Kuwait is derived from the Arabic term “Akwat”, which means “fortress erected near water.”
The Greeks first claimed the Failaka Island off Kuwait’s northern coast in the 4th century B.C. Since then, the country’s strategic location has been a popular destination for merchants on the lookout for the ideal niche in which to develop their business. Kuwait’s power has passed down through the Mesopotamians, the Sassanid Empire, the Rashidun Caliphate, and the Ottoman Empire, during which the Bani Utbah clan relocated to the region and founded Kuwait. The Bani Utbah tribe picked the Al-Sabah family to govern them in 1756, and the first Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah I Bin Jaber, was in semi-autonomous control under the Ottomans. The country prospered throughout this time period because of trade, fishing, and pearl fishing.
Mubarak Al-Sabah, the country’s monarch at the time, made a deal with the British Empire in 1899 in exchange for protection from the Ottoman Empire. Large oil reserves were discovered in 1937, and Kuwait became the top oil exporter in the Persian Gulf region by 1952.
Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah abrogated the 1899 pact in 1961, granting the kingdom independence from the British and membership in the Arab League. Kuwait has had unprecedented economic growth since then, thanks to its vast oil reserves.
However, on August 2, 1990, Kuwait was invaded by Iraq, which was followed by seven months of dispersed fighting that claimed many lives and imprisoned many more. Kuwait regained its freedom on February 26th, 1991, with widespread international backing and the assistance of a US-led coalition.
Kuwait is located in the Arabian Peninsula’s northeastern corner, bordering Iraq to the north and west, Saudi Arabia to the south, and the Persian Gulf to the east. Its unique location has given it significant commercial significance, and it covers an area of approximately 17,820km2.
Kuwait City, Hawalli, Al-Farwaniya, Al-Ahmadi, Mubarak Al-Kabir, and Al-Jahra are the state’s six governorates. The country has nine islands, including Bubyan, Failaka, Miskan, Kubbar, Qaruh, Um Al Maradim, Um Al Naml, and Auhah Island, in addition to its mainland.
Kuwait is governed by a constitutional monarchy with a presidential and parliamentary system. The authority has been passed down via the Al-Sabah family since the 18th century, and the title of “Emir” has been bestowed to them. Since 2006, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has been on the throne.
The State of Kuwait was previously represented by a crimson flag with the word “Kuwait” printed in white in the center. They adopted the current flag on September 7, 1961, in which the Pan-Arab colors each have their own meaning: green for their lands, white for their achievements, red for their swords, and black for their fights.
On February 25, 1978, Al-Nasheed Al-Watani was recognized as the national anthem and broadcast for the first time.
Monarchy based on the constitution. On November 11, 1962, Kuwait’s constitution was ratified. Kuwait’s constitution declares the country to be a constitutional monarchy, with the Amir (ruler) having executive powers. Kuwait is now ruled by HH Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the country’s 15th Amir.
Kuwait has a 50-member elected National Assembly (Parliament) that is augmented by Council of Ministers members. An assembly’s maximum term is four years. The National Assembly is entrusted with legislative duties as well as monitoring powers over the administration.
A Kuwaiti Dinar is made up of 1000 fils. There are notes in the denominations of 20, 10, 5, 1, 12, and 14 in circulation, as well as Fils coins in the denominations of 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5.
The Kuwaiti dinar is freely convertible, and there are no limits on remittances from Kuwait to other countries. Kuwait has contemporary banks that provide all standard financial services. Major businesses accept international credit cards in most cases.
Kuwait, although being one of the world’s smallest countries in terms of land area, is one of the world’s major oil-producing nations, with roughly 10% of the world’s oil reserves. The fact that its currency (Kuwaiti Dinar – KWD) has the highest value of all time adds to its pride. Kuwait is the fifth richest country in the world, with a GDP of over $200 billion.
Kuwait’s weather is characterized by long, hot, and dry summers and short, warm, and occasionally rainy winters due to its location in the Sahara geographical region. During the summer, dust storms nearly usually coincide with a spike in humidity.
The country is subjected to a broad range of weather conditions, including high heat of more than 50°C in the summer and temperatures as low as 0°C in the winter. Spring is a warm and pleasant season. In addition, throughout the summer months, there are sporadic dust storms, which are supposed to hasten the ripening of dates, Kuwait’s native fruit.
Kuwait is home to 2.7 million people, including 1.3 million non-nationals, the majority of them are from Arab, South, and Southeast Asian countries.
Although Arabic is the country’s official language, English is widely spoken and taught in all schools.
Kuwait has been an Islamic country from ancient times, and the vast majority of its citizens are Muslims, the majority of whom are Sunnis, with the balance being Shias, Sufis, and others. Kuwait, like all other Arab countries, observes Ramadan by fasting during the month of Ramadan.
Kuwaiti people are noted for their hospitality and kindness, and they treat their visitors with respect. Handshakes and cheek kisses are traditional greetings, but only between people of the same gender. Following the first greeting, a series of inquiries about each other’s health, families, and situations are asked.
The guests are only offered tea or coffee, which the host would consider an insult if declined.
Food is often served in big quantities to symbolize their generosity, and relatives or neighbors are frequently invited as guests to join in their dinner, which frequently includes the national cuisine of well-prepared rice with lamb, poultry, or fish known as ‘Machboos.’
The ‘Diwaniya,’ which are vast reception halls utilized for male social meetings where they can debate any topical themes like politics, business, sports, and so on, has been an integral element of Kuwaiti culture. Cushions for seats and armrests, Persian rugs for the floor, a constant supply of tea or coffee, and possibly a ‘Hookah’ for smoking are all present in the halls.
Despite the fact that the western style of dress is gaining popularity, traditional attire still has a place in society. The Dishdasha, an ankle-length garment, is worn by men, combined with the GHutrah (headscarf), Iqal (circlet), and Gahfiah (belt) (skullcap underneath headscarf to hold it in place). The Abba, a silk or wool black cloak that envelops the body top to toe and is worn over a dress, is typically worn by women. It is sometimes paired with a hijab (headscarf) and/or burqa (veil).
Kuwait has almost every item imaginable. Traditional souks (markets) coexist with ultra-modern shopping malls, including the new ‘Al-Qout’ in Fahaheel. BHS, Boots, Debenhams, M&S, Sears, Next, Benneton, Body Shop, Starbucks, Carrefour, and many other high street stores from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe can be found at the malls.
The Sultan Center network of supermarkets provides up-market service at a somewhat higher price, while the Cooperative Societies in each area provide huge western-style supermarkets supplying most commodities at controlled pricing. In most streets, classic corner businesses sell apparel, electrical goods, hardware, books and stationery, videos, and cassettes; large, modern stores sell clothing, electrical goods, hardware, books and stationery, videos, and cassettes. CDs, computer software, footwear, cosmetics, sporting goods, and so on.
There are stores like Next, Marks and Spencer, British Homes, Mothercare, Boots, and Debenhams.