Based on archaeological finds, it is believed that the island of Failaka, which lies about 30 km northeast of the capital of what is now Kuwait in the Persian Gulf, as early as the 3rd millennium BC. what a trading base for seafaring peoples. In the 3rd century AD The area of today’s Kuwait became part of the Persian Empire, from the 7th century it was Islamized. From 762 the country was under the sovereignty of the Caliphate of Baghdad (Abbasid dynasty).
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From the 16th to the 20th century
At the beginning of the 16th century, Portuguese seafarers stayed temporarily on the coast of Kuwait, but soon gave up their branches. Around 1715, several groups of the Sunni Anaiza tribe settled in the area, which came from the west of the Arabian Peninsula. In 1756, the important family Al-Sabah (who still dominates the emirate) founded the city of Kuwait on the bay on the Persian Gulf. From here, lively trade was carried out with Persia, the Ottoman Empire and India.
At the end of the 19th century, Kuwait became a British protectorate in order to avoid being overwhelmed by the Ottoman Empire. In return for its protective role, Britain received fishing and inspection rights for the coastal waters of the Persian Gulf and the promise of the Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah to enter into relations with other countries only after consultation with the major power. According to AbbreviationFinder, as part of these agreements, Kuwait had to surrender two thirds of its original territory to neighboring Saudi Arabia in 1922 (Uquair Treaty).
Oil production begins
The first oil sources were discovered on Kuwaiti soil in 1938, and production did not begin until 1946 due to the outbreak of World War II. In 1950, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Sabah Emir of Kuwait became the spiritual and secular head of the country. With the immense income from oil exports (Kuwait has around a tenth of the world’s oil reserves, and the extraction is inexpensive due to the low depth of the deposits), a well-structured health and social system has been set up in favor of the Kuwaiti population.
In 1960 Kuwait was one of the founding members of the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), a community of interests of the oil-exporting countries. The aim of the organization, which at the time included Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, was to stabilize world market prices for crude oil and to ensure stable income for the producing countries.
In 1961, the British Protectorate Treaty of 1899 was canceled and the emirate became independent. A constituent assembly elected in December 1961 established the Kuwait government as an inherited emirate with parliamentary elements. Territorial demands from Iraq to Kuwait made it necessary to continue stationing British troops. Only a short time later, they were partially replaced by units of the Arab League (Organization for Economic, Political and Military Cooperation between Arab States, founded in 1945, Kuwait July 1961). Despite the troops, there were repeated border conflicts with neighboring Iraq (1967, 1972).
First and Second Gulf Wars
In the First Gulf War (1980-88) between Iran and Iraq, Emir Jabir Al Ahmad Al Jabir Al-Sabah (Emir since 1977) supported Iraq out of fear of Iranian fundamentalism. Large amounts of funds have been made available to Iraqi dictator Sadam Hussein, who refused to repay them after the conflict ended. In August 1990, Kuwait was occupied by Iraqi troops in a night-time strike, and Sadam Hussein declared the country the 19th province of Iraq. Due to the importance of the Kuwaiti oil fields, an international front against Iraq was formed, and after the expiry of a UN ultimatum, Kuwait was liberated by a multinational force (consisting of units from a total of 24 western and Arab states) in January 1991.During the withdrawal of Iraqi troops, they caused devastating damage to the oil production and processing facilities: 80% of the facilities were destroyed, around 700 oil wells were set on fire. The oil spilled into the Persian Gulf and the desert triggered an environmental disaster.
After the wars
As a result of this Second Gulf War, Kuwait exposed groups that had supported Iraq from the country (Palestinians, Jordanians, Yemenis). Between 1990 and 1996 the population decreased by almost 6%. As a further consequence of the Gulf conflict, the opposition became increasingly stronger in the country: in the first free elections to the National Assembly since 1986, the Emir’s supporters won less than half of the seats and were thus in the minority. Nevertheless, the emir reigned de facto, by decree overriding the decisions of the National Assembly or determining the members of the government itself.
In the mid-1990s, most of the destroyed oil production and processing plants were rebuilt. For fear of renewed Iraqi attacks, billions of dollars were spent on military purposes in the 1990s, with much of Kuwait’s military protection being provided by British and U.S. troops – either in the country directly or on aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf. After the liberation in 1991, Kuwait had concluded defense agreements with all states that have a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. On the other hand, Kuwait is trying within the Arab League not to get isolated and to normalize relations with the states that have supported Iraq.
After years of controversy, the parliament passed the right to vote in 2005. Shortly thereafter, the emir appointed the first female minister. The Emir died in January 2006, Sheikh Jaber bin Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah; his successor was the former Prime Minister Sabah bin Ahmad al-Jabir as-Sabah. Constant disputes between parliament and government led to a large number of new parliament and government formations during his reign.