|State of Kuwait
|Anthem: "Al-Nasheed Al-Watani"
Location and extent of Kuwait (red) on the Arabian Peninsula.
and largest city
|-||Emir||Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah|
|-||Prime Minister||Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah|
|-||Independence from the United Kingdom||
19 June 1961
|-||Total||17,820 km2 (157th)
6,880 sq mi
|-||2012 estimate||2,818,042 (131st)|
|GDP (PPP)||2011 estimate|
|-||Total||$163.671 billion (58th)|
|-||Per capita||$58,080 (5th)|
|GDP (nominal)||2012 estimate|
|-||Total||$173.240 billion (52nd)|
|-||Per capita||$45,824 (8th)|
|HDI (2013)|| 0.790
high · 54th
|Currency||Kuwaiti dinar (
|Time zone||AST / KSA (UTC+3)|
|-||Summer (DST)||not observed (UTC+3)|
|Date format||dd/mm/yyyy (CE)|
|Drives on the||right|
|ISO 3166 code||KW|
|a.||Nominal succession within the House of Sabah.|
|b.||Emirate / princedom.|
Kuwait, officially the State of Kuwait i// (Arabic: دولة الكويت Dawlat al-Kuwayt ), is an Arab country in Western Asia. Situated in the northeastern edge of the Arabian peninsula at the tip of the Persian Gulf, it shares borders with Iraq to the north and Saudi Arabia to the south. The name "Kuwait" is derived from the Arabic أكوات ākwāt, the plural of كوت kūt, meaning "fortress built near water". The country covers an area of 17,820 square kilometers (6,880 square miles) and has a population of about 2.8 million.
Historically, the region was the site of Characene, a major Parthian port for trade between Mesopotamia and India. The Bani Utbah tribe were the first permanent Arab settlers in the region, laying the foundation for the modern emirate. By the 19th century, Kuwait came under the influence of the Ottoman Empire. After World War I, it emerged as an independent sheikhdom under the protection of the British Empire. Kuwait's large oil fields were discovered in the late 1930s.
After Kuwait gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1961, the state's oil industry saw unprecedented economic growth. In 1990, Kuwait was invaded and annexed by neighboring Iraq. The seven month-long Iraqi occupation came to an end after direct military intervention by United States-led forces. Around 773 Kuwaiti oil wells were set ablaze by the retreating Iraqi army, resulting in a major environmental and economic catastrophe. Kuwait's infrastructure was badly damaged during the war and had to be rebuilt. Twelve years later, Kuwait saw another massive foreign military presence as it served as a springboard for the U.S.-led campaign in 2003 to oust Ba'athist Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Kuwait is a constitutional emirate with a parliamentary system of government. Kuwait City serves as the country's political and economic capital. The country has the world's fifth largest oil reserves and petroleum products now account for nearly 95% of export revenues and 80% of government income. Kuwait is the eleventh richest country in the world per capita and, in 2007, had the highest human development index (HDI) in the Arab world. Kuwait is classified as a high income economy by the World Bank and is designated as a major non-NATO ally of the United States.
In the 4th century BC, the ancient Greeks colonized an island off Kuwait's coast, naming it "Ikaros". It is now known as Failaka. By 123 BC, the region came under the influence of the Parthian Empire and was closely associated with the southern Mesopotamian town of Charax. In 224 AD, the region fell under the control of Sassanid Empire and came to be known as Hajar. By the 14th century, the area comprising modern-day Kuwait had become a part of the Islamic caliphate.
The first permanent settlers in the region came from the Bani Utbah tribe of Najd, who later established the state of Kuwait. The region became part of the Ottoman Empire in the early 17th century. The site of present-day Kuwait City was first settled in the early 18th century and had become a busy trading hub by the early 19th century. In 1756, Kuwait came under the rule of Sabah I bin Jaber as the first Emir of Kuwait, who enjoyed a degree of semi-autonomy under the Ottomans. The current ruling family of Kuwait, al-Sabah, are descendants of Sabah I. During the rule of the Al-Sabah, Kuwait progressively became a center of trade and commerce. It now served as a hub of trade between India, the horn of Africa, the Nejd, Mesopotamia and the Levant. Until the advent of Japanese pearl farming, Kuwait had one of the largest sea fleets in the Persian Gulf region and a flourishing pearling industry. Trade consisted mainly of pearls, wood, spices, dates and horses.
In 1899, fearing direct rule from the Ottomans, Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah entered into a treaty with Britain by which Kuwait became a protectorate. Britain provided naval protection and an annual subsidy in return for allowing London to control its foreign affairs. This treaty was primarily prompted by fears that the proposed Berlin-Baghdad Railway would lead to an expansion of German influence in the Persian Gulf. After the signing of the Anglo-Ottoman Convention of 1913, Sheikh Mubarak, was diplomatically recognized by both the Ottomans and British as the ruler of the autonomous caza of the city of Kuwait and the hinterlands. However, soon after the start of World War I, the British invalidated the convention and declared Kuwait an independent principality under the protection of the British Empire. The 1922 Treaty of Uqair set Kuwait's border with Saudi Arabia and also established the Saudi-Kuwaiti neutral zone, an area of about 5,180 km² adjoining Kuwait's southern border.
Large oil reserves were discovered by the US-British Kuwait Oil Company in 1937. Exploitation was delayed by World War II, but thereafter fueled the country's development into a modern commercial centre. A major public-works programme began in 1951; Kuwait's infrastructure was transformed, and residents began to enjoy a high standard of living. By 1952, the country became the largest exporter of oil in the Persian Gulf region. This massive growth attracted many foreign workers, especially from Egypt and India.
On 19 June 1961, Kuwait became independent with the end of the British protectorate; the sheikh Abdullah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah, became an emir, and the country joined the Arab League. The Gulf rupee, issued by the Reserve Bank of India, was replaced by the Kuwaiti dinar. Iraq laid claim that Kuwait was part of its territory, but backed down after British military intervention and a brief stand-off. Iraq formally recognized Kuwait's independence and its borders in October 1963.
Under the terms of a newly drafted constitution, Kuwait held its first ever elections for the National Assembly in 1963. However, the Emir suspended the National Assembly in 1976, saying it was not acting in the country's interests.
The exploitation of large oil fields, especially the Burgan field, triggered a large influx of foreign investments into Kuwait. The massive growth of the petroleum industry transformed Kuwait into one of the richest countries in the Arabian Peninsula and Kuwait settled its boundary disputes with Saudi Arabia and agreed on sharing equally the neutral zone's petroleum reserves, onshore and offshore. During the 1970s, the Kuwaiti government nationalized the Kuwait Oil Company, ending its partnership with Gulf Oil and British Petroleum.
In the early 1980s, Kuwait experienced a major economic crisis after the Souk Al-Manakh stock market crash and decrease in oil price. This prompted the Emir Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to recall the National Assembly in 1981. However, the crisis was short-lived as Kuwait's oil production increased steadily to fill the gap caused by decrease in Iraq's and Iran's oil production due to the Iran–Iraq War. The National Assembly was dissolved again in 1986.
During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, Kuwait supported Sadam Hussein both financially and strategically. In 1983, a series of six bomb explosions took place in Kuwait killing five people. The attack was carried out by the Shiite Dawa Party in opposition to Kuwait's financial support of Iraq during its war with Iran. Domestic security concerns, particularly about Iran's perceived influence over Kuwait's Shi'ite minority, prompted the deportations of thousands of expatriates, mostly Iranian, in 1985–6.
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 that Kuwait was stealing its oil from a field near the border by slant drilling of the Rumaila field. Saddam Hussein threatened military action.
On 2 August 1990, Iraqi forces invaded and annexed Kuwait. The Emir Jaber and his government fled to Saudi Arabia. A long-time ally of Saddam Hussein, Yemen's President, Ali Abdullah Saleh was quick to back Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. Saddam Hussein declared that Emir Jaber of Kuwait, Jaber Al-Sabah, was deposed. The Iraqis initially propped up a puppet régime before annexing Kuwait and installing Ali Hassan al-Majid as the new governor of Kuwait. During the Iraqi occupation, about 1,000 Kuwaiti civilians were killed and more than 300,000 residents fled the country. After a series of failed diplomatic negotiations and Iraq's failure to comply with a UN resolution ordering it to pull out, a US-led aerial bombing campaign began in Kuwait and Iraq in January 1991. The United States-led coalition of thirty-four nations fought the Gulf War to remove the Iraqi forces from Kuwait. On 26 February 1991, the coalition succeeded in driving out the Iraqi forces. As they retreated, Iraqi forces carried out a scorched earth policy by setting on fire or damaging 737 Kuwaiti oil wells as they pulled out. The Emir and his government returned in March 1991 and imposed a three-month period of martial law. Kuwait paid the coalition forces US$17 billion for their war efforts.
It was estimated that by the time Kuwait was liberated from Iraqi occupation, about 5 to 6 million barrels (950,000 m3) of oil was being burned in a single day because of these fires. Oil and soot accumulation affected the entire Persian Gulf region and large oil lakes were created holding approximately 25 to 50 million barrels (7,900,000 m3) of oil and covering 5% of Kuwait's land area. In total, about 11 million barrels (1,700,000 m3) of oil was released into the Persian Gulf and an additional 2% of Kuwait's 96 billion barrels (1.53×1010 m3) of crude oil reserves were burned by the time the oil fires were brought under control. The fires took more than nine months to extinguish fully and it took Kuwait more than 2 years and US$50 billion in infrastructure reconstruction to reach pre-invasion oil output. Kuwait has since largely recovered from the socio-economic, environmental, and public health effects of the Persian Gulf War.
In 1993 the UN demarcated the new Kuwait-Iraq border, awarding a port and a number of oil wells to Kuwait. US troops were despatched to Kuwait following further Iraqi border incursions. Iraq officially recognised Kuwait's independence and the UN-demarcated borders in 1994, following UN pressure and Russian mediation.
Under domestic and international pressure, Emir Jaber reluctantly gave the green light to National Assembly elections in 1992. Opposition groups performed well in the vote. However, the Emir once again dissolved the National Assembly in 1999, after a row between MPs and the government about misprints in the state-published edition of the Koran. Government supporters suffered a shock setback in the resulting elections as liberals and Islamists predominated in the new assembly.
In March 2003 foreign forces converged on the Kuwait-Iraq border as Kuwait became the springboard for the US-led military campaign to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the 2nd Gulf War.
Islamist and pro-government candidates fared well in the parliamentary elections of July 2003. There were major losses for liberal candidates. Emir Jaber separated the post of prime minister from the role of heir to throne for the first time since independence. In May 2005, parliament approved a law allowing women to vote and run for parliament for the first time. In June the first woman cabinet minister, Massouma al-Mubarak, was appointed.
Upon the death of the emir, Sheikh Jaber, in January 2006, the crown prince, Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, succeeded him but was removed nine days later because of concerns about his ailing health. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was sworn in as Emir. Emir Sabah named his brother, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, as crown prince and his nephew Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah as prime minister.
Women cast their votes for the first time in a municipal by-election in April 2006, but failed to win any seats in their first attempt to compete in parliamentary elections in June 2006. The opposition - a loose alliance of reformists, liberals and Islamists - won nearly two-thirds of the seats despite government attempts to curb media freedoms. Political instability continued with a succession of ministerial and cabinet resignations. After the cabinet quit over alleged lack of cooperation from MPs, Emir Sabah dissolved parliament in March 2008. Radical Islamists made further gains in parliamentary elections in May 2008, winning more than half of the 50 seats. No women were elected. Emir Sabah dissolved parliament again after it wanted to question his nephew and PM, Sheikh Nasser over corruption allegations in March 2009.
Three women MPs – Kuwait's first – won seats in the parliamentary elections of 2009. The Constitutional Court ruled women could obtain passports without the consent of their husbands, and in another ruling, it decided that women MPs were not required to wear an Islamic head cover.
There were demonstrations in December 2010 against an alleged government plot to change the constitution. In March 2011, hundreds of young people demonstrated for reform, inspired by the Arab Spring wave of protests across the Arab world. Emir Sabah dissolved parliament a third time in December 2011. He replaced his prime minister following protests and a showdown over allegations of high-level corruption.
After the Islamist-led opposition won a majority in parliamentary elections in February 2012, Emir Sabah blocked a proposal by MPs to make all legislation comply with Islamic law. In October 2012, the Emir dissolved parliament for the fourth time in four years, paving the way for snap elections. At least 5,000 protesters clashed with security forces outside parliament over opposition fears that the government would redraw constituency boundaries. The elections of December 2012 were boycotted by the opposition protesting against proposed changes to the electoral law which would give official candidates an advantage.
Located in the north-east corner of the Arabian Peninsula, Kuwait is one of the smallest countries in the world in terms of land area. It lies between latitudes 28° and 31° N, and longitudes 46° and 49° E. The flat, sandy Arabian Desert covers most of Kuwait. The country is generally low lying, with the highest point being 306 m (1,004 ft) above sea-level. It has nine islands, all of which, with the exception of Failaka Island, are uninhabited. With an area of 860 km2 (330 sq mi), the Bubiyan is the largest island in Kuwait and is connected to the rest of the country by a 2,380 m (7,808 ft) long bridge. The land area is considered arable and sparse vegetation is found along its 499 km long coastline.Kuwait City is located on Kuwait Bay, a natural deep-water harbor.
Kuwait has some of the world's richest oil fields with the Burgan field having a total capacity of approximately 70 billion barrels (1.1×1010 m3) of proven oil reserves. During the 1991 Kuwaiti oil fires, more than 500 oil lakes were created covering a combined surface area of about 35.7 km2 (13.8 sq mi). The resulting soil contamination due to oil and soot accumulation had made eastern and south-eastern parts of Kuwait uninhabitable. Sand and oil residue had reduced large parts of the Kuwaiti desert to semi-asphalt surfaces. The oil spills during the Gulf War also drastically affected Kuwait's marine resources.
The spring season in March is warm and pleasant with occasional thunderstorms. The frequent winds from the northwest are cold in winter and spring and hot in summer. Southeasterly winds, usually hot and damp, 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. The temperature in Kuwait during summer is above 25 (77 F). The highest recorded temperature was 54.4 (129.9 F) which is the highest of any Middle Eastern country.
|Climate data for Kuwait|
|Average high °C (°F)||19.5
|Average low °C (°F)||7
|Precipitation mm (inches)||25.4
Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy and has the oldest directly elected parliament among the Arab States of the Persian Gulf. The country has been ruled by the Al Sabah family since the 18th century. The head of state is the Emir or Sheikh, a hereditary office. A council of ministers, also known as cabinet ministers, aids the Prime Minister, and appoints and dismisses diplomats. Legislative power is vested in the Emir and the National Assembly in accordance with the Constitution. The Emir of Kuwait can dissolve the National Assembly and call a national election, or in cases of national emergency can dismiss the National Assembly outright and assume supreme authority over the country. The Emir is the commander in chief of Kuwait's armed forces. The Emir has authority to grant pardon from the death penalty or prison.
The National Assembly consists of fifty elected members, who are chosen in elections held every four years. Government ministers are also granted membership in the parliament and can number up to sixteen excluding the fifty elected members. According to the Constitution of Kuwait, nomination of a new Emir or Crown Prince by the ruling Al-Sabah family has to be approved by the National Assembly. Any amendment to the constitution can be proposed by the Emir but it needs to be approved by more than two-thirds of the members of the National Assembly before being implemented.
There have been several conflicts between the Emir, the government and the National Assembly over various policies. The National Assembly was suspended from 1976 to 1981, from 1986 to 1991 and from May 1999 to July 1999, due to irresolvable conflicts between some members of the government and the Assembly.
Approximately half of those who reside in Kuwait do not hold Kuwaiti citizenship and thus cannot vote in parliamentary elections. Additionally, prior to 2005, only 15% of the Kuwaiti population were allowed to vote, with all "recently naturalized" citizens (i.e., less than thirty years of citizenship) and members of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces excluded. Moves to change the male-dominated political structure culminated in the granting of full political rights to women in 2005. On 16 May 2005, Parliament decided by a 35–23 vote to give women the right to vote and stand as candidates in elections. The decision raised Kuwait's eligible voter population from 139,000 to about 339,000. In 2006, the number of Kuwaiti citizens was estimated to be more than 960,000. In 2005, the former Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah announced the appointment of the first female cabinet minister, Massouma Mubarak. She was designated Planning Minister and Minister of State for Administrative Development Affairs. During the 2008 parliamentary elections, 27 of the 275 candidates were women. However, none of them won. In the parliamentary elections on 16 May 2009, 16 female candidates contested for 50 seats for a four-year term. Four female candidates won their seats and became Kuwait's first female lawmakers.
More generally, the growing assertiveness of parliament has led to frequent confrontations with the government. The Assembly was dissolved again by the Emir in May 2009, leading to the resignation of Prime Minister Sheik Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah and the rest of the Cabinet.Nationwide elections were held on 16 May 2009.
In April 2010, Kuwait's government, unhappy about possible democratic change in Egypt by Mohamed ElBaradei's National Association for Change, deported 17 Egyptians for trying to organize a local chapter of the Association in Kuwait.
After Islamists made major gains in the elections of February 2012, the Emir annulled the elections and made changes to the election law to favour a more compliant parliament. This prompted an opposition boycott of the new elections in December 2012, putting Kuwait's relatively liberal political credentials in doubt.
Sharia is the main source of legislation Kuwaiti courts are competent to hear all disputes concerning personal status, and civil, criminal and commercial matters. For the application of personal status laws, there are three separate sections: Sunni, Shia and non-Muslim.
The State of Kuwait became the 111th member state of the United Nations on 14 May 1963. It is a long-standing member of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. It is also a key member of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), along with Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Having modeled the GCC on the European Union, member states enjoy free trade and citizens of GCC member states can travel to other GCC countries with their civil identification, not requiring visas.
Kuwait's relationship with its neighbors has been influenced by the Arab-Iran conflict. After the Iranian revolution of 1979, Kuwait began supporting the Arab regime of Iraq's Saddam Hussein in its subsequent eight-year war with the hardline regime of Iran. Despite prior tensions, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia provided considerable financial support to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Kuwait's ties with Iraq remained severed after the 1991 Gulf War, until the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. Kuwait enjoys a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia, which provided considerable support for the deposed royal family of Kuwait. Although fairly cordial, Kuwait's relations with Iran remain hinged on the stability of the Shia-Sunni conflict and rival goals for the control of the Persian Gulf. Kuwait's ties with states that supported Saddam Hussein's invasion, such as Yemen and the Palestine Liberation Organization, remain testy, although Kuwait has always refused to establish ties with Israel.
Kuwait enjoys a strong relationship with the United States, playing host to major U.S. military bases. Following U.S. leadership in the effort to liberate Kuwait, both nations have forged close political and economic relations. Although most Arab nations expressed opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Kuwait supported it and provided its territory as a launching pad for the invasion.
The State of Kuwait spends close to US$ 5 billion for defense. Its military consists of the Kuwaiti Army, with an estimated strength of 15,000 personnel, the Kuwaiti Navy, with 2,000 naval personnel and 400 coast guards, and the Kuwaiti Air Force, with an estimated strength of 2,500 personnel. The Kuwaiti National Guard is the main internal security force. Owing to its demographics and small population, Kuwait has not been able to build a sizeably large military and therefore collaborates extensively with foreign nations to preserve its security. After liberation from Iraq, Kuwait signed long-term defense cooperation agreements with the United States, Britain and France, and purchased military equipment from Egypt, Russia and the People's Republic of China as well.
|1||Al Jahra3)||Al Jahra||12 130||272 373|
|2||Al Asimah (Al Kuwayt)2)||Al Kuwait||200||261 013|
|3||Al Farwaniyah||Al Farwaniyah||190||622 123|
|4||Hawalli||Hawalli District||84||487 514|
|5||Mubarak Al-Kabeer||Mubarak Al-Kabeer||94||176 519|
|6||Al Ahmadi1)||Al Ahmadi||5 120||393 861|
|TOTAL||17 818||2 213 403|
Kuwait has a GDP (PPP) of US$167.9 billion and a per capita income of US$81,800, making it the 5th richest country in the world, per capita. In 2011, estimated exports stood at US$94.47 billion and imports were around US$22.41 billion. Petroleum, petrochemical products, fertilizers and financial services are major export commodities. Kuwait imports a wide range of products ranging from food products and textiles to machinery. Kuwait's most important trading partners are Japan, United States, India, South Korea, Singapore, China, European Union and Saudi Arabia. Japan is the largest customer of Kuwaiti oil followed by India, Singapore and South Korea.
According to the 2008 Index of Economic Freedom, Kuwait has the second-most free economy in the Middle East. In March 2007, Kuwait's foreign exchange reserves stood at US$213 billion. The Kuwait Stock Exchange, which has about 200 firms listed, is the second-largest stock exchange in the Arab world with a total market capitalization of US$235 billion. In 2007, the Kuwaiti government posted a budget surplus of US$43 billion.
Non-petroleum industries include shipping, construction, cement, water desalination, construction materials and financial services. Kuwait has a well developed banking system. The National Bank of Kuwait is the largest bank in the country and one of the largest in the Arab world. Other prominent financial institutions based in Kuwait include the Gulf Bank of Kuwait and Burgan Bank, which is named after the largest oilfield in the country.
The government is keen on decreasing Kuwait's dependence on oil to fuel its economy by transforming it into a regional trading and tourism hub. The planned US$77 billion Madinat al-Hareer (City of Silk) is the largest real estate development project in the Middle East. The Central Bank issues Kuwait's currency, the Kuwaiti dinar. As of May 2012, the dinar is the highest-valued currency unit in the world.
Kuwait has proven crude oil reserves of 104 billion barrels (15 km³), estimated to be 10% of the world's reserves. According to the Kuwaiti constitution, all natural resources in the country and associated revenues are government property. Being a tax-free country, Kuwait's oil industry accounts for 80% of government revenue. Petroleum and petrochemicals accounts for nearly half of GDP and 95% of export revenues. Increase in oil prices since 2003 resulted in a surge in Kuwait's economy.
Kuwait currently pumps 2.9 million bpd and its full production capacity is a little over 3 million bpd, including oil production in the neutral region that it shares with Saudi Arabia. Kuwait oil production is expected to increase to 4 million bpd by 2020. To realize this production target, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation plans to spend US$51 billion between 2007 to 2012 to upgrade and expand the country's existing refineries. However, the country's economy was badly affected by the global financial crisis of 2008. In 2009, the Central Bank of Kuwait devised a US$5.15 billion stimulus package to help boost the economy.
Kuwait has an extensive, modern and well-maintained network of highways. Roadways extended 5,749 km, of which 4,887 km is paved. In 2000, there were some 552,400 passenger cars, and 167,800 commercial taxis, trucks, and buses in use. On major highways the maximum speed is 120 km/h. Since there is no railway system in the country, most of the people travel by automobiles. The government plans to construct US$11 billion rail network which will include the Kuwait Metropolitan Rapid Transit System Project for its capital. Bus services are provided by private company Citybus and state-owned Kuwait Public Transportation Corporation.
Kuwait has speed cameras in all highways and main roads and traffic lights, which captures the cars that speed or cross a red light, the Kuwaiti government spent over 450 million USD on these speed cameras in cooperation with the traffic Police. There is only one civil airport in Kuwait.Kuwait International Airport serves as the principal hub for international air travel. State-owned Kuwait Airways is the largest airline in the country. In 2001, the airline carried 2,084,600 passengers on domestic and international flights. In 2004, the first private airline of Kuwait, Jazeera Airways, was launched. Another private airline, Wataniya Airways of Kuwait was founded in 2005 and ceased operations in March 2011.
Kuwait has one of the largest shipping industries in the Persian Gulf 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. Construction of another major port located in Bubiyan island started in 2005. The port is expected to handle 1.3 million TEU when operation starts in 2008.
As of 2008, Kuwait's population was estimated to be 3.3 million people, which included approximately 2.3 million non-nationals. Kuwaiti citizens are therefore a minority of those who reside in Kuwait. The government rarely grants citizenship to foreigners to maintain status quo. The net migration rate of the country stood at 16.01, the third highest in the world.
80% of the population in Kuwait is Arab, 9% South and East Asian, and 4% are Iranian. As of 2009, 580,000 Indian nationals were residing in Kuwait, making them the single largest expatriate community there. In 2003, there were also an estimated 250,000 Pakistanis, 260,000 Egyptians, 100,000 Syrians and 80,000 Iranians in Kuwait. After Kuwait was liberated from the Iraqi invasion and occupation by coalition forces led by The United States of America, most of the 400,000 Palestinians living in Kuwait were expelled because of the PLO's open support for the Iraqi Forces. In 2012, there were 80,000 Palestinians residing in Kuwait.
About 85% of the population in Kuwait identify themselves as Muslims. 75%-80% of Muslims in Kuwait belong to the Sunni and 20%-25% are Shi'as. The majority of the Shi'as follow the Twelvers school. Despite Islam being the state religion, the country has a large community of Christians (est. 300,000 to 400,000), Hindus (est. 300,000), Buddhists (est. 100,000), and Sikhs (est. 10,000). Hindus account for the largest number of expatriates in Kuwait. There are Kuwaitis who are Baha'is and Christians, but they are a minority.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) have a ward (congregation) numbering approximately 300 that meet in a villa in Salmiyah. Among its members is the U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait, Matthew H. Tueller.
Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists are allowed to build places of worship or other religious facilities. The main Christian church of Kuwait is located in Kuwait City. These groups are allowed to practice and engage in religious activities, including public marriage and other celebrations, without Kuwaiti government interference.
The influence of Islamic and Arab Culture on its architecture, music, attire, cuisine and lifestyle is prominent as well. The most distinctive characteristic of local Kuwaiti culture are diwaniya, which involve large reception rooms used for male social gatherings attended mostly by family members and close friends.
Seafood has been the mainstay of the Kuwaiti diet for centuries. The Arabs in the Persian Gulf region played a crucial role in the spice trade between India and Europe and spices have remained an important ingredient of Kuwaiti cuisine. Traditional Kuwaiti cuisine includes machboos diyay, machboos laham, maraq diyay laham which borrows heavily from South Asian cuisine and Arab cuisine. Imawash is another popular dish. As in other Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Kuwait takes part in the tradition of Qarqe'an during the month of Ramadan. About 74.2% of adults aged 15 and over are overweight in Kuwait, making the country the eighth fattest in the world.
Before the discovery of oil, pearling formed a crucial part of Kuwait's economy. Pearl fishery, known as ghaus, suffered decline after the advent of Japanese pearl farming. However, Kuwait's pearl industry laid the foundation of its rich maritime history. Dhows, large wooden ships made from teak wood imported from India, became an indistinct part of Kuwait's maritime fleet and dhow building is still practiced in this Persian Gulf state.
Kuwait's architecture is largely inspired by Islamic architecture. The most prominent landmark in country, the Kuwait Towers, were designed by Swedish architect Sune Lindström and are a unique blend of traditional minaret and modern architectural designs. The National Assembly of Kuwait, another famous landmark building, was designed by the famous Danish architect Jørn Utzon and completed in 1982.
Sawt is the most prominent style of Kuwaiti music and is performed by oud (plucked lute) and mirwas (a drum), with a violin later supplementing the arrangement. The Bedouins are known for an instrument called the rubabah, while the use of oud, tanbarah (string instrument) and habban (bagpipe) are also widespread.
Many of the older Kuwaiti men prefer wearing the dishdasha, an ankle-length garment woven from wool or cotton. This attire is particularly well-suited for Kuwait's hot and dry climate. The traditional male headdress involves the ghutrah headscarf and the agal circlet, often with a gahfiah skullcap underneath to help keep the headscarf in place. The ghutrah is a square scarf made from cotton; it may be worn differently according to the situation, but most commonly it is folded into a triangle and placed centrally on the head so that the ends hang down equally over the shoulders. The agal is a double circlet of black cord, worn on the ghutrah to hold it in place.
Women often wear the aba, a black cloak covering most parts of the body, over a dress; the traditional floor-length daraa’ or the more festive thobe. Increasingly though, western dress is instead worn under the aba. A hejab headscarf is worn with this, with some adding a bushiya face veil or instead wearing the face-veil portion of the burqa.
Western style clothing is very popular among the youth of Kuwait.
Kuwait has one of the most vocal and transparent media in the Arab World. In 2007, Kuwait was ranked first in the Middle East and the Arab League by Reporters Without Borders in the freedom of press index. Though the government funds several leading newspapers and satellite channels, Kuwaiti journalists enjoy greater freedom than their regional counterparts. The state-owned Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) is the largest media house in the country. The Ministry of Information regulates all media and communication industry in Kuwait.
In 1998, there were 15 media stations, which are 6 am and 11 FM radio stations and 13 television stations. In 2000, there were 624 radios and 486 television sets for every 1,000 people. In 2011, there were 514,700 land telephone line and 4.935 million mobile telephone subscribers. In 2009, there were 1.1 million Internet subscribers served by three service providers. Kuwait has ten 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 four foreign languages including Arabic, Urdu, Tagalog and English on the AM and SW.
In 2009, Kuwait had seventeen newspaper companies in circulation. Kuwait is represented by three English dailies: Kuwait Times, Arab Times and Al-Watan Daily. There are 16 Arabic daily newspapers besides the English newspapers.
A press law forbids insulting references to God and Islamic prophet Muhammad. Another law which made leading newspaper publishers eligible for hefty fines for criticizing the ruling family was lifted in 1992. Leading newspapers continue to impose self-restraint while remaining uncritical of the emir. However, no such restraint is observed while criticizing the government.
Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha are two of the major festivals in Kuwait. Each year, the people of Kuwait celebrate 25 and 26 February, as the national and liberation day, respectively. On 10 November 2012, Kuwait marked the golden jubilee of its constitution with a spectacular KD 4.06-million ($15-million) fireworks display, featuring 77,282 fireworks, which earned the state a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The adult literacy rate in 2008 was 93.9%. Kuwait is directing its attention towards Inclusive Education, which provides opportunity to all children, irrespective of their social class, including children with special needs. Kuwait education system is marked by several achievements in recent years. As of 2005/06 Kuwait allocates 13% of all public expenditure to education, which is comparable to the allocation of public funds to education in many OECD countries but lower than other Arab countries. For the same years the public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP was 3.9% in 2005/12 which is well below the percentage of GDP spent by OECD countries on education.
Kuwait is facing challenges in improving the quality of education at all levels and to build capacities of students' from a young age. The Ministry of Education is also making efforts to incorporate women into the educated workforce through various programs, for instance the 1989 initiative to establish daytime literacy clinics for women. The Kuwaiti government also offers scholarships to students accepted in universities in United States, United Kingdom and other foreign institutes.
According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are Kuwait University (2499th worldwide), the College of Technological Studies (3769th) and Arab Open University Kuwait (6725th).
See also↑Jump back a section
- "CIA – The World Factbook – Kuwait". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Population of Kuwait". Kuwait Government Online.
- "Kuwait". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- "Human Development Report 2011". United Nations. 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
- Lesko, John P. "Kuwait," World Education Encyclopedia: A Survey of Educational Systems Worldwide, vol. 2, edited by Rebecca Marlow-Ferguson. Detroit, MI: Gale Group, 2002.
- Chilcote, Ryan (3 January 2003). "Kuwait still recovering from Gulf War fires". CNN. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Country profile: Kuwait". BBC News. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Oil & Gas Journal, January 2007.
- "CIA – The World Factbook – Rank Order – GDP – per capita (PPP)". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- Pike, John. "U.S. Designates Kuwait a Major Non-NATO Ally of U.S". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Arun, Neil (2007-08-07). "Alexander's Gulf outpost uncovered". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- Farrokh, Kaveh. Shadows in the desert: Ancient Persia at war. Osprey Publishing, 2007. ISBN 1-84603-108-7, 9781846031083 Check
- Plotter, Lawrence. The Arabian Gulf in history. Macmillan, 2009. ISBN 1-4039-7245-1, 9781403972453 Check
- Ganjoo, S. Economic System in Islam. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD., 2004. ISBN 81-261-1808-3, 9788126118083 Check
- Kuwait's History[dead link]
- "US Department of State". State.gov. 4 May 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Kuwait (06/07)". State.gov. 4 May 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Cleveland, William. A history of the modern Middle East. Westview Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8133-3489-6, 9780813334899 Check
- "Kuwait’s Souk al-Manakh Stock Bubble". Stock-market-crash.net. 2012-06-23. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- Shireen T. Hunter, Iran and the World: Continuity in a Revolutionary Decade, (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1990), p.117
- "Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait; 1990". Acig.org. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- The colonial present: Afghanistan .... Google Books. 2004. ISBN 978-1-57718-090-6. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Sunday Times Analysis". Timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- CNS – The Significance of the "Death" of Ali Hassan al-Majid[dead link]
- "The Use of Terror during Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait". Jafi.org.il. 15 May 2005. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
- "Iraq and Kuwait: 1972, 1990, 1991, 1997". Earthshots: Satellite Images of Environmental Change. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Kuwait". Ehistory.osu.edu. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Kuwait Ted Case". American.edu. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "NASA – Top Story – 1991 KUWAIT OIL FIRES – March 21, 2003". NASA. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Oil fires and spills leave hazardous legacy". CNN. Archived from the original on 2002-02-03.
- "Kuwait Oil Fires, Arabian Gulf War – further reading". Espionageinfo.com. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Independent Newspapers Online (21 March 2003). "Fears of Iraqi oil fires fuel global panic – World – IOL | Breaking News | South Africa News | World News | Sport | Business | Entertainment". IOL.co.za. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
- "BBC News - Kuwait profile - Timeline". Bbc.co.uk. 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- Encyclopædia Britannica. "Bubiyan (island, Kuwait) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Structurae [en]: Bubiyan Bridge (1983)". En.structurae.de (in German). 19 October 2002. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Kuwaiti Oil Lakes – Sidebar – MSN Encarta". Archived from the original on 31 October 2009.
- "Kuwait (country) – MSN Encarta". Archived from the original on 31 October 2009.
- "Kuwait: Climate – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Monthly Averages for Kuwait International Airport, Kuwait". weather.com. The Weather Channel. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
- "Part V General And Transitional Provisions". National Assembly – Kuwait. 2004-08-21. Archived from the original on 2004-08-21. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "meepas Kuwait country profile–Kuwait politics, Political snapshot". Meepas.com. 15 January 2006. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Opinion Articles – Women's suffrage means deep change in Kuwaiti politics". The Daily Star. 27 July 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Gulf Daily News". Gulf Daily News. 19 May 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Worth, Robert F. (18 May 2009). "First Women Win Seats in Kuwait Parliament". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Kuwaiti parliament dissolved". Upi.com. 19 March 2009. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Elections set for May 16". Kuwait Times. 14 April 2009. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Kuwait deports 17 Egyptian activists". The Majlis. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- AL-QATARI, HUSSAIN. "KUWAITI RULER DISSOLVES PARLIAMENT, SETS UP VOTE". Associated Press. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- "Official Religion of Kuwait". E.gov.kw. Retrieved 2013-02-18.
- "Kuwait, State of". Law.emory.edu. Retrieved 2013-02-18.
- "Kuwait Energy Data, Statistics and Analysis – Oil, Gas, Electricity, Coal". Eia.doe.gov. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Alt, Robert. "Index of Economic Freedom". Heritage.org. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Kuwait plans 77 billion dollar 'City of Silk'". AFP. 5 February 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Kuwaiti stocks end week on record high". AFP. 17 April 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Kuwait posts record 72 billion dollar income". AFP. 15 April 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Kuwait National Bank". Q8daily.com. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
- Floating exchange rate data taken from www.xe.com
- "Part II Fundamental Constituents Of The Kuwaiti Society". National Assembly – Kuwait. 2004-08-21. Archived from the original on 2004-08-21. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Sparking the recovery: high oil prices are generating wealth for Kuwait and facilitating a massive construction programme. How is the country's electricity infrastructure placed to cope with the new demands that will be made upon it? – Journal, Magazine, Article, Periodical". Goliath.ecnext.com. 1 February 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2010.[dead link]
- Kuwait to Boost Oil Production by 2020
- Webb, Simon (4 February 2008). "Kuwait keeps 2020 oil capacity aim despite problems Reuters". Reuters. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Kuwait to spend $51 bln on oil development". AFP. 4 February 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Etheridge, Jamie (3 December 2008). "The problem with solutions to the economic crisis in Kuwait". Kuwait Times. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
- By The Associated Press (2009-04-02). "Report: Kuwait shouldn't have cut expenditure – Forbes". Thestreet.com. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Kuwait – Transportation". Nationsencyclopedia.com. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Webb, Simon (4 February 2008). "Kuwait eyes $11 bln rail network, city metro". Reuters. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Kuwait metro procurement to begin soon". Railway Gazette International. 21 February 2012.
- "Kuwait Transportation – Travel Guide". VirtualTourist.com. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
- "Public Transport – Citybus". City Group Co. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
- "Search for Locations – Great Circle Mapper". Gcmap.com. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "First flight for Kuwait's Jazeera Airways". The Seattle Times. 31 October 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Kuwait's Wataniya Airways ceases operations". Flightglobal.com. 2011-03-16. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Kuwaiti Ports Public Authority". Archived from the original on 2008-08-30. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Kuwait's ports continue to break records – Transportation". ArabianBusiness.com. 4 June 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- John Pike. "[[Mina Al Ahmadi]], Kuwait". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 28 June 2010. Wikilink embedded in URL title (help)
- "Emerging Markets Economic Briefings". Oxfordbusinessgroup.com. Retrieved 28 June 2010.[dead link]
- "Population of Kuwait". Kuwait Government. 30 June 2008.
- "Kuwait Guide: Citizenship, Is it possible to become a national of Kuwait? As a foreigner, you won’t be grant". Justlanded.com. 9 September 2009. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "World Factbook Country Comparison :: Net migration rate". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Kuwait - CIA Factbook". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
- "A microcosm of India in the heart of oil-rich Kuwait". Economic Times. 7 April 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
- Kuwait Information Office, New Delhi, India. "Kuwait Embassy Office, New Delhi, India, Services". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 7 October 2007.
- "Arab versus Asian migrant workers in the GCC countries" (PDF). UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- "Abbas apology to Kuwait over Iraq". BBC News. 12 December 2004. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Palestinians Open Kuwaiti Embassy". Al Monitor. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- "Mapping the Global Muslim Population". Pew Research Center. 7 October 2009.
- "http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2005/51603.htm". State.gov. 8 November 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- U.S. Department of State. "Kuwait: International Religious Freedom Report 2006". Retrieved 7 October 2007.
- "Religions in Kuwait: How expatriates worship". Kuwait Times. 16 November 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Baha'i Rights: Kuwait". 22 September 2007. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "Kuwaiti Christians Celebrate Christmas". 24 December 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
- "International Religious Freedom Report 2007 BUREAU OF DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS & LABOUR". State.gov. 14 September 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (19 September 2008). "Refworld | 2008 Report on International Religious Freedom – Kuwait". UNHCR. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- [dead link]
- "Kuwait Culture". Kuwaitiah.net.
- "Kuwaiti Food". Amideast.org. 23 February 2001. Archived from the original on 2010-01-05. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Lauren Streib (2 August 2007). "World's fattest countries". Forbes. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
- "Kuwait Culture Heritage". Kuwait-Info.com. 2003-05-30. Archived from the original on 2003-05-30. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "The Kuwaiti history by:QUSAY ALASWAD". Kuwaitboom.com. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Art and Craft". kuwait-info.com. Archived from the original on 5 April 2005. Retrieved 27 September 2005.
- "Traditional Clothing in Kuwait & the Gulf". AWARE. 16 December 2010.
- "Reporters sans frontières – Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index – 2009". Rsf.org. 26 March 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2010.[dead link]
- "Kuwait Media overview". Kuwait-Info.com. 2003-06-20. Archived from the original on 2003-06-20. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Kuwait Media, Ministry of Information, Muhammad Abbas Abulhassan". Kuwait-Info.com. Archived from the original on 2003-06-04. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Kuwait – The World Factbook". Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Kuwait – Media". Nationsencyclopedia.com. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "About Kuwait- Media". Iml.jou.ufl.edu. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Nawara Fattahova (November 14, 2012). "Kuwait marks golden jubilee of constitution’s ratification". Kuwait Times. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
- Phil Vinter (November 14, 2012). "Celebrating a golden jubilee Kuwait style". Daily Mail. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
- "National adult literacy rates (15+), youth literacy rates (15-24) and elderly literacy rates (65+)". UNESCO Institute for Statistics.
- "Kuwait". Ranking Web of Universities. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
|Find more about Kuwait at Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Definitions and translations from Wiktionary|
|Media from Commons|
|Learning resources from Wikiversity|
|News stories from Wikinews|
|Quotations from Wikiquote|
|Source texts from Wikisource|
|Textbooks from Wikibooks|
|Travel information from Wikivoyage|
- The Office of the Emir of Kuwait
- Diwan of the Crown Prince of the State of Kuwait
- Kuwait entry at The World Factbook
- Kuwait web resources provided by GovPubs at the University of Colorado–Boulder Libraries
- Kuwait Directory
- Kuwait at the Open Directory Project
- Kuwait profile from the BBC News
- The Economy of Kuwait at FedBrain
- Wikimedia Atlas of Kuwait
- Kuwait travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Kuwait Answers website WKuwait Answers Network
- Kuwait Information Portal
- Kuwait Social Networking
- Kuwait Free Classifieds and Business Directory
- Country Profile from New Internationalist
- Key Development Forecasts for Kuwait from International Futures
|Iraq||Persian Gulf • Iran|
|Saudi Arabia||Saudi Arabia||Persian Gulf|
Read in another language
This page is available in 169 languages
- Беларуская (тарашкевіца)
- Bikol Central
- Diné bizaad
- Fiji Hindi
- বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী
- Bahasa Indonesia
- Basa Jawa
- Kreyòl ayisyen
- Bahasa Melayu
- Dorerin Naoero
- नेपाल भाषा
- Norfuk / Pitkern
- Norsk bokmål
- Norsk nynorsk
- Runa Simi
- Саха тыла
- Simple English
- Српски / srpski
- Srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски
- Basa Sunda
- ᨅᨔ ᨕᨘᨁᨗ
- ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche
- Tiếng Việt