General Information About Kuwait
Facts and Statistics
Location: Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
Capital: Kuwait City
Population: 2,257,549 including 1,291,354 non-nationals (July 2004 est.)
Ethnic Make-up: Kuwaiti 45%, other Arab 35%, South Asian 9%, Iranian 4%, other 7%
Religions: Muslim 85% (Sunni 70%, Shia 30%), Christian, Hindu, Parsi, and other 15%
National Flower of Kuwait: Rhanterum Epapposum or locally called the Arfaj
Currency: Kuwaiti Dinar, It is sub-divided into 1000 fils. It is the highest valued currency unit in the world.
Kuwaiti Islands: Failaka, bubiyan island, warbah island, Auhah island, kubbar island, miskan island, Qaruh island, Umm Al Maradim (mother of boulders) and Umm Al Namil (mother of ants)
The official Days:
- Independence Day: From the United Kingdom, June , 19,1961 , but Kuwaitis celebrate in February, 25th, which is the day in which late sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Al Sabah, the eleventh ruler of Kuwait, took the reins of leadership .
- Liberation Day: February 26th, after liberating Kuwait from Iraqi invasion.
Kuwait, settled by Arab tribes in the early 18th century, has been ruled since its inception by the al-Sabah dynasty. Nominally an Ottoman province, the sheikhdom became a British colony in 1897, remaining so until independence in 1961. Oil production began in the 1940s and was controlled by a joint British-American firm until 1974, when Kuwait nationalized most of the operations. Kuwait took part in the Arab oil restriction against nations that supported Israel in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). In Aug. 1990, Kuwait was invaded and forcibly annexed by Iraq, an act that led to and was reversed by the Persian Gulf War. The war and widespread looting and intentional destruction by Iraqi troops devastated Kuwait, particularly its oil fields, but by the end of 1992 the country had repaired nearly all the damage and its oil output was at about the prewar level. Large areas of land, however, remained environmentally devastated. In 1992, opposition candidates won a majority of the seats in parliament; the al-Sabah family, however, continued to dominate the government. An Iraqi military buildup near the Kuwait border led the U.S. to send troops to Kuwait in 1994. Parliament was dissolved by the sheikh in May 1999; elections in July gave Islamist and liberal candidates the most seats. An edict (1999) given by the sheikh gave Kuwaiti women the right to vote and run for office failed to win parliamentary approval.
Language in Kuwait
Arabic is the official language of Kuwait, but English is widely spoken. It is used in business and is a compulsory second language in schools. Among the non-Kuwaiti population, many people speak Farsi, the official language of Iran, or Urdu, the official language of Pakistan.
Arabic is spoken by almost 200 million people in more than 22 countries. It is the language of the Qur’an, the Holy Book of Islam, and of Arab poetry and literature. While spoken Arabic varies from country to country, classical Arabic has remained unchanged for centuries. In Kuwait, there are differences between the dialects spoken in urban areas and those spoken in rural areas.