The State of Kuwait is officially a country in Western Asia, located in the Northeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, it shares borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia (1600). As the early 17th century, known at the time as al-Quran, it was under the control of the house of Khaled, who dominated the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. The name Kuwait, which is derived from Kout (fort).
In the 18th – 19th century, control of Kuwait was threatened by the Ottoman Turks and other groups located on the Arabian Peninsula. A group of families migrated from Central Arabic and settled in Kuwait, the Al Sabah emerged as the dominant clan and were formally established as rulers of Kuwait in on account of his wisdom and good repute in 1972. Since then the Al Sabah family has continued to rule by succession up to this day. Kuwait gained independence from the British protectorate, modern Kuwait was born (1899-1961).
Kuwait was attacked and overrun by Iraq on 2 August 1990. Following several weeks of aerial bombardment, a US-led UN coalition began a ground assault on 23 February 1991 that liberated Kuwait in four days. Kuwait spent more than $5 billion to repair oil infrastructure damaged during 1990-91. The AL-SABAH family returned to power in 1991 and reconstituted the parliament, which dates back to 1962.
The country witnessed the historic election in 2009 of four women to its National Assembly. Amid the 2010-11 uprisings and protests across the Arab world, stateless Arabs, known as Bidoon, staged small protests in early 2011 demanding citizenship, jobs, and other benefits available to Kuwaiti nationals. Other demographic groups, notably tribal Bedouins, soon joined the growing protest movements, which culminated in late 2011 with the resignation of the prime minister amidst allegations of corruption. Demonstrations renewed in late 2012 in response to an Amiri decree amending the electoral law that disadvantaged tribal Bedouins.
The opposition, led by a coalition of Sunni Islamists, tribal populists, and some liberals, largely boycotted legislative elections in 2012 and 2013, which ushered in a legislature more amenable to the government’s agenda. Faced with the prospect of painful subsidy cuts, oppositionists and independents actively participated in the November 2016 election, winning nearly half of the seats. Since coming to power in 2006, the Amir has dissolved the National Assembly on seven occasions (the Constitutional Court annulled the Assembly in June 2012 and again in June 2013) and shuffled the cabinet over a dozen times, usually citing political stagnation and gridlock between the legislature and the government.
Population: 4.5 million people (1.3M are Kuwaitis and 3.2 are foreigners)
Official Language: Arabic
Ethnic Groups: Kuwaiti, other Arab, South Asian, Iranian, other
Languages: Arabic (Official), English
Industries: Petroleum, petrochemicals, desalination, food processing, construction materials
Agriculture: Practically no crops; fish
Currency: Kuwaiti dinar (KD)
Government type: Nominal constitutional monarchy
Independence: 19 June 1961 (from UK)
National holiday: National Day, 25 February (1950)