Art#Forms, genres, media, and styles, art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics (art), ceramics, photography, video, filmmaking, design, crafts and architecture. Many artistic disciplines such as ...
in the Gulf Arab region. He is regarded as the founder of
portrait A portrait is a painting Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface (called the "matrix" or "support"). The medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush, but other implements, suc ...
art in the region. The Sultan Gallery was the first professional Arab art gallery in the Gulf. Kuwait is home to more than 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 A solo show or solo exhibition is an exhibition of the work of only one artist. The artwork may be paintings, drawings, etchings, collage, sculpture, or photography. The creator of any artistic technique may be the subject of a solo show. Othe ...
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 Layla Al-Attar ( ar, ليلى العطار; May 7, 1944 – June 27, 1993) was an Iraqis, Iraqi artist and painter who became the Director of the Iraqi National Art Museum. Through her art, al-Attar expressed ideals that attempted to recognize the ...
. In 2004, the Al Kharafi Biennial for Contemporary Arab Art was inaugurated.


Cuisine

Kuwaiti cuisine is a fusion of
Arabian The Arabian Peninsula, (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") or Arabia, is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. ...
,
Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran, a sovereign state * Iranian peoples, the speakers of the Iranian languages. The term Iranic peoples is also used for this term to distinguish the pan ethnic term from Iranian, used for the people of Iran * Iranian lan ...
, and
Mesopotamian Mesopotamia ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن or ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the F ...
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 Basmati, , is a variety of long, slender-grained aromatic rice which is traditionally grown in India, Pakistan, and Nepal.
rice seasoned with spices, and chicken or mutton.
Seafood Seafood is any form of Marine life, sea life regarded as food by humans, prominently including Fish as food, fish and shellfish. Shellfish include various species of Mollusca, molluscs (e.g. bivalve molluscs such as clams, oysters and mussels ...
is a significant part of the Kuwaiti diet, especially
fish Fish are Aquatic animal, aquatic, craniate, gill-bearing animals that lack Limb (anatomy), limbs with Digit (anatomy), digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and Chondrichthyes, cartilaginous and bony fish as we ...
. Mutabbaq samak is a national dish in Kuwait. Other local favourites are ''hamour'' (
grouper Groupers are fish of any of a number of genus, genera in the subfamily Epinephelinae of the family (biology), family Serranidae, in the order Perciformes. Not all serranids are called "groupers"; the family also includes the Bass (fish), sea b ...
), which is typically served grilled, fried, or with
biryani Biryani () is a mixed rice dish originating among the Islam in South Asia, Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. It is made with Indian spices, rice, and usually some type of meat (chicken, beef, goat, Lamb (food), lamb, prawn, fish) or in som ...
rice because of its texture and taste; ''safi'' (
rabbitfish Rabbitfishes or spinefoots are perciform fishes in the family Family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or Affinity (law), affinity (by marriage or other relationshi ...
); ''maid'' ( mulletfish); and ''sobaity'' (
sea bream The Sparidae are a family (biology), family of fish in the order Perciformes, commonly called sea breams and porgies. The Sheepshead (Archosargus), sheepshead, scup, and red seabream are species in this family. Most sparids are deep-bodied compre ...
). Kuwait's traditional
flatbread A flatbread is a bread Bread is a staple food prepared from a dough of flour (usually wheat) and water, usually by baking. Throughout recorded history and around the world, it has been an important part of many cultures' diet. It is one of ...
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.


Museums

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. 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 is the largest museum specializing in Kuwait's history. The Scientific Center is one of the largest science museums in the Middle East. The
Museum of Modern Art The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an art museum located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, on 53rd Street (Manhattan), 53rd Street between Fifth Avenue, Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It plays a major role in developing and collecting modern art, ...
showcases the history of modern art in Kuwait and the region. The Kuwait Maritime Museum presents the country's maritime heritage in the pre-oil era. Several traditional Kuwaiti dhow ships are open to the public, such as Fateh Al-Khayr and Al-Hashemi-II which entered the
Guinness Book of World Records ''Guinness World Records'', known from its inception in 1955 until 1999 as ''The Guinness Book of Records'' and in previous United States editions as ''The Guinness Book of World Records'', is a reference book published annually, listing world ...
as the largest wooden dhow ever built. The Historical, Vintage, and Classical Cars Museum displays vintage cars from Kuwait's motoring heritage. The National Museum, established in 1983, has been described as "underused and overlooked". Several Kuwaiti museums are devoted to
Islamic art Islamic art is a part of Islamic culture and encompasses the visual arts produced since the 7th century CE by people who lived within territories inhabited or ruled by Muslims, Muslim populations. Referring to characteristic traditions across ...
, 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 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.


Society

Kuwaiti society is markedly more
open Open or OPEN may refer to: Music * Open (band) Open is a band. Background Drummer Pete Neville has been involved in the Sydney/Australian music scene for a number of years. He has recently completed a Masters in screen music at the Australia ...
than other Gulf Arab societies. Kuwaiti citizens are ethnically diverse, consisting of both Arabs and Persians ('Ajam). Kuwait stands out in the region as the most liberal in empowering women in the public sphere. 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".


Media

Kuwait produces more 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 Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the fundamental principle that communication and expression through various media, including printed and electronic media Media may refer to: Communication * Media (communication), tools us ...
survey by Freedom House. Since 2005, Kuwait has frequently earned the highest ranking of all Arab countries in the annual
Press Freedom Index The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders since 2002 based upon the organisation's own assessment of the countries' Freedom of the press, press freedom records in the previous ...
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 Arabic (, ' ; , ' or ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C ...
,
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Arm ...
,
Urdu Urdu (;"Urdu"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
ur, , link=no, ) is an Indo-Aryan languages, In ...
, and English on the AM and SW.


Literature

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 and
French literature French literature () generally speaking, is literature written in the French language, particularly by citizens of France; it may also refer to literature written by people living in France who speak traditional languages of France other than Fr ...
.


Sport

Football Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, Kick (football), kicking a Football (ball), ball to score a Goal (sport), goal. Unqualified, Football (word), the word ''football'' normally means the form of football tha ...
is the most popular sport in Kuwait. The
Kuwait Football Association The Kuwait Football Association ( ar, الإتحاد الكويتي لكرة القدم) is the governing body of football in Kuwait. Kuwait has thrice been suspended by FIFA for political interference since 2007 and were allowed to participate ...
(KFA) is the governing body of football in Kuwait. The KFA organises the men's, women's, and
futsal Futsal is a football-based game played on a hardcourt, hard court smaller than a football pitch, and mainly indoors. It has similarities to five-a-side football and Indoor soccer, indoor football. Futsal is played between two teams of five players ...
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 The 1980 AFC Asian Cup was the 7th edition of the men's AFC Asian Cup The AFC Asian Cup is the primary association football competition contested by the senior List of men's national association football teams, men's national teams of the mem ...
, runners-up of the
1976 AFC Asian Cup The 1976 AFC Asian Cup was the 6th edition of the men's AFC Asian Cup, a quadrennial international association football, football tournament organised by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The finals were hosted by Iran between 3 and 13 June ...
, and have taken third place of the
1984 AFC Asian Cup The 1984 AFC Asian Cup was the 8th edition of the men's AFC Asian Cup, a quadrennial international association football, football tournament organised by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The finals were hosted by Singapore between 1 Decemb ...
. Kuwait has also been to one FIFA World Cup, in
1982 Events January * January 1 – In Malaysia and Singapore, clocks are adjusted to the same time zone, UTC+8 (GMT+8.00). * January 13 – Air Florida Flight 90 crashes shortly after takeoff into the 14th Street bridges, 14th Street Bridge in ...
; they drew 1–1 with
Czechoslovakia , rue, Чеськословеньско, , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 ...
before losing to
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
and
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
, failing to advance from the first round. Kuwait is home to many football clubs including Al-Arabi, Al-Fahaheel,
Al-Jahra Al Jahra ( ar, الجهراء) is a town and city located west of the centre of Kuwait City Kuwait City ( ar, مدينة الكويت) is the capital and largest city of Kuwait. Located at the heart of the country on the south shore of Kuwai ...
, Al-Kuwait, Al-Naser, Al-Salmiya, Al-Shabab, Al Qadsia, Al-Yarmouk, Kazma, Khaitan, Sulaibikhat,
Sahel The Sahel (; ar, ساحل ' , "coast, shore") is a region in North Africa. It is defined as the ecoclimatic and biogeographic realm of Ecotone, transition between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian savanna to the south. Having a hot semi-a ...
, and Tadamon. The biggest football rivalry in Kuwait is between Al-Arabi and 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. Cricket in Kuwait is governed by the Kuwait Cricket Association. Other growing sports include
rugby union Rugby union, commonly known simply as rugby, is a Contact sport#Terminology, close-contact team sport that originated at Rugby School in the first half of the 19th century. One of the Comparison of rugby league and rugby union, two codes of ru ...
.
Handball Handball (also known as team handball, European handball or Olympic handball) is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each (six outcourt players and a Handball goalkeeper, goalkeeper) pass a ball using their hands with the aim of t ...
is widely considered to be the national icon of Kuwait, although football is more popular among the overall population. Ice hockey in Kuwait is governed by the Kuwait Ice Hockey Association. Kuwait first joined the
International Ice Hockey Federation The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF; french: Fédération internationale de hockey sur glace; german: Internationale Eishockey-Föderation) is a worldwide Sport governing body, governing body for ice hockey. It is based in Zürich, Zur ...
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 UIM Aquabike World Championship in front of Marina Beach City. In May 2022, Kuwait hosted the Third Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Games at the 360 Marina. The event featured 16 different sports, including volleyball, basketball, swimming, athletics, karate and judo and attracted over 1,700 male and female players.


See also

* Outline of Kuwait * Index of Kuwait-related articles


References


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

* {{authority control Arabic-speaking countries and territories Emirates Persian Gulf Member states of OPEC Member states of the Arab League Member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council Member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Member states of the United Nations Middle Eastern countries Near Eastern countries States and territories established in 1961 Western Asian countries Countries in Asia