|State of Kuwait
|Anthem: "Al-Nasheed Al-Watani"
Location and extent of Kuwait (red) on the Arabian Peninsula.
and largest city
|-||Prime Minister||Jaber Al-Hamad al-Sabah|
|-||Speaker of the National Assembly||Marzouq Al-Ghanim|
|-||Independence from the Emirate of Al Hasa||1752|
|-||End of treaties with the United Kingdom||19 June 1961|
|-||Total||17,820 km2 (157th)
6,880 sq mi
|-||2014 estimate||4,044,500 (140th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2013 estimate|
|-||Total||$155.063 billion (68th)|
|-||Per capita||$39,861 (26th)|
|GDP (nominal)||2013 estimate|
|-||Total||$173.438 billion (52nd)|
|-||Per capita||$44,585 (18th)|
|HDI (2013)|| 0.814
very high · 46th
|Currency||Kuwaiti dinar (KWD)|
|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 i// (Arabic: دولة الكويت), officially the State of Kuwait, is an Arab country in Western Asia. Situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf, it shares borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia. As of 2014, Kuwait has a population of 4.1 million people; 1.2 million are Kuwaitis and 2.8 million are expatriates.
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Kuwait was a prosperous center of trade and commerce. Starting in the early 20th century, its regional economic importance declined, and by 1934 Kuwait had lost its prominence in long-distance trade. Kuwait's economy was devastated by several trade blockades. During World War I, the British Empire imposed a blockade against Kuwait because its ruler supported the Ottoman Empire. Following the Kuwait–Najd War of 1919–1920, Saudi Arabia maintained a trade blockade against the country from 1923 until 1937. In 1990, Kuwait was invaded by Iraq. The Iraqi occupation came to an end after military intervention by United States-led forces.
Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliamentary system. The country ranks highly in regional comparisons of national performance, including protection of civil liberties, press freedom and judicial independence. Kuwait is frequently ranked as having the freest press in the Arab world. The country is currently attempting to diversify its oil-reliant economy. In recent years, the hostile relationship between the elected parliament and government has prevented the implementation of economic reforms.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Politics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Culture
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
In 1613, the town of Kuwait was founded in modern-day Kuwait City. In 1716, the Bani Utubs settled in Kuwait. At the time of the arrival of the Utubs, Kuwait was inhabited by a few fishermen and primarily functioned as a fishing village. In the eighteenth century, Kuwait prospered and rapidly became the principal commercial center for the transit of goods between India, Muscat, Baghdad and Arabia. By the mid 1700s, Kuwait had already established itself as the major trading route from the Persian Gulf to Aleppo.
During the Persian siege of Basra in 1775–1779, Iraqi merchants took refuge in Kuwait and were partly instrumental in the expansion of Kuwait's boat-building and trading activities. As a result, Kuwait's maritime commerce boomed. Between the years 1775 and 1779, the Indian trade routes with Baghdad, Aleppo, Smyrna and Constantinople were diverted to Kuwait. The East India Company was diverted to Kuwait in 1792. The East India Company secured the sea routes between Kuwait, India and the east coasts of Africa. After the Persians withdrew from Basra in 1779, Kuwait continued to attract trade away from Basra.
Kuwait was the center of boat building in the Gulf region. During the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, ship vessels made in Kuwait carried the bulk of trade between the ports of India, East Africa and the Red Sea. Kuwaiti ship vessels were renowned throughout the Indian Ocean. Regional geopolitical turbulence helped foster economic prosperity in Kuwait in the second half of the 18th century. Kuwait became prosperous due to Basra's instability in the late 18th century. In the late 18th century, Kuwait partly functioned as a haven for Basra's merchants fleeing Ottoman government persecution. According to Palgrave, Kuwaitis developed a reputation as the best sailors in the Persian Gulf.
During the reign of Mubarak Al-Sabah, Kuwait was dubbed the "Marseilles of the Gulf" because its economic vitality attracted a large variety of people. A Western author's account of Kuwait in 1905:
|“||Kuwait was the Marseilles of the Persian Gulf. Its population was good natured, mixed, and vicious. As it was the outlet from the north to the Gulf and hence to the Indies, merchants from Bombay and Tehran, Indians, Persians, Syrians from Aleppo and Damascus, Armenians, Turks and Jews, traders from all the East, and some Europeans came to Kuwait. From Kuwait, the caravans set out for Central Arabia and for Syria.
H.C. Armstrong, Lord of Arabia
In the first decades of the twentieth century, Kuwait had a well-established elite: wealthy trading families who were linked by marriage and shared economic interests. The elite were long-settled, urban, Sunni families, the majority of which claim descent from the original 30 Bani Utubi families. The wealthiest families were trade merchants who acquired their wealth from long-distance commerce, shipbuilding and pearling. They were a cosmopolitan elite, they traveled extensively to India, Africa and Europe. The elite educated their sons abroad more than other Gulf Arab elite. Western visitors noted that the Kuwaiti elite used European office systems, typewriters and followed European culture with curiosity. The richest families were involved in general trade. The merchant families of Al-Ghanim and Al-Hamad were estimated to be worth millions before the 1940s.
In the early 20th century, Kuwait immensely declined in regional economic importance, mainly due to many trade blockades and the world economic depression. Before medical doctor and missionary Mary Bruins Allison visited Kuwait in 1934, Kuwait lost its prominence in long distance trade. During World War I, the British Empire imposed a trade blockade against Kuwait because Kuwait's ruler supported the Ottoman Empire. The British economic blockade heavily damaged Kuwait's economy.
The Great Depression negatively impacted Kuwait's economy starting in the late 1920s. International trading was one of Kuwait's main sources of income before oil. Kuwaiti merchants were mostly intermediary merchants. As a result of European decline of demand for goods from India and Africa, the economy of Kuwait suffered. The decline in international trade resulted in an increase in gold smuggling by Kuwaiti ships to India. Some Kuwaiti merchant families became rich due to gold smuggling to India. Kuwait's pearling industry also collapsed as a result of the worldwide economic depression. At its height, Kuwait's pearling industry led the world's luxury market, regularly sending out between 750 and 800 ship vessels to meet the European elite's need for pearls. During the economic depression, luxuries like pearls were in little demand. The Japanese invention of cultured pearls also contributed to the collapse of Kuwait's pearling industry.
Following the Kuwait–Najd War of 1919–1920, Ibn Saud imposed a trade blockade against Kuwait from the years 1923 until 1937. The goal of the Saudi economic and military attacks on Kuwait was to annex as much of Kuwait's territory as possible. At the Uqair conference in 1922, the boundaries of Kuwait and Najd were set. Kuwait had no representative at the Uqair conference. Ibn Saud persuaded Sir Percy Cox to give him two-thirds of Kuwait's territory. More than half of Kuwait was lost due to Uqair. After the Uqair conference, Kuwait was still subjected to a Saudi economic blockade and intermittent Saudi raiding.
Poverty has settled in Kuwait more heavily since my last visit five years ago, both by sea, where the pearl trade continues to decline, and by land, where the blockade established by Saudi Arabia now harms the merchants.
Some prominent merchant families left Kuwait in the early 1930s due to the prevalence of economic hardship. At the time of the discovery of oil in 1937, most of Kuwait's inhabitants were impoverished.
Golden Era (1946–1982)
From 1946 to 1982, Kuwait experienced a period of renowned prosperity driven by oil and its liberal political climate. In popular discourse, the years between 1946 and 1982 are referred to as the "Golden Era". In 1950, a major public-work programme began to enable Kuwaitis to enjoy a modern standard of living. By 1952, the country became the largest oil exporter in the Persian Gulf region. This massive growth attracted many foreign workers, especially from Palestine, Egypt and India. In June 1961, Kuwait became independent with the end of the British protectorate and the sheikh Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah became an Emir. Under the terms of the newly drafted constitution, Kuwait held its first parliamentary elections in 1963. Kuwait was the first Gulf country to establish a constitution and parliament.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Kuwait was the most developed country in the Middle East. Kuwait was the pioneer in the Middle East in diversifying its earnings away from oil exports. The Kuwait Investment Authority is the world's first sovereign wealth fund. From the 1970s onward, Kuwait scored highest of all Arab countries on the Human Development Index. Kuwait was the capital of higher education, arts and culture in the Gulf region. Kuwait University, established in 1966, attracted students from neighboring countries. Local theatre thrived. Kuwait's local theatre industry was renowned throughout the Arab world.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Kuwait's press was described as one of the freest in the world. Kuwait was the pioneer in the literary renaissance in the Arab region. In 1958, Al Arabi magazine was first published, the magazine went on to become the most popular magazine in the Arab world. Many Arab writers moved to Kuwait for freedom of expression because Kuwait had greater freedom of expression than elsewhere in the Arab world. Kuwait was a haven for writers and journalists from all parts of the Middle East. The Iraqi poet Ahmed Matar left Iraq in the 1970s to take refuge in the more liberal environment of Kuwait.
Kuwaiti society embraced liberal and Western attitudes throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Most Kuwaiti women did not wear the hijab in the 1960s and 1970s. At Kuwait University, mini-skirts were more common than the hijab.
1980s to present day
During the Iran-Iraq war, Kuwait supported Iraq. Throughout the 1980s, there were several terror attacks in Kuwait, including the 1983 Kuwait bombings, hijacking of several Kuwait Airways planes and attempted assassination of Emir Jaber in 1985. Kuwait was a leading regional hub of science and technology in the 1960s and 1970s up until the early 1980s, the scientific research sector significantly suffered due to the terror attacks.
After the Iran-Iraq war ended, Kuwait declined an Iraqi request to forgive its US$65 billion debt. An economic rivalry between the two countries ensued after Kuwait increased its oil production by 40 percent. Tensions between the two countries increased further in July 1990, after Iraq complained to OPEC claiming that Kuwait was stealing its oil from a field near the border by slant drilling of the Rumaila field.
In August 1990, Iraqi forces invaded and annexed Kuwait. After a series of failed diplomatic negotiations, the United States led a coalition to remove the Iraqi forces from Kuwait, in what became known as the Gulf War. 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 oil wells on fire. During the Iraqi occupation, more than 1,000 Kuwaiti civilians were killed. In addition, more than 600 Kuwaitis went missing during Iraq's occupation, approximately 375 remains were found in mass graves in Iraq.
In March 2003, Kuwait became the springboard for the US-led invasion of Iraq. Upon the death of the Emir Jaber, in January 2006, Saad Al-Sabah succeeded him but was removed nine days later by the Kuwaiti parliament due to his ailing health. Sabah Al-Sabah was sworn in as Emir. In 2011–2012, there were protests. The parliament was dissolved in December 2011 due to protests against the parliament. The prime minister stepped down following protests.
Kuwait is one of the smallest countries in the world in terms of land area. Kuwait City is located on Kuwait Bay, a natural deep-water harbor. 90% of Kuwait's population live within the Kuwait Bay coast. 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's 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 with occasional thunderstorms. The frequent winds from the northwest are cold in winter and hot in summer. Southeasterly damp winds spring up between July and October; hot and dry south winds prevail in spring and early summer. The shamal, a northwesterly wind common during June and July, causes dramatic sandstorms. 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.
Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy and has the oldest directly elected parliament among the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. The Al Sabah family has been Kuwait's dynastic monarchy since 1938, before 1938 Kuwait's local merchants enjoyed a supremacy over the Al Sabah family.
Legislative power is vested in the National Assembly parliament and Emir in accordance with the Constitution of Kuwait. The appointment of a new Emir needs the approval of the Kuwaiti parliament (per article 3 of the Constitution), therefore the parliament has the authority to remove an Emir from his post. The parliament effectively removed Saad al-Sabah from his post in 2006 due to his illness. The judicially independent Constitutional Court and the Emir both have the authority to dissolve the National Assembly but must subsequently call a national election. A cabinet of ministers aid the Prime Minister.
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 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 elected members of the National Assembly before being implemented.
Kuwait ranks among the Middle East's freest countries in civil liberties and political rights. Kuwait consistently ranks as having the freest media in the Arab world, in both Reporters Without Borders' and Freedom House's indices of press freedom. In 2011–2012, Reporters without Borders ranked Kuwait the freest Middle East country in freedom of press (#78 out of 179 countries in Press Freedom Index). In 2013, Kuwait was ranked the freest country in press freedom in the Middle East and Arab world (#77 out of 179 countries). In 2014, Kuwait was ranked #91 of 180 by Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom index, thus Kuwait was again the freest country in press freedom in the Middle East and North Africa region. In 2009–2014, Freedom House ranked the country as "Partly Free" in the Freedom in the World survey, which measures civil liberties and political rights. Kuwait is the only Gulf state that is ranked "partly free", the rest of the Gulf region is "Not Free".
Human rights in Kuwait has been the subject of controversy, particularly regarding migrant workers rights and the Bedoon. 60% of Kuwait's population is Arab (including Arab expats), the remaining 40% consists of non-Arab expatriates, mainly unskilled South Asian migrant workers. The kafala system leaves migrant workers prone to exploitation. Many human rights organizations have criticized Kuwait for failing to protect migrant workers from exploitation.
Women in Kuwait are among the most emancipated women in the Middle East region. In 2014, Kuwait was ranked first among Arab countries in the Global Gender Gap Report. In 2013, 53% of Kuwaiti women participated in the labor force, Kuwait has the highest rate of local female labor participation in the Gulf region. Kuwait's labor force participation rate for Kuwaiti women is much higher than the regional MENA average. 46.7% of Kuwaiti women between the ages of 15 and 64 were employed in 2013. In 2008-2009, the participation of Kuwaiti women in the labor force was much higher than the regional GCC average, Kuwait has the largest number of working female citizens in the Gulf region. In 2011, Kuwait was ranked highest of all Arab countries in gender equality in the Human Development Report's Gender Inequality Index. Like most other Arab countries, Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaiti men cannot transmit their citizenship to their children.
When voting was first introduced in Kuwait, Kuwaiti women had the right to vote. This right was soon removed and male suffrage was reinstalled. Moves to change the male-dominated political structure culminated in the re-granting of political rights to women in 2005. In May 2005, the Parliament gave women the right to vote and stand as candidates in elections. In 2005, the former Prime Minister Sabah 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. In the parliamentary elections in May 2009, four female candidates won their seats and became Kuwait's first female lawmakers. Female participation in the parliament remains limited because Kuwait does not have a parliamentary quota system. Most parliaments in the Arab world have quotas for women.
There have been several conflicts between the government and the National Assembly over various policies. In 1983, the Kuwaiti parliament banned alcohol consumption. The parliament was dissolved in May 2009, leading to the resignation of Prime Minister Nasser al-Sabah and the rest of the Cabinet. Nationwide elections were held on 16 May 2009. The Constitutional Court annulled the February 2012 elections and later the Emir made changes to the election law, changing the number for votes given from a person from four to one. This prompted a largely opposition boycott of the new elections in December 2012.
Anti-Shia sentiment is a crime in Kuwait. Kuwait persistently penalizes clerics who make sectarian remarks. In 2012 and 2013, several Kuwaitis were jailed for anti-Shia tweets. In August 2014, the Kuwaiti government sued a local theater that insulted Shia Islam. In September 2014, a Kuwaiti man was jailed for anti-Shia tweets.
Kuwait's media is annually classified as "partly free" in the Freedom of Press survey by Freedom House. Kuwait's media is the freest in the Gulf region, with journalists regularly criticizing the government and government officials. In other Gulf countries, criticism of the government is forbidden.
Since 2005, Kuwait has frequently earned the highest ranking of all Arab countries in the annual Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders. In 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014, Kuwait surpassed Israel as the country with the greatest press freedom in the Middle East. Kuwait is also frequently ranked as the Arab country with the greatest press freedom in Freedom House's annual Freedom of Press survey.
Kuwait has been described as the "media capital" of the Gulf region, Kuwait produces more newspapers and magazines per capita than its neighbors. The three most prominent English dailies in Kuwait are Kuwait Times, Arab Times and Al-Watan Daily. There are limits to Kuwait's press freedom, criticism of the government, government officials and royal family members is permitted but people have been jailed for "defaming" the Emir. Kuwait's constitution criminalizes the defamation of the Emir.
Kuwait follows the "civil law system" modeled after the French legal system, Kuwait's legal system is largely derived from secular sources. Sharia law governs only family law for Muslim residents, non-Muslims in Kuwait have a secular family law. For the application of family law, there are three separate court sections: Sunni, Shia and non-Muslim. According to the United Nations, Kuwait's legal system is a mix of British common law, French civil law, Egyptian civil law and Islamic law.
The court system in Kuwait is secular. Unlike other Gulf states, Kuwait does not have Sharia courts. Sections of the civil court system administer family law. Kuwait has the most secular commercial law in the Gulf.
Kuwait became the 111th member state of the United Nations in May 1963. It is a long-standing member of the Arab League and Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.
Before the Gulf War, Kuwait was the only "pro-Soviet" state in the Gulf. Kuwait acted as a conduit for the Soviets to the other Gulf states and Kuwait was used to demonstrate the benefits of a pro-Soviet stance. Between 1961 and 1991, Kuwait had an uneasy relationship with the United States characterized by mistrust and hostility. In July 1987, Kuwait refused to allow USA military bases in its territory. As a result of the Gulf War, Kuwait currently hosts 10,000 US soldiers.
The Military of Kuwait traces its original roots to the Kuwaiti cavalrymen and infantrymen that used to protect Kuwait and its wall since the early 1900s. These cavalrymen and infantrymen formed the defense and security sources in metropolitan areas; charged with protecting outposts outside the wall of Kuwait.
The Military of Kuwait consists of several joint defense forces. The governing bodies are the Kuwait Ministry of Defense, the Kuwait Ministry of Interior, the Kuwait National Guard and the Kuwait Fire Service Directorate. The Emir of Kuwait is the commander-in-chief of all defense forces.
Kuwait has a petroleum-based economy, petroleum and fertilizers are the main export products. The Kuwaiti dinar is the highest-valued currency unit in the world. Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP and 94% of export revenues and government income. The Kuwait Stock Exchange is the second-largest stock exchange in the Arab world.
Kuwait was the pioneer in the Middle East in diversifying its earnings away from oil exports. However the country has struggled to diversify its economy since the Gulf War. In recent years, the hostile relationship between the elected parliament and government has prevented the implementation of economic reforms.
In the past five years, there has been a significant rise in entrepreneurship and small business start-ups in Kuwait. The informal sector is also on the rise, mainly due to the popularity of Instagram businesses. Many Kuwaiti entrepreneurs are using the Instagram-based business model.
- International holdings
The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) is Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund specializing in foreign investment. The KIA is the world's oldest sovereign wealth fund. Since 1953, the Kuwaiti government has directed investments into Europe, United States and Asia Pacific. As of 2014, the holdings were valued at $548 billion in assets.
Kuwait is the Arab world's largest foreign investor, with $8.4 billion in FDI outflows in 2013. Kuwait consistently tops regional rankings in FDI outflows. In 2013, Kuwait almost tripled its foreign investments. Over the last 10 years, Kuwait has doubled investments in the UK to more than $24 billion. In 2014, Kuwait became the largest foreign investor in China's RMB market.
Kuwait was the pioneer in the Middle East in diversifying its earnings away from oil exports. However the country has struggled to diversify its economy since the Gulf War. In the 2000s, the hostile relationship between the elected parliament and government prevented the implementation of economic reforms.
Since the July 2013 election of a less combative parliament, there has been significant progress in the development of key projects. Kuwait is currently the fastest-growing projects market in the Gulf region. A record $33.4bn-worth of contracts are expected to be awarded in 2014, only $8.7bn-worth contracts were awarded in 2013. According to MEED, the surge in activity is mainly due to good relations between the parliament and government. In December 2014, it was announced that 100% foreign ownership of a company is now permitted. The Kuwaiti government also approved foreign property ownership.
Kuwait's non-oil economic growth reached the regional GCC average in 2013. There are signs that the non-oil economy is gaining momentum under the more pro-government parliament. Kuwait’s non-oil growth, which accelerated notably in 2013, is expected to maintain its momentum in the next two years.
Kuwait's 2014 population was 4.1 million people, of which 1.2 million were Kuwaitis, 1.1 million Arab expatriates, 1.4 million Asian expatriates, and 76,698 Africans.
- Ethnic groups
60% of Kuwait's population is Arab (including Arab expats). In 2013, there were 700,000 Indians, 500,000 Egyptians, 200,000 Bangladeshis, 160,000 Filipinos, 140,000 Syrians and 120,000 Pakistanis living in Kuwait. The Kuwaiti government intends to reduce the expat population.
In 2001, there were 525,000 Sunni Kuwaiti citizens, 300,000 Shia Kuwaiti citizens and 820,000 Kuwaiti citizens in total thus Sunnis formed 64% and Shias formed 36.5% of the Kuwaiti citizen population. In 2002, the US Department of State reported that Shia Kuwaitis formed 30%–40% of Kuwait's citizen population, noting there were 525,000 Sunni Kuwaiti citizens and 855,000 Kuwaiti citizens in total (61% Sunnis, 39% Shias). In 2004, there were 600,000 Sunni Kuwaitis citizens, 300,000–350,000 Shia Kuwaiti citizens and 913,000 Kuwaiti citizens in total.
Kuwait has a native Christian community, in 1999 there were 400 Christian Kuwaiti citizens. There were 256 Christian Kuwaiti citizens living in Kuwait in June 2013. There is also a small number of Bahá'í Kuwaiti citizens, it is likely that 18 Kuwaiti citizens follow the Bahá'í religion.[note 1] There are 400 Bahá'ís in total in Kuwait.
Kuwait's official language is Modern Standard Arabic. Kuwaiti Arabic is Kuwait's colloquial dialect. Kuwaiti Sign Language is used by the deaf community. English is widely understood and often used as a business language.
Within the Gulf Arab states, the culture of Kuwait is the closest to the culture of Bahrain; this is evident in the close association between the two states in terms of accents, food, and clothes, in addition to the similar degrees of openness in the two societies.
Kuwait is known for its home-grown tradition of theatre. Kuwait is the only country in the Gulf with a theatrical tradition. The theatrical movement in Kuwait constitutes a major part of the country's cultural life. Theatrical activities in Kuwait began in the 1920s when the first spoken dramas were released. Theatre activities are still popular today.
Kuwaiti soap operas (المسلسلات الكويتية) are the among the most-watched soap operas in the Arab world. Most Khaleeji soap operas are based in Kuwait.
Some Kuwaiti soap operas have become extremely popular throughout the Arab world, although they are usually performed in the Kuwaiti dialect, they have been shown with success as far away as Tunisia.
Kuwait was the pioneer of literary renaissance in the region. In 1958, Al Arabi magazine was first published, the magazine went on to become the most popular magazine in the Arab world. In the 1970s, writers moved to Kuwait where they enjoyed greater freedom of expression than elsewhere in the Arab world.
Kuwait has the oldest modern arts movement in the Arabian Peninsula. Beginning in 1936, Kuwait was the first Gulf country to grant scholarships in the arts. The Kuwaiti artist Mojeb al-Dousari was the earliest recognized visual artist in the Gulf region. He is regarded as the founder of portrait art in the region. In 1943, al-Dousari launched Kuwait's first art gallery.
- "Kuwait". CIA World Factbook.
- "Kuwait". CIA World Factbook.
- "Population of Kuwait". Kuwait Government Online.
- "Kuwait". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- "2014 Human Development Report Summary". United Nations Development Programme. 2014. pp. 21–25. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
- "2013 Population Census". Government of Kuwait. 2013.
- "The Rocky Road That Faces Many Kuwaiti Merchants". LA Times.
Before oil was discovered in Kuwait 53 years ago, the country was largely a nation of merchant traders. Its natural harbor made Kuwait a hub of Middle East commerce and a center for boat building.
- "Democracy in Kuwait". The Weekly Standard.
Home to one of only two natural ports in the Persian Gulf, Kuwait has for hundreds of years been a commercial and cosmopolitan center.
- Mary Bruins Allison (1994). Doctor Mary in Arabia: Memoirs. p. 1.
- Mary Ann Tétreault (1995). The Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and the Economics of the New World Order. pp. 2–3.
- David Lea (2001). A Political Chronology of the Middle East. p. 142.
- Lewis R. Scudder (1998). The Arabian Mission's Story: In Search of Abraham's Other Son. p. 104.
- Mohammad Khalid A. Al-Jassar (2009). Constancy and Change in Contemporary Kuwait City: The Socio-cultural Dimensions of the Kuwait Courtyard and Diwaniyya. p. 80.
- "Country profile: Kuwait". BBC News. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Operation Roll Back Kuwaiti Freedom".
The country consistently ranks as having the freest media in the Arab world, in both Reporters Without Borders' and Freedom House's indices of press freedom.
- "Kuwait rated ‘partly free’ by Freedom House". Mubasher.
- "Kuwait Ranked Best On Freedom In GCC".
- "Kuwait Rated ‘Partly’ In World Freedom Survey – ‘Best’ Among GCC States".
- "Kuwait back as leader in freedom of the press in the Arab world". 2012.
- "Kuwait Media Sustainability Index (MSI)".
- "The World Factbook". CIA Factbook.
- "Battling Inertia – Kuwait’s Dilemma Continues". Gulf Business.
- "Kuwait's semi-democracy".
The failed Kuwait-Dow Chemical mega deal is regarded as one of the biggest examples of how the Kuwaiti parliament has hindered the country's economic progress. Once again, Kuwait had missed out on an opportunity to diversify the economy, thanks to a fractious parliament.
- "Politics, oil poison Kuwait economy". Reuters.
- "Constancy and Change in Contemporary Kuwait City: The Socio-cultural Dimensions of the Kuwait Courtyard and Diwaniyya". Mohammad Khalid A. Al-Jassar. 2009. p. 64.
- Shadows on the Sand: The Memoirs of Sir Gawain Bell. Gawain Bell. 1983. p. 222.
- ʻAlam-i Nisvāṉ – Volume 2, Issues 1–2. p. 18.
Kuwait became an important trading port for import and export of goods from India, Africa and Arabia.
- "Constancy and Change in Contemporary Kuwait City". Mohammad Khalid A. Al-Jassar. 2009. p. 66.
- "Beyond the Storm: A Gulf Crisis Reader". Phyllis Bennis. p. 42.
- The Kuwait Crisis: Basic Documents. 1991. p. 4.
- Constancy and Change in Contemporary Kuwait City. 2009. p. 67.
- Thabit Abdullah. Merchants, Mamluks, and Murder: The Political Economy of Trade in Eighteenth-Century Basra. p. 72.
- The impact of economic activities on the social and political structures of Kuwait (1896–1946). p. 108.
- Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East: Cultural depth and diversity. p. 156.
The port of Kuwait was then, and is still, the principal dhow- building and trading port of the Persian Gulf, though offering little trade itself.
- M. Nijhoff (1974). Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en volkenkunde, Volume 130. p. 111.
- Indian Foreign Affairs. 1965. p. 29.
- Richard Harlakenden Sanger (1970). The Arabian Peninsula. p. 150.
- "The Postal Agencies in Eastern Arabia and the Gulf". Neil Donaldson. 2008. p. 93.
- "Constancy and Change in Contemporary Kuwait City". Mohammad Khalid A. Al-Jassar. p. 68.
- "Waqai-i manazil-i Rum: Tipu Sultan's mission to Constantinople". Mohibbul Hasan. 2007. p. 18.
For owing to Basra's misfortunes, Kuwait and Zubarah became rich.
- "The Politics of Regional Trade in Iraq, Arabia, and the Gulf, 1745–1900". Hala Mundhir Fattah. 1997. p. 114.
- "Seafaring in the Arabian Gulf and Oman: People of the Dhow". Dionisius A. Agius. 2012. p. 48.
- Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire. 2009. p. 321.
- "The Persian Gulf in History". Lawrence G. Potter. 2009. p. 272.
- "Lord of Arabia". H. C. Armstrong. 1905. pp. 18–19.
- "Oil and Politics in the Gulf: Rulers and Merchants in Kuwait and Qatar". Jill Crystal. 1995. p. 37.
- "The History of Kuwait". Michael S. Casey. 2007. p. 57.
- "Kuwait's Modernity Between Memory and Forgetting". Farah Nakib. 2014. p. 7.
- "Cultural developments in Kuwait". pp. 82–83.
- "What Can Nations Learn from Norway and Kuwait in Managing Sovereign Wealth Funds".
- "Understanding Modernity: A Review of the Kuwait Pavilion at the Venice Biennale".
- "Kuwait Literary Scene A Little Complex".
A magazine, Al Arabi, was published in 1958 in Kuwait. It was the most popular magazine in the Arab world. It came out it in all the Arabic countries, and about a quarter million copies were published every month.
- News Media in the Arab World: A Study of 10 Arab and Muslim Countries. p. 24.
- "Gulf Yearbook 2006-2007". p. 39.
The Kuwaiti press has always enjoyed a level of freedom unparalleled in any other Arab country.
- "The Case of Kuwait: Debating Free Speech and Social Media in the Gulf".
- Muslim Education Quarterly - Volume 8. p. 61.
Kuwait is a primary example of a Muslim society which embraced liberal and Western attitudes throughout the sixties and seventies.
- Guide to Islamist Movements, Volume 1. p. 306.
- The Internet In The Middle East: Global Expectations And Local Imaginations. p. 99.
- "In Kuwait, conservatism a launch pad to success".
In the 1960s and most of the '70s, men and women at Kuwait University dined and danced together, and miniskirts were more common than hijab head coverings, professors and alumni say.
- "Kuwait’s Souk al-Manakh Stock Bubble". Stock-market-crash.net. 2012-06-23. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- Processing and Properties of Advanced Ceramics and Composites. p. 205.
- "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.
- "Iraq and Kuwait: 1972, 1990, 1991, 1997". Earthshots: Satellite Images of Environmental Change. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "The Use of Terror During Iraq’s Invasion of Kuwait".
- "Iraq and Kuwait Discuss Fate of 600 Missing Since Gulf War". Los Angeles Times. 9 January 2003.
- 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 Ted Case". American.edu. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Kuwait (country) – MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on 31 October 2009.
- "Kuwait: Climate – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Michael Herb (1999). All in the Family: Absolutism, Revolution, and Democracy in Middle Eastern Monarchies. pp. 68–69.
- "Part V General And Transitional Provisions". National Assembly – Kuwait. 2004-08-21. Archived from the original on 2004-08-21. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Press Freedom Index 2011-2012".
- "Press Freedom Index 2013".
- "World Press Freedom Index 2014 - Reporters Without Borders".
- "Freedom in the World: Kuwait". Freedom House. 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- "The Global Gender Gap Index 2014 - World Economic Forum". World Economic Forum.
- "Kuwait highest in closing gender gap: WEF".
- "Kuwait: Selected Issues". p. 17.
Kuwait has higher female labor market participation than other GCC countries; further improvements in labor force participation can support future growth prospects. Kuwait’s labor force participation rate for Kuwaiti women (53 percent) is slightly above the world average (51 percent) and much higher than the MENA average (21 percent).
- "Kuwait on path to fulfill all MDGs by 2015 deadline". United Nations. p. 9.
- "Kuwait: Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix". International Monetary Fund. 2012. p. 43.
- "Gender inequality". fanack.com. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
- "27 countries limit a woman’s ability to pass citizenship to her child or spouse".
- Apollo Rwomire (2001). African Women and Children: Crisis and Response. p. 8.
- "Opinion Articles – Women's suffrage means deep change in Kuwaiti politics". The Daily Star. 27 July 2005. 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.
- "Gulf parliaments’ war on alcohol". Gulf News.
- "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.
- الحبس 11 عامًا للمغردة "هدى العجمي".. بعد إدانتها بثلاثة تهم. Mobasher News (in Arabic). Retrieved 1 September 2014.
- "Kuwaiti mosque preacher suspended for attacking Shiite sect". Gulf News. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
- "Abdullah Al Nafissi charged with targeting Shiite sect". Gulf News. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
- "Kuwait pulls cleric from TV for sectarian comments". Al Arabiya. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
- "Kuwaiti writer gets 7 years jail for anti-Shia tweets". Al-Akhbar. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
- "Kuwait jails man for insulting Shias". Press TV. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
- "Kuwaiti gov't sues local theatre over play that 'mocks Shia Islam'". Retrieved 1 September 2014.
- "Sectarianism rears head as play cast". Retrieved 1 September 2014.
- "Kuwait jails man for tweets ‘insulting Shiites’".
- "Freedom of the Press - Scores and Status Data 1980-2014". Freedom House.
- "Kuwait". Reporters without Borders.
- "World Report - Kuwait". Refworld.
- "Press Freedom".
Since 2005, Kuwait has earned the highest ranking of all Arab countries on the annual Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders. In 2009, it surpassed Israel as the country with the greatest press freedom in the Middle East. In 2011 Kuwait ranked 78th and was the top-ranking country in the Middle East.
- "Press Freedom Index 2006".
- "Press Freedom Index 2007".
- "Press Freedom Index 2008".
- "Press Freedom Index 2009". p. 2.
- "Press Freedom Index 2010".
- "Freedom of the Press 2010". p. 25.
- "Freedom of the Press 2009". p. 20.
- "Freedom of the Press 2008". p. 24.
- "Freedom of the Press 2006". p. 15.
- "Freedom of the Press 2007". p. 21.
- "Freedom of the Press 2005". p. 15.
- Social Semiotics of Arabic Satellite Television: Beyond the Glamour. p. 120.
- Women and Media in the Middle East: Power Through Self-Expression. p. 122.
- "Kuwait ex-MPs get jail terms for insulting H H Amir".
- "Kuwaiti Constitution". World Intellectual Property Organization.
The Kuwait Legal system is based on civil law jurisdiction; it is derived from Egyptian and French laws.
- "Doing business in Kuwait". Thomson Reuters.
- "Embassy of Switzerland". Switzerland Global Enterprise. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Richard F. Nyrop. "Persian Gulf states: country studies". p. 80.
In addition, Kuwait has established a secular legal system, unique among the Gulf states.
- Arab Society: Class, Gender, Power, and Development. 1997. p. 417.
- Robert L. Maddex. Constitutions of the World. p. 153.
- The Law of the Near and Middle East: Readings, Cases, and Materials. p. 110.
- "Kuwait, State of". Law.emory.edu.
- "State of Kuwait, Public Administration Profile". United Nations. p. 7.
- "State of Kuwait". London School of Economics (LSE).
The court system in Kuwait is secular and tries both civil and criminal cases.
- The Development of Intellectual Property Regimes in the Arabian Gulf States. p. 23.
- "Islamic Commercial Law and Economic Development". p. 10.
- America and the Persian Gulf: The Third Party Dimension in World Politics. p. 51.
- US-Kuwaiti Relations, 1961–1992: An Uneasy Relationship.
- "Kuwait Says It Won't Provide Bases for U.S.". LA Times. July 20, 1987.
- "No Military Bases for U.S., Kuwait Says". LA Times. July 21, 1987.
- "10 Most Valuable Currencies in the World". Silicon India.
- "Bright future for Kuwait projects market".
- "Encouraging social entrepreneurship in Kuwait – Special report".
- "Keeping Up With Kuwaiti Connection: The Startup Circuit In Kuwait Is Up And At 'Em".
- "What’s behind the growth of Kuwait’s informal economy".
- "In Kuwait, Instagram Accounts Are Big Business".
- "A rising class of Instagram entrepreneurs in Kuwait is selling comics, makeup and sheep". Quartz.
- "Kuwait's booming Instagram economy".
- "How Kuwaitis are Instagramming a business revolution".
- "Kuwait Investment Authority Profile Page". Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.
- "Kuwait Top Arab Investor Abroad In 2013".
- "Kuwait fund says more than doubled UK investment in past 10 years". Reuters.
- "Kuwait Wealth Fund Doubles Investments in U.K. to $24 Billion". Bloomberg.
- "Kuwait becomes top foreign investor in China RMB market". KUNA.
- "Kuwait gives infrastructure schemes the green light".
- "Kuwait rebound lifts Gulf Projects Index".
- "مشعل الجابر: السماح للأجانب بتملك %100 في الشركات المساهمة وذات المسؤولية المحدودة وشركات الشخص الواحد".
- "Govt approves expat property ownership".
- "NBK: Kuwait growth accelerating, driven by pick up in project execution".
- "Fitch Affirms Kuwait at 'AA'; Outlook Stable".
There are tentative signs that the non-oil economy is gaining momentum under a more pro-government parliament, reflected in the award of several projects in recent months and private sector credit growth at around a five-year high.
- "Kuwait to maintain 6pc non-oil growth for 2 years".
- "Kuwait sustains non-oil growth for two years".
- "Kuwait residency cap for expats touches off maelstrom". GulfNews.com. 2014-02-01.
- "Kuwait MP seeks five-year cap on expat workers’ stay".
- "The New Middle East, Turkey, and the Search for Regional Stability". Strategic Studies Institute. April 2008. p. 93.
Shiites comprise 60 percent of the population in Bahrain, 40 percent in Kuwait, 14 percent in Saudi Arabia, and 35 percent in Lebanon.
- "International Religious Freedom Report". US State Department. 2001.
- "International Religious Freedom Report". US State Department. 2002.
- "International Religious Freedom Report". US State Department. 2004.
- "International Religious Freedom Report". US State Department. 1999.
- "Nationality By Relegion and Gender". Government of Kuwait. 2013.
- "International Religious Freedom Report for 2012". US State Department. 2012.
- The Sustainable City VIII (2 Volume Set): Urban Regeneration and Sustainability. p. 599.
- "Reviving Kuwait's theatre industry". BBC News.
- Popular Culture in the Arab World: Arts, Politics, and the Media. p. 277.
- The World of Theatre: An Account of the Theatre Seasons 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99. p. 147.
- The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre: The Arab world.
- "Entertainment gets soapy during Ramadan in Kuwait".
- Kuwait: vanguard of the Gulf. p. 113.
Some Kuwaiti soap operas have become extremely popular and, although they are usually performed in the Kuwaiti dialect, they have been shown with success as far away as Tunisia.
- "Kuwait Literary Scene A Little Complex".
- Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art & Architecture: Three-Volume Set. p. 405.
- "Correcting misconceptions of the Gulf’s modern art movement".
- 2013 Census shows only three religion categories: "Muslim", "Christian" and "Other". Reasonably assuming majority of "Other" Kuwaiti citizens is Bahá'í.
Find more about
at Wikipedia's sister projects
|Definitions from Wiktionary|
|Media from Commons|
|News stories from Wikinews|
|Quotations from Wikiquote|
|Source texts from Wikisource|
|Textbooks from Wikibooks|
|Learning resources from Wikiversity|
- Kuwait web resources provided by GovPubs at the University of Colorado–Boulder Libraries
- Kuwait at DMOZ
- Wikimedia Atlas of Kuwait
- Kuwait travel guide from Wikivoyage
|Iraq||Persian Gulf • Iran|
|Saudi Arabia||Saudi Arabia||Persian Gulf|