Kuwait (official title: State of Kuwait) is a country in the Middle East. It is located in on the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula. Kuwait shares boarders with Saudi Arabia to the south and Iraq to the north. It also has a coastline that lies on the north-western part of the Persian Gulf. Kuwait covers an area of 17,820 square kilometers (6,880 square miles), which makes it one of the smallest countries in the world. It has a population of approximately 3.5 million people. Kuwait’s capital city Kuwait city is located in the middle of the country on the shores of the Persian Gulf.
Interesting facts about Kuwait
- Kuwait was part of the Ottoman Empire until the end of World War I when it emerged as an independent state with the help of the British Empire.
- Kuwait gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1961.
- Kuwait was invaded and annexed by its neighbor Iraq in 1990 for seven months. This ended after a direct military intervention by the United States of America, known as the Gulf War. The country sustained a great deal of damage during the war and had to be rebuilt.
- During the withdrawal of Iraq troops in 1991, many oil wells were set on fire. The damage caused by this has made much of the eastern and south-eastern parts of Kuwait uninhabitable.
- Kuwait is a constitutional emirate with a parliamentary government. The ruler of Kuwait is known as an Emir.
- The Emir of Kuwait has the ability to grant a pardon from the death penalty or from prison. He is the commander in chief of the country’s military.
- Kuwait is home to the world’s fifth largest oil reserves and petroleum products make up approximately 95% of the country’s export and 80% of the government’s income.
- The largest oil field, the Burgan field, has the capacity of approximately 70 billion barrels of oil reserves.
- Kuwait is the eleventh richest country in the world per capita.
- It is recognized as a major non-NATO ally of the United States.
- Kuwait means “Fortress built near water” in Arabic.
- Kuwait became the 111th member of the United Nations in May 1963.
- Due to its small size and population Kuwait has worked hard on diplomatic relations and has secured many long-term defense agreements with countries such as the U.S., Britain, and France. It also purchases military equipment from Egypt, Russia and China. The only country that Kuwait refuses to form diplomatic relations with is Israel.
- Most of Kuwait is covered by the Arabian Desert. It is a low lying country with the highest point reaching only 306 m (1,004 ft) above sea level.
- The climate of Kuwait is a desert climate and it is very hot and arid. The country suffers frequent dust storms.
- The average daily temperature in Kuwait during the summer months ranges from 42 to 46 °C (107.6 to 114.8 °F). The highest temperature ever recorded in Kuwait was 53.6 °C (128.5 °F) at Sulaibya on July 31, 2012. During the winter months the average temperatures range is 15–20 °C (59–68 °F) during the day and as low as 0 °C (32 °F) at night.
- Kuwait has nine islands off the coast, but only one in inhabited. The Bubiyan is the largest island in Kuwait with an area of 860 km2 (330 sq mi).
- 85% of the population of Kuwait identify themselves as Muslim. 75% belong to the Sunni and 25% belong to the Shi’as.
- Kuwait has the 3rd highest net migration rate in the world.
- Much of Kuwait’s cuisine takes advantage of the local seafood as well as the abundance of spices available.
- Approximately 75% of the Kuwait population over the age of 15 are overweight, making it the eighth fattest country in the world.
- Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Kuwait. Basketball, handball, cricket and rugby union are also widely played.