Kuwait has a long history with England dating back to 1897 when, Kuwait signed a treaty with the English, wherein they agreed take on the role of defending the country from the Ottoman Empire. This continued until June 19th, 1961 when, Kuwait officially gained its independence. Today, Shiekh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah is the Amir of Kuwait and has ruled since January 29, 2006.
On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded The State of Kuwait, destroying much of its oil infrastructure. After several weeks of bombing campaigns, led by US and UN collation forces, Kuwait was liberated on February 23, 1991, marking the end of Iraq's hold on Kuwait. Kuwait spent $5 billion repairing oil infrustructor caused by the invasion.
Of all the countries in the Middle East, only Kuwait has an elected Parliament, dating back to 1963. The parliament consists of a fifty member body, both male and female. Members of parliament serve a four year term. Kuwait's most recent election, held on December 1, 2012 resulted in the country's lowest turnout in its history, just 39.6% of the people voted.
Kuwait is the 15th richest country in the world and has a population of 3.71 million people of which 1.2 million are Kuwaiti. The remaining 2.5 million are expatriates (non Kuwaiti). Updated population statistics can be found at the Public Authority for Civil Information: http://www.paci.gov.kw/en/. Nearly all of the country's revenue comes from oil, with some income coming from commercial fishing and natural gas deposits. Kuwait is a founding member of OPEC and holds approximately 10% of the world's oil reserves.
Geographically, Kuwait sits at the end of the Arabian Gulf. Kuwait's neighbors include Iraq and The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With a total land area of 17,818 sq km, Kuwait is smaller than the state of New Jersey and has a coastline stretching 499km. The country's terrain is mostly flat, desert plain, with the highest elevation being just 306 meters. The State of Kuwait includes nine islands within its territorially waters. They are: Bubyan, Failaka (largest of the nine islands), Miskan, Kubbar, Qaruh, Um Al Maradim, Um Al Naml, and Auhah Island.
The country of Kuwait has only one major city, its capital, Kuwait City. However, there are many smaller towns and desert villages scattered across the country. Three important towns/villages within Kuwait are:
Kuwait's climate is predominantly hot and dry with temperatures easily exceeding 45C (113F) during the summer. Winters are relatively mild, and are a welcome sight from the extreme heat experienced during warmer months. Sandstorms, though infrequent, do occur and often result in the city slowing to a crawl, forcing some schools, businesses and even government offices to temporarily close. Heavy, dense fog isn't uncommon in the winter.
Kuwait's time zone is UTC/GMT +3 (Greenwich Mean Time) and doesn't observe Daylight Saving Time.
Kuwait City encompasses an area approximately 200 sq km (80 sq miles) and has an estimated population of over 500, 000. The capital is uniquely positioned at the shoreline of the Arabian Gulf and is home to most of the country's major banks, businesses, government offices and parliament. The Kuwait Towers, an iconic symbol of the country, also sit at the shore's edge.
Kuwait City is a very modern, up-to-date Middle East capital that draws on western influence. Many of the world's top name brand restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, leading businesses and car dealerships can all be found here. Some well known stores include: McDonalds, Subway, Cheese Cake Factory, and Ruby Tuesdays, KFC, Taco Bell, Starbucks, and Coffee Bean. Kuwait City is also home to several major shopping malls, showcasing world famous clothing lines, shoes and accessories. Two of the more famous Malls in Kuwait are, The Avenues and 360 Mall.
The tallest sculpted building in the world, Al-Hamara Tower, can be found in Kuwait. At 412.6 meters (1,354 feet) high, it is the tallest building in Kuwait City, has a five story shopping mall, a 10 screen movie theatre and IMAX theatre, and an 11 story parking garage. By contrast, the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, stands at 829 meters (2,717 feet).
Kuwait City's climate is hot and dry. Temperatures are intense in the summer, May to September, ranging from 28C (82F) to 50C + (122F). Winters, November to February, are mild and cool, with temperatures averaging 8C (46F) to 18C (64F). Sandstorms and heavy fog can occur without warning. Rainfall is minimal. For up-to-date weather conditions, consult the State of Kuwait Meteorological Department: http://www.met.gov.kw/.
Kuwait City is broken down into six districts. They are:
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