Kuwait was founded in the mid-18th century by
Arab nomads (Bedouins) in search of water. They settled
in the area where Kuwait City is today
and depended on trade, pearl fishing and regular
fishing. Formally, the country has suffered from many
different rulers: from the Caliph in Baghdad beginning
around 750, to the Mongols, Ottomans and finally the
British until independence in 1961. Oil was discovered
in the 1920s.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Kuwait, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
The country's earliest history is unknown. The area
that today constitutes Kuwait was subject to the
caliphate in Baghdad around 750–1258, during the Mongol
Empire 1258–1546 and during the Ottoman Empire
1546–1914. The area mostly garnered no greater interest
from its rulers.
In the 16th century, Portuguese seafarers anchored at
the site of the present capital, leaving behind a small
fort; Kuwait means "small fortress".
The Bedouins from the interior of the Arabian
Peninsula who went north and settled in the area
belonged to a clan called Banu Utub. From 1756 they were
led by a local governor, Sheikh, from the Sabah family -
the same family that still governs Kuwait today. A
Danish explorer wrote in 1765 about a city with 10,000
inhabitants who lived by trade, pearl fishing and other
During the Ottoman period, the Kuwaiti paid taxes to
the Turks but also had links with the British East India
Company (which is known by several names, including
the Honorable East India Company). In exchange for
trade rights, the company protected Kuwaiti merchants
from pirates and warriors from what is today Saudi
Pressure from the Ottoman Empire led Kuwaiti leaders
to cultivate their contacts with the British. In 1899 a
patronage treaty was signed with Britain. The British
takeover of control in the area was confirmed by the
collapse of the Ottoman Empire during the First World
Oil discoveries began in the 1920s, and in 1934
Kuwait signed its first state of extraction, but
production could not begin seriously until after the
Second World War.
Oil field agreement in border areas
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait sign an agreement on the management of two common oil
fields at the border, where production has been stalled for five years. The
agreement deals with the Wafra fields, on land, and Khafiji, at sea. Before the
extraction was stopped, the two fields produced a total of half a million
barrels of oil per day, about half a percent of world production.
Female finance minister in new government
A new government with 15 ministers takes office, led by Sabah al-Khalid Al
Sabah. It is Kuwait's ninth government in eight years. Foreign Minister becomes
Nasir al-Muhammad al-Ahmad Al Sabah. Anas al-Salih becomes Minister of the
Interior, the first in the post who does not belong to the royal family. Three
women are part of the government, one more than before. Maryam al-Aqil is in
charge of the finance department.
Government resignation linked to embezzlement
The government is leaving. A few days later, the Minister of Defense, the
eldest son of the country's regent, states that the resignation is linked to
accusations that large sums must have been misappropriated from funds intended
for military spending. The rape must have taken place before 2017, before his
own appointment as head of the Ministry of Defense, explains the minister.
Unlike other countries in the region, the oil state of Kuwait has an elected
parliament that has the power to oust ministers. The Parliament has recently
criticized several ministers for their job. There have also recently been
demonstrations outside Parliament against corruption.
Stateless hunger strikes
More than a dozen Bidun, stateless Arabs, arrested in July, start a hunger
strike in protest at how they and other stateless people are being treated in
Kuwait. Since a stateless 20-year-old took his life on July 7, after being
denied public records and ID cards, a bid demonstration has been conducted in
the city of al-Jahra near Kuwait City and followed by an arrest wave.
Fifth year of deficit
Parliament adopts a state budget with a deficit of $ 22 billion, since
members opposed government plans to introduce taxes and reduce subsidies. It is
the fifth consecutive year of budget deficits. Kuwait's economy declined for
several years after the fall in oil prices in 2014, but turned to plus 2018. The
forecast for 2019 (the financial year runs until the end of March 2020) is 2.5
percent growth. Oil accounts for 88 percent of the state's revenue and when
spending exceeds revenue, it is possible to raise money that has been "saved in
the barges": the state's wealth fund is valued at $ 600 billion.
Disappearance in war is increasing
On Kuwait's initiative, the UN Security Council has adopted its first
resolution on people who have disappeared during armed conflicts. Kuwait has
experience: more than 300 people are still missing since 1990-1991, when the
country was invaded by Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces, which led to a war when a
US-led alliance expelled the Iraqis. The International Red Cross Committee
(ICRC) states that the number of disappearances has increased in recent years.
Last year, 45,000 names of missing persons were added as human rights
organizations try to track down. Syria is one of the countries where most
Bridge to wasteland that becomes free trade zone
A 3.6 km long land connection, consisting of three quarters of bridges built
over water, is inaugurated. It unites the capital with a tract that is now
wasteland but is about to be transformed into the free trade area Silk City,
close to both Iran and Iraq and in collaboration with China. A power plant
belongs to what is clear.
US visit support for Kuwait's mediator role
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo embarks on a regional tour with a visit to
Kuwait. The US is focused on raising support for Iran with Iran's neighboring
countries. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is one of the arenas in which the
view of Iran comes into play: A member state, Qatar, is boycotted by the others
since 2017 and accused, like Iran, of supporting terrorism. Kuwait is trying, so
far without results, to mediate between the other Arab countries to resolve the
crisis. The US initially supported the boycott, but now emphasizes "regional
unity" - as Qatar hosts US forces, Washington prefers to see US allies in the
Election of election after cast members
Two independent candidates are elected to Kuwait's parliament. 15 of today's
50 members (the 16 ministers counted) are thus people whom some media consider
to be politically oppositional, but that depends on how one counts. If all
Islamists, liberals and nationalists are counted as opposition, the number will
be higher - but not high enough to have a strong influence. The fact that the
general election is taking place is because two former members - both Islamists
- were deprived of their seats, sentenced to court for a protest action, a
storming of the parliament that took place in 2011.