, officially called the Sultanate of Oman
: سلطنة عُمان
), is an Arab
state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula
. It has a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf
. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates
(UAE) to the northwest, Saudi Arabia
to the west, and Yemen
to the southwest and also shares a marine border with Iran
. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea
on the southeast and the Gulf of Oman
on the northeast.
From the 17th century, Oman had its own empire, and vied with Portugal and Britain for influence in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. At its peak in the 19th century, Omani influence or control extended across the Strait of Hormuz to Iran, and modern day Pakistan, and as far south as Zanzibar. Oman has long-standing military and political ties with the United Kingdom and the United States, although it maintains an independent foreign policy.
Oman is an absolute monarchy in which the Sultan of Oman exercises ultimate authority, but its parliament has some legislative and oversight powers. As with other Arab States of the Persian Gulf, oil is the mainstay of the economy, providing a large proportion of GDP, although compared to its neighbours Oman is a modest producer. Agriculture and fishing are also important sources of income.