State of Kuwait
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The State of Kuwait lies at the northwest corner of the Persian Gulf in the shadow of Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. It is dwarfed by its neighbors in area and population; it covers an area of less than 18,000 sq km (less than 7,000 sq miles) with a population of around 2 million people. It was settled by wandering Arab peoples in the eighteenth century. In the nineteenth century both Turkey and Germany began eyeing the strategic advantages of the area. Kuwait formed an alliance with Britain and became a British protectorate in 1914. When independence was proclaimed in 1961 Iraq laid claim to the nation, and again invaded in 1990. In 1962 the ruling al-Sabah family inaugurated a new constitution. Today Kuwait is a Constitutional monarchy with a single legislative body known as the National Assembly.
Like most it its neighbors in the Middle East Kuwait relies upon oil and petroleum as the basis for their economy. Kuwait owns 10% of the world’s proven crude oil reserves and petroleum accounts for more than 50% of the gross domestic product, 90% of export revenues and 70% of government income. Water shortages have proven to be a hindrance to the development of industry. Most water must be desalinated or imported.
Kuwait is also similar it its neighbors in religious practice. The ruling dynasty is of the Sunni tradition of Islam, as is about 45% of the population; the total Muslim population is about 85% with the remaining population being Christian, Hindu, and Parsi.
In 1990 there was an unconfirmed a cappella Church of Christ meeting in Safat. In June 2007, 25 baptisms were reported at the church in Kuwait City. International Churches of Christ also have a congregation in Kuwait City.
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
Revised December 9, 2013 by Gary Holloway
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