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Brief History of Kuwait:
Early in the history of Kuwait, the island of Failaka, just off the coast, was settled by the Ancient Greeks in the 4th century BC. They named it Ikaros and it became a trading center for the area. Later the area would come under the control of the Parthian Empire and then the Sassanid Empire. During the 2nd century the land was known as Hajar.
The ancestors of the current Kuwaiti population arrived in the land in the 16th century. They were from the tribe of Nejd and set up the state of Kuwait in 1756. The first Emir of Kuwait was Sabah I bin Jaber. To this day his descendents rule Kuwait as the al-Sabah royal family.
In 1899, Kuwait signed an agreement with Britain where Britain would protect them as part of the agreement. Kuwait remained as a protectorate of Britain until 1961 when it became an independent nation.
In August 1990 Kuwait was invaded by Iraq. This sparked the First Gulf War when the United States led a United Nations force to remove Iraq from Kuwait.
The Geography of Kuwait
Total Size: 17,820 square km
Size Comparison: slightly smaller than New Jersey
Geographical Coordinates: 29 30 N, 45 45 E
World Region or Continent: Middle East
General Terrain: flat to slightly undulating desert plain
Geographical Low Point: Persian Gulf 0 m
Geographical High Point: unnamed location 306 m
Climate: dry desert; intensely hot summers; short, cool winters
Major cities: KUWAIT (capital) 2.23 million (2009)
The People of Kuwait
Type of Government: constitutional hereditary emirate
Languages Spoken: Arabic (official), English widely spoken
Independence: 19 June 1961 (from UK)
National Holiday: National Day, 25 February (1950)
Religions: Muslim 85% (Sunni 70%, Shi'a 30%), Christian, Hindu, Parsi, and other 15%
National Symbol: golden falcon
National Anthem or Song: Al-Nasheed Al-Watani (National Anthem)
Economy of Kuwait
Major Industries: petroleum, petrochemicals, cement, shipbuilding and repair, desalination, food processing, construction materials
Agricultural Products: practically no crops; fish
Natural Resources: petroleum, fish, shrimp, natural gas
Major Exports: oil and refined products, fertilizers
Major Imports: food, construction materials, vehicles and parts, clothing
Currency: Kuwaiti dinar (KD)
National GDP: $153,500,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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