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Introduction: Britain oversaw foreign relations and defense for the ruling Kuwaiti AL-SABAH dynasty from 1899 until independence in 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 has ruled since returning to power in 1991 and reestablished an elected legislature that in recent years has become increasingly assertive. The country witnessed the historic election in May 2009 of four women...

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Economic Overview: Kuwait has a small, relatively open economy dominated by the oil industry and government sector. Oil revenues comprise about 95 per cent of exports and 95 per cent of total government revenues. In 2009, Kuwait's oil production capacity was approximately 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd). Kuwait plans to increase its capacity to 3.5 million bpd by 2015 and 4.0 million bpd by 2020. According to OPEC's official figures, Kuwait has the fifth largest oil reserves (approximately 100 billion barrels) in the world. Kuwait is the world's seventh richest country per capita.

Kuwait has one of the oldest and most financially stable ...

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History: Archaeological finds on Failaka, the largest of Kuwait's nine islands, suggest that Failaka was a trading post at the time of the ancient Sumerians. Failaka appears to have continued to serve as a market for approximately 2,000 years, and was known to the ancient Greeks. Despite its long history as a market and sanctuary for traders, Failaka appears to have been abandoned as a permanent ...

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International Relations: Kuwait is a member of the Gulf Co-operation Council alongside Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. As Kuwait grows in confidence as an international player, it is playing an increasingly assertive role in support of regional stability.


Many Kuwaitis have studied in the UK, and efforts are being made to further develop the long history of educational links with Kuwait. The British Council in Kuwait plays an important role in promoting UK education and providing English language tuition and UK exam services. A number of schools using the English curriculum exist ...

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The Persian Gulf lies between two of the major breadbaskets of the ancient world, the Tigris-Euphrates area (Mesopotamia, meaning "between the rivers") in present-day Iraq and the Nile Valley in Egypt. Mesopotamia, a part of the area known as the Fertile Crescent, was important not only for food production but also for connecting East to West.

Rivers provided the water that ...

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Area Handbook Series
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