EtymologyThe origin of Oman's name is uncertain. It seems to be related to Pliny the Elder's Omana and Claudius Ptolemy, Ptolemy's Omanon ( in greek language, Greek), both probably the ancient Sohar.''Encyclopedia of Islam''.
Prehistory and ancient historyAt Aybut Al Auwal, in the Dhofar Governorate of Oman, a site was discovered in 2011 containing more than 100 surface scatters of stone tools, belonging to a regionally specific African lithic industry—the late Nubian Complex—known previously only from the northeast and Horn of Africa. Two optically stimulated luminescence age estimates place the Arabian Nubian Complex at 106,000 years old. This supports the proposition that early human populations moved from Africa into Arabia during the Late Pleistocene. In recent years surveys have uncovered Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites on the eastern coast. Main Palaeolithic sites include Saiwan-Ghunaim in the Barr al-Hikman. Archaeological remains are particularly numerous for the Bronze Age Umm an-Nar and Wadi Suq culture, Wadi Suq periods. Sites such as Archaeological Sites of Bat, Al-Khutm and Al-Ayn, Bat show professional wheel-turned pottery, excellent hand-made stone vessels, a metals industry and monumental architecture . The Early (1300‒300 BC) and Late Iron Ages (100 BC‒300 AD) show more differences than similarities to each other. Thereafter, until the coming of Ibadi Islam, little or nothing is known. During the 8th century BC, it is believed that the Yaarub, the descendant of Qahtanite, Qahtan, ruled the entire region of Yemen, including Oman. Wathil bin Himyar bin Sheba, Abd-Shams(Saba) bin Yashjub(Yemen, Yaman) bin Yarub bin Joktan, Qahtan later ruled Oman. It is thus believed that the Yaarubah were the first settlers in Oman from Yemen. In the 1970s and 1980s scholars like John C. Wilkinson believed by virtue of oral history that in the 6th century BC, the Achaemenids exerted control over the Omani peninsula, most likely ruling from a coastal centre such as Suhar. Central Oman has its own indigenous Samad Late Iron Age cultural assemblage named eponymously from Samad al-Shan. In the northern part of the Oman Peninsula the Pre-Islamic Arabia, Recent Pre-Islamic Period begins in the 3rd century BC and extends into the 3rd A.D. century. Whether or not Persians brought south-eastern Arabian under their control is a moot point, since the lack of Persian finds speak against this belief. Armand-Pierre Caussin de Perceval, M. Caussin de Percevel suggests that Shammir bin Wathil bin Himyar recognized the authority of Cyrus the Great over Oman in 536 B.C.Salîl-ibn-Razîk
Arab settlementOver centuries tribes from western Arabia settled in Oman, making a living by fishing, farming, herding or stock breeding, and many present day Omani families trace their ancestral roots to other parts of Arabia. Arab migration to Oman started from northern-western and south-western Arabia and those who chose to settle had to compete with the indigenous population for the best arable land. When Arab tribes started to migrate to Oman, there were two distinct groups. One group, a segment of the Azd tribe migrated from the southwest of Arabia in A.D. 120/200 following the collapse of Marib Dam, while the other group migrated a few centuries before the birth of Islam from central and northern Arabia, named Nizari (Nejdi). Other historians believe that the Yaarubah from Qahtan which belong to an older branch, were the first settlers of Oman from Yemen, and then came the Azd. The Azd settlers in Oman are descendants of Nasr bin Azd, a branch of Nabataeans, and were later known as "the Al-Azd of Oman". Seventy years after the first Azd migration, another branch of Azd, Alazdi under Malik bin Fahm, the founder of Kingdom of Tanukhids, Tanukhites on the west of Euphrates, is believed to have settled in Oman.Salîl-ibn-Razîk
Imamate of OmanOmani Azd used to travel to Basra for trade, which was a centre of Islam during the Umayyad empire. Omani Azd were granted a section of Basra, where they could settle and attend their needs. Many of the Omani Azd who settled in Basra became wealthy merchants and under their leader Al-Muhallab ibn Abi Sufra, Muhallab bin Abi Sufrah started to expand their influence of power eastwards towards Greater Khorasan, Khorasan. Ibadhi Islam originated in Basra by its founder Abd-Allah ibn Ibadh, Abdullah ibn Ibada around the year 650 CE, which the Omani Azd in Iraq followed. Later, Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, Alhajjaj, the governor of Iraq, came into conflict with the Ibadhis, which forced them out to Oman. Among those who returned to Oman was the scholar Jābir ibn Zayd, Jaber bin Zaid. His return and the return of many other scholars greatly enhanced the Ibadhi movement in Oman. Alhajjaj, also made an attempt to subjugate Oman, which was ruled by Suleiman and Said, the sons of Abbad bin Julanda. Alhajjaj dispatched Mujjaah bin Shiwah who was confronted by Said bin Abbad. The confrontation devastated Said's army. Thus, Said and his forces resorted to the Jebel Akhdar (Oman), Jebel Akhdar. Mujjaah and his forces went after Said and his forces and succeeded in besieging them from a position in "Wade Mastall". Mujjaah later moved towards the coast where he confronted Suleiman bin Abbad. The battle was won by Suleiman's forces. Alhajjaj, however, sent another force under Abdulrahman bin Suleiman and eventually won the war and took over the governance of Oman.Salîl-ibn-Razîk
Nabhani dynastyDuring the 11th and 12th centuries, Oman was controlled by the Seljuk Empire. They were expelled in 1154, when the Nabhani dynasty came to power.Uzi Rabi
Portuguese occupationA decade after Vasco da Gama's successful voyage around the Cape of Good Hope and to India in 1497–98, the Portuguese arrived in Oman and occupied Muscat, Oman, Muscat for a 143-year period, from 1507 to 1650. In need of an outpost to protect their sea lanes, the Portuguese built up and fortified the city, where remnants of their Portuguese architectural style still exist. Later, several more Omani cities were colonized in the early 16th century by the Portuguese, to control the entrances of the and trade in the region as part of a web of fortresses in the region, from Bahrain, Basra to Hormuz Island, Hormuz. However, in 1552 an Ottoman Navy, Ottoman fleet briefly Capture of Muscat (1552), captured the fort in Muscat, during their fight for control of the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, but soon departed after destroying it. Several cities were sketched in the 17th century and appear in the António Bocarro Book of fortress.
Yaruba dynastyThe Ottoman Empire, Ottoman Turks temporarily captured Muscat from the Portuguese again in 1581 and held it until 1588. During the 17th century, the Omanis were reunited by the Yaruba dynasty, Yaruba Imams. Nasir bin Murshid became the first Yaarubah Imam in 1624, when he was elected in Rustak. Nasir's energy and perseverance is believed to have earned him the election. Imam Nasir succeeded in the 1650s to force the Portuguese colonisers out of Oman.Majid Alkhalili
18th and 19th centuriesAfter the decolonization of Oman from the Persians, Ahmed bin Sa'id Albusaidi in 1749 became the elected Imam of Oman, with Rustaq serving as the capital. Since the Yaruba dynasty, the Omanis kept the elective system but, provided that the person is deemed qualified, gave preference to a member of the ruling family.Salîl-ibn-Razîk
British de facto colonisationThe British empire was keen to dominate southeast Arabia to stifle the growing power of other European states and to curb the Omani maritime power that grew during the 17th century. The British empire over time, starting from the late 18th century, began to establish a series of treaties with the sultans with the objective of advancing British political and economic interest in Muscat, while granting the sultans military protection. 2014. In 1798, the first treaty between the British East India Company and Albusaidi family was signed by Sultan bin Ahmed. The treaty was to block commercial competition of the French and the Dutch as well as obtain a concession to build a British factory at Bandar Abbas.Joseph A. Kechichian
Treaty of SeebThe Al Hajar Mountains, of which the Jebel Akhdar (Oman), Jebel Akhdar is a part, separate the country into two distinct regions: the interior, known as Oman, and the coastal area dominated by the capital, Muscat. The British imperial development over Muscat and Oman during the 19th century led to the renewed revival of the Imamate cause in the interior of Oman, which has appeared in cycles for more than 1,200 years in Oman. The British Political Agent, who resided in Muscat, owed the alienation of the interior of Oman to the vast influence of the British government over Muscat, which he described as being completely self-interested and without any regard to the social and political conditions of the locals.Muscat State Affairs
Reign of Sultan Said (1932–1970)Said bin Taimur became the sultan of Muscat officially on 10 February 1932. The rule of sultan Said bin Taimur, who was backed by the British government, was characterized as being feudal, reactionary and isolationist. The British government maintained vast administrative control over the Sultanate as the defence secretary and chief of intelligence, chief adviser to the sultan and all ministers except for one were British.Ian Cobain
Jebel Akhdar WarSultan Said bin Taimur expressed his interest to the British government in occupying the Imamate right after the death of Imam Alkhalili and taking advantage of potential instability that may occur within the Imamate when elections were due.Muscat State Affairs
Dhofar RebellionOil reserves in Dhofar were discovered in 1964 and extraction began in 1967. In the Dhofar Rebellion, which began in 1965, pro-Soviet forces were pitted against government troops. As the rebellion threatened the Sultan's control of Dhofar, Sultan Said bin Taimur was deposed in a 1970 Omani coup d'état, bloodless coup (1970) by his son Qaboos bin Said, who expanded the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces, modernised the state's administration and introduced social reforms. The uprising was finally put down in 1975 with the help of forces from Iran, Jordan, Pakistan and the British Royal Air Force, army and Special Air Service.
Reign of Sultan Qaboos (1970–2020)After deposing his father in 1970, Sultan Qaboos opened up the country, embarked on economic reforms, and followed a policy of modernisation marked by increased spending on health, education and welfare. Indian Ocean slave trade, Slavery, once a cornerstone of the country's trade and development, was outlawed in 1970. In 1981, Oman became a founding member of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. Political reforms were eventually introduced. Historically, voters had been chosen from among tribal leaders, intellectuals and businessmen. In 1997, Sultan Qaboos decreed that women could vote for, and stand for election to, the Majlis al-Shura, the Consultative Assembly of Oman. Two women were duly elected to the body. In 2002, voting rights were extended to all citizens over the age of 21, and the first elections to the Consultative Assembly under the new rules were held in 2003. In 2004, the Sultan appointed Oman's first female minister with portfolio, Aisha bint Khalfan bin Jameel, Sheikha Aisha bint Khalfan bin Jameel al-Sayabiyah. She was appointed to the post of National Authority for Industrial Craftsmanship, an office that attempts to preserve and promote Oman's traditional crafts and stimulate industry. Despite these changes, there was little change to the actual political makeup of the government. The Sultan continued to rule by decree. Nearly 100 suspected Islamists were arrested in 2005 and 31 people were convicted of trying to overthrow the government. They were ultimately pardoned in June of the same year. Inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings that were taking place throughout the region, 2011 Omani protests, protests occurred in Oman during the early months of 2011. While they did not call for the ousting of the regime, demonstrators demanded political reforms, improved living conditions and the creation of more jobs. They were dispersed by riot police in February 2011. Sultan Qaboos reacted by promising jobs and benefits. In October 2011, elections were held to the Consultative Assembly, to which Sultan Qaboos promised greater powers. The following year, the government began a crackdown on internet criticism. In September 2012, trials began of 'activists' accused of posting "abusive and provocative" criticism of the government online. Six were given jail terms of 12–18 months and fines of around $2,500 each. Qaboos died on 10 January 2020, and the government declared three Day of national mourning, days of national mourning. He was buried the next day.
Reign of Sultan Haitham (2020–present)On 11 January 2020, Qaboos was succeeded by his first cousin Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said.
GeographyOman lies between latitudes 16th parallel north, 16° and 28th parallel north, 28° N, and longitudes 52nd meridian east, 52° and 60th meridian east, 60° E. A vast gravel desert plain covers most of central Oman, with mountain ranges along the north (Al Hajar Mountains) and southeast coast (Dhofar Mountains, Qara or Dhofar Mountains), where the country's main cities are located: the capital city Muscat, Oman, Muscat, Sohar and Sur, Oman, Sur in the north, and Salalah in the south. Oman's climate is hot and dry in the interior and humid along the coast. During past epochs, Oman was covered by ocean, as evidenced by the large numbers of fossilized shells found in areas of the desert away from the modern coastline. The peninsula of Musandam Peninsula, Musandam (Musandem) enclave and exclave, exclave, which is strategically located on the , is separated from the rest of Oman by the . The series of small towns known collectively as Dibba are the gateway to the Musandam peninsula on land and the fishing villages of Musandam by sea, with boats available for hire at Khasab for trips into the Musandam peninsula by sea. Oman's other exclave, inside UAE territory, known as , located halfway between the Musandam Peninsula and the main body of Oman, is part of the Musandam governorate, covering approximately . Madha's boundary was settled in 1969, with the north-east corner of Madha barely from the Fujairah road. Within the Madha exclave is a UAE enclave and exclave, enclave called Nahwa, belonging to the Emirate of Sharjah, situated about along a dirt track west of the town of New Madha, and consisting of about forty houses with a clinic and telephone exchange. The central desert of Oman is an important source of meteorites for scientific analysis.
ClimateLike the rest of the Persian Gulf, Oman generally has one of the hottest climates in the world—with summer temperatures in Muscat and northern Oman averaging . Oman receives Geography of Oman, little rainfall, with annual rainfall in Muscat averaging , occurring mostly in January. In the south, the Dhofar Mountains area near Salalah has a tropical-like climate and receives seasonal rainfall from late June to late September as a result of monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean, leaving the summer air saturated with cool moisture and heavy fog. Summer temperatures in Salalah range from —relatively cool compared to northern Oman. The mountain areas receive more rainfall, and annual rainfall on the higher parts of the Jebel Akhdar (Oman), Jabal Akhdar probably exceeds . Low temperatures in the mountainous areas leads to snow cover once every few years. Some parts of the coast, particularly near the island of Masirah, sometimes receive no rain at all within the course of a year. The climate is generally very hot, with temperatures reaching around (peak) in the hot season, from May to September. On 26 June 2018 the city of Qurayyat, Oman, Qurayyat set the record for highest minimum temperature in a 24-hour period, 42.6 °C (108.7 °F).
Flora and faunaDesert shrub and desert grass, common to southern Arabia, are found in Oman, but vegetation is sparse in the interior plateau, which is largely gravel desert. The greater monsoon rainfall in Dhofar and the mountains makes the growth there more luxuriant during summer; coconut palms grow plentifully on the coastal plains of Dhofar and frankincense is produced in the hills, with abundant oleander and varieties of acacia. The Al Hajar Mountains are a distinct ecoregion, the highest points in eastern Arabia with wildlife including the Arabian tahr. Indigenous (ecology), Indigenous mammals include the leopard, hyena, fox, wolf, hare, oryx and ibex. Birds include the vulture, eagle, stork, bustard, Arabian partridge, bee eater, falcon and sunbird. In 2001, Oman had nine endangered species of mammals, five endangered types of birds, and nineteen threatened plant species. Decrees have been passed to protect endangered species, including the Arabian leopard, Arabian oryx, mountain gazelle, goitered gazelle, Arabian tahr, green sea turtle, hawksbill turtle and olive ridley turtle. However, the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary is the first site ever to be deleted from UNESCO's World Heritage List, following the government's 2007 decision to reduce the site's area by 90% in order to clear the way for oil prospectors. In recent years, Oman has become one of the newer hot spots for whale watching, highlighting the critically endangered Arabian humpback whale, the most isolated and only non-Animal migration, migratory population in the world, sperm whales and pygmy blue whales.
EnvironmentDrought and limited rainfall contribute to shortages in the nation's water supply. Maintaining an adequate supply of water for agricultural and domestic use is one of Oman's most pressing environmental problems, with limited renewable water resources. 94% of available water is used in farming and 2% for industrial activity, with the majority sourced from fossil water in the desert areas and spring water in hills and mountains. In terms of climate action, major challenges remain to be solved, per the United Nations Sustainable Development 2019 index. The emissions from energy (t/capita) and emissions embodied in fossil fuel exports (kg per capita) rates are very high, while imported emissions (t/capita) and people affected by climate-related disasters (per 100,000 people) rates are low. Drinking water is available throughout Oman, either piped or delivered. The soil in coastal plains, such as Salalah, have shown increased levels of salinity, due to over exploitation of ground water and encroachment by seawater on the water table. Pollution of beaches and other coastal areas by oil tanker traffic through the
PoliticsOman is a unitary state and an absolute monarchy, in which all legislative, executive and judiciary power ultimately rests in the hands of the hereditary Sultan. Consequently, Freedom House has routinely rated the country "Not Free". The sultan is the head of state and directly controls the foreign affairs and defence portfolios. He has absolute power and issues Rule by decree, laws by decree.
Legal systemOman is an absolute monarchy, with the Sultan's word having the force of law. The judiciary branch is subordinate to the Sultan. According to Oman's constitution, Sharia law is one of the sources of legislation. Sharia court departments within the civil court system are responsible for family-law matters, such as divorce and inheritance. Oman does not have separation of powers. All power is concentrated in the Sultan, who is also chief of staff of the armed forces, Minister of Defence, Minister of Foreign Affairs and chairman of the Central Bank. All legislation since 1970 has been promulgated through royal decrees, including the 1996 Basic Law. The Sultan appoints judges, and can grant pardons and commute sentences. The Sultan's authority is inviolable and the Sultan expects total subordination to his will. The administration of justice is highly personalized, with limited due process protections, especially in political and security-related cases. The Basic Statute of Oman, Basic Statute of the State is supposedly the cornerstone of the Omani legal system and it operates as a constitution for the country. The Basic Statute was issued in 1996 and thus far has only been amended once, in 2011, in response to 2011 Omani protests, protests. Though Oman's legal code theoretically protects civil liberties and personal freedoms, both are regularly ignored by the regime. Women and children face legal discrimination in many areas. Women are excluded from certain state benefits, such as housing loans, and are refused equal rights under the personal status law. Women also experience restrictions on their self-determination in respect to health and reproductive rights. The Omani legislature is the bicameral Council of Oman, consisting of an upper chamber, the Council of State (Oman), Council of State (Majlis ad-Dawlah) and a lower chamber, the Consultative Assembly of Oman, Consultative Council (Majlis ash-Shoura). Political parties are banned. The upper chamber has 71 members, appointed by the Sultan from among prominent Omanis; it has only advisory powers. The 84 members of the Consultative Council are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms, but the Sultan makes the final selections and can negotiate the election results. The members are appointed for three-year terms, which may be renewed once. The last elections were held on 2019 Omani general election, 27 October 2019, and the next is due in October 2023. Oman's national anthem, ''As-Salam as-Sultani'' is dedicated to former Sultan Qaboos.
Foreign policySince 1970, Oman has pursued a moderate foreign policy, and has expanded its diplomatic relations dramatically. Oman is among the very few Arab countries that have maintained friendly ties with . WikiLeaks disclosed US diplomatic cables which state that Oman helped free British sailors captured by Iran's navy in 2007. The same cables also portray the Omani government as wishing to maintain cordial relations with Iran, and as having consistently resisted US diplomatic pressure to adopt a sterner stance. Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah is the Sultanate's Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs. Oman allowed the British Royal Navy and Indian Navy access to the port facilities of Al Duqm Port & Drydock.
MilitaryStockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI's estimation of Oman's military and security expenditure as a percentage of GDP in 2019 was 8.8 percent, making it the world's highest rate in that year, higher than (8 percent). Oman's on-average military spending as a percentage of GDP between 2016 and 2018 was around 10 percent, while the world's average during the same period was 2.2 percent.Oman's Military Expenditures
Human rightsHomosexual acts are illegal in Oman. The practice of torture is widespread in Oman state penal institutions and has become the state's typical reaction to independent political expression. Torture methods in use in Oman include mock execution, beating, hooding, solitary confinement, subjection to extremes of temperature and to constant noise, abuse and humiliation. There have been numerous reports of torture and other inhumane forms of punishment perpetrated by Omani security forces on protesters and detainees. Several prisoners detained in 2012 complained of sleep deprivation, extreme temperatures and solitary confinement. Omani authorities kept Sultan al-Saadi, a social media activist, in solitary confinement, denied him access to his lawyer and family, forced him to wear a black bag over his head whenever he left his cell, including when using the Toilet (room), toilet, and told him his family had "forsaken" him and asked for him to be imprisoned. The Omani government decides who can or cannot be a journalist and this permission can be withdrawn at any time. Censorship and self-censorship are a constant factor. Omanis have limited access to political information through the media. Access to news and information can be problematic: journalists have to be content with news compiled by the official news agency on some issues. Through a decree by the Sultan, the government has now extended its control over the media to blogs and other websites. Omanis cannot hold a public meeting without the government's approval. Omanis who want to set up a non-governmental organisation of any kind need a licence. To get a licence, they have to demonstrate that the organisation is "for legitimate objectives" and not "inimical to the social order". The Omani government does not permit the formation of independent civil society associations. Human Rights Watch issued on 2016, that an Omani court sentenced three journalists to prison and ordered the permanent closure of their newspaper, over an article that alleged corruption in the judiciary. The law prohibits criticism of the Sultan and government in any form or medium. Oman's police do not need search warrants to enter people's homes. The law does not provide citizens with the right to change their government. The Sultan retains ultimate authority on all foreign and domestic issues. Government officials are not subject to financial disclosure laws. Libel laws and concerns for national security have been used to suppress criticism of government figures and politically objectionable views. Publication of books is limited and the government restricts their importation and distribution, as with other media products. Merely mentioning the existence of such restrictions can land Omanis in trouble. In 2009, a web publisher was fined and given a suspended jail sentence for revealing that a supposedly live TV programme was actually pre-recorded to eliminate any criticisms of the government. Faced with so many restrictions, Omanis have resorted to unconventional methods for expressing their views. Omanis sometimes use donkeys to express their views. Writing about Gulf rulers in 2001, Dale Eickelman observed: "Only in Oman has the occasional donkey… been used as a mobile billboard to express anti-regime sentiments. There is no way in which police can maintain dignity in seizing and destroying a donkey on whose flank a political message has been inscribed." Some people have been COVID-19 misinformation#Efforts to combat misinformation, arrested for allegedly spreading fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic in Oman. Omani citizens need government permission to marry foreigners. The Ministry of Interior requires Omani citizens to obtain permission to marry foreigners (except nationals of GCC countries); permission is not automatically granted. Citizen marriage to a foreigner abroad without ministry approval may result in denial of entry for the foreign spouse at the border and preclude children from claiming citizenship rights. It also may result in a bar from government employment and a fine of 2,000 rials ($5,200). In August 2014, The Omani writer and human rights defender Mohammed Alfazari, the founder and editor-in-chief of the e-magazine Mowatin "Citizen", disappeared after going to the police station in the Al-Qurum district of Muscat. For several months the Omani government denied his detention and refused to disclose information about his whereabouts or condition. On 17 July 2015, Alfazari left Oman seeking political asylum in UK after a travel ban was issued against him without providing any reasons and after his official documents including his national ID and passport were confiscated for more than 8 months. There were more reports of politically motivated disappearances in the country. In 2012, armed security forces arrested Sultan al-Saadi, a social media activist. According to reports, authorities detained him at an unknown location for one month for comments he posted online critical of the government. Authorities previously arrested al-Saadi in 2011 for participating in protests and again in 2012 for posting comments online deemed insulting to Sultan Qaboos. In May 2012 security forces detained Ismael al-Meqbali, Habiba al-Hinai and Yaqoub al-Kharusi, human rights activists who were visiting striking oil workers. Authorities released al-Hinai and al-Kharusi shortly after their detention but did not inform al-Meqbali's friends and family of his whereabouts for weeks. Authorities pardoned al-Meqbali in March. In December 2013, a Yemeni national disappeared in Oman after he was arrested at a checkpoint in Dhofar Governorate. Omani authorities refuse to acknowledge his detention. His whereabouts and condition remain unknown. The National Human Rights Commission, established in 2008, is not independent from the regime. It is chaired by the former deputy inspector general of Police and Customs and its members are appointed by royal decree. In June 2012, one of its members requested that she be relieved of her duties because she disagreed with a statement made by the Commission justifying the arrest of intellectuals and bloggers and the restriction of freedom of expression in the name of respect for "the principles of religion and customs of the country". Since the beginning of the "Omani Spring" in January 2011, a number of serious violations of civil rights have been reported, amounting to a critical deterioration of the human rights situation. Prisons are inaccessible to independent monitors. Members of the independent Omani Group of Human Rights have been harassed, arrested and sentenced to jail. There have been numerous testimonies of torture and other inhumane forms of punishment perpetrated by security forces on protesters and detainees. The detainees were all peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly. Although authorities must obtain court orders to hold suspects in pre-trial detention, they do not regularly do this. The penal code was amended in October 2011 to allow the arrest and detention of individuals without an arrest warrant from public prosecutors. In January 2014, Omani intelligence agents arrested a Bahraini actor and handed him over to the Bahraini authorities on the same day of his arrest. The actor has been subjected to a forced disappearance. His whereabouts and condition remain unknown.
Migrant workersThe plight of domestic workers in Oman is a taboo subject. In 2011, the Philippines government determined that out of all the countries in the Middle East, only Oman and Israel qualify as safe for Filipino migrants. In 2012, it was reported that every 6 days, an Indian migrant in Oman commits suicide. There has been a campaign urging authorities to check the migrant suicide rate. In the 2014 Global Slavery Index, Oman is ranked No. 45 due to 26,000 people in slavery. The descendants of servant tribes and slaves are victims of widespread discrimination. Oman was one of the last countries to Abolition of slavery timeline, abolish slavery, in 1970.
Administrative divisionsThe Sultanate is administratively divided into eleven governorates. Governorates are, in turn, divided into 60 wilayats. * Ad Dakhiliyah Governorate, Ad Dakhiliyah * Ad Dhahirah Governorate, Ad Dhahirah * Al Batinah North Governorate, Al Batinah North * Al Batinah South Governorate, Al Batinah South * Al Buraimi Governorate, Al Buraimi * Al Wusta Governorate (Oman), Al Wusta * Ash Sharqiyah North Governorate, Ash Sharqiyah North * Ash Sharqiyah South Governorate, Ash Sharqiyah South * Dhofar Governorate, Dhofar * Muscat Governorate, Muscat * Musandam
EconomyOman's Basic Statute of the State expresses in Article 11 that the "national economy is based on justice and the principles of a Market economy, free economy." By regional standards, Oman has a relatively diversified economy, but remains dependent on oil exports. In terms of monetary value, mineral fuels accounted for 82.2 percent of total product exports in 2018. Tourism is the fastest-growing industry in Oman. Other sources of income, agriculture and industry, are small in comparison and account for less than 1% of the country's exports, but diversification is seen as a priority by the government. Agriculture, often subsistence in its character, produces Phoenix dactylifera, dates, Lime (fruit), limes, Cereal, grains and vegetables, but with less than 1% of the country under Tillage, cultivation, Oman is likely to remain a net importer of food. Oman's socio-economic structure is described as being hyper-centralized Rentier state, rentier welfare state. The largest 10 percent of corporations in Oman are the employers of almost 80 percent of Omani nationals in the private sector. Half of the private sector jobs are classified as elementary. One third of employed Omanis are in the private sector, while the remaining majority are in the public sector.Elusive Employment: Development Planning and Labour Market Trends in Oman
Oil and gasOman's proved reserves of petroleum total about 5.5 billion barrels, 25th largest in the world. Oil is extracted and processed by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), with proven oil reserves holding approximately steady, although oil production has been declining. The Ministry of Oil and Gas (Oman), Ministry of Oil and Gas is responsible for all oil and gas infrastructure and projects in Oman. Following the 1970s energy crisis, Oman doubled their oil output between 1979 and 1985. In 2018, oil and gas represented 71 percent of the government's revenues.Oman budget 2019 KPMG Insights
TourismTourism in Oman has grown considerably recently, and it is expected to be one of the largest industries in the country. The World Travel & Tourism Council stated that Oman is the fastest growing tourism destination in the Middle East. Tourism contributed 2.8 percent to the Omani GDP in 2016. It grew from RO 505 million (US$1.3 billion) in 2009 to RO 719 million (US$1.8 billion) in 2017 (+42.3 percent growth). Citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), including Omanis who are residing outside of Oman, represent the highest ratio of all tourists visiting Oman, estimated to be 48 percent. The second highest number of visitors come from other Asian countries, who account for 17 percent of the total number of visitors.National Green Export Review of Oman: Tourism, Dates and Fish
Industry, innovation and infrastructureIn industry, innovation and infrastructure, Oman is still faced with "significant challenges", as per United Nations Sustainable Development Goals index, as of 2019. Oman has scored high on the rates of internet use, mobile broadband subscriptions, logistics performance and on the average of top 3 university rankings. Meanwhile, Oman scored low on the rate of scientific and technical publications and on research & development spending. Oman's manufacturing value added to GDP rate in 2016 was 8.4 percent, which is lower than the average in the Arab world (9.8 percent) and world average (15.6 percent). In terms of research & development expenditures to GDP, Oman's share was on average 0.20 percent between 2011 and 2015, while the world's average during the same period was 2.11 percent.Sustainable Development: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Agriculture and fishingOman's fishing industry contributed 0.78 percent to the GDP in 2016. Fish exports between 2000 and 2016 grew from US$144 million to US$172 million (+19.4 percent). The main importer of Omani fish in 2016 was Vietnam, which imported almost US$80 million (46.5 percent) in value, and the second biggest importer was the United Arab Emirates, which imported around US$26 million (15 percent). The other main importers are Saudi Arabia, Brazil and China. Oman's consumption of fish is almost two times the world's average. The ratio of exported fish to total fish captured in tons fluctuated between 49 and 61 percent between 2006 and 2016. Omani strengths in the fishing industry comes from having a good market system, a long coastline (3,165 km) and wide water area. Oman, on the other hand, lacks sufficient infrastructure, research and development, quality and safety monitoring, together with a limited contribution by the fishing industry to GDP. Date (fruit), Dates represent 80 percent of all fruit crop production. Further, date farms employ 50 percent of the total agricultural area in the country. Oman's estimated production of dates in 2016 is 350,000 tons, making it the 9th largest producer of dates. The vast majority of date production (75 percent) comes from only 10 cultivars. Oman's total export of dates was US$12.6 million in 2016, almost equivalent to Oman's total imported value of dates, which was US$11.3 million in 2016. The main importer is India (around 60 percent of all imports). Oman's date exports remained steady between 2006 and 2016. Oman is considered to have good infrastructure for date production and support provision to cultivation and marketing, but lacks innovation in farming and cultivation, industrial coordination in the supply chain and encounter high losses of unused dates.
Demographics, Oman's population is over 4 million, with 2.23 million Omani nationals and 1.76 million expatriates. The total fertility rate in 2011 was estimated at 3.70. Oman has a very young population, with 43 percent of its inhabitants under the age of 15. Nearly 50 percent of the population lives in Muscat, Oman, Muscat and the Batinah coastal plain northwest of the capital. Omani people are predominantly of Arabs, Arab, Baloch people, Baluchi and Ethnic groups of Africa, African origins. Omani society is largely tribal and encompasses three major identities: that of the tribe, the Ibadi faith and maritime trade. The first two identities are closely tied to tradition and are especially prevalent in the interior of the country, owing to lengthy periods of isolation. The third identity pertains mostly to Muscat and the coastal areas of Oman, and is reflected by business, trade, and the diverse origins of many Omanis, who trace their roots to Baloch, Al-Lawatia, Persian people, Persia and historical Omani Zanzibar. Consequently, the third identity is generally seen to be more open and tolerant towards others, and is often in tension with the more traditional and insular identities of the interior.
ReligionEven though the Oman government does not keep statistics on religious affiliation, statistics from the US's Central Intelligence Agency state that adherents of Islam are in the majority at 85.9%, with Christians at 6.5%, Hindus at 5.5%, Buddhists at 0.8%, Jews less than 0.1%. Other religious affiliations have a proportion of 1% and the unaffiliated only 0.2%. Most Omanis are Muslims, most of whom follow the Ibadi Islamic schools and branches, school of Islam, followed by the Twelver school of Shia Islam, the Shafi`i school of Sunni Islam, and the Nizari Isma'ilism, Nizari Isma'ilism, Isma'ili school of Shia Islam. Virtually all non-Muslims in Oman are foreign workers. Non-Muslim religious communities include various groups of Jainism, Jains, Buddhism, Buddhists, Zoroastrianism, Zoroastrians, Sikhism, Sikhs, Jews, Hinduism, Hindus and Christians. Christian communities are centred in the major urban areas of Muscat, Oman, Muscat, Sohar and Salalah. These include Catholic Church, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox and various Protestant congregations, organising along linguistic and ethnic lines. More than 50 different Christian groups, fellowships and assemblies are active in the Muscat metropolitan area, formed by migrant workers from Southeast Asia. There are also communities of ethnic Indian Hinduism in Oman, Hindus and Christians. There are also small Sikh and Jewish communities.
LanguagesArabic is the official language of Oman. It belongs to the Semitic languages, Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic family. There are several dialects of Arabic spoken, all part of the Peninsular Arabic family: Dhofari Arabic (also known as Dhofari, Zofari) is spoken in Salalah and the surrounding coastal regions (the Dhofar Governorate); Gulf Arabic is spoken in parts bordering the United Arab Emirates, UAE; whereas Omani Arabic, distinct from the Gulf Arabic of eastern Arabia and Bahrain, is spoken in Central Oman, although with recent oil wealth and mobility has spread over other parts of the Sultanate. According to the CIA, besides Arabic, English, Baluchi (Southern Baluchi), Urdu and various Indian languages are the main languages spoken in Oman. English is widely spoken in the business community and is taught at school from an early age. Almost all signs and writings appear in both Arabic and English at tourist sites. Baluchi is the mother tongue of the Baloch people from Balochistan in western Pakistan, eastern and southern Afghanistan. It is also used by some descendants of Sindhi people, Sindhi sailors. A significant number of residents also speak Urdu language, Urdu, due to the influx of Pakistani migrants during the late 1980s and 1990s. Additionally, Swahili language, Swahili is widely spoken in the country due to the historical relations between Oman and Zanzibar. Prior to Islam, Central Oman lay outside of the core area of spoken Arabic. Possibly Old South Arabian speakers dwelled from the Al Batinah Region to Zafar, Yemen. Rare Ancient South Arabian script, Musnad inscriptions have come to light in central Oman and in the Emirate of Sharjah, but the script says nothing about the language which it conveys. A bilingual text from the 3rd century BCE is written in Aramaic and in musnad Hasiatic, which mentions a 'king of Oman' (mālk mn ʿmn). Today the Mehri language is limited in its distribution to the area around Salalah, in Zafar, Yemen, Zafar and westward into the Yemen. But until the 18th or 19th century it was spoken further north, perhaps into Central Oman. Baluchi language, Baluchi (Southern Baluchi language, Southern Baluchi) is widely spoken in Oman. Endangered indigenous languages in Oman include Kumzari language, Kumzari, Bathari language, Bathari, Harsusi language, Harsusi, Hobyot language, Hobyot, Jibbali language, Jibbali and Mehri language, Mehri. Omani Sign Language is the language of the deaf community. Oman was also the first Arab States of the Arabic Gulf, Arab country in the Persian Gulf to have German taught as a second language. The Bedouin Arabs, who reached eastern and southeastern Arabia in migrational waves—the latest in the 18th century, brought their language and rule including the ruling families of Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
EducationOman scored high as of 2019 on the percentage of students who complete lower secondary school and on the literacy rate between the age of 15 and 24, 99.7 percent and 98.7 percent, respectively. However, Oman's net primary school enrollment rate in 2019, which is 94.1 percent, is rated as "challenges remain" by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG) standard. Oman's overall evaluation in quality of education, according to UNSDG, is 94.8 ("challenges remain") as of 2019.Sustainable Development Report Dashboards 2019 Oman
HealthSince 2003, Oman's undernourished share of the population has dropped from 11.7 percent to 5.4 percent in 2016, but the rate remains high (double) the level of high-income economies (2.7 percent) in 2016.Share of the Population that is Undernourished
Largest Cities1) Muscat (Capital City of Oman), Muscat Governorate 2) Seeb, Muscat Governorate 3) Salalah, Dhofar Governorate 4) Bawshar, Muscat Governorate 5) Sohar, Al Batinah North Governorate 6) As Suwayq, Al Batinah North Governorate 7) Ibri, Az Zahirah Governorate 8) Saham, Al Batinah North Governorate 9) Rustaq, Al Batinah South Governorate 10) Buraimi, Al Buraimi Governorate 11) Nizwa, Ad Dakhiliyah Governorate 12) Sur, Oman, Sur, Southeastern Governorate
CultureOutwardly, Oman shares many of the cultural characteristics of its Arab neighbours, particularly those in the Gulf Cooperation Council. Despite these similarities, important factors make Oman unique in the Middle East. These result as much from geography and history as from culture and economics. The relatively recent and artificial nature of the state (polity), state in Oman makes it difficult to describe a national culture; however, sufficient cultural heterogeneity exists within its national boundaries to make Oman distinct from other Arab States of the Persian Gulf. Oman's cultural diversity is greater than that of its Arab neighbours, given its historical expansion to the Swahili Coast and the Indian Ocean. Oman has a long tradition of shipbuilding, as maritime travel played a major role in the Omanis' ability to stay in contact with the civilisations of the ancient world. Sur, Oman, Sur was one of the most famous shipbuilding cities of the Indian Ocean. The Al Ghanja ship takes one whole year to build. Other types of Omani ship include As Sunbouq and Al Badan. In March 2016 archaeologists working off Al Hallaniyah Island identified a shipwreck believed to be that of the ''Esmeralda'' from Vasco da Gama's 1502–1503 fleet. The wreck was initially discovered in 1998. Later underwater excavations took place between 2013 and 2015 through a partnership between the Oman Ministry of Heritage and Culture and Blue Water Recoveries Ltd., a shipwreck recovery company. The vessel was identified through such artifacts as a "Portuguese coin minted for trade with India (one of only two coins of this type known to exist) and stone cannonballs engraved with what appear to be the initials of Vincente Sodré, da Gama's maternal uncle and the commander of the ''Esmeralda''."
DressThe male national dress in Oman consists of the ''dishdasha'', a simple, ankle-length, collarless gown with long sleeves. Most frequently white in colour, the dishdasha may also appear in a variety of other colours. Its main adornment, a tassel (''furakha'') sewn into the neckline, can be impregnated with perfume. Underneath the dishdasha, men wear a plain, wide strip of cloth wrapped around the body from the waist down. The most noted regional differences in dishdasha designs are the style with which they are embroidered, which varies according to age group. On formal occasions a black or beige cloak called a Bisht (clothing), ''bisht'' may cover the dishdasha. The embroidery edging the cloak is often in silver or gold thread and it is intricate in detail. Omani men wear two types of headdress: * the ''ghutra'', also called "Musar" a square piece of woven wool or cotton fabric of a single colour, decorated with various embroidered patterns. * the ''kummah'', a cap that is the head dress worn during leisure hours. Some men carry the ''assa'', a stick, which can have practical uses or is simply used as an accessory during formal events. Omani men, on the whole, wear sandals on their feet. The ''khanjar'' (dagger) forms part of the national dress and men wear the khanjar on all formal public occasions and festivals. It is traditionally worn at the waist. Sheaths may vary from simple covers to ornate silver or gold-decorated pieces. It is a symbol of a man's origin, his manhood and courage. A depiction of a khanjar appears on the national flag. Omani women wear eye-catching national costumes, with distinctive regional variations. All costumes incorporate vivid colours and vibrant embroidery and decorations. In the past, the choice of colours reflected a tribe's tradition. The Omani women's traditional costume comprises several garments: the ''kandoorah'', which is a long tunic whose sleeves or ''radoon'' are adorned with hand-stitched embroidery of various designs. The ''dishdasha'' is worn over a pair of loose fitting trousers, tight at the ankles, known as a ''sirwal''. Women also wear a head shawl most commonly referred to as the ''lihaf''. women reserve wearing their traditional dress for special occasions, and instead wear a loose black cloak called an ''abaya'' over their personal choice of clothing, whilst in some regions, particularly amongst the Bedouin, the ''burqa'' is still worn. Women wear ''hijab'', and though some women cover their faces and hands, most do not. The Sultan has forbidden the covering of faces in public office.
Music and cinemaMusic of Oman is extremely diverse due to Oman's imperial legacy. There are over 130 different forms of traditional Omani songs and dances. The Oman Centre for Traditional Music was established in 1984 to preserve them. In 1985, Sultan Qaboos founded the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra, an act attributed to his love for classical music. Instead of engaging foreign musicians, he decided to establish an orchestra made up of Omanis. On 1 July 1987 at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel's Oman Auditorium the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra gave its inaugural concert. The cinema of Oman is very small, there being only one Omani film ''Al-Boom'' (2006) . Oman Arab Cinema Company LLC is the single largest motion picture exhibitor chain in Oman. It belongs to the Jawad Sultan Group of Companies, which has a history spanning more than 40 years in the Sultanate of Oman. In popular music, a seven-minute music video about Oman went viral, achieving 500,000 views on YouTube within 10 days of being released on YouTube in November 2015. The a cappella production features three of the region's most popular talents: Kahliji musician Al Wasmi, Omani poet Mazin Al-Haddabi and actress Buthaina Al Raisi.
MediaThe government has continuously held a monopoly on television in Oman. Sultanate of Oman Television, Oman TV is the only state-owned national television channel broadcaster in Oman. It began broadcasting for the first time from Muscat on 17 November 1974 and separately from Salalah on 25 November 1975. On 1 June 1979, the two stations at Muscat and Salalah linked by satellite to form a unified broadcasting service. Oman TV broadcasts four HD channels, including Oman TV General, Oman TV Sport, Oman TV Live and Oman TV Cultural. Although private ownership of radio and television stations is permitted, Oman has only one privately owned television channel. Majan TV is the first private TV channel in Oman. It began broadcasting in January 2009. However, Majan TV's official channel website was last updated in early 2010. Moreover, the public has access to foreign broadcasts since the use of satellite receivers is allowed. Oman Radio is the first and only state-owned radio channel. It began broadcasting on the 30th, July 1970. It operates both Arabic and English networks. Other private channels include Hala FM, Hi FM, Al-Wisal, Virgin Radio Oman FM and Merge. In early 2018, Muscat Media Group (MMG), trend-setting media group founded by late Essa bin Mohammed Al Zedjali, launched a new private radio stations in hopes of catering educative and entertaining programmes to the youth of the Sultanate. Oman has nine main newspapers, five in Arabic and four in English. Instead of relying on sales or state subsidies, private newspapers depend on advertising revenues to sustain themselves. The media landscape in Oman has been continuously described as restrictive, censored, and subdued. The Ministry of Information censors politically, culturally, or sexually offensive material in domestic or foreign media. The press freedom group Reporters Without Borders ranked the country 127th out of 180 countries on its 2018 World Press Freedom Index. In 2016, the government drew international criticism for suspending the newspaper ''Azamn'' and arresting three journalists after a report on corruption in the country's judiciary. Azamn was not allowed to reopen in 2017 although an appeal court ruled in late 2016 that the paper can resume operating.
ArtTraditional art in Oman stems from its long heritage of material culture. Art movements in the 20th century reveal that the art scene in Oman began with early practices that included a range of tribal handicrafts and self-portraiture in painting since the 1960s. However, since the inclusion of several Omani artists in international collections, art exhibitions, and events, such Alia Al Farsi, the first Omani artist to show at the last Venice Biennale and Radhika Khimji, the first Omani artist to exhibit at both the Arts in Marrakech (AiM) International Biennale, Marrakesh and Ghetto Biennale, Haiti Ghetto biennale, Oman's position as a newcomer to the contemporary art scene in recent years has been more important for Oman's international exposure. Bait Muzna Gallery is the first art gallery in Oman. Established in 2000 by Sayyida Susan Al Said, Bait Muzna has served as a platform for emerging Omani artists to showcase their talent and place themselves on the wider art scene. In 2016, Bait Muzna opened a second space in Salalah to branch out and support art film and the digital art scene. The gallery has been primarily active as an art consultancy. The Sultanate's flagship cultural institution, the National Museum (Oman), National Museum of Oman, opened on 30 July 2016 with 14 permanent galleries. It showcases national heritage from the earliest human settlement in Oman two million years ago through to the present day. The museum takes a further step by presenting information on the material in Arabic Braille script for the visually impaired, the first museum to do this in the Gulf region. The Omani Society for Fine Arts, established in 1993, offers educational programmes, workshops and artist grants for practitioners across varied disciplines. In 2016, the organisation opened its first exhibition on graphic design. It also hosted the "Paint for Peace" competition with 46 artists in honour of the country's 46th National Day of Oman, National Day, where Mazin al-Mamari won the top prize. The organisation has additional branches in Sohar, Al Buraimi Governorate, Buraimi and Salalah. Bait Al Zubair, Bait Al- Zubair Museum is a private, family-funded museum that opened its doors to the public in 1998. In 1999, the museum received Qaboos bin Said al Said, Sultan Qaboos’ Award for Architectural Excellence. Bait Al Zubair displays the family's collection of Omani artifacts that spans a number of centuries and reflect inherited skills that define Oman's society in the past and present. Located within Bait Al-Zubair, Gallery Sarah, which opened in October 2013, offers an array of paintings and photographs by established local and international artists. The gallery also occasionally holds lectures and workshops.
FoodOmani cuisine is diverse and has been influenced by many cultures. Omanis usually eat their main daily meal at midday, while the evening meal is lighter. During Ramadan, dinner is served after the Taraweeh prayers, sometimes as late as 11 pm. However, these dinner timings differ according to each family; for instance, some families would choose to eat right after maghrib prayers and have dessert after taraweeh. Arsia, a festival meal served during celebrations, consists of mashed rice and meat (sometimes chicken). Another popular festival meal, shuwa, consists of meat cooked very slowly (sometimes for up to 2 days) in an underground clay oven. The meat becomes extremely tender and it is infused with spices and herbs before cooking to give it a very distinct taste. Fish is often used in main dishes too, and the Giant trevally, kingfish is a popular ingredient. Mashuai is a meal consisting of a whole spit-roasted kingfish served with lemon rice. Rukhal bread is a thin, round bread originally baked over a fire made from palm leaves. It is eaten at any meal, typically served with Omani honey for breakfast or crumbled over curry for dinner. Chicken, fish, and lamb or mutton are regularly used in dishes. The Omani Halva, halwa is a very popular sweet, basically consisting of cooked raw sugar with nuts. There are many different flavors, the most popular ones being black halwa (original) and saffron halwa. Halwa is considered as a symbol of Omani hospitality, and is traditionally served with coffee. As is the case with most Arab states of the Persian Gulf, alcohol is only available over-the-counter to non-Muslims. Muslims can still purchase alcoholic drinks. Alcohol is served in many hotels and a few restaurants.
SportsIn October 2004, the Omani government set up a Ministry of Sports Affairs to replace the General Organisation for Youth, Sports and Cultural Affairs. The 19th Arabian Gulf Cup took place in Muscat, Oman, Muscat, from 4 to 17 January 2009 and was won by the Oman national football team, Omani national football team. The 23rd Arabian Gulf Cup that took place in Kuwait, from 22 December 2017 until 5 January 2018 with Oman national football team, Oman winning their second title, defeating the United Arab Emirates national football team, United Arab Emirates in the final on penalties following a goalless draw. The first "El Clásico, El Clasico" to be played outside of Spain, was played on March 14, 2014 at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex. Real Madrid CF, Real Madrid F.C. starting eleven consisted of: Contreras, Míchel Salgado, Pavón, Belenguer, Fernando Sanz, Velasco, Fernando Hierro, De la Red, Amavisca, Sabido and Alfonso. Emilio Álvarez, García Cortés, Torres Mestre, Morán, Álex Pérez, and Iván Pérez also played. FC Barcelona, FC Barcelona played with: Felip, Coco, Roberto, Nadal, Goicochea, Milla, Víctor Muñoz, Gaizka Mendieta, Ludovic Giuly, Giuly, Santiago Ezquerro, Ezquerro and Luis García (footballer, born 1978), Luis García. Moner, Ramos, Albert Tomás, Mulero, Arpón, Lozano and Christiansen also played. The match ended with a score of 2 to 1 in favor of FC Barcelona. Oman's traditional sports are dhow racing, horse racing, camel racing, bull fighting and falconry.Nazneen Akbar
See also* Outline of Oman * Index of Oman-related articles